Category Archives: Middle East Cryptocurrency news

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 12th to 18th January 2019

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

South Africa’s Central Bank Proposes Rules for Crypto Companies: South African Reserve Bank (SARB), as it attempts to protect customers and investors from the vulnerabilities in the current system, has issued new regulations which compel crypto exchanges and wallet services to register with regulators.

Amid the concerns that the regulatory measures might suffocate the market, the central bank insisted they will be “walking a middle line … to attain only limited regulation.” The changes are expected to start with a registration scheme for crypto asset service providers, followed by a review of the existing laws on assets to include crypto assets, and finally the creation of a regulatory body to implement the decisions.

South Africa’s ANC Election Manifesto Cites Blockchain as Game Changer:  As the political landscape in South Africa gets hot ahead of the general elections in May, the ruling party – African National Congress’ (ANC)’s President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed their manifesto that termed advancement of blockchain and crypto tech as a top priority.

And it does appear that there is more meat to this rather than just political lip service as the Government already has developed a new assets regulatory working group to maximize the potential of cryptocurrency. Similarly, another factfinder project — Project Koha, underway in collaboration with multiple financial institutes, and the SA Reserve Bank has also reported positive results when it comes to high volumes blockchain payments.

Congo

Ford Will Fight Child Labor in Africa Using Blockchain: According to Reuters, the American car manufacturing giant Ford has teamed up with the likes of IBM, LG Chem, and Huayou Cobalt to design a common blockchain platform that tracks down cobalt coming from Congo that is ultimately used in Ford’s lithium-ion batteries.

The project looks to cut down the rampant child labor at the cobalt mines in Congo, where minors are worked against their will often in life-threatening conditions, as it will try to detect and track down such instances and completely ban and boycott suppliers who are involved or connected with these heinous crimes.

Israel

Israel’s Top Cargo Shipping Firm Zim Opens Blockchain Platform to All Clients:  Zim, Israel’s largest cargo shipping company, has announced the launch of its blockchain platform for all clients using electronic bills of lading (eB/Ls).

After completing a year-long pilot of its blockchain-powered eB/Ls platform, the firm claims that blockchain can replace the existing paper-based processes and dramatically improve the workflow. To prove this, two recent transactions were conducted in less than two hours each using the blockchain-based platform, whereas they used to take multiple days or even weeks earlier.

Bahrain

University of Bahrain Will Issue Diplomas on the Blockchain Employing Blockcerts: The University of Bahrain has announced the issuance of diplomas on the blockchain in a bid to encourage the development and adoption of the technology in the country.

The institute, using the Blockcerts open standard, has developed the diploma program in collaboration with Learning Machine, a startup that provides a system to issue verifiable official records through the blockchain-anchored format. Last year, the Government of Bahrain stressed the importance of the blockchain technology, and termed it as “a true mark of progress.”  This particular initiative is also part of that ideology, as it aims to offer an overall digitization strategy for mobile learners.

United Arab Emirates

UAE Telecom Operator du Announces Blockchain Solution For Fake Drugs: UAE-based telecom operator du has revealed its latest weapon in the war against fake drugs, as it announced the launch of a Blockchain Platform as a Service (BPaaS) at the Unlock Blockchain Conference in Dubai. The patient-centric safety blockchain solution allows users to verify the origin and metadata of the medicines, and after the data is entered onto the distributed ledger, there is no possibility for manipulation.

This allows complete accountability for pharmaceutical products and increases transparency in the distribution system. Developed in collaboration with MedTech solutions provider Dhonor HealthTech, it will enable easy identification and removal of fake drugs from the supply chain.

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The post Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 12th to 18th January 2019 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 5th to 11th January 2019

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

South Africa Deliberating Tax with the Crypto Task Force: The South African government has set the wheels into motion to create a crypto task force and include all the cryptocurrency activities into the tax net.

The group consists of representatives from the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, Financial Intelligence Centre, the SA Revenue Service (SARS), Treasury, and the Reserve Bank as they aim to develop a unified intergovernmental regulatory framework while ensuring that losses on cryptocurrencies are only offset against profits from the same system, a phenomenon known as ring-fencing.

