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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 5th to 12th July 2018

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

African Union

Single digital currency discussed in Transform Africa summit: The latest summit Transform Africa once again discussed the idea of a single African digital currency, according to CNBC Africa.

This year’s event in Kigali attracted political, economic and industry leaders from across the continent and many topics were in discussion. However, much of the conversation revolved around the use of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies and a possible African economic union that would enhance connectivity.

South Africa

South Africans still believe in crypto despite major price decline: According to a recent survey by Savings and Investment Monitor 2018, many South Africans interested in cryptocurrencies still believe that investing in cryptocurrencies will reap benefits and profits for them.

The report involved more than 1,000 face-to-face interactions lasting one month from 26 April to 26 May 2018. While a majority of the respondents were not knowledgeable about cryptocurrencies, the 4% who knew about the cryptocurrency space were optimistic about the future growth of the cryptocurrency space.

More than 71% of the respondents said that it was possible to make money from cryptocurrencies despite major price tanks since the start of the calendar year.

Bitcoin ransom rumors arise in kidnapping case: Rumors regarding cryptocurrency-based ransom have started circulating around a recent kidnapping in Cape Town according to latest reports from local TV sources.

News24 reported that a local man Liyaqat Parker was kidnapped from his business in Parow and rumors have started circulating in the neighborhood that there was a cryptocurrency-based ransom involved. The police have declined to comment on the matter.

A spokesperson for the Cape Town Police said:

“This case is also investigated by our provincial detectives. Please bear with us as we cannot divulge details of the investigation that has yet to be presented before a court of law.”

Nigeria

Entrepreneurs choosing crypto over national currency: An increasing number of Nigerian entrepreneurs are using cryptocurrencies rather than the national currency Naira.

Cryptocurrencies are increasingly drawing battle lines with local fiat currencies in a battle for relevance as they present P2P transactions, lower fees, an alternative to inflation and fast transaction times. The Naira has been losing its value for some time just like many other local currencies across the continent. To offset this huge inflation issue, Nigerians are increasingly turning towards cryptocurrencies as a safer bet. Retailers, importers and engineers are using cryptocurrencies to make and receive payments.

Dash continues expansion in Nigeria: Use of cryptocurrency Dash is growing rapidly in Nigeria. Dash Africa’s mobile refill project called Bitrefill.com has released mobile data showing that an increasing number of Nigerian users are using cryptocurrencies like Dash to buy mobile minutes across the country.

Nigeria, the biggest economy in Africa, was obviously the forerunner in the stats as the Dash’s service got 111 orders from 59 unique numbers with a total purchase of over EUR 191. Nigeria had even bigger purchase limits than Germany. Dash is now working to increase the wider appeal of cryptocurrencies and is offering a 10% discount if users use the Dash-based service.

Zimbabwe

Reserve bank studying blockchain implementation: The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is pursuing its acquired interest in blockchain technology according to local media outlet NewsDay.

The current RBZ governor John Mangudya said that the bank is looking to embrace the technology citing similar moves by banks in China, US, UK and South Africa who have been studying blockchain technology and its uses.

He said:

“I did not say cryptocurrencies because it is lower than blockchain. Blockchain encompasses all the cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin… and we are saying we are putting in motion studies, ways and means of investigating that blockchain technology.”

Israel

Crypto platform hacked, resulting in $24 million losses: Bancor, an Israeli crypto company, saw the biggest hack in the past several weeks as more than USD 23.5 million worth of cryptocurrencies were stolen from its wallets.

The combined Swiss-Israeli company raised over USD 150 million last year in an ICO and the services it was offering included a built-in exchange service. The company said in a statement that “a wallet used to upgrade some smart contracts was compromised”.

Bancor has subsequently frozen its native BNT token and is communicating with a number of exchanges to stop the liquidation of the stolen coins.

 

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 22nd to 28th June 2018

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

Africa

Senegal

Akon to launch own crypto: Senegalese-American singer Akon has announced that he is creating a new cryptocurrency called “Akoin” and it will serve as the native currency for a yet-to-be-developed city in the country named Akon Crypto City.

The singer is not the first celebrity to float the idea of a personal cryptocurrency as Boxer Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquaio and even footballer Michael Owen have also announced crypto projects and initial coin offerings.

