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Weekly Roundup: Nigeria’s SEC Issues New Crypto Asset Framework, Luno’s Take on the New Crypto Regulations & More

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Luno's iconic South Africa building on Cape Town's foreshore district

In this week’s news roundup, you’ll read about the new crypto asset framework announced by the Securities Exchange Commission in Nigeria, Luno’s views on the just-announced crypto regulatory framework in Nigeria, and more.

Nigeria’s SEC Issues New Crypto Asset Framework

Nigeria’s Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has released new rules relating to the custody, exchange, and issuance of digital assets in the country. The news comes exactly 20 months after the Commission had issued a statement on how it would treat and classify digital assets.

The new rules require token issuance exchanges and platforms to keep trust accounts with receiving banks, a move that completely contradicts that of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which currently restricts local financial institutions from carrying out business with crypto-related businesses.

SEC’s latest development is expected to legitimise crypto and crypto-related businesses which in turn would help boost crypto adoption in Nigeria.

Companies looking to provide any kind of crypto services and products will have to secure a virtual asset service provider (VASP) license in addition to the relevant category licenses stipulated in the publication. SEC’s move is also expected to provide the CBN with a regulatory framework that it could use to advise financial institutions in the country on how to interact with crypto.

Luno’s Views on Nigeria’s New Crypto Regulatory Framework

LunoFollowing the newly introduced crypto regulatory framework by Nigeria, cryptocurrency exchange Luno shared its views on the announcement.

The move signals a change of attitude from authorities towards the growing crypto industry and counteracts the CBN’s circular that banned all financial institutions from working with crypto exchanges in the country.

SEC’s latest announcement could act as a harbinger for CBN to review its stance and provide the needed foundation for the mass adoption of crypto in Nigeria.

Speaking on the SEC’s proposed framework, Luno’s Country Manager for Nigeria, Owen Odia, said:

“At Luno, we strongly believe today’s developments could mark a major breakthrough in not only delivering much-needed clarity and protection for crypto customers, but also for businesses. Since launching in Nigeria in 2015, we’ve always prided ourselves on consistently adopting an open and proactive approach towards regulation and with the SEC’s new framework, our hope is that our current and potential users will have even greater confidence to trust us with their funds as we strengthen our push to raise the standards of our industry.”

Odia went on to add that the exchange is open to helping the SEC navigate the nuances of crypto and create regulations that will protect consumers without suppressing the crypto sector. Currently, Luno has over three million customers and gets an average of over 4,000 app installations per day in the Nigerian market alone. The exchange is also registered with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and complies with stringent KYC and AML processes in all 40 countries it operates.

Mara Secures $23 Million in Funding to Build a Pan-African Cryptocurrency Exchange

Mara, a Pan-African company offering a suite of cryptocurrency products, has raised $23 million to develop a Pan-African cryptocurrency exchange that will act as a portal to the crypto economy for Africans.

As reported in VentureBeat, Mara’s funding round was backed by major investors such as Coinbase Ventures, Alameda Research (FTX), DAO Jones, Distributed Global, TQ Ventures, and other angel and crypto investors.

Besides the funding announcement, the Lagos and Nairobi-based company also announced a partnership with the Central African Republic (CAR) that will see Mara become the official crypto partner in the country as well as an advisor to the country’s President on crypto matters. CAR became the first country in Africa to pass a bill legalising Bitcoin as a legal tender and the second in the world to do so.

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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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Weekly Roundup: Nigerian Stock Exchange Plans to Adopt Blockchain for Settlements by 2023 & More

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Cash Out Bitcoin to Naira

In this week’s news roundup, you’ll read about Nigerian stock exchange’s plans to utilise blockchain technology for settlements, a new forensics lab launching in Kenya to help fast-track crypto-related cybercrimes, and more.

Nigerian Stock Exchange Plans to Adopt Blockchain for Settlements by 2023

Nigerian Exchange Limited, the biggest stock exchange in Nigeria, is planning to roll out a blockchain-enabled trading platform by 2023 that will increase trade by facilitating trade settlements and attracting young crypto-savvy Nigerians to stocks.

The news follows the introduction of regulations by the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission to guide trade in digital assets in the country, as well as the growing interest by businesses and policymakers to adopt blockchain across the continent including in Kenya and South Africa. Moreover, the move also follows the firm’s first electronic share offering that was issued by MTN Group in the country and ended up being oversubscribed 1.2 times with the majority of the investors being below 40 years.

The company will be partnering with a tech company and is set on receiving approvals from Nigerian watchdogs next year in order to proceed. South Africa, on the other hand, is having ongoing conversations with key players in the fintech industry to incorporate the technology into its financial markets.

P2P Bitcoin Trades Rose to $185 Million on Paxful in Nigeria Despite Crypto Ban

PaxfulNigeria traded roughly $185 million worth of Bitcoin on Paxful, a leading peer-to-peer (P2P) crypto platform, in Q1 of 2022 despite the crypto ban imposed on banks by the Nigerian central bank.

According to the P2P crypto exchange, the trade volumes indicate a 5.71% increase in comparison to $175.3 million Bitcoin’s that were traded in the same period last year. Furthermore, the daily trades carried out by Nigerians on the platform averaged up to 16,000 in 2021 making the country the leading source of trades on Paxful.