Kidnappers Demand Bitcoin Ransom for Missing Nine-Year-Old: As the saga unfolds following the disappearance of a 9-year-old girl known as Linathi Titshala, possible kidnappers have recently sent an anonymous message demanding a ransom of 5 BTC ($19,200) for the girl’s return.

The message was sent to the anti-crime group Western Cape Gangwatch, who said to have tried to trace the email’s source via the Bitcoin address but failed since it was probably created at an internet cafe with an untraceable IP address.

Nigeria

Nigeria’s Electoral Commission to Conduct Pilot Test of Electronic Results Transmission: After the earlier success of electronic results transmission back in 2015 during the off-season elections, Nigeria’s Electoral Commission (INEC) has recently announced a pilot run of the system ahead of 2019 general elections.

Although Nigeria’s current Electoral Act doesn’t allow any provision for its adoption, the officials hope that the success of the test run will compel lawmakers to press for a much-needed change in the legislation.

Kenya

Cryptocurrency Regulation Battle Intense in Africa, Regulators Pin Down Suspicious Cryptocurrency Projects: Capital Markets Authority of Kenya (CMA) has recently warned the users of Kenya’s up-and-coming crypto tokens company KeniCoin about possible fraudulent activities. KeniCoin was launched in July 2018 and promised its users 10% monthly ROI.

CMA published the report in the wake of the ongoing investigations of KeniCoin’s parent company ‘Wiseman Talent Ventures’ and has already highlighted drastic discrepancies in the information on the KeniCoin website and the interviews given to the authorities.

Israel

Gold Reserves to Bitcoin Reserves: Nick Szabo on Crypto in 2019: History of currencies, scope of Bitcoin as a mode of payment, and predictions on the future developments; the first Israel Bitcoin Summit at Tel Aviv University had it all as the early pioneer Nick Szabo, and Bitcoin’s probable founder, Satoshi Nakamoto graced the event with their presence.

Among all the presentations, the highlights included Szabo’s claims that all central banks may soon be inclined to supplement their gold reserves with cryptocurrency. He also remarked that 2019 could see the adoption of the Lightning Network, which would allow two users to make payments to each other almost instantaneously.

Turkey

Interest-free payment platform developed in Turkey: Turkish Blockchain payment platform, MenaPay, has announced that it will launch the first-ever Islamic finance based payment methods to accommodate their large Muslim userbase. This will allow the residents of MENA region to utilize the safety of blockchain technology and leverage MenaPay Platform’s payment transparency while abiding by the religious obligations.

MenaPay has already made headway into the market thanks to its QR code payment system which allows all transactions to be executed within 5 seconds, and this move puts them on the path to becoming the largest cashless service in the MENA region.

UAE

UAE Wants 50% of Government Business on Blockchain by 2021: UAE Government has announced the launch of two new initiatives under the title “the AI and Blockchain Guide initiative.”

The program aims to allow the federal government to develop a standardized system to define and regulate blockchain technology and AI while streamlining the way to implement the technologies across all the smart cities in the seven emirates. The initiative will also focus on training and educating all relevant authorities on these technologies and integrate them in all sectors of the economy.

UAE’s Etisalat Picks Startups for Ai and Blockchain Scale-Up Program: Dubai-based telecommunication giant Etisalat recently announced that it had chosen four startups for the development of AI and blockchain technologies for its “Future Now” scale-up program.

The program offers the participants to access Etisalat’s digital resources, expertise, and office space and develop joint applications for the company’s client base. Among the companies chosen were China’s Yitu Technology, UAE’s Com IoT Technologies, Hong Kong’s 300cubits, and USA’s Tradefin.

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The post Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 5th to 11th January 2019 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 29 December 2018 – 4 January 19

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 Regulatory Working Group Formed by the Government: In an effort to be more decisive and inclusive in cryptocurrency regulation, the South African government has announced the formation of a local working group task with the responsibility of formulating regulations and getting input from the industry.

According to a letter by Tito Mboweni, the Finance Minister of the country, the Cryptocurrency Asset Working Group will not just focus on cryptocurrencies but all other facets of the industry including blockchain technology and its wide range of applications.

According to the Minister:

“It is anticipated that, following broad industry comment and participation, the crypto assets regulatory working group will be ready to release a final research paper on the subject during the course of 2019.”

