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Humaniq Global Challenge Winners Go To Kenya

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Humaniq Global Challenge Kenya

Companies working to overcome the challenge of two-thirds of Africans not having access to banking services are acknowledging the need to draw on the needs and experiences of African communities themselves.

A global vision, set by the UN, aims to extend banking to everybody in the world without access to a financial account by 2020. There has been progress this decade, driven by mobile money accounts, especially in East Africa, where more than a third of all people have one. And yet the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, based at the World Bank, has highlighted that only half of all new financial accounts being opened worldwide are being used. This has underlined to startups seeking to accelerate progress on this financial agenda that they must meet the real needs of the unbanked if they are to succeed.

Startups working in this space aim to serve the unbanked by making accounts easier to open. Blockchain technology means financial services can be deployed to more people more quickly because it removes the need for costly intermediaries. Biometric technology, meanwhile, means that those without identification can register with financial service apps and gain a digital identity.

One startup deploying such technologies says that deploying technology alone will not in itself ensure that new accounts are used.

It is not enough for entrepreneurs to generate business ideas from afar,” says Alex Fork, CEO of Humaniq. “Proposed new solutions can be perfect on paper, but only those founded in listening to the real needs of Africans will succeed.”

This is why Humaniq runs a ‘global challenge’ to facilitate the development of new financial inclusion solutions, which invites social entrepreneurs to submit proposals for blockchain startups targeted at Africa’s unbanked. The challenge involves selected developer teams meeting the unbanked people who stand to benefit from new services in Kenya, in order to test and adapt emerging business plans.

Three projects selected for the first Humaniq expedition, which attracted a total of 450 entries, included a blockchain-based land registry project, a micro-venture capital loans system and a remote-workplace app. The challenge winners went on an expedition to Kenya as part of their efforts to build on the rapid take-up of mobile money in the East African nation. The idea was to develop further financial services that make use of smartphones which are increasingly available in Kenya. Already, more than a quarter of people own one, according to Pew Research Center survey last spring. The widespread adoption of smartphones in the nation over the next few years will mean that a wider range of solutions to be offered, beyond the transactions the mobile-based money transfer service M-Pesa makes possible.

To develop their plans, the winning entrepreneurs invited ideas for solutions to problems from communities in Kenya themselves in a more bottom-up way of developing new tech services.

For example, in places such as Nakuru, in the Great Rift Valley, Richard Beresford met business owners and farmers and heard from them that there was demand for loans, but these are not provided by traditional banks. He also heard interest in making bartering between farmers easier, and in bringing traditional goods, such as those sold by the Masai in curio shops, to a larger number of people.

“One of the things that are most important about blockchain is that it can help to create interactions between small groups of people at the bottom of the pyramid,” said Bereford.

A second winner, Chad Pasha discovered in Namanga, a town divided by the Kenya-Tanzania border, that a platform that facilitated the exchange of goods and information could help bring down barriers between people from the two nations and from different tribes and religions. “I think we have a great opportunity to do this,” he commented. The third, Grace Wong, in her meetings with Kenyans, was told that people felt that if young people had more information on new technologies and solutions, this “would create incentives for young people to create new opportunities for themselves,” she said.

Following the trip, the first winners will now refine their business propositions and move forward to initial coin offerings, the crowdfunded way of attracting investment for projects using cryptocurrency.

Humaniq concluded that the trip had deepened the understanding of the needs of businesses, young people, and others in Kenya. It has now decided to make the global challenge an annual event, with a second challenge due to be held later this year. The startup believes that this will allow it to both engage further partner developers, and also further potential users. The first trip allowed scores of organisations of thousands of people to feed in their ideas to the development of financial inclusion solutions, according to Humaniq.

As R. Beresford said on the results of the first expedition: “I’m very hopeful that all the different experiences we’ve listened to… can be analysed to produce a mobile app development plan that produces the product that can be used by the unbanked.”

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Popular African Peer-to-Peer Exchange CoinDirect Will Support Bitcoin Cash Fork

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Support Bitcoin Cash Fork

Coindirect has released a statement saying that they plan on following Bitcoin ABC during the bitcoin cash hard fork. It expects the new forked chain will be the dominant network, which Coindirect will be supporting.

