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Funds Raised Through Token Sales Hit $13.7 Billion in First Five Months of 2018

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Cryptocurrency Token Sales

According to a report released by PWC’s strategy and consulting division Startegy& in collaboration with Switzerland-based Crypto Valley Association, the first five months of 2018 have seen funds raised through token sales jump to $13.7 billion, which is around double the amount that was raised in the whole of 2017.

The ICO report which will be published every quarter showed that blockchain startups have been able to raise capital by selling digital tokens through initial coin offerings (ICOs) directly to investors globally thus avoiding venture capital firms and banks as intermediaries.

The report further stated there this year alone, there have been token sales from 537 coin offerings which surpassed the $7.0 billion from 2017 and includes huge offerings from Telegram – a messaging service – and Block.one’s EOS. Telegram was able to raise $1.7 billion without selling any token to the public while EOS, an infrastructure for decentralised applications was able to raise $4.1 billion after one year of offering their tokens with both being called the “first true ICO unicorns”.

According to the report, out of the 3,470 ICOs launched since the first ever token sale in 2013, only 30 percent have been able to close successfully while many have either lost momentum or gotten delayed through the process.

Daniel Diemers, Fintech Leader Switzerland, Head of Blockchain EMEA at PwC Strategy& said: “This report highlights the continued growth and popularity of ICOs globally in 2018, with over 537 ICOs conducted in the first five months of this year, raising a combined total of $13.7 billion USD – more than all ICOs which took place before 2018 combined. Going forward this quarterly report on global ICO activity will continue to track the changes and developments in the industry as it undergoes continuous expansion and substantive change.”

United States Remains Leading ICO Destination

cryptocurrency token salesThe report also notes that while Switzerland and Singapore continue to be in the lead for ICO activity centers, the United States “remains a leading ICO destination” as $1.1 billion was raised out of the 56 token sales registered in the country in the first five months of 2018, “reinforced by clear and firm regulatory requirements (e.g. KYC)”.

The report’s underlying message is that more and more ICOs are increasingly beginning to register with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). While Switzerland remains the ICO capital in Europe, the UK has gained ground in both numbers and volumes with $507 million raised so far out of the 48 ICOs registered there.

“This report shows that Switzerland is still a leading hub for ICO and blockchain activity. To my mind, Switzerland is the standard bearer in terms of establishing a regulatory environment for the digital economy. The Crypto Valley in Switzerland, offers a unique environment that embraces blockchain technologies and the potential of ICOs while always embodying Swiss values, such as privacy protection and confidentiality. I’m delighted to see that Switzerland continues to be very attractive to visionary entrepreneurs within the crypto space,” stated the President of the Crypto Valley Association, Oliver Bussmann.

Diemers concluded by saying: “After all the hype of 2017, this year has seen the ICO sector becoming more mature and established, with an improved focus on best business and legal practice, investor relations and fundraising. Hybrid models of combined Venture Capital and ICO financing are increasingly bringing together the best of what both have to offer, so that the soundness of a business is validated while it realises its market potential by receiving crowd support.”

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Nairobi Securities Exchange May List Africa’s First Cryptocurrency ETF

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Africa's First Cryptocurrency ETF

Kenya-based Badoer Group ADK ETF is gearing up to launch a crypto-based exchange traded fund (ETF) on the Nairobi Securities Exchange in the first quarter of 2019. If their application is successful, it would become Africa’s first cryptocurrency-backed ETF.

Africa’s First Cryptocurrency ETF

Badoer GroupBadoer Group ADK ETF, a private company incorporated in October, is reportedly finalising an ETF listing arrangement on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), according to a report by Business Today.

If approved, the NSE would regulate Badoer Group ADK ETF, giving ordinary investors regulatory protection to invest in the asset. About 50 percent of the total ADK in supply, which is 12.5 million ADK, would be available for the ETF.

The founder of ADK, Ricardo Badoer, has reportedly met with the NSE’s commercial director, Ms. Bahati Morara, and the head of Innovation and Project Management, Mr. Irungu Wagema to finalise the ETF listing arrangement.

The NSE is one of the leading securities exchange in East Africa with 66 listed companies and over $20 billion (KES 2.10 trillion) in market capitalisation.

Road to the First ETF

In 2018, there have been debates about whether or when a Bitcoin ETF will get launched. Many believe it will allow investors to diversify their investments without actually owning the assets tracked by an ETF. While others think it is just a distraction to the development of the technology.

Last month, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had stopped accepting public feedback on their Bitcoin ETFs policy review. The market regulator postponed decisions or denied applications to list various ETFs. The SEC cited issues like the volatility of bitcoin and rumoured manipulation of prices as obstacles.

