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The Sun Exchange Launches SUNEX Token to Fund its Solar Project Insurance Fund

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SUNEX token

The Sun Exchange, a South Africa-based blockchain startup, has announced the launch of its new SUNEX network token. The SUNEX token will be used to create a solar project insurance fund for emerging markets on The Sun Exchange platform.

The SUNEX network token will be utilised on the new Sun Exchange Solar Project Insurance Fund (SPIF) which has been built to unlock financing and minimise risk for financially underserved solar projects.

The Sun Exchange is a blockchain-based solution that provides members with a unique opportunity to earn income by investing in clean solar energy projects across Africa. Those looking to invest in the solar panels are able to purchase each solar photovoltaic (PV) cell online at $10 and lease them for installation to schools, businesses, hospitals as well as other organisations in Africa and the Middle East.

Individuals who invest in the solar cells are able to earn monthly income from the lease of the solar cells that are either paid in cryptocurrency or fiat currency with the consumers benefitting from access to clean energy that is affordable.

The new SUNEX digital network token and SPIF are the latest additions to the innovation designs that The Sun Exchange is developing to maximise benefits for its stakeholders while eliminating the obstacles hindering the financing of solar energy installations in developing countries.

SUNEX Digital Token Features

As an ERC20 standard token that has been built on the Ethereum blockchain and is designed to make solar asset ownership more affordable and rewarding, the SUNEX token’s features include:

  • Opportunities to receive up to a 20 percent return in tokens by staking SUNEX tokens into the Sun Exchange SPIF
  • Access to discounts and lease bonuses when using The Sun Exchange
  • Priority access to new solar projects on the platform
  • A gamified rewards programme, which guides users towards maximising the diversification and social impact of their solar cell portfolio

One of the main concerns for The Sun Exchange is to provide its members with a secure financial environment. For this reason, all the solar projects they have launched to date have proven reliable due to their rigorous approach to due diligence.

“The new Sun Exchange SPIF creates a new layer of security and reliability as the company grows, stimulating investment in impactful solar projects,” stated Larry Temlock, co-founder and CFO in a company press release, and will be “the world’s first crowd-sourced default insurance fund for clean energy projects in emerging markets.”

The Sun Exchange’s SPIF will:

  • Safeguard The Sun Exchange solar cell owners against costs associated with potential solar project defaults
  • Unlock the flow of capital into emerging markets Commercial & Industrial (C&I) solar projects, accelerating critical economic and social development
  • Allow The Sun Exchange members can grow their token holdings by staking SUNEX tokens into the SPIF

Solar Projects Financing a Drive for Economic Development

Speaking on the new SUNEX digital token and SPIF, Abraham Cambridge, founder and CEO of The Sun Exchange said: “Small commercial and industrial solar projects can drive urgent economic development by powering organisations such as hospitals, schools, small and medium businesses in developing regions. However, with aid organisations and NGOs primarily funding residential solar, and large banks and financiers only backing large and utility-scale projects, C&I solar projects fall into a major funding gap. With the new SUNEX network token and SPIF, Sun Exchange is leveraging blockchain and the crypto-economy to further bridge that funding gap and address a very real global challenge with the power to impact the lives of millions.”

David Orban, the founder and Managing Partner of Network Society Ventures, and one of the investors in The Sun Exchange’s projects said: “We have invested in The Sun Exchange and purchased SUNEX tokens, because we believe in the fundamental value of the business, and in the healthy growth of the network as people all over the world embrace renewable energy. The innovation of coupling blockchain with solar energy decentralizes renewable energy funding and production, democratizing access and setting the stage for the long-term growth of Sun Exchange’s activities.”

To date, The Sun Exchange has provided financing for four different solar projects across South Africa that are fully operational. These include two wildlife rescue and protection parks, a school and a tire recycling factory. In addition, The Sun Exchange’s crowdsale for its fifth project that is meant to provide power for an environmental NGO South South North sold out in a record-breaking two weeks.

“What is fantastic about The Sun Exchange model is that it benefits us as the recipient of power and it benefits the people buying the solar cells and it’s also a win for the environment,” said the Director of South South North, Carl Wesslink. “Their unprecedented approach to solar financing can achieve installation at scale on a commercially sustainable basis. This is the catalyst required for realising our (distributed) energy revolution.”

The SUNEX network token will be available for sale through a public token event from April 22, 2018, at 12:00 PM UCT to both existing Sun Exchange members as well as the general public. The Sun Exchange SPIF will then be created shortly after the token sale comes to an end. Additional information on the new SUNEX token, token sale and SPIF can be found on the SUNEX Network Token Whitepaper.

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South African Ekasi Bucks Plans To Launch “World’s First Crypto-Mall and On-Demand Taxi Service for Townships”

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Image by Ekasi Bucks

Ekasi Bucks, a South African-based blockchain startup, is planning to launch what the company calls “the world’s first crypto-mall and on-demand transport service for townships” in Soweto, Soshanguve, and Mabopane.

