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First ETHGlobal Hackathon in Africa is Coming to Cape Town

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ETHGlobal

The first ETHGlobal Hackathon in Africa will be held on April 19 to 21, 2019 at The Lookout, V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa.

ETHCapeTown 2019

Organised by ETHGlobal and Linum Labs, the event dubbed ETHCapeTown will see more than 200 international developers, hackers, and blockchain enthusiasts gather to work together to create Ethereum-based decentralised applications (DApps).

ETHGlobalETHGlobal aims to build an ecosystem of Ethereum developers and entrepreneurs with support from the Ethereum Foundation. Linum Labs is a Swiss blockchain development company with an office in South Africa.

Kartik Talwar of ETHGlobal said: “Ethereum development is growing fast, and it is valuable for the developer community in Cape Town to get together, discuss ideas, and push the envelope on what they themselves can do. And this is one of the goals of the hackathon – to simply give developers a place and time to build what they want and to see where their ideas take them.”

ETHCapeTown will bring together people from different backgrounds with a wide range of skillsets where they can share ideas and develop original blockchain-based solutions.

“One of the most notable things we have noticed in the space is the incredible capacity at which developers utilize new tools during time-sensitive environments at hackathons to deliver decentralised solutions that can have real-world impact,” said Devon Krantz of Linum Labs.

Cape Town: Africa’s Growing Tech Hub

Linum LabsAccording to Linum Labs, the ETHGlobal Hackathon will highlight that Cape Town is setting the path for innovation on the continent.

“The ETHCapeTown hackathon is again proving how Cape Town is pioneering the way forward for innovation in Africa. The city’s local tech hub is alive, thriving, and hungry to grow and position itself as a leading destination for emerging technologies,” Krantz stated.

Cape Town has hosted blockchain events such as the Blockchain Africa Conference and Connecting the Blocks, and is home to several notable blockchain startups.

The ETHGlobal Hackathon will be graced by Ethereum co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, who will be the first official judge of the ETHCapeTown 2019 Hackathon.

Hackathon attendees will be exposed to some of the leading minds in the global blockchain industry and have the opportunity to win prizes for the solutions they build. Registration for the ETHGlobal Hackathon is open now.

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Ghana’s Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) Warns Public About Investing in Crypto

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In a recent statement, the SEC of Ghana has warned the populace against investing in cryptocurrency and crypto-related investment schemes. This warning comes amidst a growing concern of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) about how Ghanaians are diving head first into the cryptocurrency market.

SEC Warns About Crypto

The Director General of the SEC, Rev. Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh, signed an official statement released by the Commission that cautions the general public about cryptocurrency trading and all crypto-related activities as these are not regulated by the Securities Exchange Commission reports News Ghana

“[Cryptocurrency investments] offered by unregistered and unlicensed entities on digital online trading platforms with promises of high returns on investment are not sanctioned nor registered by the SEC”, the statement read.

The Commission’s statement further read:

Ghana SEC“The SEC wishes to inform the general and investing public that none of these cryptocurrencies is recognised as currency or legal tender in Ghana. The platform on which they are traded are not also licensed nor regulated by the SEC. The SEC would like to make it clear that it does not currently regulate these types of products offerings and their accompanying online trading platforms or Exchanges. Members of the general public who are investing or intend to invest in such currencies or assets may be doing so at their own risk and can in no way be protected under the Securities law regime in Ghana.”

Currently, digital asset trading remains a regulatory and legal grey area in the West African nation. Whereas the SEC has stated that it is presently not in support of or regulating cryptocurrencies, it also has not stated that cryptocurrency trading is illegal.

The regulator only mentions that they are “unregistered, unlicensed, and unregulated under the Securities Law of Ghana“. Thus, this can be very much regarded as a “disclaimer” on the part of the regulatory body to the public to sensitise them that trading in cryptocurrencies in the country presently is only done at one’s own risk.

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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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Kenya’s Regulatory Sandbox Will Not Accommodate Cryptocurrency Firms Says CMA

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Regulatory Sandbox in Kenya

Kenya’s financial regulator, the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), announced that the new regulatory sandbox will not accommodate blockchain firms dealing in cryptocurrencies.

The Regulatory Sandbox in Kenya

“[…] Blockchain firms will be considered so long as they are not dealing with cryptocurrencies since the CMA’s mandate does not extend to currency. The CMA regulatory sandbox can only serve financial innovations that are directly within the regulatory perimeter of the CMA.” said the Capital Markets Authority’s chief executive Paul Muthaura, according to a report by BusinessDailyAfrica.

CMA

The new regulatory sandbox aims to offer a controlled environment for fintech firms to innovate and create financial products that protect the interests of consumers.

The regulatory sandbox has so far received interest from 70 firms that want to join. Most of these firms are in the payments sector while others are crowdfunding platforms in the real estate and health sectors. In addition, some of these firms are from outside Kenya.

The CMA recently held a validation exercise with the 70 firms of the opinions received from the public regarding the new laws guiding the sandbox. Before this, the regulator had requested for public feedback regarding the sandbox’s regulations.

In April, the Authority will issue the final guidance notice to anchor the regulations into law before officially launching the sandbox in May.

An Anti-Crypto Regulatory Space

In the past, the Capital Markets Authority and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) have warned Kenyans to avoid participating in initial coin offerings (ICOs) and trading in cryptocurrencies respectively. These warnings were issued because investing in ICOs and cryptocurrencies poses a high risk to consumers.

“There are risks associated with cryptocurrency particularly on consumer protection, fraud, hacking and loss of data and they are prone to be used as pyramid schemes,” the CBK governor, Dr. Patrick Njoroge asserted in 2018

In one of its 2018 soundness reports, the CMA recommended that a special body be created to oversee cryptocurrencies and ICOs. The report stated: “There is a need for regulators to devise a common approach towards handling issues revolving around cryptocurrencies and ICOs. A joint workgroup by financial sector regulators could be put in place to tackle issues around cryptocurrencies and ICOs.”

In light of the upcoming regulatory sandbox, Kenyans could benefit from the platform since the market is currently flooded with fintech solutions, especially those in the mobile lending sector, which are high-risk.

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