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Meet Africa’s Blockchain Startups: Bitland

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Bitland

Bitland is a Ghana-based blockchain startup that is utlitising blockchain technology to provide land registry services. The company aims to provide the basic services and infrastructure needed to give locals and organisations access to survey lands and register properties as well as assets through the Bitshares blockchain.

Furthermore, Bitland also intends to act as a liaison to help resolve disputes over ownership of land. Additionally, individuals or groups who registered their property on Bitland will be able to use their land as equity for bank loans.

The startup is working to extend their services globally within five years but for time being they are focusing on Ghana, with 28 communities selected in the southern part of the country to kick start the project.

BitcoinAfrica.io had the opportunity of interviewing Mr. Narigamba Mwinsuubo, the founder of Bitland to give us further insight into the work of Bitland.

What brought about the idea of Bitland?

Strong property rights is an important ingredient in economic development and prosperity for people. Without the protection of land use rights and reliability of transferring those rights, people have less an incentive to invest their time, energy and money into the properties that they inhabit and use.

Ghana has the problem of developing a fair, functioning, timely and efficient land administration system to get a single registry that represents a consistent ledger of land title holdings. It is plagued with multiple transfers of the same property. It takes longer times before land records are recorded, limited access of records, ongoing disputes over boundaries, and selling of land rights not owned by the seller and this is one source of the economic difficulties faced by most Ghanaians yet the courts are drowning in land disputes cases. So using the blockchain technology to create the first land title document with the help of a few friends who had in-depth knowledge about blockchain, time-stamping and mapping, I started Bitland.

So using the blockchain technology to create the first land title document with the help of a few friends who had in-depth knowledge about blockchain, time-stamping and mapping, I started Bitland.

How does Bitland intend to use blockchain technology for land registry?

The Bitland process is a next logical step for land administration, using online technology to include satellite images, GPS coordinates, landmarks, survey information and other data that make it easier to independently verify the accuracy of any plot of land. We want to simplify the process that can allow users to utilise their mobile device to enter a land survey. Whether a smart phone or tablet, the Bitland Application will allow users to plot land and submit requests directly to the government through the Bitland protocol.

How secure is the property or assets of an individual/organisation that uses Bitland?

Since the system is utilising a modified Proof of Stake (PoS) approach, the security of the system is not only distributed but more energy efficient than Proof of Work systems. By attaching a land title to the blockchain, it creates a time-stamped, immutable, transparent ledger of who owns a property. This will be much more resistant to corruption and fraudulent transactions than the current system in place. It will also serve as a method to prevent anyone within the government from corrupting the process for nepotism or to execute an illegal land grab.

What stage of development is Bitland currently working on?

We are on the verge of completing a working demo that is simple and easily accessible that organizations such as the Land administrations and Customary Land Secretariats (CLS) could use in one suite of tools.

What are the biggest challenges is Bitland organization facing to achieve her goals?

When a project of this nature is presented, many people wonder how it can be guaranteed that the information on Bitland blockchain is correct and available at all times and for this reason, we have done field tests over and over again practically with the communities to see how it works. Currently, the organisations greatest challenge is finance and we are open to donor-funded organisations who will want to support or buy into the project.

What is the long term plan of Bitland?

The communities involved in our training sessions now understand that decentralised and autonomous data archives models, such as one that is provided by the blockchain, can be an interesting alternative to centralised data storage solution and that the Bitland model will eliminate the dependency on a centralised authority and will allow distributed and trusted storage across nodes in the blockchain network. The

The organisation’s long term goal is to partner with government and administrations where Bitland serves as the liaisons between the people needing to register land titles and the officials that currently hold the access to the physical databases to effectively work through digitising the backlogs while continuing to take in new registry requests.

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Peer-to-Peer Exchange Remitano Introduces Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Support

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Remitano Introduces Bitcoin Cash
Image by Remitano

The peer-to-peer trading and remittance platform, Remitano, has introduced bitcoin cash (BCH) support on the grounds that it has cheaper transaction fees than bitcoin.

