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Weekly Roundup: Luno Hits New Milestone with 10 Million Customers & More

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Luno Hits New Milestone

In this week’s news roundup, you’ll read about crypto exchange Luno hitting a new milestone having onboarded ten million customers, Yellow Card launching in Senegal to continue building the crypto ecosystem in the country, and more.

Luno Hits New Milestone with 10 Million Global Customers

Crypto exchange Luno has announced that it has hit a new milestone with 10 million global customers. One million customers were onboarded in just six months.

South Africa remains Luno’s most active and strongest market with the exchange recording a 40% year-on-year customer growth. In fact, more than 40% of the one million customers onboarded over the last six months reside in South Africa. Additionally, South Africans roughly deposit R480 when they open a Luno account and tend to hold it for about ten months.

82% of the new customers who purchased crypto bought Bitcoin while Ethereum was purchased by the remaining 28%. The exchange allows users to purchase crypto for as little as R1 which is in line with its mission of putting the power of crypto in everyone’s hand.

There are an estimated 300 million people using crypto worldwide as of March 2022 – a figure that is expected to grow as global markets gain better access to the crypto ecosystem. Luno aims to bring crypto to over one billion people by 2030, so reaching 10 million customers is an important milestone which supports a transition towards building a better, more fair financial system,” said Marcus Swanepoel, CEO and co-founder of Luno.

Luno’s milestone announcement comes nearly a month after it launched Luno Expeditions – its global early-stage investment arm founded to support crypto/Web3 and fintech founders.

Marius Reitz, Luno’s GM for Africa said that it took Luno five years to build a base of its first one million customers in 2017. “Luno’s growth has accelerated significantly since then. Our top two regions – South Africa and Nigeria – illustrate the high demand for crypto in emerging markets,” he said.

Yellow Card Financial Launches in Senegal to Advance the Crypto Ecosystem

Yellow CardYellow Card has announced its launch in Senegal to help advance the crypto ecosystem. The Senegal launch now brings the total number of countries the company is operating in to 16 across the African continent.

Since its launch in Nigeria in 2018, the company has been working to make it easy for anyone, anywhere in Africa to purchase crypto using cash, card, bank transfer, and mobile money.

The Senegal launch means that users will be able to purchase crypto using Senegal’s local currency (XOF Cfa).

Speaking about the launch, Yellow Card’s Country Manager in Senegal, Ines Lowe SALL, noted that the country’s market is ready for success despite it being new to crypto. She said, “The opportunities here are vast as there is a good community of local traders and crypto enthusiasts willing to trade. In addition, the market is still easy to access with few crypto companies in operation. For us, it’s about providing the best crypto exchange platform to the population and making financial inclusion for all a reality.”

Ines went on to say that the company was ready to work with the different regulators and actors in the crypto space in the decision-making processes so as to create guidelines to aid in the regulation of crypto activities in Senegal.

Cardano Launches Africa Blockchain Incubator Program to Support New Businesses

Input-Output Global, the company that oversees Cardano, has announced the launch of an incubator scheme in Africa that is meant to support new business ventures in the continent.

Dubbed Ariob, the scheme was launched in partnership with iceaddis, a pan-African business incubator developed to promote the growth of businesses that are funded by Cardano’s innovation engine Project Catalyst. Under the collaboration, Ariob will give high potential startups access to unlimited resources and venture-building expertise that will permit the select business owners to develop useful products that can solve real-life challenges in different parts of the world but with more focus on the African continent.

“Together, we want to demonstrate that the next big ideas are emerging from African countries, and we are ready to invest our resources to make that happen,” said Markos Lemma, Co-founder and Chief Executive at iceaddis.

DirectED, Hippocrades, Thrift Finance, and WADA, are some of the projects that will be joining Ariob.