It remains to be seen what will be the constitution of this latest working group.

Nigeria

Investors Training Nigerians on Cryptocurrency Trading Profitability: To encourage more investment and trading in the sector, cryptocurrency trading experts are tutoring an emerging generation of traders in the country to become more profitable in trading cryptocurrencies.

Ian Balina, an acclaimed bitcoin trader and investor said that trading can be a profitable investment for youngsters if they can understand more about its working. Faith Titus, the co-founder of Blockchain Nigeria User Group believes that it is necessary for one to be educated in order to succeed in the sector. Toyosi Abolarin, the Lead Project Manager at Venture Garden Group endorsed the government’s efforts to regulate the industry fairly and believed it will boost trading.

Zimbabwe

Reserve Bank Declares Cryptocurrencies a Threat to the Nation: The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is continuing its anti-cryptocurrency stance by declaring cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin a threat to the nation.

Governor  Dr. John Mangudya made these comments in an official statement, saying that all cryptocurrency investments have no legal protection and they are prone to embezzlement as well as being used in Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism.

While the government has taken a hardline stance in the country, many Zimbabweans are turning to cryptocurrencies to avoid the crippling hyperinflation prevalent in the country. This is also the reason why cryptocurrencies are being traded at a heavy premium in the country.

Israel

Israel Blockchain Industry Survives Despite Tough Year: The Israeli Blockchain industry has had a tough year as dozens of new projects were scrapped because of lack of regulatory approval and fears of government crackdown which hasn’t materialized yet. Despite the tough year, many blockchain projects have survived and are looking to build on their survival with a little help from the government if needed.

Sirin Labs rolled out the first blockchain smartphone in the country and may look to build on its initial success despite the high price tag of the phone. There are other exchanges and new startups that made money in the course of 2018, but in the end, due to the price tank of Bitcoin and regulatory challenges, the kind of growth expected in the industry didn’t happen. Still, innovators are looking at 2019 with hope.

Turkey

Countries Looking to Abandon US Dollar May See Cryptocurrencies as an Alternative: Several notable economies in the world including Turkey, Russia, China, etc are looking to undercut the dominance of the US Dollar in the market by adopting alternative ways of payments, with cryptocurrencies being eyed as a possible alternative.

While China is beefing up gold reserves for this purpose, Turkey has had a bad experience because of its dependence on the greenback with the local currency Lira losing as much as 25% at one time because of an ongoing diplomatic tussle with the US. P2P cryptocurrency trading platform LocalBitcoins.com noticed a considerable spike in trading volumes during the tense period. With cryptocurrencies gaining popularity in the country, the government may also look to adopt them from a strategic point of view.

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 22 – 28 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.

African Union

Paxful Reports Increase in Cryptocurrency Usage in Africa: African countries including Ghana and Nigeria are reporting a considerable increase in cryptocurrency trading activities according to data from Paxful with both of these countries ranked among the top ten in the world for crypto adoption. In some parts of the continent, the crypto adoption increased two-folds with increased enthusiasm among the younger sections of the population.

It is expected that next year will be bigger and better for the cryptocurrency scene in the continent where microfinance has a big future and many people are underbanked with no access to mobile accounts.

Nigeria

Experts Believe Cryptocurrencies can Boost Economy in the Country: Experts based in Africa’s biggest economy believe that cryptocurrencies have the ability to transform the economic landscape of the country. They made their views known in a recent Luno Conference in the country that hosted some of the top professionals in the sector.

According to Lucky Uwakwe, the CEO of Blockchain Solutions Limited, cryptocurrency awareness was increasing in the region and he thought the country should step up in the market because cryptocurrencies are the future. Nigerian blockchain expert Owenize Odia believes that the right regulation is needed in the country to help cement trust and lend authenticity to the sector.

Dash to Increase Merchant and Exchange Integrations: Digital currency Dash is making new inroads in Nigeria as the privacy and crowdsourcing-centric cryptocurrency has added two new merchants and is offering discounts for paying with the cryptocurrency through these merchants.

The two stores are Qualymart and CryptoStorez, both Nigerian e-commerce solutions. Qualymart is offering a whopping 20% discount on Dash payments while Cryptostorez offers 5%.