The currency will be a part of the “Akoin ecosystem” that will empower youth all over the world according to Akoin sources. It will through a “suite of blockchain-powered apps” allow young entrepreneurs to “buy, hold and spend cryptocurrency right from their smartphone”.

Akon is massively popular in Africa and he has had success with public projects before, notably Akon Lighting Africa that provides access to electricity in the continent. It has gone on to install 100,000 solar street lights in over 480 rural communities in 15 different African countries. But there are considerable question marks regarding the new cryptocurrency.

South Africa

First Bitcoin ATM installed in South Africa: South Africans can now utilize their first ever cryptocurrency ATM in the country as the first machine was set up in Johannesburg.

South Africa follows Zimbabwe and Djibouti as only the third African country to have a Bitcoin ATM. The machine was installed by Northwood Spar, one of the biggest names in the Bitcoin ATM business. According to Northwood Spar General Manager George Neophytou:

“It is all awfully exciting. It will take away much the frustration of buying and selling cryptocurrency, and hopefully help make cryptocurrencies mainstream.”

According to latest figures, as many as 300,000 people are involved in cryptocurrencies in the country.

Blockchain company aims to provide internet solutions for entire continent: Blockchain technology is being used for wide-ranging innovations in African countries. Recently, BlockMesh, a South African crypto startup, is starting an ambitious project to provide free mobile data to people across the continent.

Data rates are extremely high in South Africa and the region overall and BlockMesh aims to increase connectivity throughout the land for free.

“We harness the power of the Internet of Things to provide interpersonal communication which isn’t just free to use, but actually rewards users in cryptocurrency to use it. Our network will be made up of the excess bandwidth that exists across the world,” said Bjorn Guido, BlockMesh founder.

BlockMesh is also working on a telecommunications system that works outside the range of a normal cellular tower system.

Nigeria

Bitcoin seen as a way to hedge against Naira: The Nigerian public and entrepreneurs are turning to Bitcoin as a way to hedge against the native fiat currency Naira.

Nigeria is often a victim of wild monetary devaluations that cause significant problems for the public. Bitcoin serves as a useful hedge against the local currency. Nigerian entrepreneurs, shopkeepers and other professionals are now dealing a lot in cryptocurrencies to avoid inflation.

The local Naira fell as much as 15% last year and businesses start to struggle when the native currency becomes so inflated. Normal bank fees are also increasing a lot in the country and once again Bitcoin proves a safer alternative.

Zimbabwe

Dash CEO reveals crypto changing lives in Zimbabwe: Dash, a popular cryptocurrency that excels in privacy is working to introduce efficient money transfer systems in Zimbabwe.

Dash is a coin that offers fast transactions under one second and fees are only a few cents per transaction which is much better than the 30 minute time for Bitcoin transactions and higher fees involved. In Zimbabwe, a Dash-powered money transfer system called Kuvacash is in place that is the country’s first P2P localized digital currency payment system. It enables users to transfer cash with just a mobile number and that makes things a lot easier for traders and buyers.

A mistrust of the centralized financial system and crushing hyperinflation is said to be the reason behind the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies in the country.

Kenya

Indigenous crypto ATM launched: Kenya has launched its own indigenous cryptocurrency ATM. The ATM was developed by Kenyan startup BitClub and it can dispense cash and cryptocurrencies. The ATM is the fourth official bitcoin ATM in the continent after Djibouti, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Middle East

Israel

Crypto-related crimes set to increase in 2018: An Israeli cyber expert has said that cryptocurrency-related crimes will exceed all other cyber attacks in the near future, according to news from Times of Israel.

The expert named Lotem Finkelstein from Check Point Software Technologies said, “Not a day goes by without our hearing about a new ICO scam or mining attack.”

Finkelstein also said that blockchain was suffering reputational damage because of it being associated with ICOs and cryptocurrencies.

United Arab Emirates

ADGM to regulate crypto and digital assets: UAE-based Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the country’s financial hub, has said that it is launching a new framework to regulate the crypto assets in the country according to an announcement last Monday.

The framework is designed to address the “full range of risks associated with crypto asset activities, including risks relating to money laundering and financial crime, consumer protection, technology governance, custody and exchange operations”.

