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What is the Legal Status of Bitcoin in Namibia?

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Legal Status of Bitcoin in Namibia

While the University of Cape Town in Namibia plans to start teaching a bitcoin related Masters degree come January 2018, the country’s legal stance on the use of bitcoin is not as progressive.

Emma Haiyambo, a Bank of Namibia spokesperson, categorically made it clear that the country does not support the use of any virtual currency including bitcoin. The central bank is also expected to release an opinion paper on the uses of Bitcoin in the country soon.

“Virtual currencies such as Bitcoin are not designated or authorized as payment instruments in Namibia. The Bank is currently assessing the risks associated with such virtual currencies,” Ms. Hiyambo told The Namibia Economist

“The public is therefore informed that the Bank does not currently oversee, supervise or regulate the virtual currency landscape in as far as its integrity, soundness, effectiveness, safety or robustness are concerned. Therefore, anyone who uses such virtual currencies do so at own risk and does not have any recourse to the Bank,” Haiyambo added.

This stance is shared with that of the Central Bank of Kenya, for example, who issued a similar statement in 2015 about the use of virtual currencies in Kenya.

Ms. Haiyambo explained further that bitcoin users in Namibia have no law that protects them when using cryptocurrencies.

“At the moment, there is no specific regulatory protection that exists to compensate the owner or user of virtual currency, including Bitcoin for any loss that may be suffered, should the business fail or ceases to exist. Due to this fact, the public is informed that virtual currencies such as Bitcoin are not legal tender nor authorized payment instruments to operate in Namibia. The Bank will, however, bring out a position pertaining to virtual currencies in due course.”

In explaining what the Namibian central bank recognised as Electronic money, she said, “Electronic money as defined in the Bank’s Determination on the issuance of e-money, is a designated payment instrument which has monetary value as represented by a claim on its issuer. Electronic money in Namibia is generally stored electronically; issued on receipt of funds; accepted as a means of payment by persons other than the issuer and redeemable upon demand for cash denominated in Namibia Dollar.”

While Namibians are advised to invest in bitcoin at their own risk, many countries across the globe are starting to officially accept the use of bitcoin. The news also comes at a time when bitcoin is gaining substantial momentum in many African countries such as Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria.

Whether Namibia’s lawmakers will awaken to the fact that digital currencies such as bitcoin are revolutionising payments or remain caught up in their own definitions of virtual currencies is something that remains to be seen. 

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Binance Launches Fiat-to-Crypto Exchange in Uganda

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Binance Launches in Uganda

Global bitcoin exchange Binance has launched a new fiat-cryptocurrency exchange in Uganda. The exchange will also be offering a reward of 0.5 BNB to the first 20,000 users that register on the site as part of its promotion in Uganda.

The announcement comes nearly two months after Binance partnered with Crypto Savannah, Made in Africa initiative, and Msingi East Africa to promote economic development in the East African country.

Changpeng Zhao and Yi He founded Binance in 2017 and raised $15 million through an initial coin offering for its ERC20 token BNB in July of the same year.

The exchange plans to move its offices to the island nation of Malta after the implementation of stricter regulations in China and Japan. In January 2018, Binance was the largest crypto exchange with a market capitalisation of $1.3 billion.

Binance in Uganda

BinanceBinance will also offer its Ugandan users a month of zero trading fees when trading goes online. The exchange will announce the opening for trading at a later date.

Users can find out if they have won any rewards by logging into their accounts and accessing ‘Distribution History’ in the Account Center. In addition, users will be required to complete ID verification to be able to withdraw funds from Binance.

Ugandan users will enjoy an exchange that offers fast transactions of up to 1.4 million per second and state-of-the-art storage technology for utmost security. The exchange also provides 24/7 customer support and has a user-friendly interface.

The presence of Binance in Uganda aims to boost financial inclusion in the country, which has increased from 28 percent in 2009 to 54 percent in 2013 according to its national financial inclusion strategy 2017-2022.

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LINE Corp to Launch Cryptocurrency Exchange BITBOX in July for Global Trading

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BitBox
Image by linecorp.com

The developers of popular messaging app LINE and LINE Group’s cryptocurrency and blockchain company LVC Corporation have announced that they are set to launch a new cryptocurrency exchange called BITBOX in July 2018. The Japan-based firm made the announcement during the LINE Conference 2018 held in Tokyo.

The New BITBOX Exchange

BITBOXBITBOX will offer over 30 high-demand cryptocurrencies to users globally with the exception of Japan and the US. The exchange will trade coins such as bitcoin, ether, litecoin, and bitcoin cash while charging low trading fees of 0.1 percent. BITBOX will support 15 languages, according to the company press release.

The selected cryptocurrencies for the exchange have undergone an extensive screening exercise and have been picked by an internal committee, promising users a convenient and safe trading experience. LINE will also incorporate its top security standards to the cryptocurrency exchange.

LINE Corporation CEO Takeshi Idezawa said:

“As a key part of LINE’s new financial services, BITBOX shows our commitment to fulfilling the growing demand for more diverse financial options. With BITBOX, LINE users will be able to access cryptocurrencies more easily, while also being assured of state-of-art security measures to protect their assets.”

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Nigerians Have Invested Over $5m in Cryptocurrencies Despite Regulator Warnings Says KureCoin Hub

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Nigerians Invest in Cryptocurrencies

Nigerians have invested over five million US dollars in the cryptocurrency market in the last couple of years according to data from Nigerian cryptocurrency platform KureCoin Hub.

The data shows that Nigerian retail investors are investing heavily in the cryptocurrency market despite warnings from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) against investing in an unregulated market.

KureCoin Hub’s co-founder and CEO Tega Abikure has criticised the stance regulators have taken and argues that the country will lag behind as other countries enjoy the benefits of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. Abikure told New Telegraph:

“It is not a matter of whether the government likes it; it is about whether they need it. I am not sure the internet was liked when it first came. […] It is not a matter of whether they are going to embrace it; it is about when they are going to do so.”

Abikure observed that other countries such as Uganda and South Africa have already taken steps towards adopting blockchain technology while Kenya is pushing forward with a functioning blockchain taskforce.

“Nigeria is being left behind,” he noted.

The Blockchain as a Source of Foreign Direct Investments

Abikure also believes that blockchain technology could be a major source of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in the next five to ten years. In addition, he is of the opinion that a lot of money is being made in cryptocurrencies on the continent with most of it leaving Africa’s economy.

On one of the benefits of blockchain technology, he said: “[The blockchain] is completely transparent and cannot be changed; it can be used to create a decentralised system of payment where the taxpayer had an unhindered access to the collector which is the government. It enhances revenue collection and removes the challenges of remittances.”

Blockchain technology can also improve the banking sector, the electoral process, the use of donations in charitable projects, and the supply chain, among many other use cases.

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