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Gold-Backed Cryptocurrency OneGram to Launch in South Africa

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OneGram South Africa

Gold-backed cryptocurrency OneGram has entered the South African market to offer investors the possibility to invest in tokenised gold and to diversify away from more volatile cryptographic assets.

The cryptographic asset markets have been in a heavy bear market for most of 2018. Unsurprisingly, therefore, stablecoins and asset-backed coins have gained in popularity as they can be used by investors to store their funds during a market downtrend.

OneGram – A Gold-backed Cryptocurrency

OneGram South Africa

Most cryptocurrencies lack the backing of a tangible asset or collateral, leaving their value up to market forces. It has been debated whether solving the “volatility issue” of cryptocurrencies will increase investor confidence in digital assets, and by extension, increase adoption by the mass market. The OneGram team has embarked on the journey to create an asset-backed token that could test this thesis.

OneGram was co-founded by Ibrahim Mohammed to become the first digital coin backed by gold reserves as well as provide full compliancy with Shariah law.

OneGram uses a proof of stake consensus mechanism, whereby the token holders with a greater stake are responsible for verification and appendage of transactions to the blockchain. There is no mining on the blockchain platform. Instead, stakeholders are incentivised to act in the best interests of the network to continue earning new coins for staking.

Since its release in January 2017, it has reportedly been adopted by over 100,000 investors in 88 countries, and it has raised over $400 million in its initial coin offering. Significant interest has been shown in Africa, particularly in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria, as it offers investors a strong incentive to invest in a cryptocurrency without the risks of volatility that have marked other crypto assets.

A 1 percent fee is charged on every transaction on the platform. 70 percent of the fee goes to buying gold, thereby ensuring that there will be sufficient reserve of gold to back the cryptocurrency. 30 percent of the fee goes to the maintenance of the network, such that 2.5 percent is allocated to OneGram Foundation, a charitable organisation and another 2.5 percent to the validators; and 25 percent is the network’s profit.

Optimism

OneGram founder Ibrahim Mohammed is confident about the cryptocurrency, expressing optimism about it, its potentially increasing demand in Africa and the future of regulation for cryptocurrencies. The company chose Shariah compliance, for its strength in protecting investors’ rights. They envision setting an example for other blockchain platforms in creating optimal regulations and policies for digital assets, thereby making it easier for investors to adopt these alternative avenues of investment.

Mohammed hopes that the future will be asset-backed, in order to ease the onboarding of regulators, who have been struggling to provide guidelines and standards for cryptocurrencies.

*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 article.*

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South Africa’s Xago Deploys RippleNet in its Gateway to Boost Financial Inclusion

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Xago

Xago, a money transfer startup that aims to increase financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa, has announced the integration of RippleNet to its gateway.

The Xago Gateway

The South Africa-based fintech company has deployed RippleNet to its gateway to enable local and international fiat currency and digital asset transfer. RippleNet is a blockchain-based global payments network that is made up of payment providers, banks, and financial institutions launched by San Francisco-based Ripple.

According to Xago, the users of its payments platform will be able to access the transfer and exchange of digital assets via the XRP ledger. Additionally, the integration of RippleNet to the Xago gateway will enable customers to exchange the South African Rand for XRP.

“Xago uses the XRP Ledger as a distributed exchange where users can exchange XRP for ZAR,” said Xago.

The Xago gateway provides an entry point to the Ripple Network where customers can enjoy low-cost cross-border payments, instant payments, frictionless transfers, and transparent transactions.

Xago’s gateway is built for businesses while Ripple’s payments network is an enterprise blockchain solution. The Xago gateway acts as a connection between market makers and customers.

How it Works

XagoTo register to use the gateway, both businesses and individuals will need to undergo a KYC process. Xago also uses a third-party service provider to ensure that the platform is compliant with the Financial Intelligence Centre Act regulations.

Xago acts as both an issuing gateway and a private exchange with the gateway offering “a way for money and other forms of value to move in and out of the XRP ledger.”

Xago’s withdrawal fees are fixed at ZAR 8.50 while transaction fees vary with market prices. All fees are quoted for customers once an order is placed.

Boosting Financial Inclusion to the Unbanked

Xago said it picked RippleNet for its gateway because the network offers low-cost, secure, transparent, and instant payments to the unbanked, according to a report by TodaysGazette. The move could boost Xago’s goal of increasing access to financial services through technologies such as mobile phones to the unbanked.

According to data from the World Bank, 66 percent of the Sub-Saharan African population does not have access to financial services. However, mobile money is driving financial inclusion in the region with the number of adults holding mobile money accounts doubling to 21 percent. That could mean that mobile phones could be the key to driving financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Commit Good Launches Charity Project in Botswana With $GOOD Cryptocurrency

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Commit Good

Commit Good, a blockchain-based charitable organisation, has launched its first proof-of-concept project with the Rentse Foundation Trust. The reward-based, charitable platform will help the foundation to build homes in Otse, Botswana using the startup’s digital currency, $GOOD.