However, in Sweden, XBT Providers already provide bitcoin and ether as exchange-traded products (ETP) on Nasdaq Stockholm, a major Swedish exchange. ETFs are one of the investment vehicles under ETPs.

Having crypto-based fund will make sense to many investors who were cautious of putting their money in an unregulated cryptocurrency market. ADK’s anticipated move with an African-based ETF could open the market to a lot more African investors and institutions.

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Egypt’s Central Bank is Considering Issuing a Digital Currency

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Egypt central bank digital currency

Egypt has reportedly joined the list of countries that have started studying the issuance of digital currency as an option or alternative for their fiat currencies. That makes Egypt one of the few sovereign countries in Africa to consider a national digital currency option, which is somewhat surprising given the country’s negative stance towards cryptocurrencies.

The “Egypt Coin”

egypt bitcoin exchangeThe Cairo-based news outlet, Amwal Al Ghad, reported that the sub-governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), Ayman Hussein, confirmed the prospect of government-issued virtual currency in a conference in Abu Dhabi. He said the bank is conducting a study in collaboration with some international financial institutions.

However, he did not disclose details about the proposed currency and did not address whether it would be traded between banks only or issued to the general public.

Amwal Al Ghad says the bank believes the digital currency could “lower the cost of banknote issuance and use of cash.”

State-Issued Digital Currencies

Many central banks all over the world have considered issuing their own digital fiat money, rather than support cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

In July 2016, the Bank of England became one of the first institutions to analyse the possibility of state-issued virtual currency. Followed by central banks in Canada, Russia, China and Sweden among others, as well as the European Central Bank.

However, Tunisia was the first country in the world to put their national currency on a blockchain in a trial in 2015. The eDinar initiative did not receive enough backing to go beyond proof of concept but highlighted the interest of central banks in testing a blockchain-based currency system.

The following year, various news media wrongly reported that the Senegalese government issued a digital currency on the blockchain. It had issued an e-currency, the eCFA, but it was not created on a blockchain.

Making State-Issued Digital Currencies Work

The use of this progressive financial technology is a positive step forward to help unbanked people in Africa. Also, it could aid electronic payments and support a cashless society.

Still, some people have questioned the approach of these countries. Centralised blockchains with power concentrated with the central banks could impose limitations on general adoption. The allure of the blockchain technology in the first place is decentralisation, giving people freedom from the traditional centralised banking system.

The impact of a central bank issuing its own cryptocurrency is potentially disruptive, even on the business model of commercial banks. The most practical approach for most central banks, it seems, is to restrict the use of cryptocurrency within an inter-bank context.

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Cashaa Announces Launch of Global Crypto Accounts for Businesses and Individuals

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Images by Cashaa

Cashaa, a London-based blockchain startup, has announced the launch of its global multi-currency crypto-friendly accounts for businesses and individuals, which will take place on November 28, 2018.

What is Cashaa?

CashaaCashaa was launched in 2016 to ease the challenges that were being faced by bitcoin remittance companies such as country-specific regulations, KYC/AML requirements, illiquidity of exchanges among others, will be able to bank all kinds of individuals and businesses from startups based in garages to large businesses or exchanges with revenues in the millions.

Unlike most bitcoin remittance businesses in operation today, Cashaa uses a peer-to-peer model that lets local traders manage fiat currency exchanges with the cryptocurrency feature of the whole transaction occurring in the background.

Talking about the planned launch of its gobal accounts, Cashaa stated in a press release: “The Crypto community has continuously been denied support from high street banks who like to talk and sponsor blockchain events but in reality do not want the blockchain revolution to happen. To speed up our mission to “Bank the Unbanked”, starting from the Crypto community, we have merged our wallet release with the account plans – this first version of Cashaa will be launched on November 28, 2018.”

Cashaa’s Business Products and Fund Security

Cashaa has five business products with different tiers for both businesses and individuals. The five different products are Blue, Basic, Smart Value, Premier and Advance. Each product membership is different for both individuals and businesses in terms of monthly limit.

Cashaa

All the accounts will require CAS tokens to function apart from the free account. CAS is also listed on several exchanges such as Idex and HitBTC, among others. The first release will see Cashaa users get:

  1. Multisig crypto wallet for Bitcoin, Ether and CAS tokens
  2. Accounting and auditing features
  3. Banking product details with different membership plans
  4. Pre-registration for the membership plans
  5. Onboarding business users for the banking services
  6. Deposit CAS token holding period to activate the accounts

Since Cashaa will have business and individual accounts that will potentially have millions of dollars in them, the startup has opted to go with a 100 percent fund protection scheme with European Central Institutions. This means that all deposits made through Cashaa will be kept in a segregated account with the Bank of England to ensure that Cashaa does not risk or invest their users’ money in any way.

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