This launch by Ekasi Bucks comes several months after the startup tried to raise R50 million through an initial coin offering (ICO) that was meant to finance a rewards programme that is blockchain-based for township residents who shop from specific township businesses. However, the ICO was only able to raise R500,000, falling short of their R50 million target. As a result, a large percentage of the money was given back to investors.

The co-founder and president of Ekasi Bucks, Lucky Kgwadi, told Ventureburn in an interview that “the startup had intended to use much of the R50-million to buy land and pay for the initial building of a physical mall — but after the failed ICO the company has now opted to therefore go digital”.

The Online Crypto-Mall

The digital crypto-mall will enable township businesses to sell their products via an online portal and in exchange, they will receive the Ekasi Bucks token.

Ekasi Bucks

The past six weeks have seen Ekasi Bucks run campaigns to create awareness and recruit vendors to the crypto-mall with 800 township entrepreneurs having so far submitted their applications to sell products such as clothing or food from local restaurants that will be delivered.

“We are trying to allow residents to shop from their own townships and to shop from their own home,” said Kgwadi. The co-founder of Ekasi Bucks believes that given an opportunity, township residents will easily buy from their local retailers. According to him: “It’s not a matter of products and markups — people just don’t know where to find the product.”

On-Demand Taxis for Townships

The operations of the on-demand taxi services will be similar to that of Uber or Taxify. However, instead of customers paying with credit cards or cash, they will make payments using Ekasi Bucks. To start, Ekasi Bucks plans to source for their token users from their already existing rewards programme that they have been managing since 2016. The programme is active across South Africa and has more than 20,000 card users and 4,000 merchants.

The startup has received 20 applications for its on-demand taxi service from drivers after running several Facebook ads for the said service. The initial batch of the vetted drivers will become the first pilot for the on-demand taxi service, said Kgwadi. He went on to say that for each token transacted, Ekasi Bucks will charge a ten percent commission to the drivers, which makes their rates significantly lower compared to the fee charges that Uber (15 percent to 20 percent) and Taxify (30 percent) debit from their drivers. In addition, the startup has partnered with Lion of Africa to provide white labelled life cover insurance to its drivers who will be part of the on-demand taxi service.

Kgwadi hopes that Ekasi Bucks’ new offering will appeal to more people and pick up considering that the startup was not so lucky last year in its ICO.

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Six Tips to Make Your Airdrop a Success

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Make Your Airdrop a Success

Airdrops are becoming increasingly frequent and are a common trend in the crypto space. With thousands of tokens currently in existence and a constant stream of more in development, the number of scam airdrops is also on the rise, therefore distinguishing between legitimate and fake airdrops is a big issue for potential airdrop participants.

With the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook data privacy scandal still fresh in people’s minds, there is a heightened awareness around disclosing personal information and data protection — meaning existing mechanics such as Google forms (which require the input of personal details) may discourage potential involvement. Google form airdrops also require significant time and manpower to cross-reference Telegram users with registrants.

Enter the progressive airdrop: by enabling live syncing between platforms, this new kind of technology allows companies to bring more value to their communities, as well as monitor participant engagement.

So what can companies do to ensure a smooth and successful airdrop?

1. Use Telegram

By conducting everything in one place such as messaging app Telegram, it makes life easier for your users who won’t have to struggle with referral links, switching between multiple apps, or losing friends to drawn-out processes.

Instead of copying and pasting, the progressive airdrop model (like the one qiibee uses) will automatically detect when you add a new member to your Telegram group.

Having everything and everyone on Telegram also helps to build your community and encourages conversation starters.

2. Live sync across platforms

By implementing technology that enables live syncing between platforms, this back-end development can help resolve logistical issues, thus eliminating any scope for human error during the process and creating a more seamless system — bringing added value to both your users and your Telegram group.

3. Make it as user-friendly as possible

Consumers know the value of their data, and with ethics and regulation under the spotlight recently, it’s important to take the privacy of your participants into consideration. Airdrop registration should be a simple task with minimal input needed.

While existing mechanics like Google forms require the input of personal details, this can be off-putting to some people and discourages potential involvement. To encourage more involvement, keep things on a need-to-know basis.

4. Reward engagement

Unique to the progressive airdrop model, participants are provided with the opportunity to access more tokens through engagement. Giving control to participants and acknowledging their interactions and milestones is invaluable in building trust.

Recognising achievements with a badge system or leaderboard can motivate participants to be more active in your community channels. This forms a mutually beneficial relationship and further builds loyalty.