The move comes after an extensive public consultation by the country’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA).

 

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 8th to 14th June 2018

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

Africa

African Union

Africa to become next frontier for crypto: Interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology is increasing in Africa as the sprawling continent continues to advance in the new tech according to latest reports fueling the notion that the continent could become the next frontier in the development of the crypto world.

High inflation figures and rampant exploitation by big companies are some of the factors that will actually help the development of blockchain technology in the continent to bring social justice, transparency and better utilization of resources.

According to gobitcoin.io, the main countries where the blockchain revolution is happening include Ghana, Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Many of these countries have high inflation rates, thus encouraging the use of cryptocurrencies.

DR Congo

Cobalt mining to be accountable, less controversial through blockchain: According to latest reports from DR Congo, blockchain startup Dorae is working to trace various raw materials produced in the country including cobalt, to hold miners accountable.

Cobalt mining is often seen as one of the most controversial businesses in a country dogged by controversies involving child labor and corruption. According to the Dorae initiative:

“Through adoption of the Dorae system, government and industry can combat issues such as child labor, regional conflict and environmental abuse, as well as increasing tax compliance and recalibrating the economics of supply chains to reward producers observing proper standards.”

Kenya

Blockchain tech to help verify Kenya’s land records: Kenya’s problematic and disputed land management process is a constant headache for the public but blockchain-based startup LayBy is working on using the incorruptible nature of the blockchain to verify land transactions and help create a fraud-proof land registry.

According to the company’s official statement: “The platform, which shall be accessed using a special digital utility key called the Harambee token, will transform the way we buy and sell real estate by doing away with the hidden costs, unnecessary intermediaries, and reduce transaction time significantly. It will enhance data security and eliminate manual errors and duplication of verification processes.”

LayBy has offices in other parts of the world and is working to create transparent land records across the world.

South Africa

70% of crypto investors under age of 30: More than 70% of cryptocurrency investors in South Africa are below the age of 30, according to latest findings by Paxful, an African cryptocurrency marketplace.

With over SAR 500 million worth of monthly transactions happening in the cryptocurrency exchange on Paxful alone, the future of cryptocurrencies in bright in the country but the demographics point to a more younger investor audience, of which 65% are male.

The main driving force behind the South Africans’ entry into cryptocurrency investment includes low fees, secure and speedy transactions, relative stability and international acceptance of the currency.

Women crypto owners rising: Women cryptocurrency owners are increasing in numbers, according to recent findings by AltcoinTrader, a leading crypto exchange operating in the country.

While there is still a huge disparity in the investor statistics as men dominate the field, women are catching up, the survey concludes. The age group that is the most interested in investing in the cryptocurrency is between 18-40 years. Women are becoming more involved in cryptocurrencies because of a safer and more secure investment opportunity for them.

Nigeria

Small businesses to leverage Bitcoin and blockchain: Bitcoin is gaining popularity in the biggest African economy, such that many small and medium enterprises are looking to get into the space, according to latest reports from Nigeria.

While only one in ten small-scale proprietors currently say that they use cryptocurrency payments, the demand is increasing as cryptocurrencies remove geographical, cultural and ethnic borders.

Zimbabwe

Central bank to appeal overturning of crypto ban: In response to the country’s top court overturning a sweeping crypto ban, the central bank is re-engaging in the regulatory tussle.

The bank is arguing that banning currencies and exchanges from operating falls under its jurisdiction and, therefore, the ban was lawful and should be upheld. The tussle between the bank and the cryptocurrency exchanges will determine the future legal outlook for cryptocurrencies in the African nation.

Middle East

Israel

Israeli firm seeking permission to pay employees in Bitcoin: An Israeli firm Spot.IM is asking to pay its employees in Bitcoin, according to Israeli paper Calcalist.

While there is increased regulatory confusion and uncertainty regarding the future of cryptocurrencies in the country, the company is aiming to break the cryptocurrency ice in the country by engaging more and more people in the cryptocurrency debate.

 

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 1st to 7th June 2018

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

Africa

African Union

Africa has potential to become next frontier in crypto: According to a report by Economist Nigeria, Africa is in line to become the next cryptocurrency hub in the world. Economists believe that the technology has the ability to cause disruption in fintech circles because it is not bound by geography and records transactions in real time.