How it Works

CoindirectCoindirect, one of the popular cryptocurrency exchanges in Africa, explains the process to both current and future users. Before the upgrade on November 15, all deposits and withdrawals for BCH will be suspended for two hours. All current users need to make sure they have completed their bitcoin cash transactions before the appointed date. The exchange also recommends that those who would prefer to have access to both chains immediately should withdraw their BCH.

Terms of trading volume, bitcoin cash stands as bitcoin’s biggest hard fork and its current market cap is $231.57 million. bitcoin cash (BCH) is a hard forked version of the original Bitcoin. It a peer-to-peer electronic cash system developed as a solution to Bitcoin’s scaling issues.

Primarily, BCH achieves scalability by enabling the increase of the block size. This enables the currency to be able to deal with higher volumes of traffic without having skyrocketing fees. 

By supporting the upcoming BCH fork, Coindirect is making good on its promise to play a role in the acceleration of cryptocurrency adoption in the African market. 

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“We Are the Most Promising Cryptocurrency in Africa” – An Interview with Kenya’s Digital Shilling Project

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African man smartphone

BitcoinAfrica.io reached out to the team of the Digital Shilling, a Kenya-based altcoin that aims to create a currency by Africans for Africans, for an interview to find out more about the project.

Via Telegram, we spoke to founder and lead developer, Kelvin Yavwa, about the current state of the Digital Shilling and what the project has planned for the future.

Why did you start the Digital Shilling project and what has happened since its launch in 2016?

Digital ShillingThere has been a massive rise in financial inclusion in Africa largely accelerated by mobile phones and the Internet. The unbanked in Africa use mobile money more to transact on their daily activities, making physical cash less used. The biggest challenge with mobile money has been cross-border payments due to excessive regulations across different borders and bureaucracy.

As per World Bank reports, remittance claims a significant share of most African countries’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but the market is flooded with insecure, unreliable and poor remittance service providers. This is what got me thinking of introducing the Digital Shilling into the African market as a cryptocurrency that with time will provide remittance services at its best. Solving cross-border hindrance, centralization, control and asset class all in one project.

Having shown some massive stability and consistency, I believe we are the most promising cryptocurrency in Africa.

Currently, I have linked up with Miu Andrea, a developer from Vienna, Austria. He is bringing great proposals to the shilling protocol. It’s still at early stages so nothing to show.

Digital Shilling Kenya

The shilling (SH) can currently be traded on Nova Exchange, Bigbitex, Yobit, and Open Trade.

How can Shilling be mined and what are the mining rewards like today?

Join a mining pool! I would recommend http://gcpool.eu/p3350/public/. You can follow the instructions on how to start mining the shilling here: http://gcpool.eu/p3350/public/index.php?page=gettingstarted.

Currently, every SH 50 are mined as a reward for payment processing. The first halving will be on January 19, 2020, at its 300000th block.

CPU mining no longer works for the Digital Shilling. The shilling is currently being mined at approximately 650mh/s meaning a normal CPU can’t outmatch shilling’s current CPU computing power.

We are best placed into GPU mining at the difficulty the network is handling.

What have been your key takeaways that other blockchain developers can learn from who are interesting in launching or working for a cryptocurrency project?

A common John Doe or Jane Doe in Africa doesn’t care about the fascinating feature of a cryptocurrency. They only look at how secure their money is, how privately placed can it be, how cheap is it from the usual fiat currency and how simple is it to use and or access.

Simplification of any developing cryptocurrency into this basis is what will make more use of cryptocurrency in Africa. My biggest challenge is to make the shilling simpler yet as secure as any other remittance platform.

The shilling has not managed to establish itself as an altcoin despite being around for longer than many of the top 20 tokens. Why do you think that is?

Due to a massive disconnect with its point of contact – the African market – as I have said. What the common guy in Africa wants is a simplified secure coin. For that shilling is dormant.

