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Weekly Roundup: Zanzibar Government in Talks with Stakeholders Over Cryptocurrencies, Bank of Botswana Cautions Crypto Investors & More

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In this week’s news roundup, you’ll read about the government of Zanzibar seeking the views of stakeholders on cryptocurrencies, Binance Smart Chain daily transactions hitting a record-breaking milestone and other top crypto stories.

Zanzibar Government in Talks with Stakeholders Over Cryptocurrencies

The government of Zanzibar is seeking the views of stakeholders on the viability of cryptocurrencies. The move is meant to enable the island to keep up with the world should crypto be accepted as a mode of transaction.

The announcement was made by Mr. Mudrick Soraga, Zanzibar’s Minister of State Economy and Investment.

Speaking on the matter, Soraga said, “We are seeking views on the matter before deciding whether it is viable or not. You cannot make such a decision without getting input from stakeholders, including banks and the ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs.”

Bank of Botswana Cautions Cryptocurrency Investors in the Country

Botswana Bitcoin ATMBotswana’s central bank has asked its citizens and residents looking to invest in crypto assets to be cautious and diligent in their dealings.

The bank cited the lack of a regulatory or legal framework on cryptocurrencies in the country as the premise of the warning. The bank went ahead to state that investing in digital currencies ends up putting ‘investor’s funds at risk’.

Therefore, trading in Bitcoin or similar decentralised technologies, also known as cryptocurrency, is akin to investment in any other intangible assets with attendant risks, inherent in such investments, such as complete loss of value or possible abuse of the technologies to the detriment of investors,” the Bank of Botswana said.

The bank implored investors looking to invest in cryptocurrencies to do their due diligence on the companies, their activities, as well as the legality of the business.

Binance Smart Chain Hits an All-Time High Daily Transaction Volume

On Tuesday 16, November, Binance Smart Chain (BSC) hit an all-time high of over 14.7 million transactions in one day, beating Ethereum by 13 times and making BSC the only blockchain that has achieved such a feat.

In the last two weeks, daily BSC blockchain transactions have averaged well over 10 million txs per day. When compared to other blockchains, BSC currently boasts an ecosystem with the most number of transactions ever recorded at the lowest possible fees,” said Samy Karim, BSC Ecosystem Coordinator while drawing comparisons with other blockchain networks.

The news comes nearly a month after Binance announced the launch of its $1 billion accelerator fund meant to enhance the capability of the Binance Smart Chain ecosystem in thriving sectors in the crypto space.

Speaking on the accelerator fund, Gwendolyn Regina, the Investment Director at Binance Smart Chain Accelerator Fund, said, “The $1 billion Growth Fund has already started projecting growth in the BSC ecosystem. We will support 500+ projects building on BSC with the aim to onboard the next one billion users to the blockchain and crypto space.”

South Africa’s NFTfi Raises a $5 Million Seed Round to Pioneer the Financialization of NFTs

NFTfi, a South African-based startup, has raised $5 million in its seed round to help the company continue pioneering the financialization of NFTs.

nftfiAs reported in TechCrunch, the investment round was led by 1kx, an early-stage crypto fund. Additionally, Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, Maven 11, Scalar Capital, Kleiner Perkins and others venture capital firms also took part in the investment round.

NFTfi was founded in 2020 by Stephen Young. The decentralised peer-to-peer platform acts as a marketplace where users are able to get cryptocurrency loans while using their NFTs as collateral.

For instance, if a user wants to borrow $5,000, different lenders will propose to the borrower various offers with different interest rates and payment terms. The borrower will then submit an NFT as part of the transaction once he settles on the loan he wants. Once the transaction is done, the NFT will be transferred into NFTfi’s smart contract and the borrower will receive the money.

Once the loan is fully paid with interest to the lender, the NFT gets returned to the borrower’s wallet. In the event that the borrower fails to repay the loan during the agreed period, the lender gets the NFT.

Speaking of NFTfi, Young said, “Our main focus is that we want to do for NFTs what DeFi did for cryptocurrencies. As soon as you brought DeFi into cryptocurrencies, you also had this explosion of activity and liquidity in the market. And really, we want to act as that catalyst for the NFT market, unlocking some of the value in these NF T’s so they can then be ploughed back into the NFT community and market to help develop the space further.”

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Weekly Roundup: African Web3 Mobile Games Publisher Carry 1st Secures $27M in Funding & More

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In this week’s news roundup, you will read about Carry 1st securing a $27 million funding round and more.