African countries with especially high inflation rates are among the places where cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular as they have the ability to combat the crushing inflation despite being volatile themselves.

According to Tech journalist Mukesh Sharma, “Africa is rarely mentioned among the largest markets for cryptocurrency, but it may be set to steal a march over other markets.”

Mobile phone users that will increase to around 725 million subscribers by 2020 will present more and opportunities for cryptocurrencies to succeed. African governments themselves are in favor of blockchain technology as it will attract vital foreign investment and innovative development in the region. More than 15 cryptocurrency startups have taken root in the continent since the year’s start too. Mining, trading and ICOs are becoming more and more popular as well.

Zimbabwe

High Court reverses crypto ban: In a surprise move, the central bank of Zimbabwe lost its case against banning cryptocurrency exchange trading as the local high court ruled in favor of exchange Golix that filed the application, according to latest reports.

What’s surprising is that the Central Bank’s legal team failed to show up in court and thus the court had no choice but to award the case to Golix. The move was welcomed in Zimbabwe as many people there are now investing in cryptocurrencies to elude the hyperinflation that is rampant in the country. The Reserve Bank is already one of the least popular government institutions in the country.

No one from the central bank was available for comment.

Egypt

Egyptian Grand Mufti against Bitcoin: According to latest reports from Egypt, the Grand Mufti has declared that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are against the principles of Islamic currency. The move comes after the mufti traded barbs with the imam of a local UK mosque that started accepting cryptocurrency donations.

The issue of Bitcoin is not yet resolved by the Muslim clergy but now more and more people are open to the idea of cryptocurrencies and their usefulness.

South Africa

Central Bank developing blockchain-based internal tokens payment: The South African Central Bank (SARB) is working on a proof-of-concept based interbank payment system that uses an Ethereum-based fiat token, according to latest reports from Cointelegraph.

The project Khokha as it is called has been entailed in the latest report by SARB. It says:

“The aim is to build a proof-of-concept (PoC) wholesale payment system for interbank settlement using a South African Rand token on distributed ledger technology (DLT), while also investigating interconnected issues such as the platform’s scalability, resilience, confidentiality, and finality.”

Blockchain startup ConsenSys has joined in with seven partnering banks to form a trial team for the new blockchain payment system. PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc (PwC) has also joined in as a support partner.

Crypto miners may be targeting South African computers: South African computer users could be the latest victims of crypto jacking according to latest reports of African newspaper The New Age that used visiting computers’ computing power to mine cryptocurrencies.

A shady code was unveiled by a tech-savvy visitor to the website who noticed that his system slowed down a lot upon visiting the website. Upon investigation, it was found that a crypto mining script had been inserted into the website’s code to mine Monero, a popular cryptocurrency focused on privacy.

The newspaper has denied adding the code and could face investigation.

Uganda

President promotes blockchain technology: President of Uganda Yoweria Kugata Museveni has made encouraging statements regarding the future development of blockchain technology. He made the remarks at the first Africa Blockchain Conference held in Kampala, Uganda this week.

President Museveni welcomed the technology to increase transparency in the monetary system of Africa and the world. He spoke at length about how businesses had become used to “secrets and deceit” and that blockchain provided a solution. He said he strongly believed that blockchain technology could streamline the goods and services across his country but also cautioned against complete breakdown of current infrastructure.

The Middle East

Israel

8 Israelis arrested in Philippines for crypto scam: Eight Israelis and 480 local Filipino residents have been arrested in a possible Bitcoin scam in the Philippines, according to latest reports from the Pacific nation. The group was reportedly involved in fraudulent activities amounting to millions of dollars.

The local police undertook these raids following tip-offs by people within the crypto community. According to the police, the Israelis were involved in supervision of the scam and they had defrauded citizens of New Zealand, Russia, Australia and South Africa who thought they were investing in cryptocurrencies.

Public outraged by crypto regulation crisis: A regulatory impasse is creating problems in Israel according to latest reports coming from the Middle Eastern country. The country is facing protests from the crypto community that claim they have been promised legislation.

