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How To Avoid Airdrop Scams [Infographic]

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Airdrop Scams
Image by Airdrop-Review.com

With the increasing popularity of cryptocurrency airdrops and the amount of potential money (tokens) to be collected, it is no surprise that there are also many scams out there. Below are some basic rules of thumb that you can follow to ensure that you will avoid falling victim to airdrop scams.

airdrop scams

Safety first with Airdrops

After signing up to and reviewing many airdrops, we have gotten very good at spotting scams. Some things we see scam airdrops do often are things such as using the same WordPress layout as others, missing whitepapers, and fake accounts for team members.

Just to be clear, in no way are the majority of airdrops scams. In fact, they are only a small percentage of airdrops. There are plenty of remarkable airdrops out there that do an excellent job of delivering. The Stellar airdrop, for example, was just that, stellar.

We can go all day listing off some of the best airdrops from the past, but let us focus on how to make sound decisions when it comes to joining an airdrop.

1. Never send/donate ETH or pay for an airdrop

These are the most common tactics. You will see fake Twitter pages sharing; “Donate .1-1 ETH to get free ‘xyz’ token”. These are scams, so do not let them fool you!

2. Do not share your private key

This is rule number one for anything crypto related. Your private key is YOURS, never share it with anyone. Keep your private key safe and don’t get tricked into sharing it.

3. Create an airdrop dedicated email

Just about every airdrop asks for you to verify your email when signing up. Create a new email just for airdrops. It is a smart way to monitor project updates and keep your private email secure. You can then have all your emails from that domain forwarded to your private email. Most email providers offer this option to forward from another account.

4. Use different passwords

Do not use the same password on different sites. Some airdrops require that you create an account on their platform and sign up with a username and password. Create a unique password for each and manage all of your passwords with a password manager. It’s a good idea to set up a tracker in a spreadsheet to keep tabs on the airdrops you’ve signed up for and the account information you used. When you’re signing up for 20+ airdrops, this will help you to stay organised.

5. Be careful with KYC airdrops

KYC (Know Your Customer) processes are used for many ICOs because they require that you share your information to participate in token sales. If you do not plan on purchasing tokens during a projects ICO, then don’t fill out any KYC for an airdrop. This will ensure you secure your personal data.

6. Set up a new Ethereum Wallet for airdrops

Dedicating one Ethereum wallet to your airdrops will help you keep organised and keep your personal wallet safe. You can use MetaMask to create a new wallet and manage multiple at the same time. There is not much danger in sharing your public address, but having a separate address just for airdrops is a safe way to keep your personal wallet value hidden.

7. Always use reliable sources when doing your research

Make sure you are following links from the airdrops official pages and channels. On Twitter, you will see many look-alike profiles that claim to be there airdrops official page. They will use similar usernames and profile pictures. Double check every time before you click a link or share any information.

If you see what you think may be a scam account on Twitter, report it to the official airdrop channel.

Conclusion

As you research airdrops to sign up for, you may find a few airdrops that are worthless or blatant scams but you will also discover that many have potential and may be worth your time. Even though some airdrops may only be $2 – $5 in estimated value, there is always a chance that those same tokens can increase in value as the crypto market rallies.

This guide was contributed by Airdrop-Review.com. 

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Top 10 Ways African Tech Startups Can Fund Themselves in 2019

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African tech startups

African startups often fail to take off or make it big due to a lack of funding. In this guide, you will discover ten funding options for African tech startups that could help you to kickstart your company and turn it into a raging success in 2019.

Bootstrapping

Bootstrapping is the first funding option every tech startup should consider. This means that as an entrepreneur you will solely rely on your money and company resources to scale and run your business operations.

Bootstrapping is beneficial because it saves your company from debt and makes your business more attractive to potential investors and lenders. Another advantage that comes with bootstrapping is that you will become more business savvy as you get better at creating revenue and boosting your profits without external financial help.

Here are the possible options you can use to fund your tech startup through bootstrapping:

  • Let the customer pay for your initial job. This simply entails asking the customer to pay for the money you will use in building a tech solution for them.
  • Reduce expenses through sharing your workspace with other businesses to reduce the cost of office rent. You could run your company remotely to alleviate office costs entirely. You might also consider sharing employees and office equipment or hiring consultants instead of hiring people permanently.
  • Offer your employees the option to work for equity instead of cash.

