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Dutch Province of Limburg Launches Community Crypto

Dutch Province of Limburg Launches Community Crypto

Dutch cryptocurrency platform Studio/Belfius has joined with payment platform LimbU in Limburg in the South of Holland to create its own cryptocurrency for promoting community spirit.

The initiators of the project suggest that the aim is to encourage sustainability, community support, promotion of local produce, and the creation of supply chains throughout Limburg’s 10 provincial regions.

Limburg is the southernmost of 12 provinces of the Netherlands. It is in the southeastern part of the country, stretched out from the north, touching the province of Gelderland, to the south, where it internationally borders Belgium.

The new digital currency, the “Limbu” has no fiat support but is transferable to users’ wallets throughout the province after locals complete a range of civically responsible activities such as; garbage collection, doing small repairs, giving blood, collecting clothes for charity, undergoing first aid training or composting organic waste.

The aim is to also encourage companies, public authorities, and associations to contribute through the scheme towards building a “greener, more welcoming Limburg.” The project’s member Wim Van De Putte explains:

“It was not easy finding the right partner with the required experience and expertise. But from the very outset, Studio Innovation Lab impressed us with its ability to understand this complex issue and its willingness to meet the challenge. In fact, The Studio has its own scalable platform for creating a digital currency based on the blockchain.”

As the project, Uitmuntend Limburg, grows in numbers, it plans to hand over to Limburg.net. and widen the range and scope of activities around the province, especially as thousands of Limburgers across the 10 regions already have their wallets. Ronny Neckebroeck from The Studio commented:

“We are honored to be part of such a beautiful project. Developing the platform and payment app is a major step forward along the way towards making the LimbU project a professional and sustainable initiative. Working with Uitmuntend Limburg, we will make the LimbU a success – we are sure of it. And our experience in innovative digital solutions and blockchain makes us the ideal partner for handling the technological side of this great story.”

At the beginning of this year, The Studio also developed Pengo, an innovative service that enables individuals to send payment requests via instant messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp.

The Netherlands is a leader in advancing blockchain technology in Europe and often slips under the radar, but the Dutch government is no slouch when it comes to promoting the interests of companies adopting new technologies, especially when such projects benefit the entire community such as Uitmuntend Limburg. Holland is a country with a social conscience, and legislation over the years has illustrated the degree to which its population is a beneficiary of the desire shown by the government to support its society as a whole.

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Coinbase CEO: Virtual Reality and Crypto Next Big Combo

Coinbase CEO: Virtual Reality and Crypto Next Big Combo

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has said that cryptocurrency has the potential to turn Virtual Reality into a full-time job.

Armstrong suggests that virtual spaces could create their own currencies or even make use of existing ones such as Bitcoin or Ethereum by integrating the means for users to spend crypto in the same way as they are currently using fiat.

Developers would see more time spent on such games, according to the Coinbase boss, taking it much further into the realms of Sci-fi by suggesting that players could use the virtual world to support themselves in the real world, cashing in their accrued gaming funds for “real” use, such as paying rent. He speculates:

“Perhaps we’ll see virtual bank buildings with pillars, virtual bank vaults that spin when you open them, and virtual tellers with glasses.” The exchange magnate, clearly a follower of the gaming and VR world added, “Ready Player One had a great visual of coins being collected in the game, and spilling out of characters when they were killed (leaving a big pile of loot on the ground).”

Clearly, Armstrong has seen the potential of turning VR ownership into the real thing via some of his own exchange-listed cryptocurrencies. But in reality, there’s still a long way to go – crossing the bridge from virtual into reality.

Armstrong appears to be in touch with the man on the street, if not through gaming and VR, then certainly in terms of what reality actually means for many of the world’s “have-nots” these days. This was shown by his recent personal $1 million giveaway through his charity project called GiveCrypto.

The project is a global enterprise which will give out cryptocurrency donations to worthy recipients, who will then be able to make personal choices in whether to keep their donations as cryptocurrency or exchange them for fiat. GiveCrypto wants to raise USD 10 million by the end of 2018 and grow to a fund of USD 1 billion over two years. Donations will hopefully come from wealthy donors who have amassed wealth through cryptocurrency, passing on their good fortunes to those in need of financial help. Suggested cryptocurrencies for donations are Bitcoin, Ripple, and Zcash.

Ripple’s co-founder Chris Larsen has already put in an undisclosed donation into the Armstrong charity hat. This may not be all that Ripple will be putting into Coinbase’s coffers if recent news that Coinbase plans to list XRP on its exchange becomes reality…. that’s not a virtual one by the way!

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Bill Gates: Digital Currency Will Help the Poor

Bill Gates: Digital Currency Will Help the Poor

Microsoft’s Bill Gates is one known in the past for expressing admiration for cryptocurrencies and in a recent video, he has done just that claiming that digital technology has the means to empower the world’s poorest.

