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Blockchain Spending to Double in Africa and Middle East says IDC



Blockchain Spending

New research from the International Data Corporation (IDC) indicates that spending on blockchain solutions in the Middle East and Africa is expected to double in 2018 as this new technology gains in popularity among both private and public institutions.

Blockchain Spending in Africa and the Middle East

The International Data Corporation (IDC) is an international research and consulting firm that recently published the Worldwide Semi-Annual Blockchain Spending Guide, which puts the total spending for this year from the regions at $80.8 million. This marks a 107% increase from 2017’s $38.9 million. The new research aims to quantify the emerging blockchain market by providing information on expenditure for ten technologies across 19 industries and 14 use cases in nine regions.

According to Megha Kumar, IDC’s research director for software in the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey, the demand for distributed ledger technologies is fuelled by the need for organisations to improve their efficiency, transparency, and integrity. He predicts most organisations will proceed from the proof-of-concept phases and begin deploying these systems on a limited scale in 2018.

Interestingly, some African nations like Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa are already exploring the use of blockchain technology to disrupt key sectors like transport, oil and gas, financial services, and land registry just to name a few.

Kumar states in an Africa Data article:

“In the Middle East, Dubai’s government has identified blockchain as a major technology for helping it become a leader in the Smart Cities arena. Alongside the establishment of the Global Blockchain Council, Dubai’s ‘Blockchain Strategy’ aims to promote efficiency in government services and fuel economic development. At the same time, financial services firms across the region are evaluating the use of blockchain for cross-border payments, trade settlements, and anti-money laundering purposes. In Africa, meanwhile, DeBeers intends to launch an industry-wide blockchain platform for tracing and authenticating diamonds, which highlights the integrity benefits of the technology.”

Future Projections

IDC projects blockchain spending in the Middle East and Africa to reach $307 million in 2021. The IDC report shows the bulk of the spending will be from the region’s public sector, an estimated $120.8 million by 2021, representing a 39.2 percent share. The financial services sector follows next at 35.5 percent and the distribution and service sector the remaining 14 percent.

The research suggests the most popular blockchain use cases in 2021 will be asset management, cross-border payments and settlements, and identity management. The three will account for 33.1 percent of MEA expenditure in 2021. Also, blockchain software solutions will quickly become the fastest growing category in the software space. Having said that, IDC predicts that IT and commercial services will account for 52.7% of blockchain spending in the region in 2021.

While this may be positive news for blockchain enthusiasts in Africa and beyond, Jebin George, IDC’s program manager for verticals in the Middle East and Africa, gives a sobering view saying:

“At this stage, it’s still early days for blockchain, with technology vendors, start-ups, fin-techs, and end users continuing to discover new types of use cases. Some of these may never go mainstream, stalling at the proof-of-concept stage as they fail to bring in the scale of efficiency that was meant to be achieved.”

Blockchain Technology

How CryptoCribs Could Economically Empower Africans



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Decentralised cryptocurrencies have gained a substantial amount of popularity among investors due to their high-profit potential in the past twelve months. However, the real power of the decentralised economy is that it can empower individuals in many never before seen ways by disintermediating central authorities.

An excellent example of a use case for decentralised digital currencies is the cryptocurrency-powered home sharing platform CryptoCribs, which enables homeowners to rent out spare rooms and apartments in exchange for cryptocurrency.

What is CryptoCribs?

CryptoCribsCryptoCribs combines the peer-to-peer element of the sharing economy with decentralised digital currencies to build the first “purely peer-to-peer electronic short-term rental system allowing rental payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through financial and reputational intermediaries like Airbnb.”

“The CryptoCribs project has the mission of liberating rental markets, empowering individuals and building a strong community. To achieve this mission, we want to break up the different intermediation layers in a step-by-step process. While CryptoCribs plans to act as an intermediary initially, our intention is to progressively disintermediate ourselves,” the startup states in its whitepaper.

The house sharing platform currently offers several different locations, including listings in South Africa, and there is a review system in place so that hosts and travellers can view each other’s reviews. The platform has all the traits of an Airbnb for cryptocurrency users, which provides the hosts in different countries with a new source of revenue that is not controlled by a company that takes a share of the rental profits.

CryptoCribs’ Potential in Africa

In Africa, renting out spare rooms or apartments on CryptoCribs could become a new way of financially empowering the local population. The fact that CryptoCribs hosts are being in cryptocurrency directly means that no money is lost to the sharing economy platform nor is the value of the payments affected by fluctuations in the local currency. In light of the volatility of certain African currencies, this is a major selling point for choosing CryptoCribs over Airbnb as a host. 

Moreover, the intangible nature of digital currencies means that a government cannot physically remove the wealth of a citizen. This paradigm shift is a monumental step forward in the social contract, providing an additional layer of financial security to individuals. This enables hosts to confidently use bitcoin without the fear that the actions of their government will interfere with their wealth acquisition. 

The Many Benefits of CryptoCribs

Recognition at a Universal Level

Many bitcoin users are travelling the world, which has led to a rising demand for bitcoin-accepting services in the travel industry. CryptoCribs is, therefore, a welcomed addition to cryptocurrency-accepting accommodation.