Unfortunately, without an efficient marketing technique to bring in customers quickly the business might fail. Moreover, it will take longer to grow your company without investment.

Small Business Loans

startup fundingOnce you have successfully grown your startup through bootstrapping, then you can move to the second funding option which is applying for a small business loan to expand your business.

Loans for startups and small businesses are not easily accessible in Africa but with a strong business plan, an existing customer base, and adequate cash flow, banks, micro-finance institutions, savings and credit co-operatives, and mobile app lenders may lend you money to grow your business. However, these loans often come with high interest rates. Hence, it is important to ensure beforehand that you will be able to repay the loan plus interest in full and on time.

You will generally need the following to secure a small business loan:

  • A business plan
  • A good credit score
  • A record of your business financials e.g. tax income returns
  • Business licenses and other legal documents
  • Collateral

Angel Investors

An angel investor is a wealthy person who is looking to make investments that could potentially result in high returns. If an angel investor believes in what you are doing and they believe that your business will succeed, they may inject capital into your startup in exchange for ownership equity or convertible debt.

Financing your tech startup through an angel investor is beneficial because it is less risky than debt financing. Additionally, angel investors also offer mentorship to founders, thereby, enabling them to run their businesses more effectively.

Angel investors can be wealthy individuals, groups, family members, or friends. Examples of angel investor groups in Africa include Jozi AngelsAngel Investment Network, Team Africa Ventures, and Ghana Angel Investor Network.

To attract an angel investor, your business needs to be:

  • Innovative
  • Scalable
  • On the path to profitability

Additionally, your startup should also have a strong business plan and a strong team of founders because investors generally invest in people and not ideas.

Venture Capital

African startupsVenture capital firms invest in businesses that have a high potential for growth. VC generate a return on their investments when the company they invested in gets bought up, goes public or they can sell their stake to another investment firm.

Unlike angel investors, venture capital companies generally invest larger amounts of capital into a business. However, VC investment tends to come with conditions that are not always favourable to the startup founders so potential VC investments need to be looked at in detail to see whether they truly benefit the business and its owners or primarily the VC firm.

While some angel investors are motivated to help startups grow through mentorship and capital, venture capitalists are often interested in finding the best business that can make them the most money.

Before approaching a venture capital firm:

  • Do your research
  • Evaluate the growth potential the current target market offers your business
  • Talk to other startups that have raised funds through venture capitalists and learn from their experiences
  • Build your idea and gain traction
  • Create a short and catchy pitch deck
  • Consider bootstrapping, small business loans, and angel investors first

Some of the top venture capital firms in Africa include Matamba Anonaka Technology Holdings (MATHs) and Adlevo Capital.

Startup Incubators/Accelerators

Startup incubators concentrate on innovation while accelerators focus on growth. Tech startups have to apply to be accepted into an accelerator or an incubator program. Once they are picked, startups are given a small amount of seed funding in exchange for a small equity percentage.

Accelerators offer startups a mentorship network which they leverage to grow their businesses. In addition, accelerator programs help startups to build their businesses over a short period of time. Incubators are often characterised by a co-working environment, mentoring, networking, and some connection to the local community. Once a startup joins an incubator program, it gets the opportunity to polish up its idea, create a business plan, and work on a product that fits the target market.

Accelerators and incubators are important because:

  • You receive mentorship
  • You get access to future investors
  • You develop your skills
  • You are able to manage the risk associated with your concept
  • You are able to establish the next growth level of your business
  • You get access to a free or low-cost working space

Accelerators and incubators are ideal for startup founders that want to start their businesses on the right foot. Some examples of accelerators and incubators in Africa include Injini, Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa, FB Start Accelerator, iHub, and MMH Accelerator.

Business Grants

african startup fundingBusiness grants are non-repayable funds that come with attached conditions. As long as you fulfill these conditions, then you will not have to repay the money.

Governments, foundations, organisations, large corporations, and trusts are often the givers of business grants. African tech startups simply have to look for a grant that fits their needs before making an application.

