Category Archives: Uganda

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Namibian Crypto Fundraiser to Save African Wild Dog

A traveler to Namibia has decided to raise funds in cryptocurrency in order to save African wildlife.

When she was in Namibia, Nadja Leroux first accounted cryptocurrency when she was sent a small amount of Bitcoin Cash, enabling her to make transactions even while in the African bush. On returning home, she has now decided to put her new-found knowledge to good use by raising funds towards saving 4,500 African wild dogs.

The African wild dog, also known as African hunting dog, African painted dog, painted hunting dog, or painted wolf, is a canine native to sub-Saharan Africa. It was classified as an endangered species in 2016 and the global population is now down to around 6,000 adults in total.

Leroux now intends to buy an iPad for analysis and record keeping while she attempts to raise the funds needed for her donation of USD 1,600 for the equipment needed, which is likely to be used for tracking the animals and ensuring their safety. She has spent 121 days in the field setting up her project, and so far she has raised USD 33 in cryptocurrency.

Still in Africa, Zimbabwe’s new government is examining cryptocurrency after commenting that it appears that governments who are crypto positive, like Switzerland, are in good shape. The country’s new finance minister, Mthuli Ncube, believes that cryptocurrencies may have a role in bringing the failing economy back on track.

In Uganda, RightMesh AD has listed its token on the country’s Golix exchange with the aim to bring online more Ugandans also Africans throughout the continent. The company has been giving crypto handouts as an incentive to participate in the project which aims to increase connectivity.

A new report by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has outlined that Africa will need to invest more in internet connectivity in order to maintain the continent’s current pace of cryptocurrency adoption.

The popularity of Bitcoin in Africa continues to grow as a result of the presence of cryptocurrency exchange platforms. There are benefits to cryptocurrency ownership that are unique to the African continent, many devolving from the widespread unstable economic conditions.

 

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Digital Currency Ecosystem in Africa Grows, But More Connectivity Needed

A new report by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has outlined that Africa will need to invest more in internet connectivity in order to maintain the continent’s current pace of cryptocurrency adoption.

The popularity of Bitcoin in Africa continues to grow as a result of the presence of cryptocurrency exchange platforms. There are benefits to cryptocurrency ownership that are unique to the African continent, many devolving from the widespread unstable economic conditions.

Owning and trading in cryptocurrencies is a trend on the rise in countries across the globe. The markets in the USA and Asia have typically gained media traction, while the phenomena in Africa is left largely uncovered. Moreover, a large number of recognized exchanges don’t offer services in Africa, whereas, some recognize the significant marketplace that includes many Africans who do not have access to formal bank accounts.

If Africa is to be the next boom as many experts are currently predicting, it will need to make major changes to its telecommunications infrastructure across the continent, as indicated by the ITU report. The report shows that to connect the majority of Africans to the internet will cost as much as $450 billion.

Currently, governments on the continent spend significantly less than the global average with most countries spending three times as much on connectivity. Low education levels and the high cost of internet capable devices have been cited as contributing factors to the current slow uptake of the internet in many areas of the continent.

The uptake of digital currency has been prolific in Africa over the past two years, with many countries taking on the advantages that currencies such as Bitcoin offer over local fiat currencies. Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe have all shown a significant increase in crypto adoption.

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.”

It is clear that this “infrastructure” depends on connectivity. ITU reveals that out of the 52 percent of the world’s population who remain unconnected to the internet, the majority of these live on the African continent.

One country is attempting to address this disparity. Rwanda has managed to achieve a 90 percent broadband spread with its nationwide rollout of optical fiber throughout a larger part of the country. The project began in 2009 in order to boost broadband services and attract foreign business investment.

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Binance Announces Plans to Create First Decentralized Tokenized Bank in Malta

Binance in Malta is backing plans to create a blockchain-based bank with tokenized ownership, according to Crowdfund Insider.

The world’s second largest crypto exchange had already announced its move to Malta in March and has set up a bank account on the island, thus demonstrating that Malta is moving ahead with industry-friendly regulations to facilitate its plans to become a major cryptocurrency hub.

The blockchain-based financial institution which will be known as the “Founders Bank” will become the world’s first decentralized, community-owned bank, and participants will be issued with “legally binding equity tokens” in return for their investment.

The blockchain-based equity fundraising platform Neufund will issue the tokens. The German-based company which has a base in Malta but retains its HQ in Germany, is said to have raised USD 11 million from well-known investors in 2017. Binance and Neufund are also reported to be partnering with one of Europe’s main stock exchanges later this year, although no names have been thrown into the hat as yet.