The $GOOD Currency

Commit Good’s Currency of Good campaign allows users to grant funds in $GOOD tokens to any charity anywhere in the world. Charities post current projects on the website where users can then vote on the most impactful projects. These users are rewarded with GOOD tokens.

The recently announced project to build homes in Otse, Botswana will be one of the first of the Currency of Good campaign, which will award a $10,000 grant each month to the charitable organisation that receives the most votes from Commit Good users.

The Rentse Foundation Trust, a non-profit organisation committed to providing homes to the elderly and individuals in underdeveloped areas of Botswana, was given a grant of 58,824 $GOOD – the equivalent of $10,000 – from the Currency of Good campaign funded by the Financial Trading Group (FTG).

“The collaboration with Commit Good and FTG are opening new doors for our project. By using $GOOD as a new source of funding, we are developing low-cost homes to shelter the most poverty-stricken families in Botswana,” said Rentse Ugokwe, founder and CEO of the Rentse Foundation Trust.

The foundation will use a third of its received $GOOD to build one of 50 desired homes in a remote village of Botswana. IMATU Enterprises, a construction company, will accept $GOOD as payment, making it one of the first housing projects in the world to be funding with cryptocurrency.

Commit Good Blockchain Fundraising Platform

Commit GoodCommit Good is a reward-based, fundraising platform dedicated to creating a global charitable economy on the blockchain through the integration of marketplace features and fundraising.

The startup believes using the blockchain could bring transparency to the philanthropy industry. The organisation also helps charities locate other resources like in-kind donations and volunteers. The Commit Good organisation verifies all charities and needs before they are posted on the platform.

Launched in the second quarter of 2018, the “Currency of Good” campaign allows charitable organisations to post projects that are currently underway on the Commit Good Platform. These organisations can then make a request for funding or items that are needed to complete their projects.

There are some large charities on the platform like Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Charities, Ronald McDonald House, and Feed the Children but the organisation wants to focus on smaller charities that have limited access to funding.

Clay Braswell, the CEO of Commit Good, told TechBullion in an interview that he believes the charitable space could be one of the early success stories that will enable mainstream user adoption of the blockchain.

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BitMinutes to Reduce Cost of Money Transfer With Blockchain in Nigeria

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BitMinutes

US-based blockchain company, BitMinutes Inc., has launched a blockchain token and an agent network in Nigeria to lower the cost of transferring money and to ease access to micro-loans.

BitMinutes Enters the Nigerian Market

In January, BitMinutes announced a partnership with BODC Trading & Investment Company in a bid to enter the Nigerian market.

BitMinutes would be offering people in the country the ability to purchase goods and services with BMTs, send them to friends and family, and convert unused mobile phone minutes into BMT which could then be turned into Naira for deposit into a bank account. Moreover, in the future, Nigerians will also receive access to micro-loans backed by BitMinutes tokens.

After just two months in the country, the CEO of BitMinutes, Tom Meredith, says adoption has been on the up, according to a report by Business Post.

“We’re ecstatic that Nigeria’s citizens have embraced the BitMinutes Nigeria program. They recognise that the economic incentives, including five percent cash back on purchases of BitMinutes and 12 percent annualised return on those BitMinutes that remain in their account, are very compelling propositions,” Mr Meredith said.

Nigeria will serve as a trial point for BitMinutes before the company expands the business model across other countries on the continent.

The BitMinutes Token

BitMinutes LogoBitMinutes token (BMT) is a prepaid airtime minute on the blockchain. The prepaid minute is a real asset that can be traded and, according to the company, is already traded informally by mobile phone owners around the world.

This token is a cryptocurrency that facilitates free peer-to-peer cash transactions to users’ bank accounts and provides the ability to extend micro-credit and nano-credit to individuals and businesses that have limited access to capital and the traditional financial system.

The blockchain enables the tracking of token ownership and transactional records to build a credit score of users. And the inter-changeability between prepaid minutes and cash makes it possible to collateralise peer-to-peer loans.

BitMinutes’ Business Model

BitMinutesBitMinutes deploys a Trusted Agent Network (TAN) model to provide a physical presence for the network. The BitMinutes Nigeria team will drive the effort to identify and manage TAN Agents, which would be mostly small businesses.

These agents sell BMTs that can be converted to phone minutes on different local carriers and also help users to convert unused cell phone minutes into BMTs, which could be used for payments of goods and services at TAN retailers. TAN agents would also facilitate the process of giving microloans to users. The TAN program already has over 100 agents.

“We have been very pleased with the interest of Nigerians, both in becoming trusted agents and BitMinutes account holders,”

said Ravi Narain, the Director of the BitMinutes Nigeria program.

With only 40 per cent of Nigerian adults having a bank account, blockchain use cases like BitMinutes could play a pivotal role in the financial inclusion programs of the Nigerian government.

Nigerians are already one of the top adopters of bitcoin on the continent, using the cryptocurrency primarily for investment and remittance purposes. According to a recent Luno survey, which sampled over 1,000 Nigerians, 70 percent buy cryptocurrency as a form of investment while only 30 percent use digital currencies for payment and remittance.

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