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Bitcoin Investment to be Made by a Third of Millennials by 2018



Bitcoin Investment

Bitcoin has experienced a huge price rally in 2017. With a 1,600 percent price increase since the beginning of the year, it is no wonder that a study by the London Block Exchange, a digital currency exchange, has revealed that one in every three millennials will be invested in cryptocurrencies by the end of 2018.

So far, five percent of millennials aged below 35 have invested in various cryptocurrencies with another 11 percent looking to invest come next year according to the study. The numbers reveal an increased uptake in digital currencies such as bitcoin as a form of investment compared to traditional investments like property, shares, and bonds. The study further revealed that another 17 percent are contemplating investing in cryptocurrencies by end of next year. Exclusion from traditional investment methods such as pensions and property was cited as one of the reasons why more millennials are investing in cryptocurrencies.

In an interview with the Independent, Benjamin Dives, founder and Chief Executive Officer of LBX said,

“This study underlines the gulf between the younger generation’s view of money and that of their parents and grandparents, who had assets perform so well for them in pensions or property. Millennials clearly feel left behind by the old system and are looking at cryptocurrencies as a new dawn.”

Cryptocurrencies as a New Investment Wave

The study by LBX projects that by end of 2018, investments in shares, property, precious metals and bonds will be at 12 percent, 18 percent, 19 percent and 20 percent respectively. Besides, of those aged 35 and below, 24 percent of them regret not having bought a cryptocurrency much earlier despite the soaring price of bitcoin in the past year.

The research carried out by LBX, that interviewed 2,000 Britons across a diverse demographic, further revealed that the older generation, aged 55 and above were less bothered by bitcoin and would not be investing in any cryptocurrency for that matter.

Cryptocurrency expert and research fellow at the University of Cambridge, Garrick Hileman, stated that while most financial institutions such as banks have found it difficult to identify with millennials, digital currencies have outdone them in a short time span due to their acceptance by millennials.

“Millennials began their income generating years during the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis, and many do not completely trust traditional financial services firms or the system in which they operate,” he stated.

Bitcoin’s Price Volatility

While there has been a significant price rally in bitcoin this year – more than $17,000 – the digital currency has also shown considerable volatility. This has raised questions about whether bitcoin is a bubble. Additionally, countless economists believe that bitcoin is a serious gamble and that its value could crash sooner than later.

Senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, Laith Khalaf, mentioned the need for investors to understand bitcoin and understand its value before investing in it.

“They should also be willing to sustain the large losses which could stem from the volatility of the cryptocurrency, and if gaining exposure through a bitcoin product they should make sure they understand the operation and risks of the product itself, as well as the intricacies of bitcoin,” she remarked.

In light of the increased interest in cryptocurrencies among millennials in the UK and many other parts of the world, it will only be a matter of time for millennials in Africa to follow suit and allocate more of their investment capital to digital assets.


Nigeria Wants Regulatory Framework for Cryptocurrencies



Nigeria Regulatory Framework Cryptocurrencies

With cryptocurrency adoption soaring in Nigeria, it is no surprise that on April 25, 2018, members of the House of Representatives, urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Commission (NDIC) to create a legal framework for the regulation of blockchain technology.

The resolve was passed following the adoption of a continuous motion titled ‘Need to regulate blockchain applications and Internet technology’, which was supported by Solomon Adaelu, who emphasised the innovation that the blockchain brings such as the potential to accelerate payments in the country’s financial services industry.

Adaelu said: “Blockchain as a digital and decentralisation ledger technology that records all transactions without the need for financial intermediary bank is new to humanity and can be a core payment facilitator for financial services industry. A blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography as an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.”

The blockchain was invented in 2008 for the cryptocurrency bitcoin. Since its establishment, it has helped solve the issue of double spending on digital currency transaction without the need for a central server or trusted authority.

Adaelu went on to state that the deadline for a unified cryptocurrency regulation had been set for July 2018 following the G20 Finance Ministers’ meeting in March.

He further added: “Countries such as the USA, the UK, Russia, Venezuela, and Kenya have [already] provided [a] framework for the regulations of this emerging technology,” and believes that Nigeria should be next in line to do so.

Other lawmakers supported the motion while acknowledging the warning given by the NDIC to be careful when trading cryptocurrencies, given the complexity and uncertainty surrounding them.

