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Weekly News Roundup: House Africa to Launch Blockchain Land Titles

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Blockchain Land Titles

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

Here are our top picks!

House Africa To Put Land Titles in Nigeria on the Blockchain

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HouseAfrica, a real estate startup headquartered in Nigeria, has partnered with Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NRMC) to put land titles on the blockchain.

The companies are building a digital property (land) title verification on the blockchain. The authentication system, Propvat.com, allows individuals or firms to confirm the availability and value of properties in Nigeria. The platform aims to improve mortgage transactions in the West African state.

The co-founder and CEO of House Africa, Nnamdi Uba, described the partnership as one that will unlock capital in real estate. He said:

“The partnership will help to unlock trapped assets and capital in residential real estate valued at over 300-900billion USD. and then wealth creation through increased access to credit and growth in mortgage penetration by as much as 3% – 5% of GDP over a 5-10-year period (subject to increased adoption and user rates).”

Additionally, speaking to the press, Taofeeq Olatinwo, Head of ICT & Business Operations at NMRC, commented:

 “NMRC is delighted to partner with HouseAfrica in solving the land titling issues to strengthen the housing market in Nigeria.” 

MyCointainer Will Add CREDIT Before Swap Ends

TerraBitIn recent updates, we have been covering TerraBit, an African cryptocurrency startup providing access to crypto payments and purchases with FIAT.

In August, TerraBit will undergo a hard fork that will lead to a coin swap. Holders of CREDIT will have to swap their coins for new coins on the updated blockchain.

Ahead of this, the team behind TerraBit has been working on integrations for CREDIT. MyCointainer, a crypto wallet and staking platform is set to add CREDIT in August. This will allow users to opt for another wallet when storing or staking their CREDIT.

On the cryptocurrency market, bitcoin rose to new highs in 2020 as other altcoins saw an increase in value. BTC passed the $11,200 mark this week and ETH passed $300.

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Weekly Roundup: Kenyan Digital Service Tax Will Not Affect Crypto Adoption

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Digital Service Tax

In this week’s news roundup, you will learn about the new Digital Service Tax in Kenya and what it could mean to crypto companies. We have also highlighted other top crypto stories from Africa.

Kenyan Digital Service Tax Will Not Affect Crypto Adoption

The Digital Service Tax (DST) in Kenya has been in effect since January 1, 2021. The tax affects anyone that derives income “from services offered in the digital marketplace.” Some of the products that the tax authority is currently targeting are event tickets sold online, e-books, subscription-based media, and movies.

Kenyan bitcoin policyAt the moment, it is unclear whether crypto companies will be part of the 1000 firms the taxman is targeting. Even if they are, however, stakeholders do not think the tax will deter crypto adoption in the country.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, the country representative of the crypto exchange Bitzlato said:

“With regards to it having a negative impact on crypto adoption in Kenya, I do not believe so as there are so many factors that are driving the rapid growth of crypto in East Africa and the youth are on the forefront pushing this.”

Individuals and companies will pay 1.5 percent of the gross transaction value as the Digital Service Tax. According to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), the Digital Service Tax affects both residents and overseas companies.

“For residents and companies with a permanent establishment in Kenya, the Digital Service Tax will be an advance tax that they will offset against the income taxes due in the course of the financial year. For non-residents and companies without a permanent establishment in the country, the Digital Service tax will be a final tax,” KRA stated in a publication.

That said, crypto regulation in Kenya still seems a far way off. Nevertheless, a regulatory sandbox is in existence. It accepts blockchain companies but does not admit companies dealing with cryptocurrencies.

Binance to Hold Blockchain Week in February

Starting February 1, 2021, Binance will hold a virtual conference dubbed “Binance Blockchain Week.” The five-day event will include live panels, keynote speeches, and a hackathon.

Speakers will include Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, Chainlink Co-Founder Sergey Nazarov, and the Co-Founder of the Acala Network, Bette Chen.

You can register for this event here.

Electroneum’s Expansion Plans Face Barriers

As Electroneum expands electricity and airtime top-up services with crypto to more African countries, it has come across a significant challenge. According to the head of business development Nigel Pooley, mobile network operators and electricity companies are reluctant to embrace crypto.

“There is very little appetite for crypto amongst these two industries. […] They believe the risks have yet to outweigh the benefits,” he told Cointelegraph.

As they pursue direct partnerships with mobile network operators and electricity companies, Electroneum is working with third-party agents in Africa. These agents are crypto-friendly, hence allowing them to facilitate ETN-based airtime subscriptions and bill payments. ETN is the company’s cryptocurrency.

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Weekly Roundup: Bitcoin Hits New All-Time High at $40,000, WhatsApp Issues Ultimatum

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Bitcoin New All Time High

In our first news roundup of 2021, we highlight that bitcoin hit a new all-time high, continuing its seemingly unstoppable rally, as well as WhatsApp’s new privacy-invading rules that come with an ultimatum.

Bitcoin Hits New All-Time High at $40,000

Bitcoin has crossed the $40,000 mark after breaking $30,000 for the first time a few days ago. This extends the bull run beyond the holiday season. By the close of 2020, bitcoin had increased by over 300 percent.