5. Monitor spam

Managing community channels such as Telegram during the airdrop process often means dealing with increased volumes of spam and trolling. This can be detrimental to your credibility and have a negative impact on engaged participants contributing to the conversation. Using anti-spam and anti-abuse policies in conjunction with sentiment detecting and text recognition technology are simple ways of maintaining high-quality discussions.

6. Utilise social media

Integrating follow features into your airdrop mechanic invites participants to continue the conversation across different channels. Spreading the word on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube about a system like the progressive airdrop not only helps to reach new audiences but bolsters your own message on social media.

qiibee’s tiered achievement system-based airdrop will allow users to earn more QBX the more they participate, with 5,928,750 (or US$ 420,000) of QBX tokens up for grabs from this Monday, 21st May. For more information, visit airdrop.qiibee.com

This article was contributed by Gabriele Giancola, co-founder and CEO of blockchain-powered loyalty ecosystem qiibee

*Disclaimer: Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company, product or service. Bitcoin Africa Ltd. is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any loss or damage caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, product or service mentioned in this guest post.*

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Humaniq Global Challenge Winners Go To Kenya

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Humaniq Global Challenge Kenya

Companies working to overcome the challenge of two-thirds of Africans not having access to banking services are acknowledging the need to draw on the needs and experiences of African communities themselves.

A global vision, set by the UN, aims to extend banking to everybody in the world without access to a financial account by 2020. There has been progress this decade, driven by mobile money accounts, especially in East Africa, where more than a third of all people have one. And yet the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, based at the World Bank, has highlighted that only half of all new financial accounts being opened worldwide are being used. This has underlined to startups seeking to accelerate progress on this financial agenda that they must meet the real needs of the unbanked if they are to succeed.

Startups working in this space aim to serve the unbanked by making accounts easier to open. Blockchain technology means financial services can be deployed to more people more quickly because it removes the need for costly intermediaries. Biometric technology, meanwhile, means that those without identification can register with financial service apps and gain a digital identity.

One startup deploying such technologies says that deploying technology alone will not in itself ensure that new accounts are used.

It is not enough for entrepreneurs to generate business ideas from afar,” says Alex Fork, CEO of Humaniq. “Proposed new solutions can be perfect on paper, but only those founded in listening to the real needs of Africans will succeed.”

This is why Humaniq runs a ‘global challenge’ to facilitate the development of new financial inclusion solutions, which invites social entrepreneurs to submit proposals for blockchain startups targeted at Africa’s unbanked. The challenge involves selected developer teams meeting the unbanked people who stand to benefit from new services in Kenya, in order to test and adapt emerging business plans.

Three projects selected for the first Humaniq expedition, which attracted a total of 450 entries, included a blockchain-based land registry project, a micro-venture capital loans system and a remote-workplace app. The challenge winners went on an expedition to Kenya as part of their efforts to build on the rapid take-up of mobile money in the East African nation. The idea was to develop further financial services that make use of smartphones which are increasingly available in Kenya. Already, more than a quarter of people own one, according to Pew Research Center survey last spring. The widespread adoption of smartphones in the nation over the next few years will mean that a wider range of solutions to be offered, beyond the transactions the mobile-based money transfer service M-Pesa makes possible.

To develop their plans, the winning entrepreneurs invited ideas for solutions to problems from communities in Kenya themselves in a more bottom-up way of developing new tech services.

For example, in places such as Nakuru, in the Great Rift Valley, Richard Beresford met business owners and farmers and heard from them that there was demand for loans, but these are not provided by traditional banks. He also heard interest in making bartering between farmers easier, and in bringing traditional goods, such as those sold by the Masai in curio shops, to a larger number of people.

“One of the things that are most important about blockchain is that it can help to create interactions between small groups of people at the bottom of the pyramid,” said Bereford.

A second winner, Chad Pasha discovered in Namanga, a town divided by the Kenya-Tanzania border, that a platform that facilitated the exchange of goods and information could help bring down barriers between people from the two nations and from different tribes and religions. “I think we have a great opportunity to do this,” he commented. The third, Grace Wong, in her meetings with Kenyans, was told that people felt that if young people had more information on new technologies and solutions, this “would create incentives for young people to create new opportunities for themselves,” she said.

Following the trip, the first winners will now refine their business propositions and move forward to initial coin offerings, the crowdfunded way of attracting investment for projects using cryptocurrency.

Humaniq concluded that the trip had deepened the understanding of the needs of businesses, young people, and others in Kenya. It has now decided to make the global challenge an annual event, with a second challenge due to be held later this year. The startup believes that this will allow it to both engage further partner developers, and also further potential users. The first trip allowed scores of organisations of thousands of people to feed in their ideas to the development of financial inclusion solutions, according to Humaniq.

As R. Beresford said on the results of the first expedition: “I’m very hopeful that all the different experiences we’ve listened to… can be analysed to produce a mobile app development plan that produces the product that can be used by the unbanked.”

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