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Weekly Roundup: Paxful Partners with Kenya’s Sauti Sol, Akoin’s Kenyan Partner Launches App

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Sauti Sol

In this week’s news roundup, we feature the partnership between Paxful and Kenyan music band Sauti Sol and more.

Paxful Partners with Kenya’s Sauti Sol

Young AfricansAccording to a statement on the Paxful blog, the company has partnered with Sauti Sol to increase cryptocurrency awareness. Part of the awareness campaign is a song called “My Everything” featuring four Grammy award-winner India Arie.

The representative of the band, Colin Gayle, said: “Sauti Sol is excited to partner with an innovative company like Paxful. […] We are hoping to show more Kenyans the wonders of bitcoin and take crypto adoption in the country to the next level.”

Furthermore, Paxful announced that it has registered more than 60,000 new Kenyan users in 2020. The company is also building a school in Machakos County and has set up handwashing stations in Kibera, the largest informal settlement in Africa.

“COVID-19 has dealt a huge blow to many people in Kenya and across the globe. Paxful is committed to reaching as many people as possible to help them better understand the opportunities presented by the crypto-economy. With this in mind, we have a new team in Kenya. The team will continue to learn from our Kenyan users and provide them with the best education and support,” said Paxful CEO Ray Youssef.

Electroneum Expands Electricity Service to More African Countries

Blockchain startup, Electroneum, has expanded its electricity top-up service to four more African countries. These nations include Togo, Ivory Coast, Benin, and Sierra Leone. The in-app service is currently available in Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau, and The Gambia.

“Electricity and mobile phone top-ups are a great way for people living and working away from their home countries to help friends and families by sending them airtime and data or by refilling their electricity meters,” stated Electroneum CEO Richard Ells.

Using the Electroneum app to top-up and send electricity, users can save time and money. Interestingly, Electroneum is the only company that facilitates electricity top-ups with crypto.

Akoin’s Kenyan Partner Launches the Akoin App

AkoinAkoin’s Kenyan partner, Mwale Medical and Technology City (MMTC), has launched the Akoin app according to an interview on Kenyan TV station K24. The app allows users to send and receive funds without any charges. Furthermore, it will eliminate the dependency on cash during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Once the Akoin wallet [has funds, you can transfer the money to another] wallet as long as you are enlisted,” said MMTC CEO Dr. Maurice Simunyu. Furthermore, he explained that you can convert the akoin cryptocurrency to other currencies like USD and the KES. Currency conversion attracts zero fees.

The pilot stage roll-out of the akoin cryptocurrency, which is invite-only, will take place at MMTC. Moreover, it will be the main currency of use in the medical and technology city.

MMTC “is a US $2 billion sustainable metropolis centred around a state-of-the-art medical and technology complex.” The city is located in Butere, Western Kenya. It will have a shopping complex, a hospital, a private airport, and a golf course, among other developments. Also, the development is over 70 percent complete and has been operational since July 2019. The developers could complete the project this month.

“We just announced our partnership with Mwale Medical and Technology City (MMTC). Akoin will process all the transactions occurring within the city,” the Akoin project said in a statement earlier this year.

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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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