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Weekly Roundup: PayPal Goes Crypto, Sub-Saharan Africa Records Higher P2P Crypto Volumes in 2020

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buy litecoin with paypal

The global crypto space has been really exciting this week. Bitcoin surpassed the $12,000 mark, giving a ray of hope to all “HODLers” that another peak could be on the horizon. That said, here are our top picks this week.

PayPal Goes Crypto (Sort of)

On Wednesday, PayPal announced that it will now allow users to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies. Moreover, the platform plans to enable users to convert their crypto holdings to fiat and make payments to any of its 26 million global merchants. According to CEO Dan Schulman, PayPal is well-positioned to facilitate the adoption of digital assets.

“The shift to digital forms of currencies is inevitable, bringing with it clear advantages in terms of financial inclusion and access; efficiency, speed and resilience of the payments system; and the ability for governments to disburse funds to citizens quickly. Our global reach, digital payments expertise, two-sided network, and rigorous security and compliance controls provide us with the opportunity, and the responsibility, to help facilitate the understanding, redemption, and interoperability of these new instruments of exchange,” he said.

PayPal will not charge service fees for buying and selling crypto until 31 December 2020. Also, it will not charge users for holding crypto in their accounts.

However, it appears that PayPal will not support third-party wallet transfers and nor will users be allowed to deposit crypto to their PayPal crypto wallets. That means users can only buy and sell within the PayPal ecosystem, making this offering a horrendous option for cryptocurrency users and investors.

Sub-Saharan Africa Records Higher P2P Crypto Volumes in 2020

According to a recent report by Arcane Research, Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the three regions with higher P2P crypto volumes in 2020 than in 2017. The survey used data from Paxful and Localbitcoins.

Since the first week of 2016, P2P crypto volumes in Sub-Saharan Africa have increased four-fold. One of the main drivers of this growth is remittances.

P2P

Additionally, Nigeria has the largest P2P volumes in Sub-Saharan Africa, followed by Kenya, South Africa, and Ghana, in that order. The report notes that Paxful is popular in Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana, while South Africans prefer Localbitcoins. However, the use of Paxful in the country is rising. Paxful has taken a large market share from Localbitcoins after the latter implemented stricter KYC guidelines.

In the early days, crypto volumes from developed economies dominated the P2P market. However, emerging markets took over the share during the 2017 bitcoin bull run. Now, volumes from emerging markets are declining while frontier markets are recording increased growth.

P2P 2

The volume growth in frontier markets has resulted from the rising remittances flow and from targeted marketing efforts by P2P exchanges. For instance, Paxful has increased its marketing and visibility efforts to gain users in this market segment.

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Weekly Roundup: Nigeria’s SEC Issues New Crypto Asset Framework, Luno’s Take on the New Crypto Regulations & More

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Luno's iconic South Africa building on Cape Town's foreshore district

In this week’s news roundup, you’ll read about the new crypto asset framework announced by the Securities Exchange Commission in Nigeria, Luno’s views on the just-announced crypto regulatory framework in Nigeria, and more.

Nigeria’s SEC Issues New Crypto Asset Framework

Nigeria’s Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has released new rules relating to the custody, exchange, and issuance of digital assets in the country. The news comes exactly 20 months after the Commission had issued a statement on how it would treat and classify digital assets.

The new rules require token issuance exchanges and platforms to keep trust accounts with receiving banks, a move that completely contradicts that of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which currently restricts local financial institutions from carrying out business with crypto-related businesses.

SEC’s latest development is expected to legitimise crypto and crypto-related businesses which in turn would help boost crypto adoption in Nigeria.

Companies looking to provide any kind of crypto services and products will have to secure a virtual asset service provider (VASP) license in addition to the relevant category licenses stipulated in the publication. SEC’s move is also expected to provide the CBN with a regulatory framework that it could use to advise financial institutions in the country on how to interact with crypto.

Luno’s Views on Nigeria’s New Crypto Regulatory Framework

LunoFollowing the newly introduced crypto regulatory framework by Nigeria, cryptocurrency exchange Luno shared its views on the announcement.

The move signals a change of attitude from authorities towards the growing crypto industry and counteracts the CBN’s circular that banned all financial institutions from working with crypto exchanges in the country.