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Weekly Roundup: South African Reserve Bank Plans to Introduce New Crypto Trading Regulations & More

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5 Ways to Buy Bitcoin Quickly and Easily as a South African

In this week’s news roundup, you’ll read about South Africa’s plans to introduce new cryptocurrency trading rules in the next 12 to 18 months, a new report by the UN showing that more than 13 million Nigerians are in possession of digital assets, and more.

South African Reserve Bank Plans to Introduce New Regulations Around Crypto Trading

South Africa, through its Reserve Bank, has announced that it will soon introduce a new regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies in the country.

Speaking at a PSG Think Big webinar, the Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), Kuben Naidoo said, “Our view has changed and we now regard it [cryptocurrency] as a financial asset and we hope to regulate it as a financial asset. There has been a lot of money that has flowed in, and there is a need to regulate it and bring it into the mainstream.”

Naidoo went ahead to state that it will take them 12 to 18 months to finalize the new regulations but that know-your-customer (KYC) rules and licensing of exchanges can already start being implemented. He also touched on the possibility of the Southern African country’s central bank issuing its own central bank digital currency (CBDC) and mentioned that they have so far carried out two pilots for it.

Although conversations regarding the classification of crypto as financial assets and not a currency have been ongoing for quite a while, the new move by SARB has been welcomed by crypto exchanges in the country as they expect the move will boost cryptocurrency adoption in the country.

Speaking following SARB’s announcement, Marius Reitz, Luno’s General Manager for Africa said, “It will require crypto asset service providers (CASPs) to obtain FSP licenses and will be easier for the public to identify a trusted and licensed platform. It will create a barrier to entry for those platforms with no regard for the security of customer funds and customer information.”

New United Nations Report Shows Over 13 Million Nigerian Own Cryptocurrencies

A new report by the United Nations has established that over 13 million Nigerians own cryptocurrencies. The new rating done by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) placed Nigeria third among countries with the highest number of digital currency holders in the African continent.

The report further showed that South Africa and Kenya were trailing Nigeria. However, in terms of which country has the highest proportion of crypto-owning inhabitants compared to other African countries, Kenya emerged first, ahead of Nigeria and South Africa. Currently, Kenya’s cryptocurrency ownership was at 8.5 percent in 2021, placing it first in the African continent and fifth globally. South Africa trailed Kenya with 7.1 percent of its population owning or having held virtual currencies in 2021.

Still, Nigeria has one of the biggest cryptocurrency markets despite the restrictions placed on crypto trading by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

10,000 African Startups to Benefit From Blockchain Partnership

About 10,000 startups across the African continent are set to benefit from a $1 million (roughly Ksh. 117.9 million) partnership between Adanian Labs, Humanity Node Protocol (HNP), and Web3Africa. Adanian Labs and HNP are both based in Nairobi.

The partnership, which came to be under the African Startup League initiative, will enable young Africans and entrepreneurs to develop innovative businesses and technologies around blockchain technology. The initiative will make it possible for African-owned enterprises to compete for a grand prize of $1 million for building technologies on the blockchain.

Speaking about the partnership and initiative, Marcus Duke, the founder of Humanity Node Protocol, said, “Blockchain and Africa are inevitable. There is no bigger opportunity on the planet today to do good for humanity while making incredible returns.”

HNP and Web3Africa project will provide 300,000 HNP non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to 300,000 Africans who will have registered and had their identities verified on or before August 8, 2022. In addition, HNP and Adanian Labs will develop the business model and operating protocols for the Humanity NFTSs and estimate that the NFTs will generate more than $1,000 income a month for those who will be chosen to receive the Humanity NFTs.

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Amber Group’s June 2022 News Recap: Here’s What’s Been Happening!

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Amber Group June 2022

Read on to discover what’s been happening at Amber Group in June 2022. 

Corporate News

WF Sustainability Awards 2022

  • Received the Sustainability Award for the most sustainable company in the digital currency category by World Finance.
  • Acquired Celera Markets Limited, a fully licensed financial group by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong, and secured five types of SFC licenses – Type 1, 2, 4, 5 and 9.
  • Ranked among the top 5, recording a >90 score in the financial services category of the risk-scoring metric by Risktrail, the crypto-focused AML platform of blockchain analytics firm Hoptrail.