Turkey

Bitcoin’s Popularity is Growing: Bitcoin’s trading volumes have soared up to 37% in Turkey since October this year despite the eventual lifting of sanctions after a diplomatic deadlock ended in recent months. The increased usage of LocalBitcoins.com and other P2P cryptocurrency trading platforms mean that people are interested in the new digital class and are willing to invest in it to circumnavigate the effects of inflation in the country.

The millennial population is the one most prone to investing in the new sector.

United Arab Emirates

Government Looking to Introduce New Crypto Regulations by early 2019: The government of UAE is looking to introduce comprehensive cryptocurrency regulation in the country by the first half of 2019, according to local media reports. The new regulations will introduce common sense regulations for the industry and will look to make the country the most dominant player in the Arab world and even across the globe.

According to Hans Fraikin, the CEO of Libra Project:

“The UAE is perfectly positioned to be a global leader in the ICO space. If they succeed as planned, they will be at the forefront of this new burgeoning global securities sector.”

ICOs are also expected to be allowed in the regulation and will result in major coin-related businesses coming to UAE’s shores.

Iran

American Government Looking to Counter Iran’s Efforts of Using Cryptocurrencies: The US is stepping up its efforts to enforce further sanctions on Iran by blacklisting its new cryptocurrency projects and suspicious wallets. A new bill presented in the House of Representatives by Mike Gallagher (Wisconsin) aims to prevent Iran from creating a new cryptocurrency.

The Blocking Iran Illicit Finance Act will enable the US administration of Donald Trump to take further action on enforcing sanctions.

According to the proposed bill:

All transactions related to, provision of financing for, and other dealings in Iranian digital currency by a United States person or within the United States are prohibited.”

The US unilaterally withdrew from a Nuclear deal with Iran and has since come out on the offensive against the Middle Eastern country whose population is opening up to cryptocurrencies as a way to circumnavigate the imposed sanctions and their economic effects.

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 14-20 December 2018

Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 28th September to 4th October 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.

Nigeria

Cryptocurrencies to Boost Trade in Nigeria: According to experts, cryptocurrencies have the potential to boost trade in Nigeria — the biggest economy in the continent.

Lucky Uwakway,  the Chief Operating Officer of Blockchain Solutions Limited, in a presentation stated that Nigeria can follow global trends to boost trade. Right now, 51 percent of the people view cryptocurrencies as an investment but more and more people are using it for remittances, online shopping and local transfers. But, overall, Uwakwe believes that the price needs to stabilize or keep increasing to keep people interested in the sector.

Cryptocurrency promoter Olaleye Awe believes that trading should increase when the prices are low, as it would lead to better integration of the monetary asset.

Lagos

IBM Using Blockchain to help Farmers: IBM’s latest blockchain solution called Hello Tractor aims to connect small farmers with data analytics and physical equipment to yield better crops. The initiative is part of the company’s blockchain ecosystem to increase the use of AI and reduce losses.

The service will be available for farmers who wish to use a digital ledger and AI-based system to capture, track and share data.

South Africa

Startup Targets Youth Unemployment through Blockchain Technology with Google’s Assistance: New blockchain startup ZLTO is working to reduce unemployment in South Africa. Unemployment is high in this part of the world (~50%) with a majority of it prevailing in the coloured majority.

ZLTO aims to involve youngsters in community-related efforts to increase business activity and job creation. The startup just raised R3.5 million from Google for this purpose. Volunteer work will also be included in the proposed framework including cleaning up streets and even painting buildings.

Kenya

IBM Using Twiga Blockchain to Help Agriculture Industry: IBM’s Twiga blockchain initiative in partnership with Twiga Foods is using the power of the decentralized technology to keep track of transactions and recording data.

Twiga foods aim to cut the increasing role of middlemen in the Agriculture industry and thus boost profits for the farms. The sector contributes to more than 50% of the GDP in the country. Over 5000 vendors already use the Twiga platform to order produce in the African country and could potentially benefit from it.

Egypt

Reserve Bank Conducting Feasibility Studies for Digital Currencies: The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) is undertaking feasibility studies on digital currencies in the country according to Aymen Hussein, the sub-governor of the bank.

Hussein made these comments during a recent blockchain conference in Abu Dhabi earlier this week. He believes a blockchain version of the fiat currency may be able to help government cut costs on money regulation in the country.