Simplifying the usability is our biggest objective at this point and time.

There are several Africa-focused coins in existence and in the pipeline, such as Kobocoin, Dala, and Akoin. How do you plan to outcompete these projects to become the go-to currency for Africans?

The beauty of being longer in the game has taught us the do’s and don’ts as well as what’s workable and what’s doable.

Being in the industry for two years we’ve collected supportive team members, investors and sponsors, who have been drawn by our stability, consistency and continuous involvement into the project.

What are the future plans for the Digital Shilling project?

Digital Shilling

An advanced secure, easily user-friendly Android wallet and Shilling ATMs are some of the features in Shilling’s second phase. We will be having our second phase launched in the first quarter of 2019.

If you want to learn more about Kenya’s Digital Shilling, visit https://digitalshilling.org/.

Disclaimer: Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the company, product or service. BitcoinAfrica.io is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any loss or damage caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, product or service mentioned in this interview.

 

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REVEALED: 10 Biggest ICO Scams Swindled $687.4 million

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biggest ICO scams

Initial Coin Offerings are one of the most tempting investment options for those hoping to profit from the ever-evolving world of cryptocurrency. However, the lack of regulation has allowed ICO investors to become targets of sneaky schemes.

Though ICOs have snowballed, with more than 750 being invested in during 2018 alone, the number of scams has also steadily risen, with more victims of fraud falling prey to cryptocurrency criminals.

Following Satis Group’s revelation that approximately 80 percent of 2017 ICOs were identified scams, new data from Fortune Jack has found that just ten of the most high-profile ICO scams have swindled $687.4 million from unsuspecting investors.

In fact, Pincoin and iFan scam stole $660 million, with an estimated 32,000 investors falling prey to the money-making plot from Modern Tech.

As cryptocurrency continues to dominate headlines, more investors are pouring cash into ICO schemes in the hope of turning a quick profit. And with more than 150 scams listed on popular website Deadcoins, it’s easy to see how inexperienced ISO investors are being suckered.

The losses have become so prevalent that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched its own ISO scam in a bid to show investors how easy it is to set up such schemes.

The top ten most notorious ICO scams to date

Scam name Amount of money scammed ($)
Pincoin and iFan 660,000,000
Plexcoin 15,000,000
Bitcard 5,000,000
Opair and Ebitz 2,900,000
Benebit 2,700,000
Bitconnect 700,000
Confido 375,000
REcoin and DRC 300,000
Ponzicoin 250,000
Karbon 200,000

 

Despite the SEC warning that ICOs “bring an increased risk of fraud and manipulation” due to the lack of regulation, the number of ICOs, as well as the amount invested, has increased over the past year.

biggest ICO scams

In 2017 $6,240,046,555 was raised across 371 ICOs. However, in 2018 a staggering $20,074,423,238 has been raised across 789 ICOs to date.

This reveals a 222% increase in the amount raised in 2018 so far, compared to the full year of 2017. Additionally, there is a 113% increase in the number of ICOs in 2018 so far compared to 2017.

If Satis Group’s suggestion that almost 80% of 2017’s ICOs were identified scams is correct, 297 ICOs in 2017 may have been fraudulent. If this trend was to continue in 2018, 631 ICOs could be fraudulent.

Despite such shocking statistics, ICOs remain a relatively popular investment in 2018, with $20.1 billion being invested into ICOs so far.

The amount invested in ICOs in 2018 to date

Month Money invested ($)
January 1,985,750,821
February 1,660,013,613
March 4,173,112,271
April 1,268,948,460
May 1,985,596,961
June 5,778,213,703
July 809,577,207
August 989,375,043
September 1,423,835,159

 

So, what are the red flags that may alert you to an ISO scam? The following were present in the most high-profile incidents:

  • Silence from companies when contacted by investors
  • Lack of a whitepaper and inconsistencies on the ISO website
  • Fake Linkedin Profiles of “the team” with stock images or stolen photos
  • Any text humourous or otherwise outlining a scam
  • Promise of fixed profit or guaranteed ROI

This guest contribution was provided by Fortune Jack

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