Due to the said delay in regulating the space, the individuals and businesses operating in the country will continue to face massive issues in cashing out cryptocurrency deposits from local banks. The government cited money laundering fears as the reason behind the delay in the key legislation and has so far failed to make a breakthrough.

 

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 11th to 17th May 2018

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

South Africa

47% of South Africans plan to invest in crypto: South Africa is seen as one of the most progressive countries in the continent when it comes to cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin, and a recent survey confirms that more than 47% of South Africans aim to invest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at some point in the future.

MyBroadband 2018 Cryptocurrency Survey was completed back in April and shows that more and more South Africans got into cryptocurrency trading. Many invested by purchasing them directly or through mining rigs set up around the country.

According to the survey:

“Of the survey respondents who do not own or who have never owned cryptocurrency, almost 50% said they plan to invest in an aspect of cryptocurrency or crypto mining in 2018.”

First Bitcoin ATM opens: The first Bitcoin ATM in South Africa was recently opened this week in North Spar, Johannesburg. The machine was imported from Portugal and is capable of processing different kinds of cryptocurrencies including major tokens like Ethereum and Bitcoin.

According to the GM of Northwood Spar George Neophytou: “Lots of people in South Africa are also in the cryptocurrency space and lots of South Africans are watching it. However, not all individuals have access to it.”

The Bitcoin ATM will help bringing in cryptocurrency outreach and help people who do not have a bank account according to company sources.

Kenya

Special unit proposed for handling ICOs and crypto: The Kenyan Capital Markets Authority (CMA) based in the capital Nairobi has tasked the regulators to create a special unit for monitoring of cryptocurrency related issues in the country. The unit will include experts from Central Bank of Canada and CMA itself, according to Standard Digital.

CMA chief Paul Muthaura said:

“There is need for regulators to devise a common approach towards handling issues revolving around cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). A joint workgroup by financial sector regulators could be put in place to tackle issues around cryptocurrencies and ICOs.”

ICOs are already banned but like many other governments, Kenya is interested in blockchain technology and wants to”embrace it cautiously”.

Nigeria

Blockchain technology’s high potential in Nigeria: Nigeria is the biggest African economy and one of the most diverse countries and that is proving to be a fertile ground for the propagation of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in the resource-rich country.

Numerous blockchain companies including Bitpesa and Bitland are becoming household names in the cryptocurrency scene with useful applications in sectors like healthcare and education. Blockchain conferences are a common sight and Nigeria had the largest one up to date in Africa.

According to Nigerian innovators like Alex Alieja, the CEO of Cryptoneurng:

“I believe that blockchain can flip the charts in terms of infrastructural development for Nigeria and the African economy, if the government should embrace the blockchain technology the potential are enormous and bring numerous benefits.”

Zimbabwe

Government bans cryptocurrency trading: Zimbabwe is in the midst of an economic turmoil with triple digit inflation ruining the country. The hardships are forcing the government to take extreme stances on the things they believe are creating problems for the government. According to local sources, the Zimbabwean government has issued instructions to stop all partnerships, relationships, associations and trading with cryptocurrencies with immediate effect.

The institutions, however, have been given a deadline of 60 days to cut off ties with cryptocurrencies and liquidate the accounts and their balances. The registrar of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Norman Mataruka said:

“As monetary authorities, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is the custodian of public trust and has an obligation to safeguard the integrity of payment systems… Any person who buys, sells, or otherwise transacts in cryptocurrencies, whether online, or otherwise, does so at their own risk and will have no recourse to the Reserve Bank or to any regulatory authority in the country.”

Mataruka also singled out cryptocurrency exchanges and warned people against using them because of their unregulated nature. Bitcoin is already being traded at a higher rate due to the rampant inflation in the country. The latest move is likely to drive the price even higher.

Israel

Israeli watchdog tells PM he cannot buy cryptocurrencies: State Financial watchdog Yosef Shapira has issued a guideline which categorically asks the Israeli PM and his cabinet to not buy cryptocurrencies because of their de-regulated nature. It also “raises the concerns regarding the integrity of government officials so the PM, ministers and the deputy ministers should avoid using it”, according to the statement by the regulator.

Israeli banks have largely been reluctant in handling cryptocurrency profits in the country.