Israel

Central Bank Seeking Input on Crypto Regulation: The Central Bank of Israel is working for crypto regulation in the country and now seeking input from the public regarding it.

The bank believes that there is a need to monitor development in digital assets space and is now seeking input from the crypto community and the general public for this purpose.

Turkey

Ripple Technology Used to Transfer GBP from Turkey to UK: Ripple’s XRP may be the cryptocurrency face of the company but its underlying technology is also making progress. Recently, a transfer of money in British Pounds (GBP) was facilitated by Ripple’s blockchain technology.

The transfer occurred between an Akbank and a Santander bank branch in the United Kingdom.

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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, 26th October to 1st 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 African Revenue Service changes crypto tax laws: The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has announced a new amendment to the tax code that can potentially increase taxation on cryptocurrencies.

Currently, cryptocurrencies are classified as tech assets and thus they are eligible for tax breaks from the government that is reserved for research and development projects. Now that the tax code is going to be changed, traders will have to pay increased income taxes on their profits.

Blockchain to aid water regulation: A local blockchain company, HashCash, is working with the government to help regulate water in the country. The high-tech infrastructure deployed by the company will allow the government to monitor the water usage which is a critical issue in the country which was hit by severe drought recently.

Cape Town was the worst city affected by the drought. As a result, various blockchain companies are looking to work on water conservation systems, including HashCash.

Kenya

Kenya opening up to crypto: Cryptocurrencies are getting more and more traction in Kenya especially in the financial sector where it is disrupting the status quo.

Adoption of cryptocurrencies in the country will hope to increase financial inclusion in not only Kenya but other parts of the continent where there is little or no financial inclusion. The increased use of smartphones in the area is allowing the people to move to a cashless, bankless future where cryptocurrencies will play an important part.

Tanzania

Government looks for blockchain solutions: The Tanzanian government is collaborating with academics and researchers to produce blockchain regulations and solutions, according to South African news source The Citizen.

As part of an annual conference on information technology 2018 in Dar Es Salaam, Dr Jim Yonazi, a senior member of Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication, spoke to the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry in devising new use cases of blockchain to devise regulatory moves.

While Tanzania has a practical approach towards cryptocurrencies, progress in this sector has so far been painfully slow, though it had its first baby birth recorded on the blockchain and a few other innovations. The central bank is also studying DLT for effective regulatory practices.

United Arab Emirates

Government recognizes crypto assets as securities: Recently, the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) of UAE has approved a resolution to regulate cryptocurrencies and ICO tokens as securities.

It had been deliberating on a regulatory framework for a while and has now declared cryptocurrency assets as real assets of value and thus, they fall under the framework of the SCA. While the framework itself has not yet been updated for the cryptocurrencies, deliberations are underway to do so.

With the new regulatory status, UAE could become home to more and more cryptocurrency startups in the region. The evidence is out there as the country witnessed the launch of the first officially recognized and registered cryptocurrency exchange recently: The Crypto Bulls Exchange (CBX).

The CBX is not only the first cryptocurrency exchange in UAE but in the whole Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). It also became the first cryptocurrency exchange to offer UAE dirham trading pairs for cryptocurrencies.

 

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 19th to 25th October 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.

Kenya

Restaurant accepts Bitcoin and Dash for food and crypto classes: A new restaurant in Kenya is offering food and cryptocurrency classes in exchange for cryptocurrencies. Situated in the small town of Nyeri, the local tech-savvy restaurant embraced cryptocurrency payment as a first in the region.

The town itself is 150 km from the capital Nairobi and lies near the popular destination of Mount Kenya. According to the proprietress of the eatery, Wambagu: “Since the world is becoming more global, my place is also becoming a global restaurant.”

Wambagu prides herself on being a cryptocurrency pioneer in the country and people flock to her restaurant because of her excellent food. She has also introduced cryptocurrency education classes for interested individuals inside her restaurant every Sunday and attendees can also pay the nominal fee in Bitcoin.

South Africa

South Africa deemed most crypto-friendly country in region: South Africa has been deemed as the most pro-crypto country in the African continent according to a report by French banking group BNB Paribas and Capgemini IT company.

