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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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The post Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 11th to 17th May 2018 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

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.