Category Archives: middle east bitcoin news

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University of Bahrain to Use Blockchain for Tamper-Free Diplomas

Diplomas

Diplomas on blockchain technology will now be issued by the University of Bahrain, as reported by Trade Arabia.

The report claims that the university, in partnership with Learning Machine, is planning to employ the Blockcerts open standard. The company is to provide a platform to issue official records utilizing blockchain-anchored format, which can verify the new diplomas.

In September, the media highlighted Bahrain’s focus on the utilization of blockchain technology for economic prosperity and security issues. Bahrain’s minister of electricity and water affairs, Dr Abdul Hassain Ali Mirza, commented that the protection of the user’s data can be ensured using blockchain.

Moreover, the technology can be applied to various sectors, which makes it truly remarkable for the tiny Gulf nation. The recent move has been regarded as a part of the university’s digitization scheme for mobile learners.

Blockchain’s influence is increasing gradually among the academic circles. Recently, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) also declared that it will be issuing blockchain-based digital certificates to more than 100 graduates, also using the Bitcoin-based Blockcerts platform. MIT hopes that the blockchain-based certificates would ensure tamper-free and unchangeable academic credentials.

In the future, using blockchain technology, students may be rid of the frustrating procedure of diploma verifications. In particular, the students applying or studying abroad may get the most benefit. However, in order to realize such a system, every institution would be required to adapt to the blockchain-based verification system.

 

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 7-13 December 2018

Africa

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country.

South Africa

First Coin Project Launched in South Africa: This week saw the launch of the first ICO project’s network with SAFCoin’s system which is set to go online soon. Meanwhile, trading has already been enabled for these tokens. SAFCoin was the first indigenous Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in the country and the ICO lasted till October 31 earlier this year.

On the occasion Neil Ferreira, the CEO and Founder of the parent company FHM Limited said:

“We are proud to be part of the blockchain and crypto revolution. We are excited to bring the SAFCOIN blockchain, mobile app and exchange to the people of South Africa.”

The South African authorities are currently advocating for self-regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges and coin projects with only Know-your-customer and Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) rules passed for the space.

Nigeria

Banking Regulator Voices Concerns for Bitcoin Disintermediation: A top regulator of the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Company (NDIC) has voiced concerns regarding cryptocurrencies and disintermediation in a recent interview to the local news outlet, The Sun. Disintermediation is when investors start investing in markets, be it cryptocurrency or other markets directly instead of investing through banks and their bank accounts.

Ibrahim Umaru, the regulator in question said:

“The partial disintermediation of the banking system arising from the proliferation of digital currencies such as Bitcoin, as well as the activities of fintechs are all of critical concern to the corporation.”

NDIC was formed back in 1988 to regulate the just liberalized banking sector in the African country. Nigeria itself is facing a cryptocurrency revolution with a presidential candidate recently pledging to legalize cryptocurrencies in the country.

Kenya

More Merchants and Small Businesses Start Accepting Bitcoin: More and more Kenyan small businesses are now accepting Bitcoin payments in the country after the government adopted a pro-crypto stance. Health Land Spa, Boxlight Electronics Limited and many other restaurants and small businesses are now accepting Bitcoin as payment.

The reasons for adopting cryptocurrencies are various, including ease of use, mitigating inflation in the country or just for novelty purposes. The Nigerian government is monitoring the situation but it has so far avoided engaging in a tussle with the cryptocurrency industry.

Israel

Tax Authority Aggressively Pursuing Cryptocurrency Tax Evaders: Top Israeli Tax Authority has started to aggressively pursue the cases of cryptocurrency tax evasion in the country. The new measures include notices being sent to the addresses of traders as well as monitoring overseas expenses of traders who do not file their income sources.

According to Israeli News Agency Calcalist:

“[Bitcoin] will be considered in accordance with the Income Tax Ordinance as “assets” and their sale will be taxed as a sale of “property.” Income from their sale will be classified as capital income and capital gains will be taxed according to fixed tax rates.”

A net 25% Capital Gains Tax and 17% VAT is applicable on cryptocurrency earnings right now in the Middle Eastern country.

Saudi Arabia-United Arab Emirates

Central Banks to Develop Joint Cryptocurrency for Money Transfers: The UAE Central Bank and the Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority (SAMA) are working on a project to create a joint cryptocurrency for cross-border transactions between these two countries according to a local daily, Gulf News.