According to the report, South Africa has allowed cryptocurrency payments, trades and investments without too much regulatory backlash. The country is also investing a lot in blockchain and crypto education as well as becoming home to an increasing number of Bitcoin ATMs and cryptocurrency exchanges.

Other African countries are also progressing but a relatively slower pace. Kenya and Ghana are also catching up with South Africa and allowing a pro-crypto culture within the countries.

African Union

Blockchain and crypto making a difference in Africa: Cryptocurrencies and DLT are paving way for economic inclusion and stimulating growth in the African countries. Many public sectors are weighing up the option to use cryptocurrencies to battle corruption and inefficiency in government departments.

While globalization and mercantilism have happened largely at the expense of African nations and exploitation of their resources,  it is refreshing to see that cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are helping African people and governments push back. The recent adoption of blockchain systems for rare earth metal tracking in Rwanda is a good example because of rampant labor violations going in the mines that provide the world with much of the metals that are used in electronics manufacturing.

Turkey

CoinText Introduced in Turkey: Turkey, along with Argentina, are now within the operational coverage of CoinText, an offline SMS-based cryptocurrency trading solution. With the new service, Turks will be able to use Bitcoin Cash (BCH) through an SMS rather than a wallet which is connected to the internet and thus susceptible to intrusion.

Cryptocurrency trading in the country has reached record levels after a recent plunge in the demand of local currency lira.

Israel

Central banks wants to help blockchain companies: At the Israeli Blockchain Summit in the capital of Tel Aviv, Bank of Israel Head of Innovation and technology, Daniel Hahiashvili, said that the bank is looking to facilitate blockchain companies in the country.

His statement echoed change occurring in the system after the Bank of Israel banned cryptocurrencies five years ago.

United Arab Emirates

Government finds solution for ICO liability: The UAE regulator Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) has announced a plan that will recognize cryptocurrencies as securities and thus make them liable for SCA’s jurisdiction.

While such a move may be detrimental and less encouraging for cryptocurrencies and new ICOs, it is still one of the more popular ways to regulate new ICOs and their tokens. The SCA has also warned about investing in cryptocurrencies before.

 

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 12-18 October 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 cryptocurrency and blockchain news, continent by continent and country by country.

Nigeria

Cryptocurrency Exchanges Increasing Security Layers to Prevent Fraud: Nigerian cryptocurrency exchanges are working to improve their security features following multiple exchange hacks in recent months.

While Nigerian exchanges have escaped largely unhurt, they are working to improve the security of their funds. Exchanges including Luno have added additional security layers for unsuspecting customers, many of whom are not knowledgeable about cryptocurrency hacking activities.

Zambia

Central Bank Says Bitcoin Is Not a Legal Tender: The Central Bank of Zambia has toughened its stance on cryptocurrencies and declared that they are not legal tender and those investing in it will have to bear the entire responsibility in the case of a market failure.

But, at the same time, the Bank has also said that it neither has the power or legal backing to enforce a complete shutdown against cryptocurrencies in the country and would need legislation from the government to enable any future actions. The warning comes at a time when many Africans are looking towards cryptocurrencies as a safe haven against inflation and other fiat-related issues.

Rwanda

Government Tracking Tantalum Metal Mining With Blockchain: The Rwandan government has announced a new blockchain-based project to help track Tantalum mining operations in the country. Tantalum mining is crucial for the electronics industry but the operations are often dogged by claims of mistreatment of workers and labour violations.

Rwanda itself is one of the biggest exporters of the rare earth metals in the world and is now looking towards blockchain technology to regulate the industry. The system was developed by Circulor, a London-based DLT startup and the blockchain used for the purpose was Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain system.

Kenya

Blockchain Being Used for Fair Distribution of Housing: Kenya is using the transparency of the DLT to help create a fair distribution of housing projects and prevent misuse of funds. The move comes after the East African country was rocked by government corruption scandals in the public projects.

The new housing project with more than 500,000 units being proposed by the government has raised eyebrows regarding transparency as a recent Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) indicated that the bribe culture is getting worse in the country. Blockchain Technology is being eagerly pursued by the government to help end this epidemic in the country.

