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The Sun Exchange Expands into Sub Saharan Africa

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The Sun Exchange Expands

South African startup, The Sun Exchange, has announced its Sub-Saharan Africa expansion with a 1.9 MW Solar-Storage Project for Nhimbe Fresh in Zimbabwe. 

What is Sun Exchange?

The Sun ExchangeSun Exchange is the world’s first peer-to-peer solar leasing platform. Its members can buy and lease solar cells to communities near them, earning from the clean energy they create. Abraham Cambridge and Larry Temlock founded the company in 2015 to connect the world to the sun. 

Access to affordable energy is a vital driver of sustainable agriculture, which employs 52% of Africans. The sector contributes to 23% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP.

Users who buy solar cells lease them to facilities such as schools and hospitals under a 20-year contract.

The platform tracks local energy pricing and inflation. Additionally, it offers a clean and affordable alternative to generators, grid connections, and other conventional sources.

Key Project Milestones

The Sun Exchange addresses one of the key problems in agriculture: access to financing for clean energy.

Conventional energy sources remain easily accessible. Yet, they’re increasingly damaging as annual agricultural yield continues to show.

The Sun Exchange’s 19,000 members can earn rental income from the clean energy they generate and offset their carbon footprint. 35 South African schools and institutions benefit from the project, with others in line as the company successfully raised a Series A $4 million in June.

Pilot with Nhimbe Fresh

Nhimbe Fresh is a major agricultural fresh produce exporter in Zimbabwe. Its partnership with The Sun Exchange is set to launch a crowdsale for the first phase of a 1.9 megawatt (MW) solar and storage project. This will be the largest project of its kind yet and first beyond South Africa’s borders. It will supply power to the Nhimbe Fresh packhouse, cold store facilities, pump sites, and to its Churchill Farm.

Nhimbe Fresh is keen on doing business sustainably and with environmental responsibility. This partnership aligns with its vision to pursue a greater purpose in serving its communities and recognising its interdependence with the environment. It will certainly minimise their climate impact, energy costs while increasing their resilience and business efficiency, according to the Chairman, Edwin Masimba Moyo.

Nhimbe Fresh will operate on solar energy entirely, which will save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Moreover, the solar cells will be leased at a fixed price pegged to the dollar, to hedge against currency fluctuation, which would be a key concern for a project of this magnitude in Zimbabwe. 

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Weekly Roundup: Binance Completes 18th Quarterly BNB Burn, Luno’s Crypto Predictions for 2022 & More

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Crypto Predictions

In this week’s news roundup, you’ll read about Binance completing its 18th quarterly token burn, Luno’s 2022 crypto predictions, and other top crypto stories.

Binance Completes 18th Quarterly Burn Removing the Supply of 1.68 Million BNB

BinanceBinance has announced that it has completed its 18th quarterly token burn via its recently launched BNB Auto-Burn procedure.

The new protocol has enabled Binance to remove a total of 1,684,387.11 BNB from circulation. The current amount is inclusive of an additional 6,296,305493 BNB that was efficiently burned through the Pioneer Burn Program.

Binance’s BNB Auto-Burn protocol is a new innovation that was announced in December 2021 and is designed to improve a healthy blockchain ecosystem in collaboration with the BSC and BNB communities.

Speaking about Binance’s first quarterly Burn process, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), CEO of Binance, said, “The implementation of the BNB Auto-Burn is a natural next step in BNB’s journey and will help the BNB community grow through providing greater autonomy, transparency and predictability.”

The BNB Auto-Burn innovation will not only be autonomous but will also be automatic and self-adjusting. This means that the procedure’s formula will be based on the price of BNB plus the number of blocks produced in a given quarter.

Luno’s Crypto Predictions for 2022

Luno’s General Manager for Africa, Marius Reitz, in a media release, has shared the company’s crypto predictions for the year 2022. Luno is a leading global cryptocurrency company.

The predictions ranged from crypto regulation in South Africa, ongoing price volatility, and more formal links to the financial services sector.

Globally, we have seen moves to regulate crypto and we anticipate the introduction of a clear South African regulatory regime likely by the end of 2022. Regulatory certainty will have a host of positive spin offs for the crypto sector,” said Marius Reitz, Luno’s GM for Africa.

  • Crypto and the Formal Financial Services Sector

Luno foresees that crypto regulation in South Africa will help boost the number of formal partnerships that can be accomplished between banks and crypto companies. This in turn will help boost crypto adoption. Additionally, financial advisers will be able to share crypto services and products with clients.

  • Central Banks Bringing Crypto Closer

Luno’s Global Head of Payments, Louis van Staden, said that more countries will launch their own central bank digital currencies (CBDSs). Nigeria already launched its own CDBC in October 2021 and South Africa is also looking into a digital currency. He believes that more companies will find ways of incorporating familiar tools, such as mobile money and cards into the crypto ecosystem.