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Binance Partners with Blockchain Innovation Hub in Uganda to Promote Economic Development



Binance in Uganda
Image by Binance

Binance, a global cryptocurrency exchange, has partnered with Crypto Savannah, Made in Africa initiative, and Msingi East Africa to promote economic development and youth employment in Uganda using blockchain technology. The partnership aims to achieve these goals by “creating thousands of jobs and bringing investments to Uganda.”

Made in Africa initiative and Msingi East Africa are organisations that are dedicated to the economic transformation of African countries while Crypto Savannah is a newly created African blockchain innovation hub.

According to Trading Economics’ data, the employment rate in Uganda stood at 47.80 percent in 2012 compared to 88.30 percent in 2009. The broad use cases for blockchain technology have the potential to change these statistics for the better by providing innovation opportunities for young people.

Changpeng Zhao, CEO and founder of Binance, announced these plans on Twitter and hinted at the possibility of Binance getting more involved in African projects.

Binance’s initiative is believed to have peaked at a recent meeting with the Blockchain Association of Uganda (BAU) where Zhao interacted with the local blockchain community and promised to support and train young entrepreneurs leveraging the blockchain. He also advised young entrepreneurs to offer solutions that are going to improve the lives of the society.

“Binance is tailor-making partnerships according to the environment. We want to understand the landscape and grow our understanding of the market.”

Zhao’s meeting with BAU will be followed by the Africa Blockchain Conference 2018 which will be held in Kampala in May.

Blockchain Technology is Gaining Momentum in Africa

The Binance initiative is just one of the several upcoming blockchain-based projects that are taking place in Africa. For instance, the World Food Program recently announced a partnership with Devery to make food delivery to Tunisian school children safe. Furthermore, the World Blockchain Summit held in Nairobi last month has helped to open doors for global blockchain companies to establish themselves in Africa.

In view of the Binance initiative, Africa could attract more global blockchain companies in the future as the technology continues to take root on the continent.

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BitMari Conducts First Test Remittance on the Bitcoin Lightning Network



BitMari Bitcoin Lightening Network

Zimbabwean startup BitMari has managed to successfully conduct its first Bitcoin Lightning Network test transaction with Tanjalo, a bitcoin startup from Lagos, Nigeria. The transaction signals a shift for remittances in Africa as users can soon expect almost instant low-cost bitcoin remittances.

Fast Transactions, Low Fees

BitMari is a Zimbabwe-based bitcoin company that leverages blockchain technology to expand into new remittance markets for the African diaspora. The startup was founded in 2015 by Sinclair Skinner and Christopher Mapondera to address the challenges faced by Zimbabweans when sending money overseas and vice-versa. In 2017, the company made history by becoming the first bitcoin enterprise to receive a money transfer license from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The company also formed a strategic partnership with Agribank to handle remittances for their customers using bitcoin.

Tim Akinbo, the co-founder and CTO of Tanjalo, was able to transfer $15 from Nigeria to a recipient in Zimbabwe through the BitMari platform using bitcoin. He believes the almost instantaneous money transfer will be instrumental in transferring value and promote cohesion by bridging local communities. The company is excited about the new development especially after successfully setting up the Lightning nodes.

Skinner, who is an ardent supporter of the adoption of bitcoin and blockchain technology in Africa to solve everyday challenges, stated:

“BitMari’s quick adoption of Lightning is active use of Bitcoin and Blockchain technology to solve real World challenges facing Africans on the continent and in the diaspora; such as costly remittance fees.”

The Bitcoin Lightning Network

The Bitcoin Lightning Network (LN) is a system built on top of bitcoin that enables people to send and receive payments instantly, and lower transaction costs by bypassing the blockchain. The Lightning Network’s use of payment channels lets users transact with each other directly without having to broadcast their business to the entire network. Currently, the Lightning Network is growing after being launched a short while ago on main-net by the Lightning Labs team.

BitHub Africa, a Nairobi-based blockchain accelerator of which BitMari is a member, has published a guide on how someone can go about setting up a Bitcoin Lightning Node on a cheap computing device called Raspberry Pi. The device can be used to process transactions by anyone with the resources and skills to host the node.

For now, BitMari is searching for other Lightning nodes to connect to their own. The company is also focusing on improving its user experience to increase adoption of its services and pass on the benefits of fast and affordable remittances to its customers.

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