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Belfrics to Launch Bitcoin Exchanges Across Africa

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Belfrics bitcoin exchange

Belfrics Global is a Malaysian bitcoin trading platform that has recently announced plans to open exchanges across Africa. The company aims to capitalise on the demand for cryptocurrency services in African nations that are experiencing increasing bitcoin adoption rates. Belfrics hopes to drive financial inclusion in the continent through its bitcoin exchanges and other digital services for both individuals and merchants.

Belfrics Launches in Kenya

The company which operates in Eastern Asia, India, and the Middle East, launched its Belfrics bitcoin exchange in Kenya on 29th July. Speaking to members of the bitcoin community in Nairobi during the launch, Belfrics Chairman and CEO, Praveen Kumar explained some the services local consumers can access from the exchange aside from bitcoin trading.

“Our bitcoin exchange aims to bring down the cost of money transfers within Kenya using blockchain technology. Along with the bitcoin exchange platform, we will also be providing POS and payment gateway solution for merchants and will be providing white label solutions for exchanges,” he stated.

According to Belfrics, they have received positive responses from consumers in the past few months, as it has been running test trials in the country. Praveen explained the positive results of the trail runs encouraged their decision to change their market strategy by entry into African cryptocurrency markets.

For Kenyans, the exchange will be instrumental in enhancing mainstream adoption for bitcoin. The platform offers a new alternative for bitcoin trading with a five percent commission on transactions and with no limit on the amount of bitcoin that you can purchase.

Regional Expansion

According to Praveen, the company plans to open exchanges in Ghana, Nigeria, and Botswana, with other countries to follow. Belfrics hopes to become the largest liquidity provider for bitcoin trading in fiat currencies and set a target to reach 100,000 investors in Africa within its first year of operations. If the company’s success in Kenya is anything to go by, then achieving such a target is not far from the realms of possibility.

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Luno Wants to Help Resolve Nigeria’s Crypto Ban

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Nigeria Crypto Ban

Following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s directive prohibiting regulated banks from facilitating payments for crypto exchanges, Luno has responded with a request for dialogue. According to a recent statement, Luno has said it would like to work with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other regulators in Nigeria “to create an open dialogue and to come to a solution that works for everyone.

Who is the Loser of the CBN Crypto Ban?

While it is not exactly clear why CBN executed the ban, some believe the regulator was trying to protect consumers from potential losses in the highly volatile digital asset markets while some suspect it has more to do with trying to protect the weakening naira.

Either way, Nigerians are more likely to lose than gain from this ban. For instance, crypto traders that have been relying on banks as a payment method now have to look for other alternatives, which are probably not as effective. Still, Nigerians are not afraid to circumvent the ban.

“It is going to be around a couple of days or a week to circumvent this policy. We do not necessarily have to use banks, and at the end of the day, it is the banks’ loss,” Enogieru Osasenaga, a Nigerian businessman that uses crypto to procure goods online, told DW last month.

Amidst a weakening Naira, Nigerians have been turning to bitcoin to import goods because they cannot buy dollars. Dollar liquidity in the country has plummeted after oil prices dropped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Luno, the directive is not protecting Nigerians.

“It holds them back and leaves them vulnerable. [The ban] prevents honest Nigerians from taking advantage of all that cryptocurrency has to offer them. Also, it leaves the regulators at a disadvantage. Blanket bans push people “underground” [i.e. trading via Whatsapp or Telegram groups, for example]. This makes activity involving transparency less transparent and means financial bodies have less visibility of what is going on,” Luno said.

A Choking Regulatory Environment

The recent ban is likely to increase the number of informal businesses in the country. According to economist Shuaibu Idris, billions of dollars are in circulation in Nigeria without the government’s knowledge. This situation could worsen as the government continues to tighten its financial laws.

Furthermore, Nigerian banks have been restricting the amount customers can spend abroad with a debit card. Local banks are also impeding transactions with hard currency, limiting customers to withdraw amounts less than $100.