African Web3 Games Publisher, Carry 1st, Secures $27M in Funding

Carry 1st, a mobile games publisher, has announced that it has successfully raised $27 million in funding to grow its digital content creation and publishing platform in Africa. 

Initially, the company said it would use the funds to grow its content portfolio by exploring Web3 play-to-earn (P2E) games, integrating non-fungible tokens (NFTs) into the gaming experience, and expanding its internal capacity. However, it appears as though Carry 1st will use its latest funding round to expand the capabilities of Pay1st, its monetization-as-a-service platform, which allows third-party publishers to make more money in Africa.

Carry 1st’s funding round was led by Bitkraft Ventures and saw additional participation from Andreessen Horowitz, commonly known as a16z. Alumni Ventures, Kepple Ventures, Konvoy, Lateral Capital, and TTV Capital also took part in the round. This funding round comes a year after the company raised $20 million in funding that a16 and Alphabet (Google’s parent company) supported. 

Nigerian Cryptocurrency Exchange, Roqqu, Granted European Virtual Currency License

Roqqu, a Nigerian crypto exchange, has been given a virtual currency license for the European Economic Area after two years of waiting for permission from regulatory authorities. 

With the license, Roqqu will now be able to operate in 30 countries and expand its services within one of the world’s largest crypto markets. Roqqu plans to attract early traders keen on gaining an edge in the crypto sector by offering a better experience and competitive fees for newcomers. In addition, the company hopes to reach more than five million users in 2023, up from the 1.4 million users it has in Nigeria, which was the only country it operated in until it was awarded the license. 

Traditional cross-border payment methods are known to take days, and this is what Roqqu seeks to solve. Benjamin Onmor, Roqqu’s CEO said, “It makes a lot of sense to solve this problem by using crypto as the vehicle. Crypto is a faster and cheaper route that can bridge the gap and help reduce fees for moving money globally. This is the core of the problem we want to solve.”

Roqqu plans to expand to other counties in Africa, with Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda being top of the list of countries it’s eyeing to expand into. 

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Weekly Roundup: Morocco’s Central Bank Announces Completion of Draft Cryptocurrency Regulatory Framework & More

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In this week’s news roundup, you will read about the Central Bank of Morocco’s announcement on the completion of its draft legal framework on cryptocurrencies, Nigeria’s plans to establish a regulatory framework for stablecoins and initial coin offerings and more.

Morocco’s Central Bank Announces the Completion of its Draft Cryptocurrency Regulatory Framework 

Morocco is set to see the introduction of a new cryptocurrency bill following the country’s Central Bank announcement around the completion of the development of a cryptocurrency regulatory framework. 

The bill, which was written by the Central Bank of Morocco, referred to as Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM), will be introduced to the public for discussion and is set to legally define crypto in the fast-growing market of Morocco. This is in a bid to protect individuals while still not constraining innovation in the country. 

Morocco’s Central Bank Governor, Abdellatif Jouahiri, already announced a series of discussions between BAM and various stakeholders in late December 2022 that will precede the implementation of the bill. The stakeholders targeted include regulators such as the Insurance Supervisory Authority, the Moroccan Capital Markets Authority (AMMC), and Social Security (ACAPS).

Jouahiri went on to add that the country’s Central Bank had collaborated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to develop the document. There are also earlier claims that Morocco had reached out to the Central Banks of France, Sweden, and Switzerland in a bid to study their regulatory experience with crypto assets. 

Nigeria Set to Develop Legal Framework for ICOs and Stablecoins

Nigerian SEC to Regulate CryptoThe Nigerian Central Bank has announced plans to consider the development of a regulatory framework for the potential utilization of initial coin offerings (ICOs) and stablecoins. 

The new plans to create a regulatory framework for ICOs and stablecoins were published in an 83-page strategy paper by the country’s Central Bank. The document went ahead to note that stablecoins have the potential to become a successful payment mechanism in the country. As for the ICOs, the report cites the need to have them regulated to prevent investors from making losses as it considers the potential that ICOs have when it comes to crowdfunding, fundraising for capital projects, or peer-to-peer lending. 

The paper also discussed the eNaira, Nigeria’s CBDC, which was launched in October 2021. In the report, the Central Bank of Nigeria has stood its ground on the potential of the eNaira, terming it as an “enabler for transformation” for the country’s economy even as it looks to complete its implementation in the next three to five years. 

The news around designing a regulatory framework for ICOs and stablecoins comes barely a month after the West African announced its plans to legalise cryptocurrency usage. 