According to Mubarak Rashed Al Mansouri, the chief of the Central Bank of UAE:

“This is probably the first time ever that witnesses the cooperation of monetary authorities from different countries on this topic and we hope that this achievement will foster similar collaboration in our region.”

But, the new effort is just in its preliminary phase now. It is yet to be seen whether this so-called cryptocurrency will actually come into circulation.

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 30 November – 6 December 2018

Africa

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here, we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news, continent by continent and country by country.

South Africa

Cryptocurrency may get Government Approval with Payment System Review: The South African government is looking to legitimize cryptocurrencies in the country through a series of policy changes for the purpose.

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) is intending to go for a complete overhaul of the National Payment System (NPS) which is the national infrastructure that allows the transfer of funds between individuals and entities. The need for updating the system was felt after the previous system was found inadequate for modern requirements and was set up back in 1998.

The review will also cover the cryptocurrency space and allow regulation of the sector like never before.

The Reserve Bank is also reportedly going to launch a crypto law consultation process that will help the upgradation of NPS and pave way for the integration of space into the national financial fabric.

Nigeria

Government Watchdog to Monitor Risks of Digital Currencies: Nigeria’s financial watchdog Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has reportedly started monitoring the digital currency space and risks posed by it. 

A Deputy Director of the NDIC Kabir Katata gave this opinion and he said that resolving these concerns for protecting funds of the general public is important:

“We should continue to monitor developments in digital currency so as to resolve any concern on legal, financial and consumer protection,” 

It is yet unclear what kind of measures the agency will take for this purpose.

African Union

Top African Blockchain Events in Africa: Africa’s growing blockchain industry is conducting several important events across the continent this week. They include workshops and seminars in South Africa, Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia with thousands of participants expected.

The whole list of events can be found here.

Ghana

American Government Warns Ghana of Fraudulent Cryptocurrency Activities: The US government has sent a warning to Ghana and five other African countries for their involvement in cryptocurrency frauds according to the Head of the US Cyber Crimes Division.

Head of the Cyber Crime Division John Hooks said:

“I would like to inform the public, especially in the following African countries and their government: Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, DRC Congo that one Mr. Junior Capputti and Mr. Emerson Pires in the name of president and vice-president respectively, in one programme that they call a company that is known as Mining Capital Coin (MCC). The above-mentioned names are con artists running a non-existence company to lure the public into investing their hard-earned money in the cryptocurrency market,”.

Israel

Tax Agency to Reportedly Target Cryptocurrency Tax Dodgers: Israeli Tax Authority (ITA) is now cracking down on cryptocurrency traders who are accused of tax evasion and has since issued hundreds of warnings to these individuals for failing to report the right numbers.

The Israeli law defines cryptocurrencies and tokens as financial assets and taxes them up to 30%, but the government believes that many of the traders are not reporting their income right.

Saudi Arabia

Bank Announces Blockchain Islamic Financial Solutions: Saudi bank ICD is reportedly trying to develop a blockchain banking product that is sharia-compliant. The new system will allow Islamic banks to manage their liquidity needs in a transparent manner.

While cryptocurrencies are officially banned in Saudi Arabia, the government has found blockchain to be an interesting technology and is thus encouraging industries to adopt it.

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 23rd to 29th November 2018

Africa

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

New draft tax law could have crypto implication: A South African law firm’s analysis of the recent draft law published by the national treasury regulator could have negative implications for the cryptocurrency sector. 

According to Cox Yeats Attorneys based in Durban, the recent Taxation Laws Amendment Bill will be bad for the digital currency industry. The bill is the first attempt by the government to regulate the cryptocurrency industry which has largely remained unregulated till now. The proposed changes include revisions to the Income Tax Act and Value Added Tax Act.

Nigeria

Union Bank warns against crypto usage: The Union Bank of Nigeria has cautioned the public against using cryptocurrencies and their transactions according to a letter sent to its users on 26 November.

The letter was published at popular Nigerian online community portal Nairaland which has over 55 million users. The community saw a letter being circulated citing the Central Bank of Nigeria saying that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender and cautioning against transacting in them.

According to the bank: “In order to guarantee the security of our customers’ funds, Union Bank will monitor accounts being used for cryptocurrency transactions and may impose restrictions including closure of such accounts.”