In such an environment, doing business is not only difficult but also frustrating. Moreover, the government will be losing any revenues it was making from businesspeople like Osasenaga.

Can We Talk?

Judging from the regulator’s pragmatic approach to cryptocurrencies, Luno is confident that the country can resolve the issue soon. The SEC in Nigeria, for example, is set to regulate crypto trading in the country.

LunoIn the past, Luno has cooperated with regulators in Malaysia to become the first licensed exchange in the country. “This has created an inclusive and transparent cryptocurrency ecosystem in the country, making it easier for consumers and regulators alike,” Luno explained.

“We would like to work with CBN and regulators in Nigeria as we have in other countries, to create an open dialogue and come to a solution that works for everyone,” a company spokesperson concluded.

Luno has more than three million Nigerian customers, who could all benefit from a quick resolution.

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What Happened to “Bitconnect Guy” Carlos Matos?

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Carlos Matos

You might recognise Carlos Matos from the famous meme in which he screams “Bitconneeeeecct” with plenty of gusto. Matos was an “investor” in the now-defunct Bitconnect Coin.

Bitconnect was a cryptocurrency scam that went from obscure in 2016 at about US$ 0.17 to a high of $436 in 2017. It screamed of potential, becoming a top 20 cryptocurrency token. This couldn’t last, as the price came crashing to $0.40. Regulators came cracking down on the project, forcing its cessation in 2018.

Investor Frenzy in Bitconnect

If you logged in to the website, you’d find no whitepaper or clear team identification, but a promise of unusual profit. Through four phases of the project’s rollout, investors got a guarantee unlike any other in traditional investments such as stocks.

Phase one was the giveaway of 4.8 million Bitconnect coins to investors and the community. The second phase (first quarter of 2017) entailed the launch of BCC wallet and the desktop client to enable staking and mining BCC (Bitconnect coins). Phase three (second quarter of 2017) would be the launch of staking and mining. This meant 120% returns for investors per year! The fourth phase targeted introduction of the “Smart Card” and wider merchant adoption.

A Massive Cryptocurrency Scam

Bitconnect

Bitconnect is an excellent use case for newcomers to learn how crypto scams can operate.

  • Firstly, BitConnect had no traction until the lending platform was announced. For a profitable business, it’s mandatory to have a working product, a product-market fit and a clear revenue model, among other fundamental aspects of valuation. BitConnect had a new product with a supposed market (since adoption had to be pushed) and a complicated revenue model. It simply didn’t make business sense.
  • Secondly, BitConnect guaranteed profits of over 91% and promised returns of over 480% per year. No basis for the guarantee came out clearly from the promises of this once-in-a-lifetime deal with no financial risk. All investors needed to trust was an “undefeatable” trading bot – it couldn’t lose! Assumptions cemented in the flow of money from all over the world – US$2.6 billion – at the peak! For many, the profits were irresistible.
  • The third red flag was an extended capital holding period. This was explained away as a preference/ incentivisation toward staking. After all, it made more sense to profit more as you held your money longer in the system – but even traditional finance allows for clear/rapid cash out should you need your money. It’s yours, right?

The low daily return rate hooked on the old and young. Unsecured lending among traditional financial sector players had after all paved the way for the daily return concept not to seem too foreign. These numbers made far more sense if you put in more than US$ 10,000. You can see why Matos’ profit of $140,000 from an initial principal of $25,000 had many addicted to “the future of investing”. 2017’s cryptocurrency boom of bitcoin and other tokens further served to cement this thought with all manner of possibilities.

If the returns weren’t sufficient or attractive for you, Bitconnect provided a lucrative referral program with seven levels of earning commissions. It was an extra assurance of the profit structure. The bot would have to work overtime and compound profits to ensure everybody won. Put these together, and you have a catastrophe – a true castle in the clouds!