Most Effective Ways to Get BitcoinsFurthermore, the total cryptocurrency market cap has risen to over $1 trillion from the $760 billion recorded during the 2017 bull run.

“The $1 trillion mark cements cryptocurrency as an investable asset class that no longer sits on the fringes of Traditional Finance as a toy for retail investors. It demonstrates that this asset class is large enough to absorb large orders like we have seen recently with the slew of institutions entering over the last few months,” Jack Purdy, a Messari decentralised finance analyst, told Coindesk.

Besides the impact from institutional investors, bitcoin could also be rallying as holders move their money from altcoins like XRP that are facing regulatory issues to BTC.

Interestingly, bitcoin is moving up in the ranks of the top currencies in the world. According to FiatMarketCap, bitcoin ranks 16 after currencies such as the US dollar, the Euro, and the Russian Ruble. However, the cryptocurrency is ranking higher than the Norwegian Krone, the Swedish Krona, and the Mexican Peso.

The value of bitcoin has also surpassed that of several publicly traded companies like Alibaba, Samsung, Walmart, Walt Disney, and Visa. According to Coinmarketcap, the total market capitalisation of bitcoin is about $716.5 billion.

Facebook Wants Your WhatsApp Data, Issues Ultimatum On New Privacy-Invading Terms & Conditions

Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp has updated its terms and privacy policy giving users an ultimatum to accept the new rules. If a user fails to accept the new terms by February 8, they will not have access to the app.

WhatsAppThe platform has been sending the update alert through a pop-up notification. If you receive this notification, you should read the terms and decide whether to accept them or not.

In 2016, WhatsApp users got a one-time opportunity to withdraw from the data sharing option. However, users will now have to allow the platform to share their data if they want to continue using the app.

“As part of the Facebook family of companies, WhatsApp receives information from and shares information with this family of companies. We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services and their offerings,” WhatsApp writes in the updated privacy policy.

The platform collects information like your phone number, the phone numbers of the people in your address book, your profile picture, and your status information. The status information includes when you were last seen online. Facebook has in the past come under fire and received fines over how it handles the privacy of its users.

What’s more, the Facebook-backed cryptocurrency Libra has received a lot of criticism from financial regulators since it was announced in 2019. As a result, the project has lost several partners, including PayPal and Visa. Moreover, the Libra Association rebranded to the Diem Association in December ahead of the launch this month.

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Weekly Roundup: Binance Records 5 Million Trust Wallet Users, Bitcoin Price Hits $29,000

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In the last week of our news compilation series in 2020, we feature new data from Binance and bitcoin’s latest price rally.

Binance Records Five Million Trust Wallet Users in 2020

BinanceAccording to the latest data from Binance, Trust Wallet users hit five million in 2020. Moreover, the exchange recorded more than $31 billion in total local currency trade order volumes in 2020.

With regard to P2P trading, Binance reported total order volumes of $6 billion in 2020. Also, active P2P users rose by 760 percent from 2019. The peer-to-peer service now supports 51 local currencies.

The average daily trading volume on the exchange increased by 36 percent to $3.88 billion. Additionally, over 110 exchanges, lending, and payment platforms have listed Binance USD (BUSD) in 2020 from more than 20.

Binance has also announced that it is supporting SegWit deposits for bitcoin. Users can now select the BTC (SegWit) network to transfer funds to a SegWit address. By using SegWit, you can cut down the fees you pay. Note that Binance already supports SegWit withdrawals for bitcoin. Segregated Witness (SegWit) is a bitcoin protocol upgrade that boosts the network’s transaction throughput.

Bitcoin Price Exceeds $29,000, Hits New All-Time High

Bitcoin exceeded $26,000 on Saturday as institutional investors continue to drive the present bull-run. Additionally, the US dollar inflation could also be contributing to the increasing bitcoin price as people turn to the cryptocurrency for protection.

About two weeks ago, bitcoin surpassed the $20,000 mark for the first time since 2017. Some of the institutional investors that could be behind the bull-run, according to an article on Coindesk are SkyBridge Capital, Guggenheim, and MassMutual.

Currently, the bitcoin price is above $29,000 and investors like Scaramucci from SkyBridge Capital believe this is just the beginning.

Luno CEO Predicts Rise of Institutional Investment in 2021

LunoMarcus Swanepoel, the CEO of Luno, is of the opinion that the current interest from institutional investors will continue into 2021. He also thinks that we could feel the real impact of their actions next year.

“In 2021, the success (or not) of their decisions will become clear. This could motivate a whole new wave of institutional investors to follow their lead. MicroStrategy’s $425 million investment in bitcoin, for example, has already more than doubled in value (as of 18 December 2020). These are numbers that will interest any business or investor,” he writes.

Bitcoin news coverage on mainstream media could rise if the price continues increasing beyond $30,000, he says. Although the coverage this year has not been as huge as it was in 2017, it has been positive.

Furthermore, Swanepoel thinks the bitcoin price could rise to new highs if it follows the 2017 halving pattern. Since the May 2020 halving, the bitcoin price has grown steadily. The same trend could persist into 2021.

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