While the Union Bank of Nigeria is a commercially run bank with assets worth USD 4.1 billion, it suggests that even the private banking sector is not keen on adopting cryptocurrencies.

Kenya

Central bank digital currency under discussion: A Kenyan author has recently analyzed the case for a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in the country. While the Nigerian currency itself is quite prone to inflation, it pales next to the recent price tank of cryptocurrencies in the market so the topic can be a challenging one for the government.

The analysis points out that even though the creation of CBDCs is usually aimed at fixing the issues with the current system, the idea is invariably tied to the whole concept of cryptocurrencies and how they can ideologically not be manipulated by governments. It observes that a CBDC will probably be open for government manipulation and thus it will lose its original purpose. The Nigerian government is advised to think long and hard before embarking on any attempt to launch one.

Uganda

Government looking to regulate crypto as fake schemes proliferate: The Ugandan government is looking to regulate cryptocurrencies in the country after witnessing a recent increase in crypto-related scams.

Minister of State for Finance Planning David Bahati revealed this week that the government was finalizing a bill on national digital payments that has a focus on cryptocurrencies as well. This bill will be given to the parliament for approval in December.

Specifics regarding the new law are not available at the moment but it is expected that cryptocurrency scams are being singled out in the country.

Israel

Businessman charged with ICO embezzlement: A “cryptopreneur” has reportedly been arrested in Israel on embezzlement charges in connection with his role with two Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and their missing funds.

According to Israeli media outlets, the court case was initiated by 17 affectees of the ICOs and their defunct binary company AnyOption against Moshe Hogeg, a cryptocurrency entrepreneur. According to reports, issues between the coin holders and Hogeg arose after he failed to meet deadlines. Eventually, he was accused of being involved in the funds going missing.

 

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 16-22 November 2018

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country.

African Union

Rhino Coin Maybe the Answer to Africa’s Rhinoceros Poaching Problem: A new startup in South Africa is using blockchain technology to record and verify rhino horns harvested from private farms in the country. The new solution could open new doors for preserving wild rhinoceros in the continent where much of the rhino horn trade has been banned yet not close to being stopped.

The new project called Rhino coin aims to create a new coin for every gram of horn via blockchain technology to create an incorruptible database for verifying legal rhino horns. Rhino coins can be purchased through local fiat Rand and can be traded on exchanges.

But, it is yet to be seen how Rhino coin can be adopted in the vast continent where illegal poaching is widespread.

Nigeria

Opposition Leader Pledges Cryptocurrency Policy if Elected: Ahead of the new elections, the country’s main opposition leader and candidate for president Atiku Abubakar has pledged a new pro-crypto policy in the country if he manages to win the election next year.

According to Abubakar, the policy will focus on blockchain education starting from the primary level up till university. He also promised to reform the digital currencies.

More than 50 candidates are taking part in the elections in the biggest African country with Abubakar as one of the leading contenders in the race.

Israel

Investment Firm Launches three New Cryptocurrency Investment Funds: An Israeli investment firm has announced the creation of two new cryptocurrency funds in the sector.

Silver Castle, the investment group has been described as one of the first pro-crypto investment firms in the country for accredited investors. CEO Ali Mizroch said that the first two funds have been launched in the Cayman Islands.

He continued:

“The first fund is algo-based, momentum-driven, long [and] short on bitcoin and top five [crypto]currencies. The second is smart beta, fully-invested in the top 10 coins. We aim to launch our third fund, a VC fund, that will participate in token offerings, in Q1 2019.”

The two funds will reportedly have up to $50 million in investments by the end of the year.

Saudi Arabia

Government Pondering Over Launching a National Cryptocurrency in Partnership with UAE: Saudi Arabia is opening up to the idea of a national cryptocurrency with the government of UAE reportedly onboard.

According to Mohsen Al Zahrani, the Head of Innovation at the Saudi Monetary Authority (SAMA), the country is looking to partner with UAE on the idea of a new cryptocurrency coin that will be released as early as 2019. The financial regulator will reveal more details in the near future regarding the feasibility of the project.

Bahrain

Government Signs Memorandum of Understanding with China Regarding Cryptocurrency Projects:  The government of Bahrain has signed a series of MoUs with Chinese Economic Development Board including a few for exploring the viability of the cryptocurrency projects in the country.

