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Internet Shutdowns in Africa are on the Rise

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Internet Shutdowns in Africa

Grassroots opposition movements have greatly benefited from the rapid expansion of Internet access across Africa. The response by governments, however, is often to pull the plug on the Internet to avoid social media-driven resistance to their policies.

According to a database run by online rights group Access Now, since the beginning of 2016, thirteen African countries have witnessed their government intentionally shut down the Internet during occasions such as elections and protests. This is an unfortunate rea­lity that is partly behind shrinking civ­ic spaces on the con­tinent.

Attacks on African Media Must End

As the world celebra­ted World Press Free­dom Day earlier in May, Paradigm Initiat­ive executive and digital rights expert, Gbenga Sesan, called for an immediate end to the series of attacks on the media in Afri­ca.

Sesan was speaking at RightsCon, an international conference on digital rights recently in Toronto, Canada. He said: “At Paradigm Initiative, we do this annual report focused on the state of digital rights in Africa. In 2017, we looked at twenty-one African countries and one of the trends we have seen is that things are getting worse.”

“In terms of clamp down on the media, in terms of clamp down on citizens, in terms of using excuses like national security to shut down the internet, things continue to go downhill in many countries across Africa.”

“In Nigeria, there is a new proposal on hate speech bill, and the definition of hate speech is very interesting actually, an insult is considered hate speech. So we have a situation where citizens would not be able to express themselves freely online. Next month, we will release our report on Nigeria and I can tell you right now that things are not looking great for Nigeria in terms of respect for internet freedom,” Sesan added.

According to Paradigm Initiative, 40 percent of Nigerians felt unsafe expressing their opinions online.

Africans Need Digital Rights

Internet Shutdowns in AfricaDigital rights experts across Africa nations are pushing for the replication of Nigeria’s Digital Rights and Freedom Bill by other African countries in order to energise the technology industry at a time when connectivity and access to the Internet remains a challenge in several regions.

Sesan said that this bill would make sure Nigeria took digital rights seriously and those who broke the law would be held accountable. “We are excited about the passage of the bill by the national assembly. We hope the national assembly would expedite actions on transmitting the bill to the presidency for the presidential assent. Our hope is that the bill is signed into law before activities for the next elections in 2019 take centre stage.”

For Africa’s digital economy to thrive, Africans needs Internet connectivity without downtime and digital rights so that they can express and share their ideas and views freely with others. This has the potential to drive innovation and to help African entrepreneurs find solutions for real-world challenges.

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Weekly News Roundup: House Africa to Launch Blockchain Land Titles

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Blockchain Land Titles

In Bitcoin Africa’s Weekly News Roundup, we look at the most trending blockchain and cryptocurrency stories from Africa this week.

Here are our top picks!

House Africa To Put Land Titles in Nigeria on the Blockchain

buy bitcoin in nigeria

HouseAfrica, a real estate startup headquartered in Nigeria, has partnered with Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NRMC) to put land titles on the blockchain.

The companies are building a digital property (land) title verification on the blockchain. The authentication system, Propvat.com, allows individuals or firms to confirm the availability and value of properties in Nigeria. The platform aims to improve mortgage transactions in the West African state.

The co-founder and CEO of House Africa, Nnamdi Uba, described the partnership as one that will unlock capital in real estate. He said:

“The partnership will help to unlock trapped assets and capital in residential real estate valued at over 300-900billion USD. and then wealth creation through increased access to credit and growth in mortgage penetration by as much as 3% – 5% of GDP over a 5-10-year period (subject to increased adoption and user rates).”

Additionally, speaking to the press, Taofeeq Olatinwo, Head of ICT & Business Operations at NMRC, commented:

 “NMRC is delighted to partner with HouseAfrica in solving the land titling issues to strengthen the housing market in Nigeria.” 

MyCointainer Will Add CREDIT Before Swap Ends

TerraBitIn recent updates, we have been covering TerraBit, an African cryptocurrency startup providing access to crypto payments and purchases with FIAT.

In August, TerraBit will undergo a hard fork that will lead to a coin swap. Holders of CREDIT will have to swap their coins for new coins on the updated blockchain.

Ahead of this, the team behind TerraBit has been working on integrations for CREDIT. MyCointainer, a crypto wallet and staking platform is set to add CREDIT in August. This will allow users to opt for another wallet when storing or staking their CREDIT.

On the cryptocurrency market, bitcoin rose to new highs in 2020 as other altcoins saw an increase in value. BTC passed the $11,200 mark this week and ETH passed $300.