  • Africa Stepping out of the Shadows

Customers are learning to report any irregularities faster as well as getting better at keeping their crypto safe given that crypto adoption is on the rise in Africa. Additionally, campaigns being run to create awareness on warning signs are also gaining traction. While cyber-related incidents are on the rise, it’s interesting that Europe is becoming more of a financial crime hotspot in comparison to Africa.

  • Cryptocurrency Prices

2021 saw the crypto market experience new all-time highs and also took some brutal hits. Given that virtual currencies are still a new alternative asset class and ongoing volatility is expected, long-term views show that crypto will keep its upward trajectory even with occasional massive price drops.

Opera Launches Dedicated Web3 Crypto Browser

Opera has launched its Web3 Crypto Browser. Although currently in beta, the crypto browser comes with features such as an inbuilt crypto wallet, easy access to crypto/NFT exchanges, support for decentralised apps (DApps), among others.

Opera’s move is geared towards simplifying the Web3 user experience that is sometimes bewildering for mainstream users. The most prominent feature is the inbuilt non-custodial wallet that will support blockchains including Bitcoin, Celo, Ethereum, and Nervos from the onset. The company said it was also working towards implementing a more energy-efficient Ethereum Layer 2 standard as fast as possible.

The Crypto Browser is currently available for Android, Windows and Mac, with an iOS version coming soon.

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Weekly Roundup: Binance Becomes Official Sponsor of AFCON 2021 & More

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Binance AFCON

In this week’s news roundup, you’ll read about Binance becoming the official sponsor of the AFCON 2021 tournament in partnership with CAF, GoldFinch, a DeFi platform has successfully raised $25 million to continue offering uncollateralised DeFi loans, and other top crypto stories.

Binance Becomes Official Sponsor of the AFCON 2021

Binance announced that it has partnered with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to become the official sponsor of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournaments 2021.

Binance AFCONThe famed football event will take place in Cameroon from January 9 to February 6, 2022. This sponsorship marks the first time the crypto exchange will sponsor a large-scale football event.

Speaking of the partnership, CAF’s General Secretary, Veron Mosengo-Omba, said, “I am delighted to welcome Binance as an official sponsor of the AFCON tournament this year. Through this partnership with CAF, Binance will connect further with its users and the African community through football. CAF is ready to embrace blockchain-based technology and its impact on the future of African football development. I am certain that together with Binance, we can take African football to a new level.”

Besides the sponsorship, Binance will also become the official partner of the Assist of the Day / Binance Assist of the Week / Binance Assist of the Tournament, which CAF will promote across its social media channels including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, as well as across six venues in five different cities in Cameroon. Additionally, the tournament will be broadcast live in over 160 nations and is expected to have an audience of more than 300 million.

The partnership will also allow Binance to continue its mission of championing financial freedom for Africans while driving blockchain adoption.

DeFi Platform, GoldFinch, Raises $25 Million to Provide Uncollateralised DeFi Loans

GoldFinch, a decentralised credit platform that helps expand the pool of potential lenders beyond banks, has successfully secured a $25 million funding round that will help it continue to provide uncollateralised DeFi loans to businesses in emerging markets.

GoldFinch’s protocol runs as an open marketplace for loans and eliminates the need for any kind of collateral thus decentralising the loan underwriting process. Additionally, it makes off-chain sources of yield available and composable on DeFi.

The funding round was led by Andreessen Horowitz – known as a16z – a venture capital firm that invests in seed to late-stage technology companies. The funding round also saw new investors participate including Bill Ackman, Blocktower, Kingsway Capital, Helicap, YC Alumni Fund, Jinglan Wang, MSA Capital, among others.

Currently, GoldFinch’s protocol is serving more than 200,000 borrowers in 18 countries around the globe and plans to use the funds to achieve its mission of expanding financial inclusion using an open credit protocol.

82% of Small Businesses Plan to Start Accepting Digital Payments in 2022

Cash Out Bitcoin to NairaA new study done by Visa, a world leader in digital payments, dubbed ‘Visa Global Back to Business Study – 2022 SMB Outlook’ has found that 82% of small businesses plan to accept digital payment in 2022.

The study also found out that 46% of consumers surveyed want to use digital payment options more in 2022 compared to only 4% who said they would use them less. The study surveyed 2,250 small business owners and consumers across nine different markets.

Moreover, 73% of small businesses surveyed said accepting new forms of digital payments is crucial to their business growth in 2022.

24% of all businesses surveyed said they plan to accept cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin for payment of goods and services.

Payments are no longer about simply completing a sale. It’s about creating a simple and secure experience that reflects one’s brand across channels and provides utility to both the business and its customer,” said Jeni Mundy, Global Head Merchant Sales & Acquiring, Visa.

Blockchain Research Institute Partners with Standard Bank to Expand its Work in Africa

The Blockchain Research Institute (BRI), a global blockchain think tank, has partnered with Standard Bank, Africa’s largest bank by asset, to expand its work in the African continent.

