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Weekly News Roundup: ZA to Regulate Crypto, New Payments App Bundle Launches

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In Bitcoin Africa’s Weekly News Roundup, we look at the most trending blockchain and cryptocurrency stories from Africa this week.

Here are our best picks!

South Africa to Regulate Crypto

South African Reserve Bank

A new policy paper released by South Africa’s “Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group” (IFWG) indicated strict regulations might be coming soon. The paper suggests strict cryptocurrency business monitoring, a licensure structure, and more.

This new regulation for cryptocurrencies will combine the Financial Action Task Force’s “new technologies” anti-money-laundering and “Travel Rule” recommendations in approving businesses for operation. The plan is to start with a regulatory sandbox that will guide final policies to be implemented on cryptocurrency usage.

“Payments using crypto assets will, in the interim period, be subjected to a regulatory sandbox approach,” the IFWG stated. Even though most cryptocurrency media sites have termed the new regulations as “strict” and “stiff,” some business owners see this as a good move.

Speaking to BitcoinAfrica.io, Gareth Grobler, founder of iCE3X.com, a South African exchange, said the new policy would open the space up to new investments and businesses.

“The IGFWG once again did an outstanding job with the latest policy paper. Incredible attention to detail and a positive attitude towards the industry with a specific focus on helping shape the industry with positive regulation has been its focus. 

They continue in this vein by providing sensible suggestions towards regulatory measures which will not only provide better consumer protection but also give more credibility to companies such as ours. 

This, in turn, will allow for more investment into the industry and a safer environment for individuals as well as businesses to get more involved with cryptocurrency. We look forward to the proposed guidelines becoming formal regulations and are proud to be a part of the only multi-regulatory fintech working group in the world.”

The IGFWG has opened its doors to comments on the new policy document until May 15. It will be interesting to see how the new policy affects the already vibrant cryptocurrency ecosystem in South Africa.

Former Binance Labs Director, Launches Payments App ‘Bundle’

Bundle

Yele Bademosi, a former Director at Binance Labs, launched the social payments app ‘Bundle’ this week.

Bundle is a payment application for cryptocurrency and cash. It only supports the Nigerian Naira at launch, and allows users to trade BTC, BNB, ETH, and BUSD.

The application should be a good fit for the large numbers of bitcoin traders in Nigeria. Beyond trading, the app provides utility for remittance as it allows people to transact with Nigerians, who can withdraw funds through bank accounts using the app.

One of the most anticipated use cases of cryptocurrencies in Africa is remittance. The process of sending and receiving money across states is very popular on the continent. About 30 million African migrant workers send about $40 billion to their loved ones on the continent annually. However, the options to send money are limited or too expensive when available. 

Bundle joins a group of new startups building payment applications with cryptocurrency integration focused on Africa.

On the market, bitcoin has seen significant gains this week, breaking the $7,500 physicological level. More retail investors are buying bitcoin.

Glassnode Research

According to Glassnode, retail investors are buying 75,000 bitcoin daily ahead of the bitcoin halving. The positive price sentiment follows weeks of bearish price action.

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Weekly Roundup: African TikTok Influencer Launches NFT Collection on Binance & More

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African Tiktok Influencer

African Tiktok influencer Wian launched a premium NFT collection on Binance after successfully selling out his debut NFTs. To learn about this and other top crypto stories, keep reading.

African Tiktok Influencer Wian Launches Premium NFT Collection on Binance

The largest Tiktok influencer in Africa, Wian, launched a premium NFT event collection on September 21 on the Binance NFT marketplace.

According to the company, the collection features six animated cards. They include the Joker, the King, the Ace, the Smile card, the Gold card (premium), and the Dogecoin card. The collection displays the influencer’s love “for magic as a means of entertainment and inspiration.” Wian is an influencer from South Africa.

“With everything going on in the world, using my influence to instil “magic” in those less fortunate will give me a smile wider than the Joker!” said Wian.

Wian was one of the 100 creators that rolled out NFTs in June 2021 on the Binance NFT marketplace. His debut NFT collection on Binance sold out.