Turkey

Text-based Crypto Service Launched: Turkey saw the launch of the first SMS-based cryptocurrency service for Bitcoin Cash by Cointext. As the popularity of Bitcoin grows, Turkey and other countries are getting more and more innovative with ways of using cryptocurrencies, both online and offline.

Offline Bitcoin transfer facilities allow users to bypass exchanges and create a P2P trading environment that is crucial for the future of cryptocurrency development in the world.

United Arab Emirates

Government Planning New ICO Rules: The Emirates government is working on new ICO rules in the country following dangerous security lapses by cryptocurrency companies in the near past. According to Reuters, by 2019, the government will allow firms to raise capital through ICOs instead of IPOs.

The Emirati regulators, however, are working to bring ICOs under their control by that time and have designated cryptocurrencies as securities. According to Obaid Saif Al-Zaabi of the securities watchdog, the regulations will be in place by the first half of 2019 thus opening gateways for everybody to use this option for raising capital.

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 5th to 11th October 2018

Africa and the Middle East

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

African Union

Crypto regulation rising in many AU countries: Cryptocurrency regulation is being pursued more and more rigorously by the African governments in recent times as they set to curtail the powers of decentralization and borderless options advocated by cryptocurrencies.

Zimbabwe is an interesting case study as the official policy flip-flopped between deregulating and over-regulating the industry. Kenya is also considering placing more regulations on the industry. Other countries like Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda and Ghana have shown openness in cryptocurrency adoption but they are also planning regulation in the near future.

South Africa

Crypto investors urged to be responsible: With the increase in the number of cryptocurrency investors in South Africa, the investor community is being urged to be responsible by international family office Stonehage Fleming.

Eran Brill, Director of Stonehage’s Investment Management division in South Africa has urged all the investors to give their beneficiaries a full picture of their holdings because in the event of their death, they will have a hard time accessing these assets. He also outlined several ways in which this can be achieved without comprising the security of the wallets and exchange accounts.

Nigeria

Firm launches anti-fraud blockchain: A london-based firm has launched an anti-fraudulent blockchain network partnership with KAD ICT Hub based in Kaduna in Nigeria.

The main purposes of the partnership are microfinance and financial inclusion for tens of millions of Nigerians who do not have access to basic banking services. The move is part of a bigger initiative called Africa Blockchain Lab that was opened back in August 2018.

The anti-fraud network uses Confirm’s AMLT network to investigate suspicious cryptocurrency addresses. The anti-fraud option is important for Africa because many investors and public are inexperienced in cryptocurrency and financial matters.

Zimbabwe

WhatsApp trading hitting record levels: While governments are taking hard measures against cryptocurrencies, cryptocurrency trading in African countries like Zimbabwe are hitting new highs thanks to unconventional means of trading like the popular messaging app WhatsApp.

Zimbabwe is one of the unfortunate countries suffering from hyperinflation and many citizens are turning to cryptocurrencies to help circumnavigate the rampant inflation in the country. A recent insight into the cryptocurrency trading scene based on WhatsApp reveals trading agents using groups and private chats to connect sellers and buyers of Bitcoin. They charge a 5% commission for each trade for their services.

WhatsApp circles saw increased trading after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe banned two of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the country: Golix and Styx24.

Israel

Government may lower crypto taxes: The Israeli government may just lower cryptocurrency taxation in the country by 50% after months of hostility towards cryptocurrencies.

The announcement was made by the deputy director general for Israel Tax Authority Roland Am-Shalem and it said that it will not insist in calculating FIFO for taxation of cryptocurrencies.

This is finally some good news for cryptocurrency traders in Israel who have suffered due to lack of official recognition of cryptocurrencies in recent times.

United Arab Emirates

Government announces securities status for crypto, plans ICO legalization by 2019: The UAE government is working to legalize initial coin offerings (ICOs) by 2019 and has declared cryptocurrencies to be a form of securities. The latest pro-crypto move is to increase blockchain-related investment in the country and attract DLT-based businesses.

According to the country’s Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), Obaid Said Al-Zaabi, head of the top regulator said:

“The board of the Emirates Securities & Commodities Authority has approved considering ICOs as securities. As per our plan, we should have regulations on the ground in the first half of 2019.”

However, the utility-security conundrum of cryptocurrencies has not been addressed fully as of yet.

 

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