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Bamboo Capital Partners, Government of Togo and Moeda Seeds Bank Launch a Fintech Impact Fund

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Fintech Impact Fund

Bamboo Capital Partners, an impact investing platform, the Government of Togo, and Moeda Seeds Bank, a Brazilian micro-finance technology company, have announced the launch of a new fintech impact fund with a target portfolio of €100 million.

The new impact fund will be targeting companies that use new technologies, especially the blockchain, to solve problems in emerging markets.

The BLOC Fintech Impact Fund

The BLOC FundOn March 25, 2019, the BLOC fintech impact fund was announced at the Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, Rwanda. This fund is a collaborative effort between private companies and the government to help tackle social and environmental challenges in energy, education, FMCG, financial inclusion and the healthcare sector in Africa and other emerging markets.

This blended financing model enables the mixing of both public and private funds through a joint investment scheme, with each party deploying their expertise in a complementary way.

The BLOC Fund is the first impact fund in the world that uses blended finance to invest in companies that use new technologies, such as the blockchain, to benefit the low- and middle-income earners in emerging markets. The fund will accept investments in euros (EUR), US dollars (USD), and cryptocurrencies through a KYC platform to convert the digital currencies into either EUR or USD.

“Today, the BLOC Fund represents a new frontier for global technology impact funds. BLOC’s blended finance approach will catalyse further investment and generate lasting impact in some of the poorest regions in the world,” Florian Kemmerich, Managing Partner of Bamboo Capital Partners, said about the fund.

The Government of Togo and Moeda Seeds Bank have already made first loss capital commitments of €10 million to the fund.

Cina Lawson, Minister of Posts, Digital Economy and Tech Innovation, said: “Through this first loss commitment in the Fund, the President of Togo, his Excellency Mr. Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, proves its willingness to foster the development of tech companies […] focused on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. BLOC is the perfect investment vehicle to attract the most innovative international companies developing tech solutions which can improve the living conditions of people in Togo and across Africa.”

Using Blockchain to Trace Investments in the Fund

Blockchain allows the creation of valid, immutable records, as well as driving operational efficiencies by removing intermediaries, to optimise accountability, monitoring, the measuring of results and impact.

Moeda Seeds Bank’s expertise in the use of blockchain technology will help the fund create an architecture that ensures transparency and full traceability of investors’ funds. Moeda already raised $20 million in an initial coin offering (ICO) in August 2017, and its digital token, MDA, is listed on several exchanges including Binance.

Bamboo Capital Partners, experienced in bridging the gap between seed and growth stage funding, will manage the BLOC Fund. Bamboo has raised over $370m for developing countries, impacting over 100 million lives and creating over 30,000 jobs through its investments in over 30 countries.

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Weekly Roundup: Over 17K Kenyan Farmers Get Blockchain-Based Crop Insurance Cover & More

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blockchain-based crop insurance

In this week’s roundup, we will cover several top crypto news. From one of those stories, you will learn that thousands of Kenyan farmers have received blockchain-based crop insurance covers.

Over 17K Kenyan Farmers Get Blockchain-Based Crop Insurance Covers

A partnership between ACRE Africa and decentralised protocol Etherisc has allowed more than 17,000 small-scale farmers in Kenya to get blockchain-based crop insurance covers. The two partners have already processed insurance payouts for some of these farmers. The farmers will pay premiums as low as $0.5 to obtain insurance coverage for crops negatively affected by climate change.

“The solution that we built with our valued partners at ACRE Africa overcomes a number of challenges associated with traditional crop insurance. [Some of these challenges include] delayed payments, high premium costs, and lack of transparency,” said Michiel Berende, Etherisc’s Chief Inclusive Officer.

The project has received funds from Ethereum Foundation, the Decentralised Insurance Foundation, and the Chainlink Community Grant.

DFS Lab Partners With Stellar Development Foundation to Launch a Blockchain Bootcamp in Africa

DFS Lab has launched a call for application for its Blockchain Bootcamp that was launched in partnership with the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF). The Blockchain Bootcamp for African startups will provide early to mid-stage startups with a chance to build on the Stellar network, which is an open-source blockchain for financial products and services.

Stellar

The three-day virtual bootcamp will see participants answer key business questions while receiving hands-on guidance and support from DFS Lab and SDF. The companies with the most promising solutions will be awarded prizes between 5,000 to 20,000 USDC. Applications close on August 20, 2021.

Zimbabwe Seeks to Include VASPs in its Securities Law

The Zimbabwean government recently announced its intention to broaden the definition of securities to include Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs). VASPs refer to institutions that facilitate the transaction, administration, and safekeeping of digital currencies. Cryptocurrency exchanges in Zimbabwe will, therefore, be regulated under the amended Securities and Exchange Act.

The country’s anti-money laundering laws will also be changed to allow regulatory authorities to deal with the possible abuse of cryptoassets by bad actors. This is the first time cryptoassets are being considered under Zimbabwean law, which suggests that the government is becoming more open to cryptocurrencies as an asset class.

Upcoming Upgrade to Enable Smart Contracts on Bitcoin

legitimate bitcoin doublerAn upgrade that could enable smart contracts to run on the Bitcoin blockchain is imminent. The upgrade, named Taproot, will also improve the privacy of multi-signature transactions and reduce the cost of transacting on the Lightning Network.

