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Weekly News Roundup: Big Brother Naija Features Bitcoin, P2P Volumes Moon

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Big Brother Naija

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!

Major Reality TV Show – Big Brother Naija Features Bitcoin

Over the last week, the biggest reality TV show in Nigeria, Big Brother Naija, featured bitcoin. The reality TV show featured cryptocurrencies in an in-house quiz segment.

During the segment, housemates of the show had to answer questions like ”what is a bitcoin wallet? How is the price of bitcoin determined” and activities like drawing to depict a bitcoin wallet for housemates to identify.

The quiz was sponsored by Particia, a cryptocurrency exchange known for enabling trades with gift cards. Patricia operates in Ghana and Nigeria, with offices in both countries and the UK and the US.

BitMinutes Makes Buying Crypto Easier in Nigeria 

BitMinutes has built a Trusted Agent Network (TAN) of merchants that accept BitMinutes in Nigeria for goods and services over the past two years. Further, these agents exchange BitMinutes for Naira (NGN).

BitMinutes

According to the platform, there over 1,300 agents providing services for over 7,000 people. To make it easier for more people to purchase bitcoin, BitMinutes will now allow users to purchase BTC (denominated in USD) in Nigeria.

In a press statement, Tom Meredith, CEO, BitMinutes, said:

“The Nigerian BitMinute is a stable coin that can be used as a currency in Nigeria. We believe adding this feature will further solidify our foothold in Nigeria, and further position to expanding our existing operations in other countries on the continent, such as Kenya.”

P2P Volumes Reach Highest Since Jan 2018

Young AfricansGlobally, P2P volumes reached the highest volumes since January 2018. However, Africa broke its own highest volume record earlier this year. The increase in global volumes has partly been because of increasing interest in bitcoin, especially in places like Nigeria.

The West African nation leads the continent in P2P trade volumes. Nigeria is responsible for 50% of the weekly volume on LocalBitcoins and Paxful. Kenya has been growing rapidly recently, recording over $3.5 million in weekly volume.

Ghana and South Africa close the top four list, with a little over $2 million in weekly volumes each.

On the crypto markets, sentiments continue to remain bullish. Chainlink broke into the top 5 cryptocurrencies by market cap while Ethereum passed $400. On the other hand, bitcoin continues to test 12,000, trading right under that price point.

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Weekly Roundup: Sygnia Plans to List Crypto ETF on JSE, Kenyan Artist Launches African Art NFTs

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Another interesting week in crypto saw Coinbase go public by listing on Nasdaq while dogecoin rallied with a 400 percent price increase. In this week’s news roundup, we cover Sygnia’s plans to list a crypto ETF on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, among other top stories.

Sygnia Plans to List Crypto ETF on Johannesburg Stock Exchange

Sygnia, an asset management company in South Africa, is planning to list a crypto exchange-traded fund (ETF) on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). This is the second time the company will be making an application to list a crypto ETF.

The company made the first application in 2017, which JSE rejected because it was “not ready to approve crypto listings.” Since the crypto environment has changed, Sygnia hopes that the bourse will approve this time around.

“A lot of work went into designing the actual structure of the ETF in 2017, which we can reuse. With cryptocurrencies becoming more mainstream, we are hopeful that the JSE will be more receptive to our application this time around,” said Sygnia’s CEO David Hufton.

According to JSE Director Andre Visser, the exchange would have to engage with other relevant regulators to consider a crypto listing of any kind. Also, companies would have to meet certain conditions first. Another South African company, DCX Capital, is also considering listing a crypto ETF on the same exchange.

Kenyan Artist Launches African Art NFT Collection

African Art

Photo credits: Kureng Dapel/Rich Allela

Picha Images – a digital media company powered by Artificial Intelligence and Big Data – is launching African crypto art non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The upcoming auction will feature African art from the Kenyan-based award-winning photographer and filmmaker Rich Allela and will be held from April 25 to May 3, 2021, on OpenSea.

Speaking to BitcoinAfrica.io, Rich Allela said;

“By launching the Afro-renaissance collection as NFTs, Picha Images aims to empower artists to maintain the copyright of their work and earn from secondary sales. Through this auction, the public will place their bids where the highest bidder will walk away with a piece of digital art and send a message to the world on the value of art as an investment worth making.”

South Africa Among Top Countries with Mature CBDC Projects

According to a recent PwC report, South Africa is among the top countries with mature CBDC projects. The report ranks South Africa seventh in interbank CBDC development ahead of Europe, UAE, and Japan. An interbank or wholesale CBDC is confined for use by financial institutions. Conversely, citizens and corporates can hold a retail CBDC.

South Africa CBDC

South Africa’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) project is called Project Khokha. The South African Reserve Bank successfully ran a trial of this project in 2018.

The second phase, Project Khokha 2, was announced this year. The purpose of the second phase is to explore the policy and regulatory implications of tokenisation in financial markets.

“More than 60 central banks have already entered the central bank digital currency race. CBDCs will be a game-changer, providing access to alternative payment solutions for citizens and corporates as well as reinventing financial market settlement and interbank monetary transactions,” stated Benoit Sureau, Partner Financial Services Risk and Blockchain at PwC France & Maghreb.

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Weekly Roundup: Luno Users in SA Increased by Almost 1M in 2020, Akon Joins NFT Hype

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Luno users in South Africa have been increasing exponentially, indicating the exchange’s popularity in the country. To learn more about this story and others, keep reading.