SEC’s latest announcement could act as a harbinger for CBN to review its stance and provide the needed foundation for the mass adoption of crypto in Nigeria.

Speaking on the SEC’s proposed framework, Luno’s Country Manager for Nigeria, Owen Odia, said:

“At Luno, we strongly believe today’s developments could mark a major breakthrough in not only delivering much-needed clarity and protection for crypto customers, but also for businesses. Since launching in Nigeria in 2015, we’ve always prided ourselves on consistently adopting an open and proactive approach towards regulation and with the SEC’s new framework, our hope is that our current and potential users will have even greater confidence to trust us with their funds as we strengthen our push to raise the standards of our industry.”

Odia went on to add that the exchange is open to helping the SEC navigate the nuances of crypto and create regulations that will protect consumers without suppressing the crypto sector. Currently, Luno has over three million customers and gets an average of over 4,000 app installations per day in the Nigerian market alone. The exchange is also registered with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and complies with stringent KYC and AML processes in all 40 countries it operates.

Mara Secures $23 Million in Funding to Build a Pan-African Cryptocurrency Exchange

Mara, a Pan-African company offering a suite of cryptocurrency products, has raised $23 million to develop a Pan-African cryptocurrency exchange that will act as a portal to the crypto economy for Africans.

As reported in VentureBeat, Mara’s funding round was backed by major investors such as Coinbase Ventures, Alameda Research (FTX), DAO Jones, Distributed Global, TQ Ventures, and other angel and crypto investors.

Besides the funding announcement, the Lagos and Nairobi-based company also announced a partnership with the Central African Republic (CAR) that will see Mara become the official crypto partner in the country as well as an advisor to the country’s President on crypto matters. CAR became the first country in Africa to pass a bill legalising Bitcoin as a legal tender and the second in the world to do so.

To learn more about Bitcoin, download the Bitcoin Beginner’s Handbook for free.

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Amber Group’s April Corporate News Recap 2022

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Team at IFGS London

Approved as a member of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA).

Managing Partner Annabelle Huang named on Makinsey’s annual Top Women Innovators list.

Annabelle Mackinsey

Product Development and Partnerships

Partnered with The Dodge NFT and PleasrDAO to make NFTs more accessible.

In the News

Disruption Banking: Amber Group joins International Swaps and Derivatives Association; among one of the few global crypto players in ISDA.

Yahoo Finance: First fractionalized NFT on tier 1 exchange.

U.Today: Amber Group, PleasrDAO ready to launch DOG fractionalized NFT on Huobi.

CoinGape: The Doge NFT, PleasrDAO and Amber Group partner Up to make NFTs more accessible.

Cointelegraph: Crypto seen as the ‘future of money’ in inflation-mired countries.

Mckinsey Website: The Committed Innovator: Women continuing to change the world.

YouTube: Can cryptos fit in your retirement portfolio? Here’s how – Amber Group’s Sophia Shluger.

Medium: Automated Market Makers (AMMs): Versioning up.

Events and Media Appearances

Managing Partner Annabelle Huang joined a panel discussion titled “Institutional Adoption of Cryptos – How fast and deep institutions are adopting the new asset class” by the FinTech Association Hong Kong.

Annabelle @ Fintech Association HK

Managing Partner Annabelle Huang joined Citigroup’s 9th Digital Money Symposium in a panel discussion on mainstreaming digital assets and building bridges between TradFi and DeFi.

Annabelle @ Citi Group Panel

CSO Dimitrios Kavvathas joined The Hong Kong Securities and Investment Institute’s webinar series and delivered two keynote speeches on “A New (Crypto-Enabled) Financial System”. 

Attended IFGS 2022 in London;  Europe Managing Director Sophia Shluger joined two panel discussions: one on digital wealth management and the other one on the infrastructure of responsible innovation.

Team at IFGS London

Europe Managing Director Sophia Shluger joined a panel discussion on “Unicorns In The Cryptosphere – How Blockchain Will Revolutionize The World” at the WILD3 Conference.

Sophia at WILD3

Sponsored the Paris Blockchain Week Summit 2022 and Europe Managing Director Sophia Shluger joined two panel discussions on “Financial markets & Web3” and “The Rise of Decentralized Finance”. 