Edul Patel, CEO of Mudrex, an algorithmic crypto trading platform, said: “Bitcoin’s Taproot upgrade might just be the key element that would propel it into mainstream finance. The bottom line is the kind of revolution that the Taproot upgrade might bring for Bitcoin is phenomenal.”

The Taproot upgrade received the green light from the bitcoin mining community through a vote. The implementation will take place in November 2021. This is the biggest Bitcoin network upgrade since SegWit in 2017.

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Weekly Roundup: Kenya Asked to Consider Blockchain-Based Elections & More

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Blockchain-Based Elections

In this weekly roundup, we will highlight the call for blockchain-based elections in Kenya and other top industry news.

Kenya Asked to Consider Blockchain-Based Elections

According to local reports, a candidate vying for the electoral commission’s commissioner position has asked Kenya to consider blockchain-based elections.

The candidate, Justus Abonyo, believes that adopting blockchain technology can cut down the cost of elections by up to 300 percent. Abonyo also said that the blockchain will improve election transparency and security. In the past, the opposition political parties have accused the winners of stealing votes.

“The cost of a ballot in Kenya ranges between US$ 7-US$ 25 (Sh700-Sh2,500). If we use blockchain technology, this cost will go down to US$0.5 (Sh50). This is an area I would explore as a commissioner,” he told the selection panel.

Kenya is preparing for a general election in 2022. Currently, the government is hiring a fresh administration to run the upcoming election.

Save the Children Rwanda Partners with Cardano

CardanoSave the Children, a charity organisation, has partnered with Cardano in Rwanda to enable ADA donations.

The Cardano Foundation has developed a payments gateway to make this happen. Hours after rolling out its application, Save the Children received 22,000 ADA, which is about US$ 30,000.

“Through Cardano, Save the Children in Rwanda now has a starter pot of the cryptocurrency ADA which we can deploy to projects for children. But there are also countless possibilities through blockchain. Firstly, the blockchain can directly impact children’s lives through initiatives such as digital school records. Secondly, it can increase our efficiency and transparency as an organisation,” said the Director of Save the Children Rwanda Maggie Korde.

The payments gateway means that the charity organisation can hold and get cardano donations without the need to convert them to fiat money first. The NGO has been receiving bitcoin donations since 2013.

Africrypt Owners Remain On the Run

The brothers behind the latest alleged Africrypto bitcoin scam in South Africa remain on the run. According to an article on Cointelegraph, the Cajee brothers left South Africa in December 2020 and have been traced to various hotels in the UAE.

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) is also not in a position to take any regulatory action because crypto assets are unregulated in the country.

“At this stage, we have only found evidence of crypto-asset transactions. Currently, crypto assets are [unregulated] in terms of any financial sector law in South Africa and consequently, the FSCA is not in a position to take any regulatory action,” FSCA said.

However, the authority said that it has conducted investigations that indicate Africrypt was running a Ponzi scheme. Investors have taken legal action in an attempt to recover their funds. Only time can tell whether this effort will have a positive outcome.

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Weekly Roundup: Binance Set to Issue NFT for its Birthday, Paxful Turns 6

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The crypto market is maturing. Binance and Paxful are both celebrating birthdays, turning four and six respectively. To celebrate its birthday, Binance will issue an NFT. What’s more, Jack Dorsey endorses a new bitcoin initiative in Ethiopia.

Binance Set to Issue NFT As It Turns 4

Crypto exchange Binance has announced that it will issue a limited edition NFT as it turns four on July 14, 2021. The company has also given users a chance to earn this limited edition non-fungible token (NFT). All they have to do is complete several tasks listed on the company’s blog.

Binance will mint 4,000 NFTs when the promotion ends. The winning Binance accounts will receive the NFTs within 30 days of the promotion concluding. Note that only registered Binance users can participate. The activity started on July 5, 2021, and will end on July 16 at 1 pm UTC.

Paxful Is Turning 6

Paxful ReviewAccording to an announcement on its blog, Paxful is turning six. As a result, the company has planned a week-long party across the globe. Paxful plans to celebrate with live acts, giveaways, webinars, talks from the founders, and product updates.

“To our users, both old and new: we just want to say, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for sticking with us throughout this amazing journey. It has been six amazing years so far, but there is still so much to do. We are glad you are here with us for the ride,” Paxful wrote.

Celebrations will take place on different dates in various regions and countries. You can find the calendar on the Paxful blog.

Jack Dorsey Supports Ethiopian Bitcoin Lobby Group

Twitter’s co-founder, Jack Dorsey, supported an Ethiopian bitcoin lobby group with a retweet of their thread. The group Project Mano has been pushing the Ethiopian government to mine and store bitcoin as a hedge against global inflation and inequalities. Dorsey retweeted the thread with the Ethiopian flag and #Bitcoin, an action that gave the project more exposure.

“Project Mano […] has multiple suggestions that could assist the National Bank to escape the FX shortage crisis it is in. The project is open-source so anyone can add to it,” the lobby group wrote on Twitter.

Project Mano believes that the Ethiopian government can hold bitcoin as a hedge against the Ethiopian Birr’s inflation. The lobby group also thinks that the government could repurpose the proposed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam for bitcoin mining.

To learn more about Bitcoin, download the Bitcoin Beginner’s Handbook for free.

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