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Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Makes a Difference in Africa

Humanitarian Blockchain

a BitcoinNews.com series

   Part 4: Cryptocurrency and Blockchain in Africa Is Making a Difference

Both cryptocurrency and blockchain have a part to play in empowering African leaders to inject growth and financial inclusivity into their economies. Individual and local empowerment by taking responsibility for water, electricity, banking, IT, communications, education, local elections, and research are all achievable, as shown by a growth in crypto and blockchain projects in these sectors around the huge continent of Africa. Bitcoin News explores how some projects are making a difference.

Globalization has arguably transpired at the cost of the African nations, which primarily exports raw materials rather than manufactured goods that hold the larger profit margin. Cryptocurrency is an opportunity for the citizens of Africa to enter the global marketplace, investing in entrepreneurial ventures on a scale previously inaccessible.

The application of blockchain-based solutions to small local run enterprises may be a way of breaking the chains of corruption, exploitation by multinational industries and corrupt national governments for many Africans. The reason for using blockchain is that it is secure and transparent in nature. No individual or single entity can alter entries on the distributed ledger.

Connectivity

Connectivity is essential across Africa if it is to address the disparity of those that have and those that don’t and attract business from overseas. A new report by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has outlined that Africa will need to invest more on internet connectivity in order to maintain the continent’s current pace of cryptocurrency adoption.

Using the Sun

Solar power needs to be utilized more readily across some of the poorer and more remote parts of the continent. A project by Sun exchange is addressing this problem. AfricaPowerhive will be the beneficiary of funds generated from the sale of Sun Exchange’s SUNEX rewards tokens by public sale. The money will then be spent on developing solar-powered mini-grid projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The project will allow for the used solar panels to be sold off later to Sun Exchange members who will, in turn, own the cells used in the projects and subsequently profit from a sustained period of “solar-powered money”. Sun Exchange founder and CEO Abraham Cambridge said in a press release that:

“Together, we are working towards a world where no one is forced to cook with unsafe kerosene or wood-burning stoves, no child has to worry about how they will study after dark, and lack of energy access ceases to propel cycles of poverty.”

Building Schools

Education is an area being tackled using crypto in Rwanda where an NGO and a cryptocurrency platform are planning to construct a school by using only cryptocurrency funding.

The non-profit organization, Zam Zam Water, in a cooperative project with Peer-to-Peer finance platform provider Paxful is aiming to raise $100,000 for an education center. The project will be implemented in Rwanda’s Bugesera District, complete with full-time teaching staff.

The raising of estimated building costs of around $100,000 has been started for the new project with a donation of $20,000 from Paxful. The remaining funds will be raised through online crowdfunding. Cryptocurrency donations via Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dash will be matched by the crypto platform’s BuiltWithBitcoin initiative until the necessary funds have been raised.

Banking

Out of the 20 countries with the highest fiat inflation according to the CIA World Factbook, 13 of them are in Africa. South Sudan has the worst inflation rate in Africa, over 100% per year, with Congo, Libya, Angola, Sudan, and Suriname having yearly fiat inflation in excess of 20%. Burundi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Egypt, Malawi, Liberia, and Ghana, have yearly fiat inflation rates in excess of 10%.

Additionally, a large fraction of Africans doesn’t have banks or access to the financial system. For example, in Sub-Saharan Africa, only 43% of those 15 or older have bank accounts, versus 69% in the rest of the world. Cryptocurrency can provide the financial infrastructure that Africans desperately need but don’t have access to.

Lady Victoria Walker, CEO of the United Digital Currency Reserve Foundation and UK based fintech entrepreneur feels that new technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrency are essential factors in empowering African leaders to inject growth and financial inclusivity into their economies. She argues:

“Bitcoin is a reality. We have all major world governments scrambling to make sense of it and world leaders sharing their views on the currency. For the past 700 years, our world has relied on the European legacy banking system for means of payments and transactions. Bitcoin is definitely challenging the traditional way when it comes to the transfer of value. Just like the internet changed how we shop, bank, date and find information.”