The upside of receiving a business grant is that you do not have to repay it or give up any shares. Moreover, you can use the fact that a large corporation or a government has given you a grant as a promotional mechanism.

Examples of organisations that offer grants include Shell LiveWire, Africa Women’s Development Fund, Jack Ma’s Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative 2019 and Miss.Africa Initiative.

Pitching Competitions

Startup contests and pitching competitions are other ways of funding your tech startup. These opportunities enable a startup to pitch its ideas to potential investors while interacting with a wide network of people that could contribute positively to the growth of its business.

Other perks are competition prizes, support from incubators or accelerators, mentorship, and free access to industry events.

To win a pitching competition, you need to:

  • Follow the rules
  • Know your material
  • Open with a close and catch the attention of the audience

Examples of pitching competitions for African tech startups include MEST Africa Challenge, Seedstars World Competition, and Sanofi in Africa VivaTechnology Challenges.

Online Crowdfunding

Online crowdfunding entails raising small amounts of money on the Internet from a large number of people. There are two types of online crowdfunding: equity and rewards-based. Equity-based crowdfunding entails offering shares in exchange for capital while in reward-based crowdfunding, “investors” are given an incentive or a reward.

Online crowdfunding platforms offer an efficient way to raise money and access thousands of potential investors.

Here is how you participate in online crowdfunding:

  • Determine the type of online crowdfunding you want
  • Research crowdfunding platforms
  • Choose the best platform for your business and post your campaign
  • Use social media to promote your campaign

African crowdfunding platforms include Uprise.Africa, Thundafund, M-Changa, and Afrikstart.

Initial Coin Offering (ICO)

ICORaising money through an initial coin offering (ICO) is another funding option that has been gaining popularity over the recent years thanks to the emergence of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. During an ICO, tokens are sold to the public as a means to raise funds.

ICOs were very popular in 2017 but have since lost their appeal as regulators across the globe have made it clear that companies will no longer be able to raise millions without having to adhere to any regulations. Hence, there is regulatory risk involved in launching an ICO.

To launch an ICO, do the following:

  • Research ICOs and the regulations guiding this type of funding in your country
  • Decide on what type of token you want to launch and how it will fit into your product or service
  • Put together a team of skilled people and advisors
  • Create a project roadmap, whitepaper, and website
  • Engage with the crypto community
  • Market your ICO
  • List your token on exchanges

Security Token Offering (STO)

The final funding option on our list is the security token offering (STO). An STO refers to the process of offering tokenised securities for sale, i.e. tokens that are representations of securities such as bonds and stocks.

In an STO, the value of the security tokens is dependent on the value of the company or the underlying asset. In addition, there is more regulation in an STO than in an ICO since securities are regulated.

However, the STO market is still young and has not been tested in the long-term. This means that there is a risk for both startups and investors. Furthermore, STOs require a startup to create its own tokens and a platform to manage them which is costly.

What to do before launching an STO:

  • Understand the compliance regulations in your country
  • Create an STO business plan
  • Seek the consultancy services of an STO development company to create and manage your security tokens
  • Market your STO to reach as many investors as possible

With these ten funding options to choose from, you could be on the path to ensuring that your startup will turn into a success story.

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Meet the African Cryptocurrencies You Have Probably Never Heard Of

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African cryptocurrencies

The world’s leading digital currency bitcoin has become popular among Africans but thanks to the growth of the altcoin market, the continent now also has its own African cryptocurrencies.

In this guide, you will discover six African cryptocurrencies that are each trying to solve different challenges faced by the African population.

Kobocoin

kobocoin Image“[Kobocoin] is a cryptocurrency and blockchain with an African heritage aimed at the African market with global ambitions,” Felix Onyemechi Ugoji, a United Kingdom-based Nigerian entrepreneur and developer, told Bitcoin Africa in an interview.

Kobocoin aims to play in Africa’s remittance market too to provide a fast and low-cost way for Africans in the diaspora to send money home. It also wants to be a cheap and reliable alternative to existing mobile money services in Africa.