The tiny oil-rich nation is looking to diversify its income and has reportedly signed up Chinese fintech company IAPPAY to develop a mobile payment gateway as well as exploring the viability of cryptocurrency projects.

Fintech was also the focus of other MoUs signed between China and Bahrain. The country is also looking to establish a new AI institute at its university that will help spur innovation in the sector.

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 2nd to 8th November 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

South Africans turn to crypto to avoid inflation: More and more South Africans are starting to own cryptocurrencies as a means to avoid the volatility of the local fiat currency, the rand, which has fallen as much as 20% against the USD last year alone.

According to a survey by Luno, a local cryptocurrency platform, more than 29% of the people surveyed owned cryptocurrencies in the country and almost 70% have heard about virtual currencies. While trading is not commonplace, it is because most see cryptocurrencies are a way to hedge against inflation and instability of the rand.

While cryptocurrency ownership numbers are quite high, only 23% stated that they had used cryptocurrencies for transactions and only 12% had used them for cash transfers to friends and family. This shows that the ownership numbers have not translated to actual market penetration but only act as a buffer against inflation.

Ghana

Local entrepreneur calls Bank of Ghana’s attitude towards crypto “worrying”: National Banking regulator Bank of Ghana’s attitude towards cryptocurrency transactions has been termed as negative and worrying by a local blockchain entrepreneur. He made these comments after the bank repeatedly stated that blockchain is unreliable and people should stop using it.

According to Eric O A Annan, blockchain innovator and entrepreneur of KuBitX, the regulator should come up with necessary regulations to mainstream the industry rather than having a defensive posture. He argues that millions of transactions are taking place through cryptocurrencies and blockchain daily.

He made these comments during the first Blockchain Ghana conference in Accra earlier this week. The innovator also urged the central bank to adopt blockchain technology for efficiency and transparency.

Uganda

Binance signs up 40,000 Ugandans in opening week: Binance got as many as 40,000 sign ups in Uganda within its first week of opening in the country. The massive response indicates that Ugandans are ready to invest in cryptocurrencies by the thousands as it presents viable alternatives to the public.

There are only two cryptocurrencies available for trading right now on Binance Uganda: Bitcoin and Ether. The country may see their use in the microfinance sector as more than 70% of Ugandans remain unbanked.

Israel

Bank of Israel decides against state crypto: The Bank of Israel has official decided against issuing a state cryptocurrency in the country after a government study group recommended against it.

The study group was formed by the governor of the state bank and included members from different government departments, banking community and blockchain industry. The move is in line with the attitude of many other central banks towards state cryptocurrencies.

Abu Dhabi

Securities exchange releases blockchain paper: The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) has published a thought paper on cryptocurrencies and blockchain infrastructure digital assets, according to state news agency WAM.

According to WAM, the paper discusses the required technical and operational criteria for setting up digital assets as well as supporting financial institutions though cryptocurrency assets. The document itself was prepared with the help of Central Securities Depositories under the supervision of International Securities Services Association.

UAE is looking at blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies with excitement and now the national regulator believes that ICOs will be allowed by 2019 in the UAE market for investments. ICO regulations are currently being drafted by the Abu Dhabi and Dubai stock markets.

 

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 14th to 20th September 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.

Namibia

Wildlife conservationist using crypto for preservation activities: A wildlife conservation expert based in Namibia is using Bitcoin Cash to help save the precious wildlife in the country.

Nadja Leroux is using Bitcoin Cash (BCH) for faster transactions and raising capital for her efforts. The idea is to create a fund to help raise money for crucial conservation technology in the wilderness. The main species she is trying to save include African wild dogs.

South Africa

South Africa gets perfect score in crypto interest study: While the pace of cryptocurrency adoption is increasing in African countries, South Africa has surprising outperformed countries like USA and Russia in this particular search interest, according to a published report of Google trends in the world.

South Africa got the perfect score of 100 in the study out of a possible 100 for cryptocurrency search-related activity. The US got a paltry 52 while countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia got 13 and 7 respectively. While cryptocurrency interest is increasing a lot in the country, there is still plenty of work that needs to be done on the ground to facilitate and educate the masses on digital currencies before this interest can be converted into actual investments and startups.