Although the Microsoft principal founder has cooled to Bitcoin in recent years, there was a time he would express more upbeat remarks. In 2014, he commented to Bloomberg that: “Bitcoin is better than currency in that you don’t have to be physically in the same place and, of course, for large transactions, currency can get pretty inconvenient.”

Recently, Gates has been talking about the extreme end of the financial equation, sharing thoughts on the financial system, digital currency, human resources and poverty. Referring to what the cryptocurrency sector is calling the world’s “unbanked”, he suggested that the world’s poor may not have financial tools to go about their lives but that their labor and intellect shouldn’t be underestimated. An inefficient cash economy risks dragging them further into poverty.

Gates maintains that the transformation of underlying economics behind the status quo through the digitalization of money and related financial systems has the potential to directly help those currently living in poverty. It can also help to develop essential areas such as health and agriculture as it is already doing in some parts of Africa through various schemes such as Sun Exchange through their SUNEX reward tokens. Sun Exchange founder and CEO Abraham Cambridge made it clear that these schemes are a crucial springboard for those living in poverty or without banking:

“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.”

Gates restated earlier claims that transactions can be made up to 90% cheaper through digitization making innovative financial products and services available. He commented on what he sees as the next essential step in this process:

“I see two priorities for the immediate future. First, we need to drive the policy changes to make sure the poor can get engaged at this level and second, we need a measurement system that tracks the progress towards drawing people in not just have accounts but to really benefit from financial activity.”

 

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Blockchain.com Says Stablecoins Largest Growing Blockchain Category Since DLT

Head of research at Blockchain.com and co-founder of Mosaic, Dr Garrick Hileman, said that stablecoins have become the fastest growing category in the blockchain ecosystem since the rise of interest in distributed ledger technology (DLT) in 2015.

This is partly based on funding levels; stablecoins have raised over USD 50 million in venture funding, making it one of the most well-funded categories in cryptoassets. ”I haven’t seen this level of activity in the blockchain ecosystem since the interest in DLT in 2015. This is the largest growing category I have seen since then,” said Hileman in his ‘The State of Stablecoins’ keynote speech at today’s Decentralized 2018 blockchain conference in Athens, Greece.

There are two types of stablecoins, as he outlined, asset-backed and algorithm-backed. Algorithm-backed stablecoins adjust the supply in line with demand. ”Imagine an algorithmic stablecoin that sees a spike in demand and goes up to USD 1.05 when it supposed to be at USD 1. New coins would be issued to bring the price down,” he explained.

But investors appear to be slightly favoring the more proven asset-backed variety which has raised USD 177 million, compared to its algorithmic counterpart that claimed USD 174 million. This can be interpreted as their perceptions of the likelihood of success, with Hileman suggesting there are still questions as to how successful the cutting-edge algorithm-backed coins will be.

Also of interest in the market is the leading cryptoasset investors that have been putting their money in stablecoins, such as Pantera and A16z. Notably, Hileman pointed out that they have in fact been investing in multiple stablecoins. While he says this could show uncertainty regarding the future state of play, it also indicates that perhaps investors expect there to be more than one winner out of stablecoins, ”not a winner take all situation”.

Crypto-asset backed stablecoins

Hileman noted that while 77% of stablecoins are of the asset-backed variety, over half of these use cryptocurrency as collateral.

”That’s pretty exciting because fiat-backed stablecoins such as Tether means that you have to bring a bank into the picture, whereas a crypto collateralized is more trust-minimized arguably… You can see the collateral in the smart contract,” he shared.

Hileman has a full report on the state of stablecoins available on Blockchain.com.

 

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Crypto Helping Homeless Through Winter on Scotland’s Streets

Scotland may not have gained its independence and its ministers continue to fight Brexit in the UK parliament amid cabinet resignations but with winter coming, at least Scotland’s homeless are getting a helping hand courtesy of cryptocurrency.

These are not good times politically for Scotland but spare a thought for those facing a bitter northern winter living on the streets of Glasgow. Cryptocurrency startup, the Scotcoin Project, clearly have, linking up with non-profit venture Social Bite to fight homelessness.

The project’s aim is to fund charity ventures and fight poverty in Scotland by generating enough funds to place the country’s homeless in rented accommodation and get them off the streets and on their feet in the cold weather. By donating GBP 5 to the homeless fund for every GBP 20 earned from its Scotcoin token sales, the project is coming just before winter starts to bite.

The winter program will be temporary as the project will looking for permanent accommodation through Scotlands’s “Housing First” program in the long term. Glasgow Housing First provides:

“… mainstream social housing and 24-hour support to individuals who are homeless, aged 18 or over and involved in drug misuse. The service places homeless individuals directly into independent tenancies in Glasgow with no requirement to progress through transitional housing programs. By sustaining a permanent tenancy in Glasgow, service users are in a better position to access community support, health care, and social benefits.”