Moreover, since cryptocurrency is not bound by the exchange rates, interest rates, transaction charges or other charges of any country, it can be used at an international level without experiencing any difficulties. This can potentially save a lot of money for both travellers and businesses.

The Elimination of Fraud

Cryptocurrencies cannot be counterfeited or reversed arbitrarily by the sender as is the case with credit card charge-backs. Africa loses billions from fraud every year, which drastically impacts the economy and hinders growth. However, through the use of cryptocurrencies instead of traditional payment methods, the chance of fraud is greatly reduced to the benefit of both the host and the renter. 


CryptoCribs can financially empower even those without access to bank accounts. There are approximately 2.2 billion individuals with access to the Internet or mobile phones who do not currently have access to a bank account. These people are primed for the use of digital currencies and they could start hosting immediately as they do not require a bank account or a Paypal account like it is the case for Airbnb. 

If you have a spare room or apartments you can rent out, you should consider CryptoCribs as it could provide you with a new source of income where you receive the entirety of the rental income and you alone have control over the payments made in cryptocurrency.

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Blockchain Technology

Cryptocurrencies Can Boost Financial Inclusion Experts Agree



Cryptocurrencies Can Boost Financial Inclusion

During the Blockchain Africa Conference in Johannesburg this month, experts concurred that cryptocurrencies could boost financial inclusion and increase economic activities in emerging markets.

Globally, two billion working-age adults are excluded from formal financial services while only 34 percent adults in Sub-Saharan Africa had an account in 2014 as indicated by World Bank data. According to industry experts, financial exclusion is caused by lack of trust, high costs, and inaccessible formal financial institutions.

“The reason a lot of these systems are broken here is [that] consumers do not trust them,” Wala CEO Tricia Martinez said.

“There is a lot of corruption [and] there is a lot of fraud. You always have a middleman monitoring and managing everything. One has to trust [that] a bank is actually going to take care of my money and not take it away. […], she added.

To increase financial inclusion, the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) developed high-level principles that will help governments promote financial inclusion digitally. One way to do this is through technologies such as cryptocurrencies.

The Wala platform, for example, uses a crypto-token that facilitates fast micro-payments to any place in the world at zero fees. Martinez said in order to solve the challenges of cost and access, Wala turned to the blockchain, which has enabled them to offer a zero-fee financial system to consumers.

Another company using the blockchain said consumers can invest in the real estate sector through their platform to create wealth. The property investment firm, ProsperiProp, aims to enable consumers to make investments with as little as less than a dollar on property tokens.

“Property tokens earn interest or appreciate as the property value appreciates. It earns income as that property earns income. So suddenly, you have this massive ecosystem of value that we have created for this person,” ProsperiProp founder Llewellyn Morkel stated.

The Information Barrier

Both Martinez and Morkel agree that education is imperative to help ordinary consumers understand the opportunities digital currencies provide. Moreover, education helps consumers to understand how to access these services.

As much as the digital currency conversation has been taken up by mainstream media in Africa, a lot of people are still struggling to understand the concept. Martinez and Morkel recommend that experts should use less technical language when educating consumers about digital currencies.

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Blockchain Technology

Kenya’s 4G Capital to Issue Tokenised Bond



Tokenised Bond

4G Capital, a Kenyan microfinance and training company based in Nairobi, plans to become the first financial institution to issue a tokenised bond using decentralised digital currencies.

According to the Financial Times, the planned issue size of the bond is $10 million and the planned coupon will be 10 percent annually. The sale of the bond will take place next month and will be targeted at institutional and qualified investors who can purchase the bond using either bitcoin (BTC) or ether (ETH).

The company’s digital tokens will be issued by Finhaven, a Canadian blockchain startup, which is tasked with forwarding the US dollars to 4G Capital and paying investors their monthly returns in either US dollars or cryptocurrency. Finhaven claims that investors in the bond will possess the same investor protection as if investing in a traditional bond.

According to 4G Capital CEO Hennessy-Barrett, this tokenised bond issuance is partly driven by the high cost of capital in Kenya, which makes it difficult for small and medium-sized businesses to raise funds.

“There’s a big gap in the market for small African businesses to raise working capital,” he stated.

Mic Kimani, chairman of the Blockchain Association of Kenya, said: “What cryptocurrencies are doing is acting as a bridge to new sources of funding, to elsewhere in the world where there is more capital.” He, therefore, considers the tokenised bond by 4G Capital as “the most logical use of cryptocurrencies”.

Moreover, Hennessy-Barrett hopes that the tokenised bond issuance will help to put cryptocurrencies into a better light in Kenya as local regulators have so far been rather cryptocurrency-unfriendly even though the government is embracing the blockchain.

Hennessy-Barrett hopes to “demonstrate best practice so the benefits of this technology can be understood and shared”. He also said: “We’re very sensitive to regulators moving at the speed they’re comfortable at.”

If successful, 4G Capital’s tokenised bond could reign in a new era of startup funding in Kenya and other emerging market countries where small and medium-sized businesses suffer from a lack of access to affordable funding.

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