The partnership has introduced BRI Africa, which will bring together academics, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and researchers to undertake research on blockchain technology. BRI Africa aims to bridge the gap between the real market need and the technical functionality of the blockchain.

The research institute will also work to distribute knowledge gathered across the country by providing a wide range of educational deliverables in the form of books, conferences, and webinars. The online courses will be delivered by BRI in partnership with Coursera and INSEAD. Additionally, BRI will also foster business ideas that revolve around blockchain technologies via the Africa Blockchain Program. According to BRI Africa, the program is currently open for Egypt and Zimbabwe and will provide resources for new founders to use to launch and scale a startup.

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Weekly Roundup: Quidax Joins the Bored Ape Yacht Club, African Blockchain Lab Raises $6 Million Funding to Launch Wallet & More

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In this week’s news roundup, you’ll read about Quidax joining the Bored Ape Yacht Club after purchasing a Bored Ape NFT worth 75.2 ETH, Nigeria-based African Blockchain Lab closing a pre-series A funding round worth $6 million to launch a crypto wallet, and other top crypto stories.

Quidax Buys NFT Worth 75.2 ETH to Join the Bored Ape Yacht Club

Quidax has become the first African crypto trading platform to join the Bored Ape Yacht Club after purchasing an NFT worth 75.2 ETH.

 

The Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), which has grown to become one of the most prominent brands in the NFT space, is a collection of 10,000 ape avatars on the Ethereum blockchain and individually act as tickets to an online social club. So far, BAYC NFTs have generated over $1 billion in total sales.

The Bored Ape Yacht NFT purchased by the crypto trading platform was worth $273,252.5, an equivalent of 75.2 ETH at an exchange rate of $3,769 per 1 ETH. Additionally, owning a Bored Ape NFT will provide Quidax with access to various activities with one of them being ‘The Bathroom’, which is a collaborative graffiti board.

African Blockchain Lab Raises $6 Million Funding to Launch Crypto Wallet

Nigeria-based African Blockchain Lab has successfully raised a pre-series A funding round worth $6 million to help fund the launch of VIBRA, a crypto wallet.

As reported in Disrupt Africa, the funding round was co-led by a combination of global investors, including well-known African venture capital firms CRE Venture Capital, Lateral Frontiers VC, and Musha Ventures. Additionally, the blockchain startup also received funding from international blockchain investors Bonfire, Cadenza Capital, Dragonfly Capital, Despace, Fenbushi, Hash Global, Hashkey Capital, Head & Shoulder X, LeadBlock, Kryptial, SNZ Capital, among others.

African Blockchain Lab was founded with a singular mission – to drive the mass adoption of digital assets and blockchain technologies in Africa. With the backing from our strategic investors, we intend to bring world-class tech stacks, projects and innovation to the African continent, starting with our first product VIBRA,” said Vincent Li, the Co-founder for African Blockchain Lab.

The funding will enable African Blockchain Lab to launch VIBRA, its crypto wallet, and add new features such as VIBRA Earn, a crypto saving product that will allow users to earn interest on various crypto assets.

Speaking on the funding, Pardon Makumbe, the Managing Partner at CRE Venture Capital, said, “We believe Africa has a generational opportunity to build a more collaborative and inclusive financial ecosystem using decentralized technologies, in which all players are winners. We are excited to partner with the world-class team at Vibra to make this happen.

Airbnb Might Offer Users Crypto Payment as an Option After Crypto Payment Tops User Requests

Airbnb Inc., a home rental firm, might soon join the growing list of businesses accepting digital currencies as payment options for services.

This comes after Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s CEO and Co-Founder, asked users on Twitter to give suggestions of anything they’d like the firm to launch in 2022. After sifting through 4,000 responses, Chesky posted the top six suggestions. The number one suggestion requested by most users was the ability to book and pay for an Airbnb accommodation using cryptocurrencies. Other recommendations included clear pricing displays, guest loyalty programme, updated cleaning fees, more long-term stays and discounts, and better customer service. Chesky went ahead to reveal that some of the suggestions were already in the pipeline and that what wasn’t already in the pipeline would be considered.

 

While Chesky did not explicitly reveal whether his company would add crypto payments, his comment could mean that either they are already looking to incorporate virtual currencies into their services or they will be considering it.

NFT Marketplace, OpenSea, Raises $300 Million in Series C Funding at a Valuation of $13.3 Billion

OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace globally, on Tuesday announced a successful Series C funding round worth $300 million.

The funding round was led by investment firms Paradigm – a crypto-focused investment firm – and Coatue Management. Following the investment and four years, after it was launched, OpenSea’s current valuation stands at $13.3 billion.

The marketplace was founded in 2017 as a place for people to buy and sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs). OpenSea plans to use the funds to accelerate product development, significantly improve customer support and customer safety, meaningfully invest in the wider NFT and Web3 community, as well as grow their team.

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