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How to Buy Bitcoin in Kenya

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Buy Bitcoin in Kenya

Since the beginning of 2017, the price of bitcoin has surged to new all-time highs after rallying by over 350 percent. This has boded well for bitcoin adoption in Kenya as more people come to recognise it as an alternative currency and as a potentially lucrative investment. If you are based in Kenya and want to purchase bitcoin but are not quite sure how to go about it, then this guide is for you. In this article, you will find the five best exchanges you can use to buy bitcoin in Kenya using Kenyan Shillings.

Remitano

RemitanoRemitano is a peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange where you can buy and sell bitcoin securely through an escrow service. The company has recently entered the Kenyan market to provide a bitcoin exchange and a bitcoin-based remittance service.

To buy bitcoin on Remitano’s platform you must first sign up using your email address. The login credentials for your new Remitano account will then be sent to your email. Upon account verification, you can access a list of local buyers and sellers and place an order immediately. To ensure transactional security Remitano acts as an escrow until both parties confirm the transaction. Once the transaction is complete, the bitcoins will appear on your wallet on the Remitano platform.

Belfrics Kenya

Belfrics bitcoin exchangeBelfrics is a new bitcoin exchange and payment gateway for merchants that recently entered the Kenyan market. Belfrics charges a 5 percent fee on transactions and has no minimum limits on bitcoin purchases.

To buy bitcoin you must first set up an account by creating a username and password. Your account will double up as your bitcoin wallet. The next step would be to top up your account using a bank transfer, which is required in order to receive payments and for account verification. With these steps completed, you can start trading by proceeding to the exchanges’ drop down menu clicking on the ‘Trade’ option. Once you have put in the amount you want to buy and have executed the order, your purchased bitcoin will appear in your wallet on Belfrics once the order has been filled.

BitPesa

BitPesaBitPesa provides a bitcoin cross-border payments platform that also provides a bitcoin marketplace for buyers and sellers. BitPesa is the most established and most funded bitcoin startup in Africa.

To buy bitcoin using BitPesa you first need to register for an account on the platform by inputting your details and verifying your account through a confirmation email. You will need to upload a picture of your ID which is necessary as per international laws and regulations.

To buy bitcoin log in and click on the ‘new transaction’ field and ensure you put the KES you have and the BTC you want. You can enter yourself, a different person or a contact you’ve used before. Add the bitcoin address of the recipient and confirm the transaction then follow the payment instructions. The recipient will receive the bitcoin amount within an hour.

Unfortunately, BitPesa announced on September 1, 2017, that it has introduced a minimum transaction limit of $25,000 for Kenyan customers and no longer verifies new Kenyan customers due to the difficult regulatory environment in Kenya, which has been hindering the company in making KES payments. Hence, only existing Kenyan high net worth indivduals and businesses can use BitPesa to exchange bitcoin.

LocalBitcoins

LocalBitcoinsConvert Bitcoin Into Local Currency is the world’s leading peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange that facilitates over the counter bitcoin trades.

To buy bitcoin, you first need to sign up for an account on the platform. Once that’s done, you need to input the bitcoin amount you want to buy in KES before proceeding to choose your preferred payment page. The platform ranks sellers based on transactional history and users are advised to go for sellers with high reputational scores. Upon clicking on the ‘buy’ field you will be provided with transaction details. You execute the trade by typing the amount of bitcoin you want in KES together with a personal message and click on ‘send trade request’ field. Once the payment is made click the ‘I have paid’ tab. The bitcoin will be released from an escrow into your wallet once the seller confirms receipt of the payment.

Paxful

PaxfulPaxful is a peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange that connects buyers and sellers in one convenient location.

Buying bitcoin using KES on the platform is simple and straightforward. The initial step is to log onto the site and click on the ‘buy bitcoin’ on the menu bar. Once you have input the bitcoin amount you require in the buy dialogue box, select your desired mode of payment for the transaction. Then, select a seller willing to sell you the amount you requested and agree on the payment method from the list of sellers. Similar to LocalBitcoins, the reputations of sellers are rated and it is important to choose buyers with high ratings. If you are satisfied with the conditions the next step to execute the trade by clicking on the ‘buy now‘ tab and you will then receive your bitcoin in your wallet once the transaction has been completed.

If you want to buy bitcoin using KES, you can try any of the above-mentioned bitcoin exchanges. Also, remember to transfer your purchased bitcoin to your own personal bitcoin wallet and do not leave them lying on an exchange as there they can be subject to cyber theft should the exchange get hacked.

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Ghana’s Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) Warns Public About Investing in Crypto

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In a recent statement, the SEC of Ghana has warned the populace against investing in cryptocurrency and crypto-related investment schemes. This warning comes amidst a growing concern of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) about how Ghanaians are diving head first into the cryptocurrency market.

SEC Warns About Crypto

The Director General of the SEC, Rev. Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh, signed an official statement released by the Commission that cautions the general public about cryptocurrency trading and all crypto-related activities as these are not regulated by the Securities Exchange Commission reports News Ghana

“[Cryptocurrency investments] offered by unregistered and unlicensed entities on digital online trading platforms with promises of high returns on investment are not sanctioned nor registered by the SEC”, the statement read.

