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Crypto rush in Africa

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“Africa will define the future (especially the Bitcoin one”

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, tweeted at the end of his trip to Africa in November 2019

This week, Africa saw several major improvements in the aspects of crypto and blockchain. The last couple of weeks documented several fascinating news ranging from an announcement from Crypto exchange Yellowcard.io about entering Tanzania and PaxFul adding USDT P2P trading, amid Africa still leading in bitcoin search.

Crypto news from Africa

  • South Africa’s Standard Bank, joins contour’s blockchain network

Standard Bank, South Africa became the first African country to become part of the Contour decentralized ecosystem to issue a Letter of Credit (LC). 

The Contour blockchain network aims to improve processing time by as much as 90%. Standard Bank is known for having a wide African network, and as a result of this development, the past week has been a solid week for crypto in Africa.

  • Zimbabwe approves cryptocurrency listings on VFEX

There seems to be another exciting moment in the African crypto community in general, and Zimbabwe in particular. 

The CEO of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) has proclaimed its licensed subsidiary; Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX) is open to crypto listing, depending on regulatory approval. 

Zimbabwe’s monetary authorities have previously warned citizens against trading in cryptocurrencies, proclaiming them as risk assets which are prone to fraud. However, the country has gradually experienced a change in its stance. 

The Zimbabwean government sees VFEX as a fundraising platform for local firms. VFEX already achieved exchange control approval to trade in US dollars, and a number of supporters have shown interest in the development.

  • Bitcoin rush in Egypt

Egyptians are showing serious interests in bitcoin mining and trading, amid a surging economic crisis and unemployment. 

Resulting from the spread of the coronavirus and the precautionary measures taken, there has been a global spike in unemployment. However, the new tech, Blockchain, alongside bitcoin, is taking the world by a storm and proving to be a means to transform lives, particularly in the creation of employment. 

A huge number of Egyptians have reportedly tilted towards the cryptosphere which seems to be providing a safe-haven and escape from job loss following the COVID-19 outbreak. Many have joined the bitcoin community by investing their savings to get daily yields.

Interesting! 

  • Blockchain now powers indoor security cameras

IoTex, in partnership with Tenvis, has announced the world’s first blockchain-powered home security camera. Yes, you “read” right, a blockchain-powered UCAM. 

I’m willing to bet my precious little TRX bag that this is coming as a shock to you (rightfully so, as blockchain was first invented only for Bitcoin). However, we are gradually beginning to see the full potential of blockchain and the wonders of a decentralized network. 

Again, blockchain is taking us to another incredible level. What’s more interesting than a totally private security-focused camera? Users can access their camera data through a decentralized system logging in with an untraceable password. 

By allowing the users’ camera or mobile phone to handle all computing, and by giving users total control of their data, the system is poised at eliminating security breaches which have always been a part of many internet-based security cameras. 

ICYMI: other top stories you may have missed

  • Have you read South Africa’s largest crypto exchange, VLAR.com, CEO open letter to SA Regulators? The Chief executive of the cryptocurrency exchange expressed concerns against an article published by Business Insider in the country.
  • Bitmex, one of the worlds biggest crypto trading exchange, faces criminal charges on grounds of allowing Illegal transactions. There are rumours the exchange could be shutdown. 
  • Fastbitcoin partners with prepaid Voucher, Flexepin, To Expand to Uganda and Kenya. 
  • Bundle Africa: Arguably the hottest crypto payment app, Bundle userbase and investment on the platform is growing in an interesting rate. For key metrics, check their recently published Bundle Rewind.

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Crypto prices drop as global market fear increases

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Top cryptocurrency prices have fallen amidst a drop in stocks and fears over China’s Evergrande debt crisis. In the last 24hour, Bitcoin dropped from $47,772 to $42,630 shedding about 8.58%. this is the lowest in price since another bull run began on Sept 5 after the April crash.

El- Salvador’s President, Nayib Bukele sees the fall as an opportunity to invest more. Recall that the country adopted Bitcoin as a legal tender on September 7. Despite the adoption, the price of Bitcoin has fallen by almost 14% since then.

Other coins have experienced dramatic crashes within the last 24hours. Solana, a coin that has experienced 355% growth within the last 3 months fell from $162 to $130 shedding about 11.39% within the last 24hours. Solana’s fall may be categorized by the 17-hour outage which the founder, Anatoly Yakovenko said was caused by bots “flooding the networks”

Ethereum fell by 9.37% while Dogecoin and Axie Infinity fell by 11.22% and 14.14% respectively within the last 24hrs hours. While crypto experiences dark Monday, El-Salvador keeps investing more money in Bitcoin.

A look at the global market

The global market is experiencing fear due to the Evergrande debt crisis. A report published by the University of Michigan shows that consumer’s sentiment is beginning to decline. This trend alone may impact the crypto market as well.

On the other hand, the global market downturn must have been spurred by the Evergrande debt crisis. The company grew to be one of China’s biggest companies by borrowing more than $300bn. Last year, Beijing made rules to control the debt owed by big real estate developers. This led Evergrande to offer its properties at major discounts to raise more money to keep the business afloat. Right now, the company is struggling to meet the interest on payment of debts.

Why would it matter if Evergrande fails?

