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Blockchain-Based Mobile Banking App Humaniq is Now Active in 21 African Countries

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Humaniq 21 African Countries

The blockchain-powered mobile banking platform Humaniq is now active in 21 African countries where it offers low-cost mobile banking to the underbanked and unbanked populations. Its app is currently available in Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa, Kenya, Senegal, Zambia, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Guinea, DR Congo, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Liberia and Equatorial Guinea.

An expansion into more markets is planned. However, expanding into new African markets is not that easy for Humaniq.

Africa’s Lack of Cryptocurrency Regulations Slows Down Humaniq’s Expansion

The main reason why Humaniq is not active in more markets yet is that the startup has to comply with the regulations in every country it operates in.

Humaniq

From a regulatory perspective, both the blockchain and cryptocurrencies operate in what Humaniq calls a “legal void”. Simply put, there are no laws or regulations that have been established to govern the use of the blockchain and cryptocurrencies in most countries in Africa. For most countries, digital currencies are neither legal nor illegal although there are certain governments that have issued warnings to their citizens about their use to with some countries like Namibia outrightly banning cryptocurrencies.

Another important factor that Humaniq has to put into consideration is being compliant to the privacy and user data protection laws. This is because the Humaniq app, just like any other app you use on your phone, deals with a lot of sensitive information such as biometric identities and phone numbers.

For this reason, Humaniq stated in a blog post that it “needs to be very careful to respect all existing standards for data safety. With that said, we are fully compliant with the recently enacted EU GDPR laws, which can be considered as the toughest user data protection legislation in the world”.

How Humaniq Adds New Launch Countries

Before Humaniq can allow users to use their wallet in a country, it must first whitelist that country. This means that the company has to be 100 percent sure that government of a given country will consider their activities fully legal.

Humaniq went on to explain: “Initially we created a list of 10 countries, chosen according to criteria such as large population size, low incomes, and low banking services penetration. Then, we began searching for local law firms that specialised in the financial sector, requesting a legal opinion on whether our services will be allowed in their country. As mentioned before, the most important factors were the regulations on user data protection and the legal status of cryptocurrency, taking into consideration our emission system as well.”

Unbanked

While this procedure was a set standard procedure for Humaniq, it meant that it had to wait for several months for each country request which slowed their launch operations in any new country. The team ended up adding more countries that they were interested in expanding in and the list grew to 40 countries. Even with more countries of interest, there were countries that the company could still not launch in because either there was no legal clarity or they faced immediate rejection.

Although the team remains hopeful and believes they will be able to solve the problem through additional work, they also acknowledge the fact that it will take more resources and time, especially in Africa. This is because, besides the legality surrounding blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, Humaniq carried out research to get a better understanding of its users in different African markets and the results revealed that some of the issues facing these markets when it comes to financial inclusion include the lack of a common language, literacy level, no trust and people in emerging markets will generally not use cryptocurrencies for paying for paying for things like goods.

Besides legal issues, there are also other non-legal factors that have to be considered when a business wants to launch into any new market. While whitelisting a country is an easy matter and can take less than a day, getting the citizens to start using your services, however, does not take a day. People will not just use your product because it is available to them. There is a need to run marketing campaigns that combine the use of traditional and digital marketing for each new market separately.

Future Plans

HumaniqAlthough Humaniq has picked up the pace for whitelisting new countries and plans to continue the same way, their focus will not just be on the African continent. It is also targeting Asian and South American countries.

“It’s important to remember that Africa is not the only continent with large amounts of unbanked people, and we are excited to be making the jump soon! In fact, the expansion into Asia and America will be somewhat faster, as it’s much easier to find the required information by ourselves, compared to most African countries. We will, of course, keep developing our African presence through providing more use cases and more available countries as well: our eventual aim is to cover all of Sub-Saharan Africa,” the company stated in a blog post.

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Cashaa Announces Launch of Global Crypto Accounts for Businesses and Individuals

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Cashaa
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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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 it plans on following Bitcoin ABC during the bitcoin cash hard fork. The exchange expects the new forked chain will be the dominant network, which Coindirect will be supporting.

How It Will Work

Coindirect, one of the most 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.

Coindirect

In 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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Altcoins

“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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