Solutions are there, such as Africa-focused cryptocurrency exchange called Coindirect. Co-founder Stephen Young says that Africa has unique problems and these must be considered in any startup plan for cryptocurrency adoption on the continent. He feels that current exchanges don’t take these into consideration. In terms of African fiat currencies, Young identifies their systemic volatility, insecurity and lack of governance as factors that the crypto space need to take on board: He argues:

“If Africans are to benefit from the cryptocurrency revolution we need make it easier to buy, store and trade cryptocurrencies. As Africans, it is our responsibility to help build the infrastructure and we need to be a part of the revolution.”

Although cryptocurrency isn’t a solution to all of Africa’s economic instabilities, it is a marketplace full of innovations that have the potential to diversify and better the economy of the continent.

Skeptics have argued that it has been lenders who have historically benefited from microloans, due to non-restrictive or in some instances a complete lack of barriers, which often translate to high-interest rates. The application of blockchain-based solutions to these loans is increasingly being cited by business as a way of addressing other microloan issues such as large overheads, slow delivery, and corruption. The reason for using blockchain is that it is secure and transparent in nature. No individual or single entity can alter entries on the distributed ledger.

An IBM pilot project, developed at the IBM Lab in Nairobi, uses Hyperledger Fabric, a blockchain framework implementation that acts as a bedrock for developing applications and solutions. The project simply requires African users to own a mobile and need capital to grow their business. The IBM blockchain program aims to fill the finance gap so small ventures can flourish on the African continent.

Andrew Kinai, the lead researcher at IBM research, suggested that the aim of the program was to offer the opportunity for small businesses to participate in an interdependent ecosystem based on SMS. Users, some with limited IT literacy would be better positioned to access financing for their orders.

Bribery

In Kenya, misappropriation of funds and fraud at a local level has been a huge problem, with the police, local leaders and utilities all taking bribes. Blockchain is now the last attempt at addressing some of these local issues after years of mismanagement when it was realized that other methods were prone to illegal intervention. A new local building product will be its first use-case. The National Housing Fund under the Finance Act of 2018, to which Kenyans contribute 1.5 percent of their salary, will be responsible for the new blockchain-backed building project, with further financial support from employers.

Also in June, decentralized liquidity network Bancor, in partnership with the non-profit foundation, Grassroots Economics, launched a network of blockchain-based community currencies in Kenya aimed at combating poverty. The project seeks to stimulate local and regional commerce and peer-to-peer activity by enabling Kenyan communities to create and manage their own digital tokens.

Future

There are many reasons why Africans are beginning to turn to cryptocurrencies rather than traditional currencies. Many nationals fall foul of inflation and hyperinflation, resulting in weak and unstable financial systems. Recently, countries such as Zimbabwe, South Sudan, and oil-rich Nigeria have all suffered, many of these countries with inflation rates well into the hundreds of percentages. In these situations, it is hardly surprising that populations look to a more stable form of monetary solutions in their daily lives.

Africa has huge challenges ahead, but with the help of blockchain technology, businesses can be transformed using more efficient ways of working. Blockchain can move Africa forward, simplifying existing systems and processes to lower costs. Blockchain can help reduce fraud, enable fast transactions,  secure supply chains while maintaining transparency. It also removes human error and inefficiencies from a continent which is still developing.

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Brian Kelly: Crypto Set for Institutional Investment Bull Run in 2019

CNBC’s Brian Kelly sees the arrival of industry names setting up crypto subsidiaries, as “fantastic news” which should encourage institutional investments to take off in the new year.

He was specifically referring to news this week that Boston based Fidelity Investments, the fourth largest asset manager with $7.2 trillion in assets under administration, was moving into crypto, offering custody and trading solutions to its clients.

The creation of the company subsidiary Fidelity Digital Asset Services (FDAS), is in Kelly’s view another positive in terms of attracting institutional crypto investment, a factor that, as he has argued for a long time, could start another crypto bull run similar to that of 2017, a view also held by Galaxy Digital’s Mike Novogratz.

The news that major US universities are all raising their cryptocurrency profiles has Kelly proposing that mainstream brokers could easily be brought into the fray in the new year, once the word is out that cryptocurrency is becoming an institutional drawcard. On CNBC he stated:

“Soon. I think very soon. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a lot of those companies have something working in the background by Q1 of 2019. I mean if you’re looking at this, there are a couple things you need to think of. Fidelity is in this space. Also, remember that startups like Robinhood launched a crypto app and got a million users in four days. So if you are at Schwab or you’re at E*Trade, then you may start to look at that and say, “Where are the customers?” And they’re in crypto, so you gotta offer that product.”