Remitano is based in Seychelles and operates in Nigeria, Kenya, the US, Cambodia, Namibia, Uganda, Tanzania, Mexico, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. The exchange charges a trading fee of 0.5 percent and has managed to substantially grow its user base since it has entered the African market. Remitano also supports tether (USDT), ether (ETH), and bitcoin (BTC).

“While Bitcoin has been suffering from high transaction fees, Bitcoin Cash offers a far cheaper transaction fee. It can, therefore, be more easily used as daily, P2P electronic cash,” Dung Huynh, Remitano’s co-founder said.

“We believe that Bitcoin Cash can foster crypto payment to the next level and are, therefore, proud to be the first major P2P exchange that offers this to our users.”

Remitano has joined other companies that have been embracing bitcoin cash (BCH) such as Cointext, which allows users to send BCH through text message without an Internet connection and the bitcoin cash Tipprbot, whose use has been increasing in popularity among the bitcoin cash community in recent weeks.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) to Fork Again

Bitcoin cash (BCH) is expected to fork again on May 15, 2018, where its block size will be increased to 32MB compared to bitcoin’s limit of 1MB. By increasing the block size, transaction speeds will increase and transaction fees will be kept low.

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Golix Plans to Launch ICO but Zimbabwean Regulator Rings Alarm Bells

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Golix ICO

The Securities Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe (SecZim) has warned investors against investing money in unregulated exchanges and securities following plans by Golix to issue a multi-million dollar initial coin offering (ICO). According to sources, the Harare-based cryptocurrency exchange is seeking to raise a minimum of $10 million. The company would be the first bitcoin startup in Zimbabwe to use this innovative way to raise funds.

The ICO Boom

An initial coin offering (ICO) is a revolutionary way to raise the capital needed for new cryptocurrency projects by issuing a percentage of the initial coins supply among early-stage investors. Similar to investing in a company’s stock, the value of the new coin linked to the digital currency project has the potential to gain in value as the project performs well. Once successfully launched, the new coins or tokens can be traded on cryptocurrency exchanges.

Globally, ICOs have appealed to blockchain companies as the next big thing in corporate fundraising and speculative investing. In 2017 alone, over $4 billion dollars were raised through this new form of fundraising.

However, ICOs have faced hurdles in the form of financial regulators, central banks, and governments which are concerned about the disruptive nature of cryptocurrency technologies and their potential for illegal uses. Last year, both China and South Korea banned ICOs.

ICO to Fund Regional Expansion Amidst Regulatory Pressure

Golix, which traded over $1 million worth of bitcoin last month, is looking to launch its ICO by the end of March, or latest in the second quarter, according to sources. The company which recently enabled Ether and Bitcoin Gold trading on its digital currency exchange intends to raise money to fund its entry into other African markets.

However, Securities Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe (SecZim) CEO, Tafadzwa Chinamo cautioned the public against dealing with unregulated exchanges and securities as there is no legal recourse in case of mishaps.

“Investing in cryptocurrencies in Zimbabwe is a personal decision. The SecZim advises against investing in securities that are not regulated for a few obvious reasons. Investment in cryptos in Zimbabwe is not protected by any law in any way,” Chinamo stated.

According to Chinamo, unlike IPOs which are governed by strict rules that foster transparency and disclosure and ensure investors are not misled by fraudulent persons who float worthless securities, ICOs usually operate in a legal grey area, though this is largely in part due to the lack of cryptocurrency regulation in Zimbabwe.

Locally, companies launched IPOs are required to submit registration statements, financial statements dating back five years, and are also required to undergo valuation by independent financial advisors to determine the fairness of the quoted IPO share price. These disclosures are subject to review for compliance by the market regulator.

ICOs, on the other hand, operate on the fringes with little or no regulatory oversight. Usually, startups launching ICOs will release a technical whitepaper explaining their project and will market their token sale in the hope that prospective investors will buy into the project.

Having said that, many Zimbabweans may choose to ignore the warnings as the cryptocurrency mania takes root in the country. A few months ago the high demand for bitcoin on the local exchange drove the price to almost double of where it was trading at on international exchanges. The demand was buoyed by a debilitating liquidity crunch and acute cash shortage in the country that has affected individuals and businesses who want to engage in commerce and international trade. Hence, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin remain popular among Zimbabweans as an alternative currency and as an investment, which could, in turn, help Golix’s ICO funding ambitions.