Luno Users in SA Increased by Almost 1M in 2020

In 2020, almost one million new South African users registered on Luno. The exchange also processed volumes of over $3 billion in the country that year. In 2021, the exchange has recorded more than 250,000 new users from South Africa.

LunoAccording to data from Luno, the average Luno user had more than $7,000 in their wallet on January 25, 2021, a 56 percent increase from December 30, 2020. Moreover, South African crypto investors are relatively young. About 40 percent are 29 years old or below. 65 percent of the users are male while 35 percent are female. “A three-month average reveals that more than 145,000 South Africans installed the Luno app each month from November 2020 – January 2021,” Luno announced recently.

The exchange notes that it has experienced significant growth since Digital Currency Group (DCG) acquired it in September 2020.

“South Africans are definitely curious about crypto. Google Trends has South Africa as among the highest in the world for interest in #Bitcoin – fourth behind Nigeria, Austria, and Switzerland. Searches for #Bitcoin peaked in the first week of January this year,” said Marius Reitz, the General Manager of Luno Africa. “While regulation generally tends to lag behind innovation, regulators in South Africa have shown a great willingness to engage with the community and work towards pragmatic regulation.”

Luno has more than seven million users in over 40 countries.

Bitcoin Trade Namibia Onboards Over 80 Percent of Orders on LN

In a recent tweet, Bitcoin Trade Namibia has announced that it is delivering more than 80 percent of its orders to and from users via the Lightning Network.

The exchange allows its users to buy and sell bitcoin with Namibian Dollar (NAD) and the South African Rand (ZAR). Also, the crypto exchange does not store bitcoin wallets, addresses, or bitcoin on its servers.

The Lightning Network (LN) is a second layer on top of the Bitcoin blockchain that aims to make transactions instant and cheaper. LN also wants to scale the number of transactions the network can handle to millions and billions per second.

Akon Launches NFT Marketplace

Akon SpeakingAmerican-Senegalese singer Akon launched a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace, AkoinNFT. The marketplace, which aims to empower artists and brands, will be involved in “the creation, design, minting, and distribution of NFTs.”

“We believe in artists of all talents. We support artists for we are artists and there is never been a better time to put the power back in our collective hands to create a greater connection with fans,” said Akon.

AkoinNFT has just released the first crypto art collection in collaboration with WrappedLA and Traveler Music. The pieces were available until 12 PM Pacific Time, April 15, 2021.

Akon has launched the NFT platform at a time when NFTs are booming. Other musicians like Kings of Leon and the Weeknd have also gotten in on the NFT action.

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Weekly Roundup: Crypto Market Cap Hits $2T, ICE3X Ceases Operations

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Major news headlines hit the crypto scene this week. The crypto market cap hit a new all-time high of $2 trillion and long-standing South African digital asset exchange, ICE3X, ceases its operations. To learn about this and other stories, keep reading.

Crypto Market Cap Hits $2T

On April 6, 2021, the total crypto market capitalisation hit $2 trillion for the first time, thanks to an ETH, XRP, TRX, XLM, and BTT rally. These digital assets have been fuelling the altcoin season and have pushed the market capitalisation to $2 trillion. Moreover, the rising interest in these altcoins could eventually benefit bitcoin, according to market analysts.

Bitcoin’s dominance has, however, decreased from about 73 percent at the beginning of 2021 to the current 55 percent.

“These early adopters shifting to altcoins will both work to decrease volatility in bitcoin and also eventually help decide the winners from the losers in the alt space, which is kind of a necessary condition for any altcoin to emerge as a viable longer-term asset,” Chad Steinglass, head of trading at digital assets capital markets firm CrossTower, told Coindesk.

Earlier this year, the value of the crypto market surged above $1 trillion for the first time on the back of bitcoin’s rising price. The current bitcoin market cap, according to Coinmarketcap, is around $1.07 trillion.

South Africa’s Crypto Exchange ICE3X Ceases Operations

South Africa’s crypto exchange ICE3X has ceased operations according to an April 6, 2021, statement. The exchange has disabled withdrawals from the platform and is currently processing submitted withdrawal requests.

“We regret to inform you that the platform will not return to operation and [we are undertaking] liquidation proceedings. All withdrawals logged via the form (except BTC & LTC) up to and including 06/04/2021 have been completed. All remaining assets (Tokens & FIAT) are now held in trust by Manong Badenhorst Attorneys and liquidation proceedings [are underway],” the crypto exchange wrote.

ICE3X was founded in 2013. Users can download the requisition form here.

PayPal Rolls Out Checkout with Crypto

buy bitcoin with PayPal instantlyPayPal has rolled out checkout with crypto, a service that will enable US customers to pay merchants in crypto. In October 2020, the online payment company announced that it would allow US customers to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies.

“As the use of digital payments and digital currencies accelerates, the introduction of checkout with crypto continues our focus on driving mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies while continuing to offer PayPal customers choice and flexibility in the ways they can pay using the PayPal wallet. Enabling cryptocurrencies to make purchases at businesses around the world is the next chapter in driving the ubiquity and mass acceptance of digital currencies,” said Dan Schulman, the CEO of PayPal.

PayPal will automatically display this payment method when a customer has a sufficient crypto balance. The platform will then convert crypto to fiat once the user confirms the purchase. Checkout with crypto will be available to the rest of the world at a later date.

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