Kelly and Novogratz are not the only ones in the market that feel that “institutional FOMO,” should be the catalyst behind the cryptocurrency market’s next bull run, hence all eyes on the SEC and their net move; the addition of yet another major player to the growing cryptocurrency institutional family network is in their eyes no bad thing.

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Demand for DLT Expertise Skyrockets by 300% in the US

In the US, Glassdoor’s job search website has reported four times more offers on blockchain and cryptocurrency positions in August 2018 than that of the previous year.

The significant rise in job vacancies in the US blockchain and crypto market is buoyed by those positions requiring software developers, which now represent every fifth vacancy. In August 2017, 446 jobs posted were related to keywords “blockchain” and “Bitcoin.” This number rose to 1,755 in August this year, despite the downward trend in crypto markets since the end of 2017.

The greatest demand was seen to be in New York and San Francisco which accounted for 24% and 21% of all positions. Most of the positions, almost 80%, were divided amongst America’s 15 major cities.

Apart from software and technology developers, analysts and market researchers, risk managers and marketing managers represented the majority of positions advertised. Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin’s ConsenSys and IBM were shown to be the most active employers according to the survey amongst the 200 crypto industry positions, with Coinbase and Kraken looking for blockchain specialists.

In order to promote education in fintech, to boost the sector even further and meet employers demands, universities have increasingly joined the blockchain revolution offering courses in both cryptocurrency and blockchain. A recent analysis of curriculum in the best universities by Coinbase this year shows that 22 have a cryptocurrency or blockchain program and 11 of these have more than two relevant courses, with US universities currently leading the charge.

Outside of the US, the National University of Singapore and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich have two or more courses, and universities in the UK, Denmark, Switzerland, Australia, and Singapore have their own crypto programmes.

Campbell Harvey, a Professor of International Business at Duke University said that he has seen law students particularly benefit from taking blockchain classes. “Law students that are trained in blockchain, they don’t need to apply anywhere. People are just asking them to join their firms.”

Most of the surveyed students engaged in human sciences say they would prefer blockchain to informatics. It remains to be seen if the demand from blockchain and crypto expertise in the workplace will be met by universities’ output of new young crypto professionals.

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SEC FinHub Now Monitors Blockchain Innovation and Offers Advice

The new SEC FinHub is suggesting that investors can now use a new form on their site to request meetings and other information regarding advice regarding compliance with current regulations.

FinHub is the go-to site for US Securities and Exchange Commission ICO Advisory Board inquiries regarding fintech. According to the SEC, the form will enable new companies and startups to gain access to all the necessary information required to tailor their activities to legal guidelines. The new form states, “We welcome requests for meetings and other assistance relating to FinTech issues arising under the federal securities laws.”

The SEC’s FinHub is overseen by the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance’s Senior Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation Associate Director, Valerie A. Szczepanik. It was designed to provide an online forum for crypto and DLT and is staffed with crypto and blockchain savvy SEC professionals. In a statement recently put out by the Finhub, the SEC claimed that:

“SEC staff across the agency have been engaged for some time in efforts to understand emerging technologies, communicate the agency’s stance on new issues, and facilitate beneficial innovations in the securities industry…”

The SEC has suggested that by launching FinHub they offered a “clear path” to investors, entrepreneurs and developers to encouraging them to engage with the regulatory body and “test ideas,” and seek advice, adding:

“The FinHub provides a central point of focus for our efforts to monitor and engage on innovations in the securities markets that hold promise, but which also require a flexible, prompt regulatory response to executing our mission.”

In another recent “educational” move, one that irritated many industry players, the SEC launched a fake website called Howeycoins which replicated an ICO, with a “buy now” link redirecting investors to an educational programme outlining in some details, the pitfalls of crypto investment. Information provided on the website looked much like that supplied during a genuine ICO, complete with white paper, statements such as “We anticipate OVER 1% daily returns, with DOUBLE 2% returns on Tier 1 investors in pre-ICO stage secured purchases.”

