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Weekly News Roundup: South Africa Releases New Crypto Rules, Chipper Cash Raises $30 Million

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New Crypto Rules

The crypto scene has been more lively than usual over the last few days as bitcoin soared to $19,000 for the first time since 2017. Additionally, South Africa released new crypto rules to address the rising use of crypto in the country. In this week’s news roundup, we will look at this story and other top news.

South Africa Releases New Crypto Rules

South African Reserve BankThe Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) in South Africa has published a draft declaration of crypto assets as financial products. The new rules are published under the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act.

“Globally, there is growing interest by retail investors to purchase crypto assets. South Africa has also experienced an exponential increase in the provision and use of crypto assets,” the regulator said.

The draft declaration has included several recommendations from the Crypto Assets Regulatory Working Group’s position paper.

The new rules will affect cryptocurrency service providers like exchanges, brokers, and advisors. That means that anyone offering advice or intermediary services with regard to cryptocurrencies will have to seek authorisation from the FSCA.

However, the regulator has made it clear that the draft declaration does not intend to regulate or legitimise crypto assets.

South Africans have until 28 January 2021 to submit their comments about the draft declaration.

Chipper Cash Raises $30 Million

Chipper Cash has raised $30 million through a Series B funding round and launched a crypto trading service. Ribbit Capital and Bezos Foundation were participants in this funding round.

Chipper Cash offers P2P payment services in seven African countries. However, due to demand, the company has added crypto trading services. Currently, the Chipper Cash app and website have beta dropdowns, where users can buy and sell bitcoin.

“We will always be a P2P financial transfer platform at our core. But we have heard the demand from our users to offer other value service like purchasing cryptocurrency assets and making investments in stocks,” CEO Ham Serunjogi told TechCrunch.

The startup has also added a beta product that enables its African users to buy US stocks. The company will also add more products with the funds it has raised and expand its operations to other countries.

Stellar-Powered ClickPesa to Enable Cross-Border Payments in East Africa

ClickpesaClickPesa, a B2B payment platform in East Africa, has announced that it is using the Stellar network to facilitate cross-border payments. That means that the company is an Anchor on the Stellar network, and can provide on/off ramps to the banking systems in Tanzania, Kenya, and Rwanda.

According to the Stellar Development Foundation, “anchors accept deposits and withdrawals via traditional rails and convert them to and from digital currency. They also interoperate with one another — and with other Stellar-built applications — to empower users to transact across borders and across currencies.”

Moreover, ClickPesa is working on integrating mobile money operators like Tigo, M-PESA, and Airtel. That means that the platform can leverage the Stellar network to allow a user to send a payment directly from a bank account in Europe to a mobile wallet in Tanzania.

The company has been operating in Tanzania for a few years and plans to expand to Kenya and Rwanda soon.

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Weekly Roundup: ECB Calls for Bitcoin Regulation, Binance to Train Developers in Africa

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How to Speed Up a Bitcoin Transaction

A new administration is in office in the US, and we cannot wait to see what that will mean for the future of crypto. That aside, this week’s news roundup will report on a call for global bitcoin regulation and other stories.

President of the European Central Bank Calls for Global Bitcoin Regulation

The president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde, is calling for global bitcoin regulation. In her opinion, criminals are using the cryptocurrency to launder money and conduct other “funny business.” She blames these activities on the “patchy regulation,” allowing criminals to move money without oversight.

“There has to be regulation. This has to be applied and agreed upon […] at a global level because if there is an escape that escape will be used,” she told Reuters.

This comes at a time when bitcoin is in a bull market, and its popularity across the globe is increasing. Lagarde joins other regulators that have also called for the global regulation of cryptocurrencies.

The common belief that criminals use bitcoin because it is anonymous is misplaced. That is because bitcoin is, in fact, pseudonymous. That means that investigators can trace a wallet address back to its owner.

Binance Set to Train 1000 Developers in Africa

Binance Developers

Binance will train 1000 developers in Africa in the first quarter of 2021. The masterclass will start on 31 January 2021, where learners will acquire skills to build Dapps on the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) network.

The free training will take place on Zoom and will be live on YouTube. Moreover, thought leaders from ChainIDE, Bundle, Xend, and the BSC team, will coordinate the eight-week course. The program aims to create career opportunities beyond cryptocurrency trading.

The attendees of this course will acquire the following:

  • High-income level development skills.
  • A certificate of participation for those that complete the training.

Binance will also be giving away $1000 worth of crypto during the masterclass. To register for this course, click here.

ETH Hits New All-Time High of $1,439

On Tuesday this week, ether hit a new all-time high of $1,439.33. The previous high recorded was $1432.88 on 13 January 2018.

Since the initial ether public sale in 2015, the cryptocurrency has risen by more than 1000 percent. Also, ETH has surpassed bitcoin with year-to-date growth of 92 percent, while BTC has only soared by 27 percent this year. ETH is the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation.

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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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