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Nigerians See First In-Store Bitcoin Payment Thanks to PundiX

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Cryptocurrency payments company, PundiX recently launched a point of sale (POS) terminal at a shop in Nigeria that will enable citizens to make purchases using cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin.

A First in Africa

PundiXShoppers at Joetech Systems Ltd can now pay for goods and services on the XPOS terminal. The currencies available for use are bitcoin and three other virtual currencies, including ether (ETH). The payment system works more or less in the same way as a traditional POS system, only that the terminal connects to the blockchain and settlements are made in digital currency.

PundiX, the XPOS maker, says the device supports transactions through mobile wallets and bank cards. The payment takes seconds to complete.

Michael Lawal, business development manager at PundiX, explains how the new payment platform works, at Joetech Systems Ltd in Nigeria. “I have 0.01 BTC and I am going to make a transaction of 200 Naira (Nigerian currency). The cashier provides three options – to pay either with cash, XPass card or XWallet. If you are paying with Xwallet you will need to scan a QR code. I am going to use XPass card and pay using BTC,” Lawal said.

“Once you choose your payment option, the cashier automatically calculates the rate of conversion using current market rates to the local currency, which is Naira. You have two seconds lock-in period to safeguard the consumer and the merchant,” he said. The machine issues a receipt signalling a successful transaction.

“That was the first live transaction in Africa, it happens in Nigeria,” he added.

Crypto in Nigeria

Nigeria has experienced tremendous growth in cryptocurrency adoption and development and is currently Africa’s biggest bitcoin market. Data shows that Nigerian retail investors are investing heavily in the cryptocurrency market despite warnings from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) against investing in this unregulated market.

Furthermore, the Director Banking and Payment System Department of the CBN, Dipo Fatokun recently said: “We have not seen any country where cryptocurrency is regulated. There is no issuing authority and if CBN agrees that anybody can use cryptocurrency, how do we regulate it? So that is one of the limitations of cryptocurrency.”

Still, Nigerians recognise the advantages of cryptocurrencies and are pushing for the adoption of a regulatory framework. The Members of the House of Representatives, urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Commission (NDIC) to create a legal framework in order to regulate blockchain technology. This is a sign that cryptocurrencies are here to stay in Nigeria.

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Zimcoin Launches New Cryptocurrency Exchange in Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwean blockchain technology company, Zimcoin, has launched a new digital currency exchange that will allow users to buy and sell bitcoin (BTC).

The Future of Zimcoin

Zimcoin hints at the possibility of much larger projects in the future with its bitcoin exchange acting as a gateway:

“At Zimcoin we want to provide Zimbabweans with access to the new decentralised internet. Bitcoin acts as a gateway to all the exciting projects happening in the cryptocurrency and blockchain world. Whether you want to engage with the prediction markets of Augur or invest in the Decentralised Autonomous Organisation Decree, Bitcoin is a great starting point. Here at Zimcoin, we provide a platform to buy and sell Bitcoin, as well as a place to find out about the blockchain projects we are excited about. So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and become a pioneer in Zimbabwe’s love affair with Blockchain.”

When Golix was operating in Zimbabwe they faced minor incidences of security breaches and scares. It seems that Zimcoin is learning from their mistakes and trying to avoid that from the start.

ZimcoinZimcoin has already implemented two-factor authentication from day one, unlike Golix which only implemented a few years after operating. With Zimcoin’s 2FA you are given two options; an email or using Google Authenticator. Though the email is less secure than Google authenticator, you do not have to download a separate application.

The exchange also logs out after a period of inactivity, which means incidents such as someone getting access to your computer because you’ve gone out are also unlikely as well.

The Challenges of Cryptocurrencies in Zimbabwe

Earlier this year, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had classified operations by cryptocurrency exchanges as illegal in the country. This greatly affected Golix, Zimbabwe’s largest crypto exchange, despite them winning interim relief.

According to a report by TechZim, Zimcoin is not overly concerned by this ban and say that they had been in communication with the RBZ since last year and feel that they will be able to operate without any trouble.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is struggling with its economy, and as its foreign reserves dwindle, which will likely positively affect Zimcoin’s growth as more Zimbabweans start to look towards other currency alternatives. 

Despite all the challenges Zimbabwe faces with cryptocurrencies, the blockchain is gaining popularity in Zimbabwe. This is good news for companies like Zimcoin as they will hopefully face fewer problems than their predecessors.

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Bank of Zambia (BoZ) Warns Against Using Cryptocurrencies

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The Zambia central bank, Bank of Zambia (BoZ), has cautioned citizens about the use of digital currencies as they are not considered legal tender.

According to local media, the Bank of Zambia has received an increasing amount of inquiries about cryptocurrencies, which is a testament to the growing interest in bitcoin and its peers in the Southern African nation.

Bank of Zambia

The central bank highlighted that there is no legal recourse for cryptocurrency holders or investors who lose money in this new digital asset class due to its unregulated nature.

Additionally, the Bank of Zambia stated that it does not oversee, supervise nor regulate cryptographic currencies and assets and that any actions in related to cryptocurrencies are performed at the user’s own risk.

This statement echoes that of most African countries’ regulators when it comes to bitcoin regulations.

In most of Africa, central banks are taking a wait and see approach to blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in an attempt not to stifle innovation.

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Binance Uganda Officially Launches and is Starting to Accept Deposits

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Images by Binance Uganda

In a statement on its website, Binance Uganda announced that is officially opening its doors on October 17, 2018, when it will start accepting deposits in Ugandan shillings (UGX), bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH).

Uganda’s First Local Fiat-to-Crypto Exchange

Binance Uganda is the first local fiat-to-crypto exchange in the East African nation and marks a milestone in Binance’s push into the African market.

Binance UgandaBinance Uganda users can now complete full account verification and are able to start depositing funds in UGX, BTC and ETH starting from 2018/10/17 10:00 AM Uganda Time (EAT).

The first available trading pairs on Binance Uganda will be BTC/UGX and ETH/UGX trading pairs. The start time for trading will be released in a later announcement.

Until the launch of Binance Uganda, local bitcoin investors had very limited options to convert their shillings into bitcoin or other digital assets and vice versa.

Peer-to-peer trading platforms such as LocalBitcoins and Paxful have failed to take off in Uganda and international exchanges do not accept Ugandan shillings as a currency, which has left Ugandans to largely trade via WhatsApp and Telegram on a peer-to-peer basis.

With the launch of Binance Uganda, it will be interesting to see how the local cryptocurrency community evolves and whether bitcoin and ether will be accepted as legitimate investment assets by the country’s wider investor base.

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