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton justified that particular “educative exercise” as one designed to support the uninitiated crypto investor, stating:

“We embrace new technologies, but we also want investors to see what fraud looks like, so we built this educational site with many of the classic warning signs of fraud… I encourage investors to do their diligence and ask questions,”

Visitors to the SEC FinHub’s latest form are only allowed one request, which should be regarding information related to financial technology, including ICOs and cryptocurrencies. They are also able to request a face to face meeting with a top SEC researcher to gain advice.

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Blockchain Has 3-5 Years to Maturity, Russian Bank Executive

The CEO of Russia’s largest banking conglomerate, Sberbank has questioned whether governments will embrace new decentralized models while giving blockchain around 3-5 years before it is mature enough to be ready for mass adoption.

Despite Herman Gref saying that the nascent blockchain technology is not developed enough for proper use yet, he has faith in the ability of the underlying ideology of the technology to usher in much-needed changes in both commerce and communities.

Local news outlet RIA Novosti quotes Gref, ”the philosophy embodied in [blockchain] could drastically change approaches in many areas. Improving this technology could bring huge value both to business and society.”

He gave blockchain between 3 and 5 years to reach a level of maturity where it will be ”ready” for industry implementation.

His comments correlate with a recent poll of executives who claim that implementing blockchain in enterprises has been ”harder than expected.” They cited scalability as a significant part of the challenge, with close to half of poll respondents struggling to process high volumes of transactions on the blockchain network quickly.

Decentralized currency

Gref said that as he sees it, governments on a global scale do not look likely to accept any decentralized model of currency, such as cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. However, he believes that in around 10 years opinions might change in favor of a decentralized money supply, although even this he says in an ”optimistic” time frame.

The CEO called on governments to find a middle ground in regulating cryptocurrencies in a manner that could prevent illicit activities, but also not stifle innovation or kill cryptocurrencies altogether. Any ban on crypto usage could also damage the blockchain industry, he said.

Russia-based Sberbank as an institution has taken a positive stance in both blockchain and cryptocurrencies. In June, Sberbank took the central bank’s ”regulatory sandbox” as an opportunity to begin testing options for investors looking for opportunities in cryptocurrency.

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Low Pass Rate in Malta’s Crypto Exam Hinders Government’s Blockchain Aspirations

Malta’s Financial Services Authority’s (MFSA) cryptocurrency exam for financial practitioners has returned some unexpected results with a disappointing 39% pass rate.

The questions set by the MFSA were in accordance with Malta’s latest legislation, the Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA), which requires financial practitioners wishing to move into cryptocurrency to gain agent certification through a pass in the new exam.

Clearly, the government hadn’t expected such poor results, particularly given late changes to questions to make them more manageable for examinees. This now means that 61% are unable to make the move from careers such as accountancy, auditing, and law. The 250 candidates sat a multiple-choice paper which was simplified towards the end when examiners noticed that the responses were going to result in a poor pass rate, but despite this, only 39% managed to get through the paper successfully with a pass-grade.

The new legislation is part of Malta’s drive to becoming Europe’s hub for cryptocurrency and blockchain. The exam was intended as a first move towards ensuring companies offering ICOs or portfolio management services in the future would have someone on staff who had a high degree of crypto competence with certified credentials.

Malta’s Digital Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri would be dismayed by the outcome of this first set of accreditation examinees, particularly given the sentiments of a recent speech at this year’s Delta Summit 2018 Blockchain Conference:

“Malta will be the epicenter of the Blockchain industry. I invite stakeholders, operators within this space, investors, entrepreneurs, and innovators to be part of yet another exciting chapter for Malta and be part of the Blockchain Island.”

Having adequate skilled personnel will be an integral part of the country’s drive to raise its fintech profile. Schembri will hope that the recent EUR 300,000 blockchain scholarship partnership forged between the University of Malta and the Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA) will be a more successful training programme for young aspirants transitioning from ICT, law, finance, and engineering.

Split over three years and starting this academic year, students can apply for the scholarship and start blockchain and DLT-related Masters and Ph.D. research dissertations. Of the courses, Schembri, said, “These companies need technical resources both to build and to operate by use of this technology, as well as experts in financial services, law, and managerial roles.”

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Catalonia Independence-Fund Donations Now Exceed 80,000 Bitcoin

The support fund started after exiled Catalonia leader Carles Puigdemnot’s plea for financial support this year is reportedly gaining some ground.