Product Development and Partnerships

Rolled out the NFT function on WhaleFin, enabling users to securely deposit, withdraw, and display their NFTs on one platform. 

WhaleFin NFT

Secured comprehensive insurance coverage for our wallet infrastructure from A-rated insurance provider Arch Syndicate 2012 of Lloyd’s of London and insurtech firm OneDegree, which is supported by a multi-year reinsurance partnership with Munich Re.

In the News

Cointelegrahp-6-Questions

Cointelegraph Magazine: 6 Questions for Annabelle Huang of Amber Group.

Finance Feeds: Amber Group Acquires Celera Markets to Mix TradFi with Digital Assets in Hong Kong.

Cryptonary: Amber Group Receives Green Signal from Hong Kong Authorities.

Yahoo Finance: Amber Group Now Licensed to Operate in Hong Kong with Acquisition of Celera Markets Limited.

The Fintech Buzz: Amber Group Now Insures Digital Assets Held on Behalf of Clients to Ensure Additional Layers of Protection.

Reinsurance News: Munich Re Backs Amber Group Digital Asset Cover by Arch & OneDegree.

Markets Media Group: Dancing Towards the Convergence of Traditional and Digital Asset Finance.

Law.com: Ant Group’s Benjamin Bai Pivots to Crypto: It’s Now or Never. 

YouTube: Globe Interview – Amber Group, Sophia Shluger.

YouTube: Ripe for Disruption: A Decentralised Future for Finance.

Medium: Bridges: Designs, Trade-offs, and Opportunities.

Events and Media Appearances

Sponsored Singapore Blockchain Fest 2022 and Managing Partner Annabelle Huang shared her thoughts on how to realize Web 3.0 economy in a fireside chat. 

Annabelle Blockchain Fest 2022

Managing Partner Annabelle Huang joined J.P. Morgan Private Bank’s panel discussion on the outlook of digital assets.

Managing Partner Annabelle Huang joined a panel discussion on ways to enhance risk-adjusted returns at Macquarie Internet and Digital Assets Conference. 

 Annabelle-at-Macquarie Conference 

Managing Partner Annabelle Huang joined a panel of experts to discuss current markets and key lessons learned at Bloomberg APAC Blockchain Forum 2022.

Annabelle at Bloomberg APAC Blockchain Forum 2022 

Managing Partner Annabelle Huang was featured as one of the five “Inspiring Female Thought Leaders” at Mercedes-Benz AG Blockchain Day 2022.

Women In Blockchain

Europe Managing Director Sophia Shluger joined a panel discussion on technological advancements at Europe Family Office Investment Summit.

Sophia at Europe Family Office

Europe Managing Director Sophia Shluger joined the AI Waves webinar on what Web 3.0 is and why it matters for business.

Sophia at AI Waves Webinar

Europe Managing Director Sophia Shluger joined a panel discussion on the wider institutional adoption of digital assets at the World Family Office Forum.

Sophia at World Family Office Forum

Europe Managing Director Francesco Adiliberti joined a panel discussion on the future of finance at IR Global Conference.

Europe Managing Director Francesco Adiliberti joined a panel discussion on why a treasurer should be interested in crypto at Swiss Treasurer Forum. 

Francesco at Swiss Treasurer Forum

Portugal Country Lead David Duarte joined a panel discussion on the future of Web 3.0 and internet transformation at Dublin Tech Summit.

David Duarte at Dublin Tech Summit

Head of Blockchain Security Dr. Chia-Chih Wu gave a guest lecture on blockchain data analysis for the Institute of Data Science and Engineering at National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University.

Chiachih

Asia-Pacific AML Head Gina Pho joined Crypto Expo Asia 2022 to share how Amber Group has partnered with Onfido to build a world-class onboarding experience.