25.87% (roughly $185 million) of the total $715 million BTC trades carried out on the P2P platform in the first quarter of 2022 were made by Nigerians. The increased P2P trades witnessed in the West African nation is despite the government actions banning digital asset trading with financial institutions.

Since the ban was effected, the CBN has so far fined five top Nigerian banks, including Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, and GT Bank a total of $3.4 million as a result of contraventions and infractions of its guidelines.

Kenya Launches New Forensics Lab to Help Investigate Increased Crypto Fraud

The Kenyan National Police Service has launched a Forensics Lab that is expected to help fast-track cyber-crime investigations, including crypto-related crimes, among others.

The East African nation has become a hotspot for cybercrime, especially ones relating to virtual currencies. Just recently, a top newspaper in the country reported a cryptocurrency scam that saw Kenyans lose $8.5 million in a Ponzi scheme known as Bitstream Circle.

The scheme lured investors by saying that they would get mentors who would alert them about the best times to trade as well as earn daily profits from their investment.

Kenyans Lose $8.5 Million to the Bitstream Crypto Ponzi Scheme

Bitstream Circle, the latest cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme that was designed by Kenyan and Chinese fraudsters, has left investors in Kenya counting their losses after the fraudsters made away with $8.5 million.

Bitcoin ScamAccording to Nation.Africa, the company first appeared on the internet on December 7, 2021, promising investors daily profits of between five to 10 percent on the amount invested. It gained over 10,000 followers on its Telegram page which required followers interested in joining the ‘Bt Elite Team’ to pay a deposit of $20. The firm promised to assign a mentor to each investor who would guide them on how to convert their shillings into crypto coins that they could then trade, earn a profit from, and withdraw.

Everything went well until March 13, 2022, when users started noticing delays when making withdrawals which the company said was due to system upgrades. The upgrade lasted for five hours but on March 14, 2022, where the administrators began posting messages that confirmed the company was a Ponzi scheme.

You are a bunch of brainless races, see you on our next plan,” an administrator of the page posted to the 10,914 investors.“Bye, haha. I am living a luxurious life with your dollars. If you have invited friends, wait to be killed by your recommenders. Idiots. There will be a time to meet.”

The company has since disappeared from the internet and its Telegram page, mobile application, and website are no longer accessible.

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

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Amber May 2022 Recap

May was another busy month for Amber Group, with the announcement of new partnerships and developments. 

Announced the partnership with Chelsea Football Club as Official Sleeve Partner, with the logo of WhaleFin to be emblazoned across the kit of both the men’s and women’s teams from the 2022/23 season.

Whalefin Chelsea

Joined the Travel Rule Universal Solution Technology (TRUST) coalition to comply with the Travel Rule while protecting the security and privacy of customers.

Took part in a beach clean-up at East Coast Park, Singapore, joined by our sustainability partners Zero Waste SG and Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

Group Photo

Product Development and Partnerships

Integrated Chainlink to help bring more secure and reliable asset transaction pricing services to customers. 

Amber X Chainlink 

In the News

Coinquora: Amber Group Partners With Chelsea FC As Official Sleeve Sponsors.

Yahoo Finance: Amber Group Announces Official Sleeve Partnership With Chelsea Football Club.

Disruption Banking: Amber Group Announces Q3 2022 Launch Of Openverse, The Gateway Into The Metaverse.

Bitcoinist: Amber Group Partners With Chainlink For More Reliable Asset Transaction Pricing.

Benzinga: Amber Group Integrates Chainlink To Help Customers Unlock Greater Value In the Blockchain Economy. 

Reuters: Stablecoin Terra’s Broken Dollar Peg Hits Wider Crypto Markets.

Macquarie Website: Soft Power In The Metaverse. 

Medium: Position Exchange’s Reentrancy Loophole Explained.

Medium: Roadmaps.

Events and Media Appearances

CEO Michael Wu joined the Macquarie Australia Conference to share his insights on metaverse / Web3.

Macquarie

Managing Partner Annabelle Huang joined a webinar hosted by CMU T&E to talk about how to build Web3 startups.

Annabelle CMU Event

Managing Partner Annabelle Huang joined a panel discussion hosted by CoinDesk to discuss opportunities across different market structures.

Annabelle Coindesk Event

Partner Delroy Fong joined a panel discussion at Singapore Institutional Digital Asset Summit on digital assets derivatives.

Delory IDEG Event

Europe Managing Director Sophia Shluger joined a panel discussion at London AIM Summit to discuss how institutions are going beyond Bitcoin and adopting the broader digital asset class.

Sophia at AIM Summit

Europe Managing Director Sophia Shluger joined a YouTube live session with BTS Labs to dive deeper into Ethereum 2.0, DeFi Movement, Cross-chain Bridges, and DAO. 

Sophia BTS Labs

Europe Managing Director Oksana Grinchak joined a webinar hosted by Macro Hive to discuss the market chaos and what is next for crypto.

Oksana Macro Hive

Europe Managing Director Francesco Adiliberti joined a panel discussion hosted by Dukascopy Bank to share his outlook on the IT ecosystem in Switzerland.

Francesco

Sponsored Blockchain Fest 2022 in Cyprus and Senior BD Director for Continental Europe Stefan Becker was interviewed at a Fireside chat session.

Stephan

Attended the NexTech Expo Week in Tokyo and showcased WhaleFin, Blue Whale Club, and Openverse to the Expo visitors. 

Tokyo Blockchain Expo

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