According to Spanish news outlet El Confidencial, officials have now reportedly collected 80,000 BTC in support of exiled politicians. Current claims suggest donations of 81,000 BTC, although the exact number is difficult to confirm.

Catalan politicians who incited a break away from Spain last year and used public funds to organize an independence referendum which the Spanish courts had declared unconstitutional are either now in exile or in prison. The fund was organized by Carles Puigdemont who is currently living in exile in Belgium. Once the former Mayor of Girona, Puigdemont served as the President of the Government of Catalonia from January 2016 to October 2017.

The donated funds are to go towards legal support for those politicians who fled after the Spanish government decided to act against the renegade Catalonians last October.  Funds will also be used towards the security of some of the exiled politicians and activists involved in last year’s push for Catalonian independence.

The fundraising website was registered in the Caribbean state of Saint Kitts and Nevis by the co-founder of torrent tracker Piratebay, Peter Sunde. The Bitcoin wallet address for fund donations, posted on Reddit, shows transfers of more than 81,300 BTC, but as of October 19, the balance was 51.176 BTC. However, El Confidencial noted how “no report on the management of the funds has been presented” in over six months. It also said there has been no word about who is on the independent council.

Meanwhile, Spain has hit a wall in terms of its own crypto/blockchain aspirations following the ousting of Prime Minister Rajoy back in June and replacement by Socialist chief Pedro Sanchez as a result of a no-confidence vote following corruption charges aimed at the ex PM’s center-right People’s Party.

The Sanchez-led no-confidence vote may delay the current pro-crypto legislation, which had been scheduled to go to a vote by 7 July after public consultation on 7 June. New elections could delay legislation for more than six months.

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Gates Foundation Promotes Financial Inclusion With New Ripple Partnership

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a partnership with Ripple and Coil in an attempt to further financial inclusion amongst societies’ “poorest”

The Foundation’s partnership will help to further develop Mojaloop, an open source network for creating payment platforms, previously released a year ago in October 2017. The Gates Foundation’s “Financial Services for the Poor” programme prioritizes “aims to expand the availability of affordable and reliable financial services that serve the needs of all, including the poorest.” A foundation statement clarifies its aims as:

“…helping to drive the development of digital payment systems that can help spread use of digital financial services quickly, advancing gender equality to ensure women share in the benefits of financial inclusion and supporting the development of national and regional strategies that accelerate progress for the poor and provide exemplary models.”

We are partnering w/ @ripple and @coil to implement the #Interledger Protocol & explore ways #Mojaloop can support pro-poor payment systems. #githubuniverse

— Miller Abel (@MillerAbel_) October 17, 2018

Mojaloop was built in collaboration with Ripple and four other FinTech partners, Dwolla, Software Group, ModusBox, and Crosslake Technologies, and is designed to support different kinds of providers to link up their services and offer low-cost financial services in new markets.

Coil came on board very quickly giving their support to the foundation’s latest project.

Proud to confirm that we are working on https://t.co/tbV0COdx3T with the @gatesfoundation – Technologies like @Interledger and #micropayments aren’t just for media. They also increase #financialaccess and we want to do our part. https://t.co/LUjJo57OgY

— Coil (@Coil) October 18, 2018

According to the foundation, such “pro-poor payment systems” need clear attributes as they need to be able to reach the poorest neighbourhoods and be easily understood. Also, users’ money needs to be safe from cybercrime and readily available. Another important factor is that delivery needs to be free and there must be evident advantages over using cash. Mojaloops documentation regarding the Ripple invented Interledger Protocol (ILP) states that it is:

“…a suite of protocol definitions and reference implementations that define a standard way to connect any number of disparate payment systems together into one interconnected network”

In simple terms, such a system can lower costs of financial services and open up payment infrastructures to companies outside of traditional banking, hence advancing the inclusion of those who are on the fringes of banking due to financial insecurity.

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Bermuda Launches First ICO as Premier Leads From the Front

Bermuda is increasing its cryptocurrency profile, having approved certification for the island’s first Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

Minister of National Security Wayne Gaines announced that fintech company Uulala was to be the island’s first, under the government’s new legislation designed to regulate cryptocurrency and blockchain ventures.

The new legislation put into effect by the Premier and Minister of Finance of Bermuda David Burt now requires companies issuing ICOs to register details regarding all participants, the project itself, target audience and proposed funds targeted for ensuring its success, along with further technical details.