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How to Buy Bitcoin in Nigeria

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buy bitcoin in nigeria

Nigeria is home to one of Africa’s leading bitcoin economies and has emerged as one of the most active digital currency trading hubs on the continent. In Nigeria, you can find bitcoin startups, digital currency exchanges, meetups, conferences, and a continuously rising demand for bitcoin.

Unlike in many African countries, where bitcoin trading is often limited to Whatsapp groups and social media networks, Nigeria has a multitude of exchanges where locals can buy bitcoin with nairas.

In this article, you will discover the most active and most secure digital currency exchanges you can use to buy bitcoin in Nigeria.

NairaEx

NairaExNairaEx is one of the most reliable and longest standing bitcoin exchanges in Nigeria. The exchange was founded in 2015 and is simple and easy to navigate with an inbuilt real-time exchange rate of bitcoin to naira.

Buying bitcoin on NairaEx is very simple. All you have to do is sign up to NairaEx, get verified by uploading a valid identity card, deposit money using a bank transfer or PerfectMoney, and proceed to place a buy order. Upon confirmation of your order, the transaction will be initiated and once it has been completed your account will be funded with the bitcoin you just bought.  

ICE3X

ice3xThe South African digital currency exchange ICE3X recently opened its doors in Nigeria giving Nigerians an opportunity to buy bitcoin, litecoin, and ether using nairas through the use of the VoguePay payment processor.

To buy bitcoin from ICE3X, you will need to first create an account on ICE3X and fill out the form with your personal details. Once signed up, you will receive an email to verify your account. To fund your ICE3X account with your nairas, you will need to login to your newly created ice3X account, proceed to the DEPOSIT/WITHDRAW tab in the menu bar to make a deposit using your newly created VoguePay wallet (you can get more info here on how to set up a VoguePay wallet).

After successfully funding your account, you can proceed to place a buy order following these simple steps:

  1. To buy bitcoin, click on the naira balance in the deposit/withdraw section of your ICE3X account.
  2. Click on the trading tab in the blue menu at the top and click on the bitcoin tab.
  3. Enter how many bitcoins or fraction of bitcoin you wish to buy.
  4. Enter your buying price (the current bitcoin rate sale price is on the exchange by default, but you can enter any price you want).
  5. Your total order slip including your commission will then be shown.
  6. Review your transaction and click on the buy tab underneath to execute your order.

Remitano

RemitanoRemitano is a peer-to-peer exchange that has recently entered the African market. The platform is experiencing rapid growth in Nigeria due to its fast, safe and reliable nature.

On Remitano, users can easily buy or sell bitcoin using a range of different payment methods. As a way of protecting both the buyer and seller, Remitano offers an escrow service. This is where the seller transfers the amount of bitcoin the buyer wants to a locked Remitano account. The buyer then sends the payment to the seller with no fear of not receiving the paid for bitcoin. Similar to LocalBitcoins.com, Remitano also displays its list of sellers based on their transaction history.

In order for you to buy bitcoin, you have to create an account on Remitano.com and then proceed to the homepage and click on the buy button. After keying in your desired volume and bitcoin address, a list of top sellers will be listed below depending on the rating. You will then click on any seller you wish and proceed to make payment. After successfully making your payment, Remitano will then release the funds to the seller and you receive your bitcoin. 

LocalBitcoins

Convert Bitcoin Into Local CurrencyLocalBitcoins.com is a global peer-to-peer bitcoin trading platform. It is a marketplace that helps connect buyers or sellers from different places around the world.

The platform allows users to create buy or sell advertisement with the prices they want to trade at. The exchange platform rates sellers based on their past transactions. As a way of protecting both parties, LocalBitcoins acts as an escrow and has a customer support team ready to help in case of any issues that may arise during a transaction. 

To buy bitcoin on LocalBitcoins exchange, you need to create an account on the platform, verify your identity, click on any seller on the homepage that is willing to sell you bitcoin at a price you feel comfortable with and a payment method that works for you. 