Zimbabwe

Finance minister calls for greater crypto investment: The new finance minister of Zimbabwe has called for increased participation in the local cryptocurrency community as he sees them as a way out for the country from troubled economic times.

In an interview with ITWebAfricanewly sworn-in minister Mthuli Ncube said that most central banks around the world are rejecting these innovations and or taking time in adopting them while smart countries like Switzerland are adopting them and wasting no time in doing so.

Elaborating further he said, “One can pay for travel using Bitcoin in Switzerland. So, if these countries can see value in this and where it’s headed, we should also pay attention. We have innovative youngsters so the idea shouldn’t be to stop it and say don’t do this, but rather the regulators should invest in catching up with them and find ways to understand it, then you regulate it because you now understand it.”

Zimbabwe is currently in a currency crisis and that has made public access to money extremely difficult. Mthuli believes that the answer to the current crisis lies in the adoption of popular cryptocurrencies across the country.

Israel

Israel and Switzerland work together for crypto regulation: The Swiss government is looking to work with the government of Israel for cryptocurrency regulation and opening up of trade.

According to a Reuters report, Swiss finance minister Ueli Maurer recently visited Israel for talks regarding opening up trade between the countries and Swiss banks gaining access to Israeli markets. The two sides have also agreed to collaborate on financial technology and cryptocurrency regulation as part of the opening up of trade.

UAE

Abu Dhabi calls for international crypto regulation efforts: The top financial regulator of Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE, has called for an international approach towards regulating cryptocurrencies in the world.

The National reported that during the recent Fintech Abu Dhabi event, Ricard Teng, the head of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), said that negative news impact cryptocurrencies as assets.

He said, “This space needs to be properly regulated, otherwise there is the risk of financial crime.”

While other sections of the UAE have called for a speedier adoption of cryptocurrencies in the country, Teng is one of the first to have voiced caution.

 

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 31st August to 6th September 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

South Africa

Gold-backed interest-free crypto launched in South Africa: A gold-backed interest-free cryptocurrency was launched in South Africa recently called the OneGram and is Sharia-compliant, primarily to attract investment from the Muslim community.

The move was started a year back by a local company that aimed to bridge the gap between cryptocurrencies and precious commodities markets. Muslims and other members of the public who believe that currency should be backed by gold or any other asset of value may be interested in the commodity. It is worth mentioning that the Muslim community is divided on the matter.

Ibrahim Mohammed, the founder of the project said:

“Our approach to OneGram was to create a bridge between commodities and crypto using physical gold and package it together using innovative blockchain technology. This way we are able to give our users the best of both worlds and provide a degree of certainty around the notoriously fickle cryptocurrency market.”

OneGram was founded in Dubai, UAE last year and completed a successful coin offering but it remains to be seen whether the company can deliver on its promise because asset-backed cryptocurrencies are still in their infancy.

Nigeria

Financial exclusion being tackled through blockchain technology: US-based software development company HashCash has announced that it is collaborating with Nigerian banks to solve the lingering issue of financial exclusion.

Financial exclusion is a chronic problem present in many parts of the world including Europe and the Americas. It is a problem through which a sizeable chunk of the population remains unbanked and devoid of electronic means of payment and bank accounts.

HashCash is looking to use the power of the blockchain technology to solve the problem that has plagued the development of many countries and hampered growth.

Zimbabwe

Bitcoin ATM inoperational despite sky-high demand for Bitcoin: Despite high demand for Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies, Zimbabwe’s only Bitcoin ATM is not in operational condition.

Back-breaking inflation has reportedly motivated many Zimbabweans to look to cryptocurrencies as a way to circumnavigate the whole situation. Increased activity on Golix, a popular local crypto exchange, is proof of that but the only ATM installed in Harare by the company is inoperational, as a result of its ongoing legal tussles with the banks.

Still, Golix hopes that the crypto trading ban will be reversed and the ATM will start working again.

Kenya

Economic institute to hold public forum for crypto: The Institute of Economic Affairs of Kenya (IEA-Kenya) has announced that it will hold a series of public hearings, forums and other activities regarding cryptocurrencies to devise public policy proposals in the country.

While the growth of cryptocurrencies is being witnessed in the country, a lack of regulations and resulting regulatory unclarity has made things difficult. Since blockchain and cryptocurrencies are complex issues, the private think tank IEA-Kenya believes public forums could further discussion around them.