Even though Kobocoin has had only very few adopters on the African continent since 2015, it received a significant shot in the arm in August 2018 when it announced on Bitcointalk, the largest online community for cryptocurrency users, that it will list on Golix, Zimbabwe’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. The listing will enable users to buy KOBO directly with crypto, Nigerian Naira, Kenya Shilling and South African Rand.

Digital Shilling

Digital ShillingLaunched in 2016, the Digital Shilling is a Kenya-based altcoin that is one of the first ventures to tackle cross-border payment issues using blockchain technology.

However, since it got started the project has not gained much traction and adoption is de facto non-existent. The founder and lead developer of Digital Shilling, Kelvin Yavwa, told BitcoinAfrica.io that the project had been bedevilled by “a massive disconnect with its point of contact – the African market.” He said the shilling is currently not at its full potential to provide a “simplified secure coin” for the African people. The challenge of market fit is not unexpected as every other cryptocurrency in the world right now, including bitcoin, is still a work-in-progress.

The cause for concern for Digital Shilling, though, should be its low trading volumes among investors. Since inception, its been only listed on four exchanges – BigBitex, OpenTrade, Nova, and Yobit, and at the time of writing, the 24-hour volume on these four exchanges was zero.

SureRemit

SureRemitNigerian blockchain-based non-cash remittance startup SureRemit could not have started on a better foot after raising a whopping $7 million during its token sale held from December 8, 2017, to February 8, 2018.

SureRemit, with its Remit (RMT) tokens, provides an opportunity for diaspora Africans to pay bills and buy shopping vouchers for their families and friends back home in Africa.

It has an increasingly growing network of merchants around Africa and international partners to enable Africans to send e-vouchers that are redeemable on the continent. The startup recently announced a partnership with a new voucher/gift card partner to help it gain access to the Turkish market. SureRemit says this partnership could bring in over 50 new merchants.

In its 2019 roadmap, it expressed ambitions to be listed on five cryptocurrency exchanges and open offices in Europe and North America.

Awehcash

aweh.cashCreated in a country where regulators have been critical of cryptocurrencies, Awehcash is a cryptocurrency that wants to give Namibians an easy and secure access to the blockchain world.

Namibia’s Awehcash is built on the Waves Platform, a global public blockchain platform that provides a shared infrastructure for new blockchain-based projects. The company created only 21 million Awehcash tokens and had distributed “approximately 46,000 tokens” in October, Awehcash’s co-founder, Daniel, told BitcoinAfrica.

With the Bank of Namibia reinforcing its critical stance on cryptocurrencies in a public paper in May 2018 stating that “it does not recognise, support and recommend the possessing, utilisation and trading of cryptocurrencies in Namibia and by members of the public,” Awehcash already has an uphill task trying to convince Namibians to disregard warnings from the country’s central bank.

Mcoin

mCoinONEm, a London-based technology company, launched the Mcoin for the African continent in September 2018. Its main selling point is that the digital currency can be transferred over text message and does, therefore, not require Internet. The company will offer both a digital wallet and an SMS wallet which works with a set of shortcodes and does not need a connection to the internet.

The company wants to reach the unconnected on the African continent and provide commercial and financial services to them through their mobile phone, with or without access to the Internet.

Even though this blockchain project sounds exciting and is attempting to solve a real problem, it remains to be seen how it will be able to forge partnerships with mobile operators in Africa and different regulators in each African country. And also, how it will convince the locals in many African communities to trust its platform.

Dala

DalaEarlier in the year, Bitcoin Africa reported the launch of Wala’s zero-fee, borderless micropayments app in Uganda, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. The Dala token is used by Wala, a mobile financial services platform built on the Ethereum blockchain, and is issued by the Dala Foundation.

The goal of the Wala team is to cater to the unbanked and underbanked in Africa. It is leveraging the Dala token to create a platform where people can send money to friends and families around Africa at fees lower than traditional banks and conduct other transactions such as buying airtime and paying bills at zero transaction fee.

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Bitcoin Loophole – Another Crypto Scam to Avoid

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Bitcoin Loophole
Image by Bitcoin Loophole

The popularity of digital currencies has led to an explosion of cryptocurrency investment schemes and services. These investment services offer a variety of crypto-related financial products to investors who are looking to generate profits by trading cryptocurrencies. One such online investment vehicle is Bitcoin Loophole.