Gina at Crypto Expo Asia 2022

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Weekly Roundup: Binance Partners with Cristiano Ronaldo to Launch NFTs & More

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CR7 Partnership

In this week’s news roundup, you’ll read about Binance’s latest partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo to launch exclusive NFTs, a new study by Kucoin revealing that 72% of crypto investors In South Africa rely on social media for crypto-related information, Crypto.com’s expansion into South Africa with an exclusive Rand wallet, and more.

Binance Announces Partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo to Launch Exclusive NFTs

Binance has today announced a partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo to launch multiple exclusive non-fungible tokens (NFTs) collections per year.

The partnership will see the leading crypto exchange launch a global campaign that will give Ronaldo’s fans an introduction to Web 3 with a captivating entry point into the world of NFTs.

Speaking about the partnership, Ronaldo said, “My relationship with the fans is very important to me, so the idea of bringing unprecedented experiences and access through this NFT platform is something that I wanted to be a part of. I know the fans are going to enjoy the collection as much as I do.”

In addition, the two parties will develop a series of collections that will be sold exclusively on the Binance NFT platform. The initial collection will be released later this year.

Study: 72% of South African Crypto Investors Rely on Social Media for Crypto Information

The latest study by global cryptocurrency exchange, Kucoin, has revealed that 72% of South African crypto investors rely on social media as their primary source for crypto-related information.

The report christened ‘Into The Cryptoverse’, was conducted to determine the cryptocurrency adoption rates and investor behaviour in the Southern African country. 72% of those surveyed rely heavily on social media to get information on crypto which is shared by influencers and other key media personalities to who the average citizens can relate to.

Matlala Caroline Rathabeng, a Twitter Influencer in South Africa, was quoted by Kucoin in the study saying, “Social media is the most powerful channel introducing people to new things and allowing them to build networks. Now, it grows people’s hope and trust in crypto.”

The study further revealed that 7.6 million South Africans – nearly 22% of the country’s population aged between 18 – 60 – either own virtual currencies or have used cryptocurrencies in the last six months.

Crypto.com Launches Rand Wallet As It Expands Into South Africa

cities in South AfricaCrypto.com has announced the launch of a Rand wallet as it expands into South Africa. The launch of the Rand wallet will however see the exchange deactivate the non-rand fiat wallets for its customers in South Africa.

In a statement to MyBroadband, Crypto.com said, “We have partnered with a local bank to compliantly offer certain products and services that are in line with local regulations, applicable law, and customer demand.”

The exchange shared the news in a notice to its customers in the country saying, “We are pleased to announce that we have made progress in our expansion of services in South Africa. Please be informed that Foris DAX SA (Pty) Ltd will become the contracting entity of the Crypto.com App on 10 July 2022.”

Customers will be required to accept the exchange’s updated terms and conditions with Foris DAX in order for them to continue utilizing the services. Moreover, Foris DAX will also take over the management of all the accounts of their South African customers.

Engie Energy Access’ Crypto-based Crowdfunding Solar DeFi Platform Exceeds Target

Engie Energy Access has announced that it has exceeded its target to crowdfund $100,000 via its Solar decentralized financing (DeFi) platform in a mere seven hours.

The institution is a solar energy access company that provides solar home systems and mini-grids that benefit millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa. The DeFi crowdfunding platform that was developed in partnership with Energy Web, a Swiss NGO, enables investors to buy Energy Web Tokens (EWTs) in support of off-grid solar deployment, remunerated on a fixed return model with profits up to 10% on their stake.

This revolutionary financing model will enable the subsidiary of Engie to roll out autonomous solar home systems (SHSs) for schools, households, and SME beneficiaries who will acquire high-end solar photovoltaic (PV) equipment on a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) system. The company’s initial projects will focus on Zambia and Rwanda which have a rural energy access rate of 11% and 44% respectively, with subsequent expansion expected in other Sub-Saharan nations

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