The Commission’s statement further read:

Ghana SEC“The SEC wishes to inform the general and investing public that none of these cryptocurrencies is recognised as currency or legal tender in Ghana. The platform on which they are traded are not also licensed nor regulated by the SEC. The SEC would like to make it clear that it does not currently regulate these types of products offerings and their accompanying online trading platforms or Exchanges. Members of the general public who are investing or intend to invest in such currencies or assets may be doing so at their own risk and can in no way be protected under the Securities law regime in Ghana.”

Currently, digital asset trading remains a regulatory and legal grey area in the West African nation. Whereas the SEC has stated that it is presently not in support of or regulating cryptocurrencies, it also has not stated that cryptocurrency trading is illegal.

The regulator only mentions that they are “unregistered, unlicensed, and unregulated under the Securities Law of Ghana“. Thus, this can be very much regarded as a “disclaimer” on the part of the regulatory body to the public to sensitise them that trading in cryptocurrencies in the country presently is only done at one’s own risk.

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Botswana Receives its First Bitcoin ATM

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Botswana Bitcoin ATM

A startup in Botswana recently launched the country’s first bitcoin ATM in a shopping mall in the country’s capital Gaborone.

Botswana’s First Bitcoin ATM

Botswana Bitcoin ATMAccording to a report by Business Times, the new bitcoin teller machine, which is Africa’s tenth bitcoin ATM, is located in Gaborone’s city centre in a large shopping mall.

The company hopes that its bitcoin ATM will gradually increase the use of cryptocurrency in the city. Also, given the many negative stories surrounding cryptocurrencies, transactions without human interactions could be an attractive option to potential customers.

“We have been working tirelessly to make it easier for Batswana [people of Botswana] to buy cryptocurrencies and now we are bringing simplicity, convenience, and trust to the cryptocurrency purchasing experience,” said Express Minds’ Director Brose Watlala.

Mr. Watlala further states that the machine has a maximum daily transaction limit of around $5,000 and is the fastest, most convenient way to currently buy bitcoin in Botswana. Since there are no local cryptocurrency exchanges in the country, the local bitcoin community will likely benefit from the new bitcoin ATM.

The Future of Bitcoin ATMs

Botswana‘s government has paid negligible attention to digital currencies with its central bank not having made any official comments on cryptoassets or the blockchain. Currently, there are no clear rules and regulations around the legality of bitcoin and other crypoassets in the African nation. That means that the new bitcoin ATM may or may not last a long time should the country’s regulatory position towards bitcoin change.

As for now though, Express Minds use their newly launched bitcoin ATM to teach more people about bitcoin and the crypto world, which could go a long way in helping the country’s progress in crypto adoption.

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Kenya’s Regulatory Sandbox Will Not Accommodate Cryptocurrency Firms Says CMA

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Regulatory Sandbox in Kenya

Kenya’s financial regulator, the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), announced that the new regulatory sandbox will not accommodate blockchain firms dealing in cryptocurrencies.

The Regulatory Sandbox in Kenya

“[…] Blockchain firms will be considered so long as they are not dealing with cryptocurrencies since the CMA’s mandate does not extend to currency. The CMA regulatory sandbox can only serve financial innovations that are directly within the regulatory perimeter of the CMA.” said the Capital Markets Authority’s chief executive Paul Muthaura, according to a report by BusinessDailyAfrica.

CMA

The new regulatory sandbox aims to offer a controlled environment for fintech firms to innovate and create financial products that protect the interests of consumers.

The regulatory sandbox has so far received interest from 70 firms that want to join. Most of these firms are in the payments sector while others are crowdfunding platforms in the real estate and health sectors. In addition, some of these firms are from outside Kenya.

The CMA recently held a validation exercise with the 70 firms of the opinions received from the public regarding the new laws guiding the sandbox. Before this, the regulator had requested for public feedback regarding the sandbox’s regulations.

In April, the Authority will issue the final guidance notice to anchor the regulations into law before officially launching the sandbox in May.

An Anti-Crypto Regulatory Space

In the past, the Capital Markets Authority and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) have warned Kenyans to avoid participating in initial coin offerings (ICOs) and trading in cryptocurrencies respectively. These warnings were issued because investing in ICOs and cryptocurrencies poses a high risk to consumers.

“There are risks associated with cryptocurrency particularly on consumer protection, fraud, hacking and loss of data and they are prone to be used as pyramid schemes,” the CBK governor, Dr. Patrick Njoroge asserted in 2018

In one of its 2018 soundness reports, the CMA recommended that a special body be created to oversee cryptocurrencies and ICOs. The report stated: “There is a need for regulators to devise a common approach towards handling issues revolving around cryptocurrencies and ICOs. A joint workgroup by financial sector regulators could be put in place to tackle issues around cryptocurrencies and ICOs.”

In light of the upcoming regulatory sandbox, Kenyans could benefit from the platform since the market is currently flooded with fintech solutions, especially those in the mobile lending sector, which are high-risk.

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