UAE

Dubai becoming leader of blockchain development in Middle East: Dubai is swiftly growing in stature and exposure to become the blockchain hub in the region. The Dubai-based cryptocurrency Zilliqa became only the 28th cryptocurrency to have more than USD 1 billion valuation at one point and its rise is likely to continue in the near future.

Blockchain-based marketplaces, real estate portals and other platforms are being pursued in the country in addition to trading. The so-called Tourism Vision 2020 of Dubai will see it secure more than 20 million visitors and new businesses coming in. Blockchain Development showcases Dubai’s desire to harness the technology to facilitate its rapid development.

 

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 27th April to 3rd May 2018

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

South Africa

Tax imposed on Bitcoin and other crypto: In a recent move, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has announced that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will be subject to tax in the country.

While the move wasn’t seen as a positive one in cryptocurrency circles, some experts believed that it may not ultimately be a bad thing in the long term. According to Christine Rodrigues, a partner at Hogan Lovells, jurisdictions do not necessarily mean a slow-down in the cryptocurrency space.

He said, “The United Kingdom, as an example, has set up several cryptocurrency organisations to bring more legitimacy to the industry… Legitimate regulation on cryptocurrency may increase confidence on existing users and possibly induce an investor appetite for potential users and thereby cause a rise in demand and, as mentioned above, the more demand for and confidence in the commodity, the more value it will earn.”

The move follows weeks of consideration by the South African government to allow crypto communities to self-regulate but instead, the tax was imposed and the recommendations from the cryptocurrency startups wasn’t followed. But, while monetary taxes have been promulgated, the overall regulation of the cryptocurrencies may still be handled indigenously.

Luno helping South Africans pay Bitcoin tax: Capitalizing on the promulgation of the so-called Bitcoin Tax, blockchain startup Luno is now offering citizens to make fair returns on their investments in a transparent manner. Calculating taxes on cryptocurrency profits can be as complicated as that of the stock market because losses and profits are fluid and may even balance each other out at the end of one day.

The gains tax imposed by the South African government will apply to traders’ cryptocurrency earnings and Luno will help traders download their transaction history in CSV format, thus making the process smoother.

Nigeria

House of Representatives intends to regulate crypto and blockchain apps: Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is gearing up for cryptocurrency regulation with the the lower house of parliament tasking the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to come up with a regulatory framework for the adoption of cryptocurrencies in the country.

The move came after the assembly adopted a bill called ‘Need to regulate Blockchain applications and Internet Technology’ authored by MP Solomon Adaelu.

Nigeria’s attitude towards regulating cryptocurrency exchanges is not clear at the moment.

Kenya

Authorities establish agency for monitoring crypto activities: Kenyan authorities have announced the establishment of an agency to monitor the cryptocurrency space in the country. While the Bitcoin and altcoin economy is seen as a big investment circle in the country, the Capital Markets Authority of the government is determined to bring these markets under its control.

The move follows similar decisions around the world including the establishment of a special task force in the UK for this exact purpose. It said in a statement this week:

“There is a need for regulators to devise a common approach towards handling issues revolving around cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs). A joint workgroup by financial sector regulators could be put in place to tackle issues around cryptocurrencies and ICOs.”

Egypt

National bank joins 200 financial institutions’ R3 blockchain alliance: In a bid to promote the cryptocurrency scene in the country, the National Bank of Egypt has announced that it has recently joined the R3 Blockchain consortium with over 200 financial institutions around the world as its members.

The benefits of entering this collaboration include access to commercial applications of blockchain technology and using Corda, a custom Blockchain developed by the R3 initiative. According to Hisham Okasha, the NBE chairperson, it allows the bank to “better assess the value this technology can bring to the banking industry and the impact it can have on faster and more cost-effective services to our customers for future implementation.”

United Arab Emirates

Global crypto exchange for celebrities launched in Dubai: In a recent partnership aimed at expanding celebrity token footprint in the world, Global Crypto Offering Exchange (GCOX) has signed an MOU with Bin Zayed International in Dubai, UAE.

The celebrity exchange allows influencers to create, list and trade their own personal crypto tokens on a new blockchain called Acclaim.

The post Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 27th April to 3rd May 2018 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.