Also, recent changes to the Banking Act will create a new class of banks that will work specifically to cater to blockchain and fintech companies, combating the current dismissive nature of the banks. The traditional financial sector in Bermuda has been unwilling to provide blockchain startups with banking services, referring to legal and regulatory barriers as justification for this, prompting Premier Burt to introduce these changes in support of economic growth.

Bermuda’s Minister of National Security, Wayne Caines believes that the industry needed well-rounded regulation before it could flourish. He maintained that the BMA had 20 companies in London waiting to do business, commenting that “it’s actually phenomenal”.

Caribbean governments and businesses are showing increasing interest in currencies like Bitcoin. In recent years, due to slow growth and high debt rates, major US banks have become more reticent about doing business in the region, frequently withdrawing capital from Caribbean markets. This has created a deficit of banking services inciting local banks to engage in illegal activities such as facilitating money laundering.

The sluggish economy and the tourist industry on which it mostly survives needs a boost, and Bitcoin is proposed by some as a way of energizing it. The Caribbean Tourism Organization plans to introduce cryptocurrency payments for tourist services and integrate Caribbean economies in the region through the use of virtual currencies.

“Tourism is the largest single contributor to the Caribbean economy. It is absolutely critical to every single Caribbean nation’s well-being and development. We see this as a very natural and necessary association,” said Rawdon Adams, CEO of blockchain payment startup Bitt.

The Bermuda Royal Gazette suggests that Uulala is targeting unbanked and underbanked Bermudans, and in doing so aims to provide far more financial inclusion in the banking sector. CEO Oscar Garcia has a $50 million target for its ICO, with $10 million already raised privately, although the firm had to wait four months for its operating licence. He commented:

“Bermuda is known as a financial hub and it is very forward thinking on blockchain and fintech… They have a reputation of being excellent regulatory stewards and we thought that would be a better fit for us than a jurisdiction where we could say we’re good, they’d believe us and give us approval in three weeks.”

In order to promote a blockchain friendly environment, the premier has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoUs) with blockchain and industry players on the island in a push for creating related employment.

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Hardware Wallet Sales Booming as Nano S Tops 1.3 Million Units

French crypto hardware manufacturer Ledger has now sold over 1.3 million units of its Nano S wallets, according to a recent blog on their website.

The peak sales come at a time when the demand for such devices is on an all-time high. The changing trend is quite evident by the sales numbers of Ledger Nano S as well as its rival Trezor’s recently launched Model T which has interested buyers in a long waitlist. Also, the Nano S is now available over the counter as a dutyfree item at Amsterdam’s Schiphol International Airport, such is its popularity, particularly amongst travellers.

Such wallets, promoted as being unhackable and therefore the safer way of storing coins and conducting transactions, gained some critics earlier this year when Bitfi, with a new wallet on the market, challenged anyone to hack the device.  15-year-old Saleem Rashid took on the task successfully, which resulted in BitFi withdrawing its guarantee.

CEO Eric Larchevêque claims that Ledger is planning updates to tighten the security of the hot-selling nano with “a chip designed specifically to resist highly skilled attackers and a custom OS designed specifically to protect crypto assets.”

Ledger has a clear run in the market with Trezor the only other major competitor in the sector to date. Trezor had reputed sales of 800,000 units some months ago, but this wasn’t confirmed by the company. There are others on the market, but as yet they have presented no challenge to the top two hard-wallet leaders.

Although advertised as a reliable storage option, these wallets have incurred problems in the past and Ledger has had its own issues, resulting in a temporary shut down of its Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC) infrastructures in August. The resulting outcome was that Ledger announced that there had been no hack, but a glitch that occurred due to a “side effect when [it] pushed an update to invite users to use the Ledger Live instead of the Chrome app.” A refund of any funds lost was offered to users.

The market is booming despite the occasional unit glitch, due to investors’ needs for a portable, safe way of storing their crypto with an easy recovery option, should units be lost or damaged; attributes which most of these units on the market provide.

Ledger also announced recently that it will be expanding its business into cryptocurrency custodianship, and is planning another major investment round that has already sparked interest from Google, Siemens, and Samsung, which may bring their valuation up to USD 1 billion.

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