After clicking on the ‘buy’ button, you will be given details of the transaction including the seller’s terms and conditions. You can choose whether or not to proceed with the particular buyer depending on how comfortable you are with these terms.

To execute a trade, type in the blue box how much bitcoin you want in naira and also add a message to the seller after which you click on the ‘send trade request’ button. Once the payment has been made, click on the ‘I have paid’ button and you will receive your bitcoin on your LocalBitcoins wallet within minutes.

Paxful

PaxfulPaxful is a peer-to-peer bitcoin marketplace that has gained substantial popularity in Nigeria.

To buy bitcoin on paxful.com, first, you need to click on the ‘buy bitcoin’ option in the top menu bar. Then you enter the naira amount of bitcoin you intend to purchase and select the payment method you would like to use.

After selecting a way to pay, you click on the ‘search’ button to get a list of sellers who are willing to sell you the amount of bitcoin you requested and are also inclined to your payment method.

Just like on LocalBitcoins, the reputations of sellers are scored and it is highly advisable that you select buyers with high reputation to deal with. You then select a seller and begin your purchase order.The trade details will then pop-up on the left-side of the screen and a chat box on the right side of the screen where you can chat with the seller so you can both track the stages of transaction execution.

Once the trade is completed you will receive your bitcoin on your Paxful wallet.

Luno

LunoLuno, an online bitcoin exchange and wallet provider, is one of the most widely used bitcoin exchange platforms in Nigeria. Luno offers a free bitcoin wallet that comes with an inbuilt buy and sell feature that enables customers to buy or sell bitcoin directly from within their Luno wallet. It is designed in such a way that newcomers to bitcoin can easily use the wallet.

To buy bitcoin from Luno, you need to first and foremost;

  • Create an account by signing up at Luno.com
  • Verify your identity by uploading a valid identity card
  • Proceed to deposit money to your account using any of the various payment options available.

Buying bitcoin from Luno comes in two ways;

  1. Instant buy or sell (recommended for beginners), which allows users to buy or sell bitcoin either from the Luno wallet or from the website.
  2. Exchange orders (for advanced or experienced users), which is a little bit more technical as it involves placing an order on the exchange at a specific price and waiting for it to get matched.

Bitkoin.Africa

Bitkoin.Africa is a new Nigeria-based peer-to-peer exchange that allows Nigerian bitcoin users to buy and sell bitcoin from and to one another in a similar manner as on LocalBitcoins or Paxful.

The new exchange was launched in October 2017 and has since seen substantial user uptake in Nigeria.

Naira4Dollar

The exchange platform is one of the oldest e-currency platforms in the country with several shop outlets across the country. If you are looking for a place to buy bitcoin offline, then Naira4Dollar is that place. To know any of their offline shops closer to you visit Naira4Dollar.com.

However, you can also make use of their service online where you can purchase bitcoin using various payment methods.

NGExchanger

Port Harcout-based NGExchanger is another e-currency exchange that is well known in Nigeria and specialises in the buying and selling of bitcoin.

To buy bitcoin from the platform, you will need to create an account and get the account verified by uploading a valid ID card. However, you can still buy bitcoin without having a verified account. In such instances, you will need to have a funding limit of $1000 per day with the minimum buying amount being $10. Follow these simple steps to buy bitcoin on NGExchanger:

  1. After registration, login to your account and click on buy
  2. Select the e-currency account type you want to buy (in this case click on bitcoin)
  3. Input the desired volume of bitcoin you want to buy in US Dollars
  4. Enter your bitcoin wallet address
  5. After clicking on the proceed button, a payment invoice will be generated with a transaction number. Make payment to the bank details of NGExchanger that will be displayed and include the transaction number in your payment invoice.
  6. After successful payment, click on confirm to record and save the transaction. Once the payment is received, your bitcoin address will be funded and a message sent to your email confirming that.

There are also other local e-money exchange platforms that allow you to buy bitcoin such as Instant Gold Nigeria, Nigeria Gold Exchange and CryptoMart.

However, when it comes to buying bitcoin, it is advisable to use well-known established exchanges such as Paxful, LocalBitcoins, NairaEx, ICE3X, and Luno as they offer the most secure buying options.

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