The Middle East

Turkey

Turkish stock exchange develops blockchain-based customer database: Turkey’s Borsa Istanbul Stock Exchange has announced the development of a blockchain-powered customer database and resource center.

The stock exchange became operational back in 2013 after a merger of Istanbul Gold Exchange and Turkish Derivatives Exchange (TurkDex) and has a total market cap of USD 133 billion. The recent development was done in customer databases of Borsa Istanbul, Istanbul Clearing, Settlement and Custody Bank (Takasbank), and the Central Securities Depository of Turkey (MKK).

Turkey has demonstrated overall positivity to adopt blockchain technology in recent years.

 

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Africa and Middle East Cryptocurrency News Roundup 17-24 August 2018

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news, continent by continent and country by country. Next up is Africa and the Middle East.

Africa

South Africa

Cryptocurrency Mining Still Popular Despite Price Tank: Bitcoin may not be profitable to mine in many places but cryptocurrency mining equipment is still seeing popular demand in South Africa as people continue to buy a wide range of mining rigs in the country.

According to the BitSmart CEO Jacques Serfontein, crypto miners still have a strong appeal in the South African mining community because of a decent return on investment over there.

He said:

“People are still buying miners, a 7%-30% ROI per month based on the different cryptocurrencies out there is still a great ROI,”

While both ASIC miners and GPUs were popular in the country, the focus has now shifted towards ASIC chips rather than gaming chips, much to the relief of the gaming community because it resulted in expensive gaming equipment for them.

Government Targeting Cryptocurrency Traders: The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is researching ways through which they can track down cryptocurrency traders in the country who are not paying taxes.

According to the acting commissioner Mark Kingon:

“The key thing is identifying people who are trading because it’s easy to say cryptocurrency gains must be deductible, but there are also those who lose. That’s why it’s important to identify the trader,”

The expected tax dodgers are likely to be identified by tracking credit cards that they use for purchasing cryptocurrencies with fiat for trading purposes. There are other ways under deliberation as well.

Nigeria

Nigerian Bitcoin Stake Drops Down to N1.3 Billion: The Nigerian crypto investors are feeling the brunt of a bearish coin market as the total unofficial holding of Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency is down to N1.3 billion. 

The total bitcoin holdings are on a downward trend overall, partly because of falling prices in the Bitcoin market as the currency has reached the $8,000 figure twice, only to disappointingly return to the $6,000 mark. The total holdings in the country are down from N1.6 billion earlier this month to N1.3 billion currently.

Middle East

Turkey

Bitcoin Being Promoted as the Answer to Turkey’s Financial Crisis: Turkey’s recent spat with the USA has resulted in its national currency lira crashing in the currency market in anticipation of sanctions. But, while the situation is becoming worse, it is proving to be a fertile ground for cryptocurrency adoption in the country that can help Turkish citizens circumnavigate the issues in the currency market.

Bitcoin P2P trading platforms like LocalBitcoins.com have experienced a flood of activity in recent times as soon as the lira started to spiral out of control. While the government made appeals to the Turks to liquidate their dollar reserves, many are paying as much as 25% premium to buy Bitcoin through lira.

United Arab Emirates

Realtors Looking to Add Cryptocurrency Options: UAE realtors are looking to add cryptocurrency payment options to boost investment in the sector. The country is already a real estate haven in the world but it is facing increased competition from other areas and now the sector sees cryptocurrencies as a game changer.

Dubai-based IMKAN Properties is considering a cryptocurrency payment alternative for home buyers in the business. Imkan is among other realtors who are looking to add the cryptocurrency feature.

CEO Walid El-Hindi said:

Imkan is looking into new ways of approaching financials… We’re looking into cryptocurrencies and new technologies when it comes to putting together financial packages in relation to real estate,”

Bitcoin is regulated fiercely in the region, but in UAE it has some legal protection.

Saudi Arabia

Government Puts Blanket Ban on Cryptocurrency Trading: The Saudi Arabian government, after banning the use of cryptocurrencies in the country has now put a blanket ban on their trading as well and tasked competent authority to limit cryptocurrency market dealings.

A statement released by the government said:

“The committee warns all citizens” against investing in cryptocurrencies or digital currencies for their high-risk consequences. One should not give the illusion of getting rich quick, there are risks in terms of regulation, security, and volatility”

The kingdom’s attitude towards cryptocurrencies follows a regional trend but many citizens are reportedly involved in cryptocurrencies.