The Tragic Ending

The charade collapsed when the law came calling. 2018 saw victims of the scam lose 30%, then 90% of their value to the insider cashouts with the closure of the Bitconnect exchange.

The Ponzi scheme came full circle with its promoters and their aggressive propaganda disappearing from any reasonable trace. Other exchanges delisted BCC, but the damage had been done. Bitconnect cited excuses on bad press, the Texas State Securities Board Cease and Desist order and DDos (distributed denial of service) attacks, yet the truth was out in the open: scammers won.

Matos disappeared, only to resurface recently taking a lot about weight loss through intermittent fasting. He’s trying to build repute in a different field, which is definitely better than the scam that made him famous.

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What is Crypto Advocate John McAfee’s Net Worth?

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John McAfee

John McAfee has emerged as one of the most influential individuals in the cryptoverse. Learn about this one-of-a-kind crypto advocate, including how much his net worth is estimated to be.  

Who is John McAfee?

You’ve likely used or at least heard about the McAfee antivirus software. It ranks among the top cybersecurity tools to use in ensuring protection from attacks. 

John McAfee is the British-American entrepreneur and computer programmer who founded McAfee Associates in 1987. Prior, he worked at NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and Lockheed. McAfee Associates produces enterprise security software, even though John resigned in 1994. He has founded other companies such as QuorumEx, Tribal Voice, Luxcore, and Everykey, among others.

A known political activist, his interests also stretch into cryptocurrency, smartphone apps, and yoga. 

Timely Cryptocurrency Boom

In 2017, the ICO (Initial Coin Offering) boom saw hundreds of companies release projects for funding from investors globally without limits on international securities regulations. Riding on the price boom of bitcoin and Ethereum, it was as though a separate economy was spurring overnight. Token prices went from zero to one in hours, with profits surging exponentially in hours or days.

One would call it a craze, but McAfee positioned his profile to benefit from the boom. 

Initially, those who opened up their projects for funding this way simply followed the promise of Bitcoin (financial system independence) and built on Ethereum. Legitimate companies and scammers alike put their proposals for the world to decide, therefore, the battle for legitimacy created high stakes. It wasn’t enough to have a good project; the team /company needed to show who endorsed them or their project.

This is the space in which McAfee could thrive as an industry titan trusted globally.

The Crypto Advocate

John McAfee Net Worth

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Imagine taking in about 8 BTC per tweet in a boom; that’s exactly what he did.

The highest prediction he made about the price of bitcoin was between $ 500,000 and 1 million per bitcoin. The admission he made later was that these predictions were to excite and draw new users on board.

An estimated 50 ICOs were promoted on his public Twitter profile. Each promotion cost $100,000. This would bring the number of bitcoin he owns to about 400 if we take an average number of 8 bitcoin according to the price fluctuations in 2017, but the total amount, along with the ownership of other cryptocurrencies remains undisclosed. Assuming a holding of 400 bitcoin at today’s price of US$ 32,478, McAfee’s 400 bitcoins would be worth 12.9 million dollars. 

John McAfee Net Worth: So, How Much Is It Now?

John McAfee lost a significant portion of his net worth due to the 2008 financial crisis that crippled economies around the world. From a valuation of $100 million, his assets hit a low of $4 million in 2009, according to the New York Times.

He certainly worked his way back into profitability through his subsequent ventures in QuorumEx, Future Tense Central, and his tenure at MGT Capital Investments.

MGT is supposedly his gateway into crypto because in 2016 its focus was shifted first from social gaming to cybersecurity. MGT also moved into mining bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to make money and increase its blockchain expertise. McAfee deemed this strategy vital for cybersecurity, holding it even into his subsequent resignation in 2018.

According to publicly available data, John McAfee’s net worth could range from US$ 7.2 to 20 million.

His run-ins with the law have had him living as a fugitive; for in 2019 he lived on his boat, running from U.S. authorities. He was arrested in October 2020 in Spain at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice for tax evasion charges. 

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