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TerraBit’s CREDIT To Be Listed on MyCointainer Before Swap

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Top cryptocurrency staking network, MyCointainer, will list TerraBit’s native token, CREDIT, before the CREDIT 2.0 swap.

TerraBit is gearing up ahead of an upcoming hard fork in August. The hard fork will bring significant changes to the cryptocurrency. Updates expected include masternodes, desktop mining, and DAO governance.

Also, a swap is scheduled for existing users as the cryptocurrency moves to CREDIT 2.0. Ahead of this swap, TerraBit has been increasing adoption and integration of the CREDIT token.

CREDIT will be listed on MyCointainer, a cryptocurrency wallet, and staking platform. CREDIT will join other currencies like BNB, WAVES, BAT, and BTC on the MyCointainer platform. This addition will allow MyCointainer users to store CREDIT and stake the token. Recently, other platforms have been adding support for CREDIT.

Bitforex and Catex are the latest to list CREDIT with a CREDIT/USDT trading pair available for traders. At the time of writing, CREDIT is trading with a 24hr trading volume of $40,970 and a market cap of $325,225. The coin has a maximum supply of over 70 billion coins.

CREDIT 2.0 And Possible Effects On Token Value

TerraBit

The number of coins in circulation will decrease drastically after the swap. The swap will exchange old CREDIT for newly minted at a ratio of 1000:1. This means that for every 1000 coins that exist now, only 1 will exist after the swap.

The TerraBit team is hopeful that the decrease in supply will cause an appreciation in price. The team expects the sharp decline in supply will leverage existing demand to create a dynamic that increases the value of coins.

Further, masternodes will require a collateral of 50,000 CREDIT, locking more funds away from active circulating supply.

TerraBit continues to provide cryptocurrency payment services for users in South Africa, Nigeria, and Venezuela. Users in these countries can buy cryptocurrencies directly with FIAT on the Terra mobile app.

Also, TerraBit allows users to earn passive income through web staking and masternodes after the hardfork.

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Weekly Bitcoin News Roundup: VALR Raises $3.4 Million, Uganda to Put SIM Cards on the Blockchain

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VALR Raises $3.4 Million

In Bitcoin Africa’s Weekly News Roundup, we look at the most trending blockchain and cryptocurrency stories from Africa this week.

Here are our top picks!

SA’s VALR Raises $3.4 Million To Expand

VARL is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Africa by trading volume, above Luno, iCE3x and ChainEx has raised 57 million rand ($3.4 million) from 100X and 4DiCapital. The capital will go into creating new products for the South African market and entering new markets in Africa.

In a blogpost, Farzam Ehsani, VALR’S CEO and Co-Founder, said:

“I am very grateful that despite the challenging global COVID-19 pandemic that has adversely affected many businesses around the world, VALR has been able to grow at a phenomenal pace and we’ve been able to raise funds and partner with a set of world-class investors, adding to our already distinguished group of shareholders.”

Before receiving support from 100x (parent company of BitMex), VALR’s had a high profile list of investors. Global exchange powerhouse, Bittrex, Michael Jordaan, the former CEO of FirstRand Ltd.’s First National Bank are investors in VALR. 

At the time of writing, VALR has raised 79 million rand so far. Currently, VALR supports over 50 cryptocurrencies. New features rolling out soon include collateralised lending and derivative trading.

The Uganda Communications Commission is Deploying Blockchain to fix SIM Card Verification

Blockchain in Uganda

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has partnered with FSD Uganda (FSDU) and CryptoSavannah to implement blockchain technology.

The implementation will be in the data-keeping sector of the commision’s work in registering SIM Cards. SIM Cards have always been an important form of identification. However, the need to have better verification systems is heightened by the popularity of mobile money on the continent.

Currently, the process for registering and verifying SIM cards in Uganda is slow, corrupted by fraud, and is inaccessible to many.

To further secure and enhance the management of SIM cards, UCC will be investigating the use of blockchain technology for SIM card registration and verification.

Conflux Network Launches A $50K Worth Grant

In a press release published by Conflux, the blockchain project announced a $50,000 grant. The grant intends to fund entrepreneurs, developers, and educators who can leverage the Conflux network to build innovative projects.

Conflux will provide support submissions with a focus on building infrastructure tools for developers. These tools will aid developers to build scalable products and DApps .

Finally, the cryptocurrency market has been bullish. The bitcoin price broke its stable price action into an uptrend that has seen a 5 percent rise. On the other hand, altcoins continue to see impressive gains as Ethereum breaks past $270.

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