Jack Dorsey’s Block, Inc. Seeks to Partner with Crypto Companies in Africa

Block, Inc., a multinational technology conglomerate co-founded by former Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, is looking to partner with cryptocurrency companies in the African continent. 

The news was shared by Thomas Templeton, who heads the company’s bitcoin mining business and self-custody wallet. Speaking on the collaboration, Templeton said, “Yes, we’re always looking for opportunities to partner. We know we can’t do it alone and we’re not going to build everything to that.”

Block, Inc. is interested in collaborating with companies that decentralise mining, be it physical mining or through the use of hardware or software. On the software side, Block, Inc. is keen to partner with companies offering on- and off-ramp solutions for buying and selling bitcoin. The multinational company has already made some investments in Africa, with the most recent investment being in Gridless’ $2 million seed round, where it led the round. Gridless is a Kenyan-based bitcoin mining company that helps to bring new energy generation to rural communities in the country. 

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Weekly Roundup: Nigeria Looking to Legalise Cryptocurrency Usage, CAR’s Sango Coin Postponed & More

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In this week’s news roundup, you will read about Nigeria’s plans to legalise the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the country, Sango Coin listing postponed by the Central African Republic due to market conditions, and more.

Nigeria Looking to Legalise Cryptocurrency Usage 

The Nigerian government is reportedly expected to pass a law that will recognise the usage of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in a bid to keep up with global practices. 

Nigerian SEC to Regulate CryptoThe news was reported by Punch, a Nigerian-based local newspaper, following an interview with Babangida Ibrahim, the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Markets Chairman. The newspaper shared that if the Investments and Securities Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill is signed into law, it would permit the local Securities and Exchange Commission to “recognise cryptocurrency and other digital funds as capital for investment.”

Speaking about the proposed bill, Ibrahim said, “Like I said earlier during the second reading, we need an efficient and vibrant capital market in Nigeria. For us to do that, we have to be up to date [with] global practices.”

The report comes nearly 24 months after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ordered Nigerian crypto exchanges and service providers to cease any crypto-related activity and instructed all banks to shut down the accounts of any individuals or entities found to be engaging in crypto-related activities.

Ibrahim, however, noted that the law will not be a 180-degree turn on the ban issued in February 2021. Rather, it will be a secondary review of what is within the mandate of the CBN’s powers. 

In addition to the proposed legal recognition of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the law will also outline the regulatory roles of the CBN and Nigeria’s Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) on matters relating to digital currencies. The new law also comes at a time when Nigerians have continued to show little to no interest in the country’s central bank digital currency, the eNaira. 

Central African Republic Postpones Sango Coin Listing

The Central African Republic (CAR) has announced that it will delay the listing of the digital currency, Sango Coin, on various crypto exchanges citing current market conditions plus marketing reasons. 

The announcement was shared in the cryptocurrency’s Telegram group. The coin was launched in July 2022 following the country’s acceptance of Bitcoin as legal tender in April, a move that saw it become the first country in Africa to do so. Additionally, CAR planned to raise close to $1 billion through the sale of the Sango Coin over the next 12 months.

The country planned to do this by offering attractive incentives to foreign investors, such as a CAR passport and citizenship by investment, among others. However, while only $1.66 million worth of the coin has been sold so far, the move to have foreigner purchase the country’s citizenship was also blocked and deemed unconstitutional by CAR’s top court in August. 

While the Central African Republic has faced various challenges since its adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender, it does not take away how significant the move is in the widespread adoption of Bitcoin.

Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya Account for Two-Thirds of Africa’s Crypto Holders, Study Shows

A new study done by the Moroccan think tank Policy Center for the New South (PCNS), which examined the rate of cryptocurrency ownership and its legality in 33 African countries, has found that Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya account for roughly 36.14 million crypto holders out of the 55.3 million crypto holders in the countries surveyed. 

The survey dubbed “The emergence of cryptocurrencies in Africa: reality or overvaluation?” established that Nigeria has by far the largest number of cryptocurrency holders at 40.5% out of the 33 African countries that were surveyed. South Africa and Kenya followed closely with 7.71 million and six million crypto holders, respectively, to become the second and third-highest-ranked African countries. 

Besides the three countries having the highest number of crypto holders out of the surveyed nations, the countries were the only ones whose proportion of holders relative to their population size was higher than 10%. However, using this metric, South Africa takes the lead at 12.27%, followed by Kenya at 11.85% and Nigeria at 10.33%.

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