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Speaker Lineup Announced for CoinFest Nigeria on April 5, 2018

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CoinFest Nigeria

The countdown continues to the CoinFest in Abuja, Nigeria on 5th April 2018. The “decentralised convention for decentralised currency” in Nigeria is among other CoinFest events occurring in multiple cities across the globe.

The event aims to connect various stakeholders in the cryptocurrency space to discuss the benefits of digital currencies and blockchain technology. With a bigger turnout expected than the previous year, the event organisers have released the list of speakers for the event.

Keynote Speakers

First on the list of keynote speakers is Dr. Andrew S. Nevin, Ph.D., Chief Economist & FS Advisory Leader PwC, Nigeria. Andrew is one of the top global thinkers at PwC having worked in the fields of strategy, economics and regulation. He has lived in North America, Europe, and Asia in his professional career and resides in Lagos, Nigeria since 2012.

Andrew is presently active in Nigeria working to create a strong and vibrant economy and society. His time as an FS Advisory Leader has been spent serving several Nigerian banks in the areas of strategy, technology, operations, and regulations. Andrew has also assisted a number of international firms to explore their options when entering the African market.

The second keynote speaker is Helghardt Avenant. Helghardt is the co-founder of Rehive, which he started after dropping out of his masters at Stellenbosch in 2015. At that time he was working on his master thesis by researching on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology at the Naspers Media Lab, Stellenbosch University.

Helghardt, who is the current CEO of Rehive, joined Boost VC in Silicon Valley alongside his co-founder Michail Brynard, to continue pursuing their dream of promoting fintech innovation and leveraging blockchain technology.

Guest Speakers

When it comes to guest speakers first among them is Adeolu Fadele, founder of Cryptography Development Initiative in Nigeria (CDIN). CDIN, which is supporting the event, aims to bring local stakeholders together to pursue a common objective in the interest of addressing issues in cryptography-related developments such as digital currencies and crypto ransomware.

Another guest speaker is Lucky Uwakwe, the CEO of Blockchain Solutions Limited. The company provides blockchain services to countries in the Middle East and Africa. The company also promotes blockchain use cases in public and private sectors and assists in ICO projects. There is also Sidoine Felix, Ambassador of World cryptocurrency investment (CDI) in Cameroon, a cryptocurrency enthusiast who has organised several bitcoin meetups to educate Cameroonians on the benefits of the digital currency.

Finally, we have Nakul Shah, the CEO of State Development. The company creates enterprise solutions powered by blockchain technology and also assists firms in setting up crypto exchanges, crypto mining pools, and crypto mining farms. An Engineering graduate from Michigan State University, Nakul trained in bitcoin and blockchain technology from South Africa and has worked in the cryptocurrency space for a while.

Panelists

On the list of panelists, we have Adeoye Ojo, the co-founder of SureRemit. SureRemit is a platform for global non-cash remittances that leverages blockchain technology for quality purchases and payments. Second is Ruth Iselema- founder of Bitmama. Next, there is Ben Onouha, Director of Community – Africa at ConsenSys. He is responsible for client relations at ConsenSys and educating stakeholders on blockchain technology through hackathons, meetups, and other community initiatives to expand blockchain technology to all parts of Africa. Lastly, there is Faith Obafemi, Legal Advisor at ChainAfrica. The company aims to connect African blockchain startups and investors, showcasing African talent when it comes to blockchain technology.

You can register for the event on the CoinFest website.

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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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Mauritius to Receive World’s First Digital Asset Custody Regulatory Framework

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Digital Asset Custody Regulatory Framework

Mauritius is set to receive the first digital asset custody regulatory framework in the world, according to an announcement by the country’s Financial Services Commission (FSC). The framework will be effective from March 1, 2019.

The Digital Asset Custody Regulatory Framework

On September 17, 2018, digital assets were recognised as an asset class for Sophisticated and Expert Investors by the Financial Services Commission, Mauritius (FSC). This was followed by the FSC issuing a consultation paper with the intention of getting public and stakeholder feedback on the proposed Custodian Services (Digital Asset) License regulation, as BitcoinAfrica.io reported in November 2018. The license enables its holder to offer custody services for digital assets.

“In revolutionising the global FinTech ecosystem through this regulatory framework for the custody of Digital Assets, my Government reiterates its commitment to accelerating the country’s move to an age of digitally-enabled economic growth. As an African country, we look forward to fostering further innovation and bringing more prosperity to the region,” said Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius.

The regulatory framework will make Mauritius the first jurisdiction to create a “regulated landscape for the custody of digital assets. Holders of the Custodian Services (Digital Asset) License will equally have to comply with the applicable framework for AML/CFT, in line with international best practices,” the announcement read.

Support for the Regulatory Framework

Digital Asset Custody Regulatory FrameworkAccording to the FSC, the regulatory framework was created after consultations with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the regulation and governance of digital financial assets.

The Chief Executive of the FSC, Harvesh Seegolam, asserted: “The FSC is committed to implementing enabling frameworks which facilitate the development of the Mauritius IFC. We continue to collaborate with our international counterparts and stakeholders in introducing the appropriate regulatory mechanisms.”

The Bank of Mauritius is also in support of the regulatory framework. The bank’s governor, Yandraduth Googoolye, said: “The Bank of Mauritius is supportive of innovation in the financial services sector. Banks, depending on their respective risk appetite, are encouraged to develop business relationships with players in the Digital Assets segment.”

In light of this announcement, the custody services license regulation could create a thriving cryptoasset industry in Mauritius, which could help position the country as the go-to digital asset investment hub on the continent.

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