Sophia at Paris Blockchain Summit

Europe Managing Director Sophia Shluger joined Group Futurista’s Future of Treasury Management Virtual Summit and delivered a keynote speech on “Digital Wealth: The Evolution of Value”.

Sophia at FTM

Europe Managing Director Sophia Shluger joined a panel discussion titled “Investing in Digital Assets in an Institutional Context” hosted by Nordic Blockchain Association and Copenhagen Fintech Lab in Copenhagen.

Sophia-at-Nordic-Blockchain-Association

Sponsored and attended Bitcoin 2022 in Miami by Bitcoin Magazine.

team-at-Bitcoin-Miami

Sponsored the 2022 Future Commerce in Taipei and Taiwan Regional Director John Lee joined a keynote session on digital wealth and a panel discussion session on angel investment.

2022 Future Commerce Taipei

Taiwan Regional Director John Lee delivered a speech at Hackathon 3.0Solana Asia Series – Taiwan by EPOCHS.STUDIO.

Hackthon 3.0

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Weekly Roundup: Central African Republic Adopts Bitcoin as an Official Currency & More

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Central African Republic Adopts Bitcoin

In this week’s news roundup, you’ll read about the Central African Republic following in the footsteps of El Salvador and adopting Bitcoin as an official currency, Afriex closing its Series A funding with a $10 million raise to expand its blockchain money transfer app, and more.

Central African Republic Adopts Bitcoin as an Official Currency

Central African Republic has officially adopted Bitcoin as a legal currency. The news was announced on April 27, by the presidency. The Central African Republic has officially become the first country in the African continent to do so and the second in the world after El Salvador.

A statement signed by Chief of Staff of President Faustin-Archange Touadera, Obed Namsio, said that a bill governing the use of cryptocurrencies was unanimously adopted by parliament last week.

The president supports this bill because it will improve the conditions of Central African citizens,” said Namsio.

In his statement, Namsio went ahead to say that the move was “a decisive step toward opening up new opportunities for our country”.

The news comes at a time when various African governments have taken a varied approach to regulate cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology with countries like Nigeria launching their own CBDC and others like Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Zambia are still exploring the same.

Nigerian Fintech Startup Afriex Secures $10 Million in Series A Funding For Its Blockchain Money Transfer Platform

AfriexNigerian blockchain-based money transfer startup, Afriex, has announced that it has raised $10 million in its Series A funding with a valuation of $60 million. Afriex is a multi-currency app that enables users to send and receive money from anywhere in the world.

The funding round was led by Sequoia Capital China and Dragonfly Capital and received participation from other investors such as Goldentree, Exceptional Capital, Stellar Foundation, among others.

Afriex processes over %5 million in monthly transfers and has grown its customer base by 500 percent within the last six months. The company makes money by arbitraging the currency and crypto exchange rates when customers transact.

Speaking in an interview, Tope Alabi, the Co-Founder and CEO of Afriex said, “Because we are building this network of connected financial institutions, we have built on-ramps for local Nigerian banks and on-ramps for local currency exchanges. We are building this Web3 mesh of financial institutions that could almost become something like the next Visa.”

The app that offers instant, zero-fee transfers for Africans at home and in the diaspora, plans to use the funds to expand its blockchain money transfer app.

Nigeria’s Fintech Startup Transfy Eyes Continental Growth Following a Successful First Year

Transfy, a Nigerian fintech startup, has announced that it’s planning for continental expansion following a strong early uptake of its payment infrastructure. The company has built a blockchain-powered financial services platform that makes it easy for business and individuals to seamlessly, securely, and freely send and receive money across Africa.

Having processed transactions worth $15 million in its first year of operations with zero marketing spend, the platform enables users to create an account, pass KYC, and start transacting.

Vincent Omulo, the startup’s Co-founder and Chief Operations Officer, said, “Most of the money remittance companies concentrate on other corridors outside of Africa like origination of transactions from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Middle East among others. There are very few companies, which are committed to connecting Africa financially. We therefore came in to bridge this gap.”

The bootstrapped startup is currently raising a seed round and plans to use the funds to propel the company into further growth.

We are currently operational in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Ghana, and Botswana,” Omulo said. “We are rapidly expanding, and before the end of Q2, we will be present in 30 African countries.”

To learn more about Bitcoin, download the Bitcoin Beginner’s Handbook for free.

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