“We are especially excited to host African creators as we see the profound opportunity NFTs and the blockchain bring to the entire continent. […] It is important that African creators are provided an even larger platform with optimal solutions to reach a more global audience,” said Emmanuel Babalola, Director at Binance Africa.

Zimbabwean Artists Make Sales Via NFT Art

Three Zimbabwean artists have taken advantage of the NFT space to sell their art. Indigo Saint, Greatjoy Ndlovu, and Nyash Warambwa have all successfully sold NFT art on NFT marketplaces.

According to an article on BitcoinKE, Saint sold NFT art for $29 on Phantasma, while Warambwa sold two NFTs for 1.55 ETH. On the other hand, Ndlovu sold his first NFT for 0.7 ETH.

Ndlovu is a globally acclaimed artist that highlights societal issues in his work. He believes that the NFT space provides an opportunity for African artists to showcase their work to a larger audience. Moreover, he hopes that he will inspire more African artists to sell NFT art.

NFT Collection on Binance

Nigeria’s Daba School is Facilitating Financial Freedom in Africa

According to the latest Blockchain Nigeria User Group (BNUG) report, Daba School is facilitating financial freedom on the continent. Chris Ani founded the online education platform in 2019 to impart high-income and in-demand digital skills to young people.

Daba School offers courses such as crypto trading and investment, video production and editing, and graphic design. So far, the platform has helped many students to acquire life-changing skills.

“Stories of Daba’s impact abound. Blessing, a graduate from the University of Port Harcourt, made over 1 million Naira in 30 days from crypto trading,” BNUG shares in the report.

DishAfrik Offers African Cuisine NFT Art as Fundraising Perk

DishAfrik is offering African cuisine NFT art as a fundraising perk. The NFT will be a collage with images of 54 recipes from the 54 African countries. Moreover, the NFT will have metadata with recipe information for each dish. DishAfrik is a platform that wants to make African dishes more accessible globally.

The company plans to offer this NFT as a perk to the participants of the Indiegogo campaign. Funds raised during the campaign will go towards the development of the DishAfrik app.

“On DishAfrik, Africans [can] discover other African recipes. Also, Africans in the Diaspora [can] re-experience long-forgotten flavours from their childhood. Non-Africans who are interested in the cuisines from Africa may find much to learn and incorporate into their own kitchens,” an article on Further Africa explains.

The Indiegogo campaign began on September 13.

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Weekly Roundup: Crypto Market in Africa Grows by Over 1,200%, Paxful Integrates Lightning & More

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In this week’s news roundup, we will cover the rapidly growing crypto market in Africa, Paxful adding Lightning support, and other top stories.

Crypto Market in Africa Grows by Over 1200%

According to a report preview by Chainalysis, the crypto market in Africa has grown more than “1,200% by value received in the last year.” Additionally, the continent “has some of the highest grassroots adoption in the world.”

Chainalysis also noted that Africa’s cryptocurrency economy is the smallest but the most dynamic and exciting.

Crypto Market in Africa

“In addition to being the third-fastest growing cryptocurrency economy, Africa also has a bigger share of its overall transaction volume made up of retail-sized transfers than any other region at just over 7 per cent, versus the global average of 5.5 per cent,” Chainalysis wrote.

Africans are also the biggest users of P2P platforms.

About 47 Per Cent of South African Adults Hold Crypto

Market research and data specialist company KLA has found that about 47 per cent of South African adults hold cryptocurrencies. However, the highest number of this population holds low-value crypto investments.

“While this percentage is high, the amount invested is low. This indicates that the bulk of South African crypto investors are experimenting and dabbling without making a significant financial investment,” said Tessa Nowosenetz from KLA.

KLA’s study discovered that 25 per cent of those interviewed hold crypto worth between $7 and $70. On the other hand, thirteen per cent of the respondents hold cryptocurrencies worth between $7 and $700. The KLA study also found out that 43 per cent of the respondents are mainly interested in making quick gains.