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 10th to 16th August 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

Crypto regulation needed to settle inheritance, divorce cases: The South African government is moved to attend to the issues arising from the ambiguity of cryptocurrencies in the country when it comes to settling inheritance claims and divorce cases.

Cryptocurrency has been around for a decade now and South African Revenue Service (SARS) designated them as an asset of intangible nature as far back as 2009. While it may have granted Bitcoin some legality, issues remain as legality of cryptocurrencies are unclear in comparison with other assets like shares and bonds and that can complicate things.

VAT may not be applied to Bitcoin in South Africa under new regulation: According to a draft being prepared by the South African Revenue Service (SARS), cryptocurrencies in the country will not be liable for Value Added Tax (VAT) but other regular tax laws will be applicable.

SARS has been deliberating on cryptocurrency regulation for some time and according to it, transactions of cryptocurrencies are seen as a service and thus it will be exempt from a VAT for now, something that is often a damaging perspective for cryptocurrencies in a country. All crypto dealers, however, will have to declare their gains and losses in crypto transactions and trades and pay relevant taxes.

Nigeria

Crypto exchange Luno educating users on identifying scams: Cryptocurrency exchange Luno is trying to educate the masses to help them avoid scams in the cryptosphere.

Luno’s country manager while speaking in a conference in Lagos said:

“The Central Bank of Nigeria while presently studying the market to enable it come up with a regulatory framework that will protect every player, Luno will not hesitate to guide present investors against scams.”

The exchange is advocating for self-regulation right now but welcomes regulation from the government in the future to help secure a better future for crypto.

Government launches blockchain hub: The Nigerian government’s blockchain innovation KAD ICT Hub, in collaboration with UK Blockchain company Coinfirm, has announced a new blockchain hub in the country called Africa Blockchain Lab.

The initiative is to launch a program to help bring together Blockchain companies across the continent to bring solutions to various problems in the continent and Nigeria itself. Some startups like Kora, a blockchain marketplace and digital payment system, have already signed on the new project.

Middle East

Turkey

Bitcoin popularity soars as lira freefalls: The recent freefall of Turkish lira has resulted in cryptocurrencies becoming more and more popular in the country as Koinim, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the country, recorded more than 63% increase in trades last week alone.

Turkey is currently embroiled in a diplomatic tussle with the United States as the latter recently imposed sanctions on the country that followed up with a sharp decrease in demand for lira, the national currency. More and more Turks used platforms like Localbitcoins.com to save themselves from inflation. However, with the recent USD 15 billion loan from Qatar on the cards, it is yet to be seen how the future of cryptocurrency trading will look like in the short term as lira might bounce back.

12,000 investors affected in TurCoin scam: Turcoin, self-styled national cryptocurrency of Turkey has been revealed as a Ponzi scheme and more than 12,000 investors have been affected.

TurCoin offered swift dividends and even claimed backing of the Turkish government,resulting in excitement in Turkish crypto circles. Many investors invested some money in it only to be left out in the cold as it was eventually revealed to be a scam. Investigators have frozen company founder’s assets and he is now awaiting trial.

United Arab Emirates

Investor takes $140K loan and loses 85% in crypto trading: The risks of cryptocurrency investment are evident after the recent case of an Emirati investor borrowing USD 140,000 to invest in cryptocurrencies and lost most of it.

The amateur currency investor based in Abu Dhabi is 85% down from his USD 139,500 bank loan that he took a while ago. The investor goes by the name of Cryptohomie on Reddit and he shared documents regarding the loan online which he used to fund his cryptocurrency trading at the height of the 2017 bull run that brought Bitcoin to as high as USD 20,000. He is currently giving monthly payments of USD 3,381 that run till 14 December 2021.

Saudi Arabia

Government warns against use of crypto: The Saudi government has warned against the use of cryptocurrencies, describing them as illegal due to their perceived role in fraud and unauthorized payments.

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) gave the statement that included (cryptocurrencies) as “illegal in the kingdom and no parties or individuals are licensed for such practices”.

While the cryptocurrency use is currently deemed illegal, it is unclear to see what kind of authority the SAMA has to enforce a full ban in the country.

 

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The post Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 10th to 16th August 2018 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.