The collapse of the multi-million dollars company would affect the global market; including the crypto market. Many people bought properties from Evergrande and they expect to make gains. If Evergrande falls, crypto investors will be forced to withdraw more money to keep their business running without the means to invest more. When one business fails, the other gets affected indirectly. This also applies to other firms that do businesses with Evergrande.

The potential impact on China’s financial system is another effect of Evergrande’s fall. In his statement to BBC, Mattie Berkink, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), said that “the financial fallout would be far-reaching. Evergrande reportedly owes money to around 171 domestic banks 121 other financial firms” if the company fails, other lenders or businesses may be forced to lend less. Thereby leading to a credit crunch- a situation where companies struggle to borrow money.

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Bitcoin in Africa

The rise of CBDC in African economies

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Many nations have taken cues from the world of crypto and its resounding successes over the last decade. In order to avoid getting left behind, governments worldwide are increasingly turning their attention towards implementing some form of digital currency, a CBDC which in full is Central Bank Digital Currency. Although inspired by cryptocurrencies, CBDC’s are quite different from traditional crypto platforms. The main differences are that CBDC’s are unlikely to be decentralized, the supply of this currency regulated by the host’s country’s central bank as the CBDC is designed to operate as a sovereign legal tender, the digitized form of the host country’s fiat currency. Thus, a central bank may issue digitized tokens of its currency of which their value is pegged to the fiat currency of the nation in question, making CBDC’s stablecoins.

Africa has seen a rise in the use of cryptocurrencies and it’s still pushing frontiers in this sector. Although the use of crypto in many African nations is becoming more and more pervasive by the day, the tone of governments in many of these countries toward the sector is cautious at best and threatening at worst. However, a few nations have voiced interests in creating digitized versions of their legal tender to function as a CBDC. Amongst these are Ghana, Nigeria, Morocco, Kenya and Tunisia.

Many of these projects are still in the research phase or developmental phase however. A good example is Ghana’s proposed CBDC, the E-cedi being developed in partnership with German company, Giesecke + Devrient. Nigeria’s CBDC project, the eNaira has been announced and according to Nigeria’s central bank, this CBDC will be launched sometime in 2021. To that end, the CBN has partnered with fintech company, Bitt Inc. to serve as the technical partner in the eNaira’s development. Reportedly, the CBN had made the decision to digitize the Nigerian Naira in 2017.

While the pursuance of digital currencies in African nations is a welcome development, implementation of these schemes isn’t without challenges. Chief among the issues countries in Africa face would be the already existing financial service inequality and poor penetration of internet access in the continent. These challenges must be tackled in order to allow for mainstream adoption of CBDCs and the subsequent provision of financial inclusion. The benefits largely depend on the peculiarities of the nation deploying them. For instance, a digital currency is thought to help Nigeria increase foreign remittances, it’s second largest source of forex after oil. Whatever the outcome of these projects, it is becoming apparent that CBDC’s have come to stay.

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Bitcoin trades above $51k ahead of El Salvador’s adoption

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Bitcoin growth

Bitcoin price has rallied above $51,000 ahead of El Salvador’s adoption. The immediate surge in price may be due to the social media campaign that everyone should buy sats of Bitcoin to support El Salvador’s plan to make the coin a legal tender or it may be due to the news of El Salvador’s adoption of the coin as a legal tender on September 7. Users of social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit are discussing how they will buy Bitcoin of $30 each to mark the new El Salvador Bitcoin law.

The surge in Bitcoin’s price began in the last 24hrs with the price rallying around $51,955 with a 3.37% increase. This is an all-time high after the April crash that brought the price of Bitcoin from $64k down to $28k. The move by El Salvador to be the first country that accepts Bitcoin as a legal tender and the social media campaign that leads to a surge in price ahead September 7 are a repetition of events that occurred late last year and early this year with regards to institutional investors and how the price of Bitcoin skyrocketed.

El Salvador, a country in Central America, has been preparing heavily to adopt Bitcoin by installing ATMs to allow citizens to convert the token into US dollars. Last week, the country’s Legislative Assembly passed a law to allow for the creation of a $150m Trust to support the conversion of Bitcoins to US dollars.

To promote the use of Bitcoin, the government states that it will give the adult population of El Salvador $30 in Bitcoin once they download “Chivo” the wallet issued by the government. This was confirmed by the Finance Minister, Alejandro Zelaya.

What this means for Bitcoin investors

Apart from the adoption by Salvadorians, on-chain analytics show that Bitcoin is in high demand. The fourth halving that occurred will make Bitcoin become a scarce token in the nearest future. Thereby increasing the price sporadically.

With El Salvador’s interest in Bitcoin, other countries are likely to follow suit- Panama is considering following El Salvador’s lead. History will repeat itself as this development will serve as another crypto rout that occurred early this year when Tesla and MicroStrategy announced their support for Bitcoin.

El Salvador’s new law allows the use of Bitcoin as a legal tender it can be used to buy goods, pay for taxes and bank loans. This means more demand for Bitcoin, with the fourth halving that occurred, it means less supply. A common rule of economics for demand and supply will apply. Prices are projected to keep rising. At the time of writing this report, Bitcoin is trading at $51,839 with a projection of $52k before the end of today and higher tomorrow when Salvadorians begin to use the token.

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