Binance Tweeted on its plans for the new bank:

“Founders Bank will become the first stable high-tech banking solution, not only focused on founders but also owned by them, bridging the gap between traditional financial world and innovative crypto companies.”

The bank’s first step will be to seek a licence from Maltese regulators. Malta has already approved three DLT and crypto-related bills which pave the way for new businesses to the island. Silvio Schembri, Junior Minister for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation within the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta, stated that the island “is honoured to be chosen as the location of the first global community-owned bank”. He added:

“We welcome Founders Bank with the utmost excitement and hope that their Fintech solutions will attract even more world-class companies to our Blockchain Island.”

Schembri is known for being the leading advocate on Malta for pursuing an innovation economy build on blockchain and Fintech development.

Binance also recently opened a new crypto-fiat trading platform in Uganda, which supports the Ugandan shilling, alongside major cryptocurrencies.

 

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 1st to 7th June 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

African Union

Africa has potential to become next frontier in crypto: According to a report by Economist Nigeria, Africa is in line to become the next cryptocurrency hub in the world. Economists believe that the technology has the ability to cause disruption in fintech circles because it is not bound by geography and records transactions in real time.

African countries with especially high inflation rates are among the places where cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular as they have the ability to combat the crushing inflation despite being volatile themselves.

According to Tech journalist Mukesh Sharma, “Africa is rarely mentioned among the largest markets for cryptocurrency, but it may be set to steal a march over other markets.”

Mobile phone users that will increase to around 725 million subscribers by 2020 will present more and opportunities for cryptocurrencies to succeed. African governments themselves are in favor of blockchain technology as it will attract vital foreign investment and innovative development in the region. More than 15 cryptocurrency startups have taken root in the continent since the year’s start too. Mining, trading and ICOs are becoming more and more popular as well.

Zimbabwe

High Court reverses crypto ban: In a surprise move, the central bank of Zimbabwe lost its case against banning cryptocurrency exchange trading as the local high court ruled in favor of exchange Golix that filed the application, according to latest reports.

What’s surprising is that the Central Bank’s legal team failed to show up in court and thus the court had no choice but to award the case to Golix. The move was welcomed in Zimbabwe as many people there are now investing in cryptocurrencies to elude the hyperinflation that is rampant in the country. The Reserve Bank is already one of the least popular government institutions in the country.

No one from the central bank was available for comment.

Egypt

Egyptian Grand Mufti against Bitcoin: According to latest reports from Egypt, the Grand Mufti has declared that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are against the principles of Islamic currency. The move comes after the mufti traded barbs with the imam of a local UK mosque that started accepting cryptocurrency donations.

The issue of Bitcoin is not yet resolved by the Muslim clergy but now more and more people are open to the idea of cryptocurrencies and their usefulness.

South Africa

Central Bank developing blockchain-based internal tokens payment: The South African Central Bank (SARB) is working on a proof-of-concept based interbank payment system that uses an Ethereum-based fiat token, according to latest reports from Cointelegraph.

The project Khokha as it is called has been entailed in the latest report by SARB. It says:

“The aim is to build a proof-of-concept (PoC) wholesale payment system for interbank settlement using a South African Rand token on distributed ledger technology (DLT), while also investigating interconnected issues such as the platform’s scalability, resilience, confidentiality, and finality.”

Blockchain startup ConsenSys has joined in with seven partnering banks to form a trial team for the new blockchain payment system. PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc (PwC) has also joined in as a support partner.

Crypto miners may be targeting South African computers: South African computer users could be the latest victims of crypto jacking according to latest reports of African newspaper The New Age that used visiting computers’ computing power to mine cryptocurrencies.

A shady code was unveiled by a tech-savvy visitor to the website who noticed that his system slowed down a lot upon visiting the website. Upon investigation, it was found that a crypto mining script had been inserted into the website’s code to mine Monero, a popular cryptocurrency focused on privacy.

The newspaper has denied adding the code and could face investigation.

Uganda

President promotes blockchain technology: President of Uganda Yoweria Kugata Museveni has made encouraging statements regarding the future development of blockchain technology. He made the remarks at the first Africa Blockchain Conference held in Kampala, Uganda this week.

President Museveni welcomed the technology to increase transparency in the monetary system of Africa and the world. He spoke at length about how businesses had become used to “secrets and deceit” and that blockchain provided a solution. He said he strongly believed that blockchain technology could streamline the goods and services across his country but also cautioned against complete breakdown of current infrastructure.

The Middle East

Israel

8 Israelis arrested in Philippines for crypto scam: Eight Israelis and 480 local Filipino residents have been arrested in a possible Bitcoin scam in the Philippines, according to latest reports from the Pacific nation. The group was reportedly involved in fraudulent activities amounting to millions of dollars.

