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Weekly News Roundup: Small Value Transfers in Africa Rise by 55%, DCG Buys Luno

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In this week’s news roundup, we highlight the growth of Africa’s crypto economy and other top stories. Keep reading to learn more.

Remittances and Fiat Devaluation are Promoting Africa’s Crypto Economy, Chainalysis Report Reveals

It’s been clear for some time now that Africa’s crypto economy is growing. To offer more insight into this growth, Chainalysis has released the 2020 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report. The report shows that remittances and fiat devaluation are responsible for this growth.

The demand for low-fee remittances and the instability of some African currencies are the reasons why Africans are turning to cryptocurrencies.  For instance, people overseas transferred about $562 million worth of cryptocurrency to addresses in Africa from June 2019 and July 2020.

Furthermore, small value transfers under $10,000 rose by 55 percent to $316 million in the year to June. According to the report, these transfers contribute to the largest share of Africa’s crypto activity. The top African countries leading in cryptocurrency transfers are Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya.

“Africa has the smallest cryptocurrency economy of any region we analyse in this report, with just $8 billion worth having been received and $8.1 billion sent on-chain in the last year. However, that relatively small amount of activity is creating life-changing value for users in the region facing economic instability, offering low-fee remittances, and an alternative way to save,” Chainalysis stated.

Binance Handles the Largest Share of Africa’s Crypto Activity

Binance is handling the largest share of Africa’s crypto activity. The exchange’s share of this activity has been increasing since the beginning of 2020, possibly due to aggressive marketing.

The chart below indicates the ten exchanges that are sending value to and from Africa as per the Chainalysis research.

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The ten exchanges’ share of all the crypto activity in Africa has increased from 66 percent in October 2019 to 78 percent in June 2020.

Digital Currency Group Snaps Up Luno

Blockchain investor heavyweight, Digital Currency Group, has acquired the popular digital asset exchange Luno.

“We are proud to have supported Luno as an early investor, and we recognize a shared commitment to building mission-driven companies that can help transform traditional financial services and improve economic freedom for people all over the world,” said DCG Founder and CEO Barry Silbert.

“Luno is a high growth, global business and there is a massive opportunity to expand organically and through acquisitions,” he added.

Luno maintains key regional offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town, among several others across the globe.

Binance Uganda to Delist BNB

Binance Uganda has decided to delist its native token Binance Coin (BNB) at 10 AM EAT 17 September 2020. Additionally, the exchange will stop trading on all trading pairs for BNB on the same day. As the platform announced in a statement, BNB has not met the exchange’s trading standards, hence the decision.

Binance Uganda will remove the trading pair BNB/UGX. Also, the platform closed BNB deposits on September 10. However, it will continue to support BNB withdrawals until 6 November 2020 at 10 AM EAT.

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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.

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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.

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