Paxful Integrates Lightning

Paxful Review

Paxful has announced that it has integrated the Lightning Network on its platform to provide faster and cheaper transactions. The initiative is in partnership with Lightning Labs.

“The Lightning Network is the cheapest option for Bitcoin micropayments, which will massively amplify Paxful’s work around leveraging how Bitcoin can be used as a means of exchange rather than a speculative asset. Lightning is capable of handling 5 to 10 transactions per second but it has the potential to process hundreds of thousands of transactions per second,” said Paxful CEO Ray Youssef.

According to Youssef, the Lightning Network will accelerate adoption because it will make bitcoin “a strong financial contender for everyday transactions.”

Zimbabwe’s Minister of Finance Shops for Crypto Solutions in Dubai

Recently, the Minister of Finance in Zimbabwe, Mthuli Ncube, visited the DMCC Crypto Centre in Dubai where he identified solutions for cheaper remittances.

“I visited the DMCC Crypto Centre in Dubai, which is a fascinating incubation hub for cryptocurrency and payment solutions. [I] came across solutions that could lower charges for diaspora remittances,” he tweeted.

While it is not clear whether the country will follow up this visit with a partnership, Ncube’s openness to crypto is seen as a good sign. However, payment platforms in Zimbabwe are at a loss why the Minister had to seek solutions in Dubai. For instance, Uhuru Wallet is a blockchain-based platform that facilitates remittances in the country.

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Weekly Roundup: Locals in Senegal Lose Hope on Akon City & More

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Akoin Launch

A major event went down this week when El Salvador became the first country to accept bitcoin as legal tender. This step could have opened the door for more countries to start embracing cryptocurrencies. Cuba, for instance, announced that it will start recognising and regulating cryptocurrencies.

Back to the African crypto space, locals in Senegal have lost hope in the development of Akon City. Keep reading to learn about this and other top stories on our weekly news roundup.

Locals in Senegal Lose Hope on Akon City

After erecting a ceremonial stone on the grounds where Akon City is set to stand, the villagers of Mbodiene have not seen any activity from the developers since. They are now in doubt, wondering whether this city that could change their lives will ever become a reality.

“They laid the foundation stone with a lot of speeches and promises. Compared to everything that was announced, I do not think we have seen much yet,” said Jules Thiamane, a 35-year old local.

The movie Black Panther-inspired the vision behind Akon City, a $6 billion smart city with a crypto-powered economy. Named after its visionary, Akon, the proposed city will have a shopping centre, hospital, waste centre, police station, school and solar power plant by 2024. The developers plan to fully complete the project in 2030.

However, Paul Martin of the engineering firm that won the contract to construct the city says that plans to build the city are still ongoing. He also said the project has raised over $4 billion in funds and may begin in October after the Akoin project in Kenya is complete.

CBN Plans Tiered AML/KYC Requirements for eNaira

Central Bank of Nigeria

GodwinPaya, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plans to roll out tiered AML/KYC requirements with its digital currency in October.

The central bank will launch the pilot testing of eNaira, the central bank digital currency (CBDC), on Independence Day, October 1. Besides a tiered ID verification system, CBN will create transaction limits for each tier.

According to an article on Cointelegraph, these CBDC plans could indicate that more anti-crypto laws are likely to arise in Nigeria. For instance, China intensified its crypto crackdown efforts after rolling out its digital currency for public testing.

The eNaira will complement the Naira, but it will act as a non-interest-bearing digital currency.

Luno Restricts Customer Withdrawals

LunoCryptocurrency exchange Luno has set new rules restricting customer withdrawals. According to the exchange, the purpose of the restrictions is to “act as a deterrent for illicit actors moving large amounts of funds within the crypto ecosystem.”

The exchange is using a risk-based approach to set the limits for each client. However, Luno has not disclosed how it sets these dynamic risk-based limits. The limits are also different from those published on the website.

Interestingly, Luno users cannot influence their risk scores. However, they can “optimise their risk position by keeping their account information up to date, enabling safety features on their account, and generally keeping their account secure,” said Marius Reitz, the GM for Luno Africa.

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