The local police undertook these raids following tip-offs by people within the crypto community. According to the police, the Israelis were involved in supervision of the scam and they had defrauded citizens of New Zealand, Russia, Australia and South Africa who thought they were investing in cryptocurrencies.

Public outraged by crypto regulation crisis: A regulatory impasse is creating problems in Israel according to latest reports coming from the Middle Eastern country. The country is facing protests from the crypto community that claim they have been promised legislation.

Due to the said delay in regulating the space, the individuals and businesses operating in the country will continue to face massive issues in cashing out cryptocurrency deposits from local banks. The government cited money laundering fears as the reason behind the delay in the key legislation and has so far failed to make a breakthrough.

 

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President of Uganda Embraces Blockchain Technology

The President of Uganda, Yoweria Kugata Museveni, made very positive statements regarding blockchain technology at the inaugural Africa Blockchain Conference held in Kampala, Uganda. The conference was organized by the Blockchain Association of Uganda and brought together industry leaders from over 20 countries.

President Museveni said he welcomed and embraced blockchain technology, since it provides full transparency through a public ledger; he said he was aware of how businesses were negatively impacted by “secrets and deceit”, and thought blockchain technology to be the solution. In an example he gave, he said if a farm wanted to sell 100 cows everyone involved could verify the transaction since the data was stored on a public ledger. Not only would the data be public, blockchain ledgers were immutable so they couldn’t be hacked or manipulated, reducing fraud.

The president believed blockchain technology would streamline the movement of goods and services throughout Uganda, but cautioned his citizens that it should not be a replacement, rather it will complement existing infrastructure.

The Governor of the Bank of Uganda, Emmanuel Mutebile, was encouraged by President Museveni to explore blockchain technology. Mutebile said blockchain was technology that would change how people do business and manage data.

Chairman of the Blockchain Association of Uganda, Kwame Rugunda, sees the potential for blockchain to reduce fraud in the land trade. Forging land titles and illegal land grabbing is a problem in Uganda, and this could be solved if land titles are stored in an immutable blockchain ledger. Also, he says over 100 million Africans are negatively affected by counterfeit drugs. Conducting prescription drug transactions through blockchain would help stop the circulation of counterfeit drugs in Africa.

The positive perspective of the Ugandan Central Bank on blockchain technology is in stark contrast to Zimbabwe, which is located well to the south of Uganda on the African Continent. The Central Bank of Zimbabwe recently tried to ban all cryptocurrency activity.

Uganda is a country of roughly 42 million people with a gross domestic product of USD 27 billion. The Ugandan president’s views will help blockchain technology spread throughout the country, an important step towards global adoption of cryptocurrency and blockchain.

 

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Solar Power Could Be Africa’s Answer to Pushing Blockchain Forward

Last month, the 2018 Blockchain Africa Conference was held in Johannesburg to discuss blockchain and cryptocurrency development on the African continent.

The conference brought together local and international speakers to discuss the fintech regulatory environment, technology hurdles and opportunities in innovation, in terms of how these areas affect the promotion of the new technology in Africa.

Africa is rarely in the front pages of the news in terms of fintech development, but the continent is an emerging blockchain center. The recent task force set up by the Kenyan government to look into the technology, and growing interest in DLT in countries such as Nigeria, Sudan, Algeria, and Sudan represent a forward-thinking approach by some African governments.

Nabyl Charania, chairman and CEO of Rokk3r, suggests that one of Africa’s major technological hurdles is the problems surrounding crypto mining, due to the continent’s extreme climate not being ideally suited for its development.

Ethiopia’s average temperature is 93 degrees F, plus about 600 million people living in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity at all. It is estimated that by 2040, 530 million people will still not have access to electricity due to population growth. What Africa does have in abundance, though, is the sun.

Bitcoin mining is booming in Cairo is due to its much lower electricity prices. Other countries are less fortunate, but see solar power as a solution. According to Reuters, Morocco’s 800MW Noor Midelt solar complex costing USD 2.4 billion has support from the African Development Bank, the World Bank, the EU and the European Investment Bank.

Seychelles has plans to install Africa’s first floating solar project, along with giant solar farms in South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Morocco and Burkina Faso.

In an article on Greentech Media, author Tam Hunt suggests: “It can make good financial sense to use solar power to mine Bitcoin. Solar plants can provide power that is cheaper than grid power in areas with good insulation and low construction costs. The price of power is also known with some certainty over time because there are no fuel costs and thus no volatility.”

Such investments in energy infrastructure could bring Africa into the global crypto blockchain fold and also overcome the world’s major problem in this field: the unsustainability of crypto mining.

 

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