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Bitcoin and Other Digital Currency Transactions Are Now Illegal in Morocco

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bitcoin illegal in Morocco

The Moroccan central bank, Bank Al-Maghrib, and the country’s Foreign Exchange Office, Office des Changes, issued a public statement on November 20, 2017, in which the two financial regulators inform the Moroccan public that transactions using digital currencies such as bitcoin constitute a violation of the country’s exchange regulations.

In other words, transacting in bitcoin, ether, and other cryptocurrencies is now considered illegal by the country’s financial regulators.

The regulators highlighted the risks involved in using cryptocurrencies for transactions as their reason for the ban.

“As a hidden payment system that is not backed by a financial institution, the use of virtual currencies entails significant risks for their users,” the statement reads.

Interestingly, the statement also says that the central bank, the foreign exchange office and a range of local banks are “following the evolution of digital currencies with interest”. It is unclear, however, how the evolution of cryptocurrencies can take place in Morocco if users are banned from transacting with them?

Bitcoin Africa spoke to Moroccan blockchain expert and Mchain CTO Bellaj Badr about the ban.

“I am very disappointed by such reaction. Illegalising bitcoin is a wrong decision as it’s very popular among the population and it could help us to solve many local problems. We will do our best to make them change this decision. They have taken a miscalculated decision harming the image of our country in Africa and worldwide,” Badr said.

How bitcoin users in Morocco will react remains to be seen. As trading volumes by peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange LocalBitcoins show, the demand for bitcoin in Morocco has been steadily increasing over the past 18 months and given the pseudo-anonymous and censorship-resistant nature of bitcoin, it will be difficult for the Moroccan regulators to actually impose this cryptocurrency ban.

By making digital currency transactions illegal, it will be difficult for Morocco to benefit from blockchain and cryptocurrency-based solutions as local startups are now – technically – not legally allowed to work on any.

“Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are the future and we urge these respected institutions to review their decision and open a national dailogue about this topic. As a blockchain expert i’ll do my best to prove to the authorities the benefits of these technologies,” Badr added.

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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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