Scotcoin almost became a victim of the country’s independence referendum on 18 September 2014, which resulted in a no-vote; a decision which is still having repercussions today, given that the country voted against Brexit by a majority in 2016 but are still bound to Westminster’s legislation.

Before the independence vote went the wrong the way for Scottish Nationalists, Scotcoin was being held up by its creators as a pro-independence cryptocurrency of Scotland, allowing the country to replace the pound if the country had voted “yes”.

Scotcoin’s leading stakeholder Temple Melville calls the project “an inspiring initiative” and indicated that the match between his company and Social Bite was a natural one as they were already operating in the same field: “One of our stated objectives is to help eradicate homelessness, and Social Bite is already well established within this area.”

Temple claims that he has received funding of a staggering USD 2 billion pledge from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos; if this figure is accurate, with the 4-1 bonus system this would make a huge impact on the homeless project to the tune of USD 50 million. Temple commented:

“We have several thousand holders of Scotcoin and have holders in more than 50 countries worldwide… On migration to our new [Counterparty] blockchain, present holders of Scotcoin will be rewarded for their support by receiving a 4-for-1 bonus, an effective increase in the value of up to 5 times.”

 

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Ohio Congressman Tells SEC Hands Off Crypto

Ohio Congressman and cryptocurrency advocate Warren Davidson is to go ahead with his plans to introduce a bill which will effectively eliminate the SEC’s jurisdiction over the industry.

The representative for Ohio is also pushing for sensible cryptocurrency and blockchain technology regulations. He recently invited 32 prominent representatives of the cryptocurrency industry to Washington in order to discuss future ICO legislation. Davidson sits on the United States House Committee on Financial Services, which is responsible for overseeing the entire financial services industry, including the securities, insurance, banking, and housing industries.

The Bill will need to penetrate President Trump’s home guard in the House of Representatives and as yet Davison hasn’t named his co-sponsors. If passed, the bill would effectively create a situation where securities law would not be relevant to ICO as cryptocurrencies would be classified as products rather than securities.

Davidson is hoping for a bipartisan approach to getting the bill through, although the new Democratic majority is thought to have little effect in limiting the SEC’s regulations as they apply to cryptocurrencies. The Examiner commented:

“…[unlikely that the] incoming Democratic majority will get joyfully on board with any form, of crypto deregulation strategy, though the Congressional Blockchain Caucus has historically featured a bipartisan membership.”

Craig Phillips, the senior adviser to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, stated publicly on Monday that the department would be releasing its latest position on cryptocurrencies in the near future.

It has been noted that despite Davidson’s push for change within the SEC to combat its punitive stance on cryptocurrencies, startups have taken their own approach to sidestep rules through VC funding or raising by raising funds privately. Over the next few months, the SEC has several pending cases against cryptocurrency exchanges and ICOs.

CNN claims that this regulatory uncertainty could result in a decline in investor confidence, a fact which  Congressman Davidson and his supporters in Washington are fully aware of.

 

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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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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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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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Blockchain for Fair Distribution of Housing, Kenya’s Promise in the Aftermath of Large-scale Corruption

Turning to blockchain in attempts to fight corruption, Kenya has stated that it has faith in emerging technologies to tackle the issues of theft and misuse of public funds.

The Kenyan government’s new housing project, in which it has plans to publicly fund the building of 500,000 living units raises sceptical eyebrows amongst the population, with good reason.

The figures that illustrate the degree of corruption at governmental level make sorry reading, with public departments taking bribes at an alarming rate. A recent Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) report published this month, indicated that the numbers of those paying bribes to receive a range of government services have risen to 62% from 46% over a period of two years.

The recipients of bribes from the public include local elders with 17% of respondents to a recent survey saying that they have been forced to pay bribes to community heads. The police were high on the list at 16%, and other services and departments taking bribes included the Registrar of Persons, the County Health Department and the National Ministry of Land.

The new housing sector comes with its own set of problems though, and also a history of corruption following a National Youth Service scandal, in which 40 civil servants and 14 private sector officials were arrested for the theft of $78 million from the project’s funds. However, the Government is now planning to put a halt to the rising figures of corruption and misappropriation of funds lost to such projects by employing blockchain in its latest move.

The Kenyan Distributed Ledgers and Artificial Intelligence Task Force was established earlier this year to focus on blockchain and how the technology could be utilized to improve outcomes in the public sector. The group included local blockchain startups, experts, researchers and members of Kenyan regulatory bodies.

Speaking at a recent meeting on affordable housing with the World Bank in Nairobi, Housing and Urban Development Principal Secretary, Charles Hinga, said, “Kenya will use blockchain technology to ensure the rightful owners live in government-funded housing projects.”

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.

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.

Recently, Kenyan Distributed Ledgers and Artificial Intelligence task force chairman Bitange Ndemo said that the government should consider tokenizing the economy to deal with “increasing” rates of corruption and uncertainties.

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