While Bitcoin Loophole markets itself as a cryptocurrency trading software, it has become apparent that this venture is very likely a scam, preying on unwitting cryptocurrency investors.

How Does Bitcoin Loophole Work?

Bitcoin LoopholeBitcoin Loophole claims to be a new cryptocurrency trading software that has been designed by alleged “prominent investor” Steve McKay. According to the company’s website (of which there are several), the software operates on a fully automated mode.

The Bitcoin Loophole trading software allegedly works by utilising a “highly efficient programming algorithm” that is based on a so-called ‘Flock Principle’. The platform’s alleged creator, Steve McKay, apparently found a loophole, which enables him to apply the economic theory to a basic computer code. The platform development team who manage the computer code assert the trading software scans the ongoing market situation and then predicts whether the price of any digital asset, traditional asset or cryptocurrency pair will rise or fall.

Bitcoin LoopholeSigning up for Bitcoin Loophole is free using the site’s log-in form. The next step is opening a “trading account” on the partnering broker service. The site claims to work with legitimate brokers and thus claims that investors funds and information are secure.

To begin trading a user has to fund his account with an initial deposit. The minimum deposit is $250. The deposits can be made through a variety of payment channels including credit cards, wire transfer, and bitcoin (BTC) and its operators claim that funds can be withdrawn any time. The site also claims once users have signed up and made a deposit they are guaranteed to get daily returns.

How is Bitcoin Loophole a Scam?

The obvious red flag concerning Bitcoin Loophole is the site promises a minimum of $13,000 daily returns. Now, imagine making over $500 an hour without any effort? Sounds goods to be true! Well, that is because it is good to be true.

Going by their guarantee, it would mean that anyone using the service will be a millionaire in a few months. However, when you study the disclaimer on the website you will notice it states that the site does not guarantee any profits. This is a direct contradiction to what is stated on the sales page.

Bitcoin Loophole Scam

Furthermore, the alleged CEO of Bitcoin Loophole, Steve McKay, does not seem to exist. If you take a closer look at any of his photos on the website you will notice they are stock images and a reverse Google image search proves that. It is, thus, very obvious that the site’s operators want to stay anonymous and are using a fake frontman to lure investors into their scheme.

Also, research has failed to confirm the claim that he has been featured on Forbes or Business Insider in the past even though the site makes this claim and the reviews found on the website are all fake.

It is also important to note Bitcoin Loophole is not regulated nor does it have any license for its operations. In fact, the FCA issued a warning against Bitcoin Loophole as it has no authorisation to target investors in the UK.

Unsurprinsgly, there is also no information on how the “trading software” actually works nor is there evidence of any actual trading in the crypto markets by the operation.

Moreover, most of the reviews online praising the trading software are actually fake and cannot be trusted. The reality is Bitcoin Loophole operates like any other Bitcoin MLM scheme and uses referral payments to get its users to attract new users for a commission and there is no evidence that the company actually trades cryptocurrencies on behalf of its “investors.”

Red Flags Summarised

  • No valid information on the company or individuals behind the platform.
  • The alleged owner Steve McKay does not seem to be a real person.
  • The Steve McKay online persona has been linked to other alleged bitcoin scams.
  • Bitcoin Loophole uses fake reviews and gives no insight into ownership structure.
  • No insight into how the “trading software” is generating its alleged profits.
  • The platform uses several different websites and its main website is no longer online.
  • The UK financial regulator has issued a warning against Bitcoin Loophole.
  • Finally, the platform guarantees a profit, which is arguably the biggest red flags of all!

Stay Away From Bitcoin Loophole

Bitcoin LoopholeIf such an extraordinarily profitable trading software really existed, it would be all over the news and not mentioned on some obscure websites. So, chances are the software is just a trading bot that executes whatever the site administrators have programmed it to perform if they even trade anything at all.

Based on all these factors it is safe to assume that Bitcoin Loophole is a scam. Any online reviews that state otherwise have likely either been paid for or have solely been written to benefit financially from the platform’s referral system.

Bitcoin users are always advised to research, consult experts and use some common sense before investing in any investment vehicle in the cryptocurrency space.

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