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Weekly Roundup: Binance Partners with Women in Tech to Offer Free Blockchain Courses in Africa & More

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In this week’s news roundup, you’ll read about Binance’s Charity and Women in Tech partnership to train women in vulnerable parts of Africa, Luno’s partnership with South Africa’s rugby captain in a new cryptocurrency education campaign, CAR’s court rejection of the use of Sango Coin to purchase CAR citizenship, and more.

Binance Charity and Academy partners with Women in Tech to Offer Free Blockchain Courses for Rural Communities in Africa

Binance Charity, the philanthropic arm of Binance, has announced a flagship global partnership with Women in Tech, that will offer educational courses to 2,800 women from vulnerable communities across Africa and Brazil.

Binance Charity will donate $250,000 BUSD for a six-month project to empower women with the knowledge and skills to thrive in a Web3 future. The first courses will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, in October of this year. The partnership will help close the gender gap in tech, which has continued to widen despite the blockchain market being expected to grow from $4.93 billion in 2021 to $200 billion by 2028.

Binance believes the future of crypto should be built by all, not the few, so we’re creating certified courses and removing financial barriers for women, especially those from vulnerable communities, to study and train. It is important to us at Binance and Women-in-Tech that quality blockchain education, innovation, and research opportunities are within everyone’s reach,” said Helen Hai, VP of Binance and Head of Binance Charity.

Courses will be offered in classes of 25 to young women aged between 15 and 25 by qualified trainers both in person and online. The Web3 courses will be designed by Binance Academy and adapted to meet local context Courses, which will include: Blockchain Fundamentals, Crypto Fundamentals, Decentralization, Web3, and the Metaverse.

The South Africa pilot will take place in Cape Town at the Philippi Village Tech Hub in the Philipp Township for an additional 50 women.  Over the duration of the six months, further programmes will be rolled out across Burundi, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, and Zambia.

South African Rugby Icon Siya Kolisi Partners with Luno to Headline New Crypto Advertising Campaign

Siya Kolisi, South African national rugby captain, will lead a two-year educational digital currency advertising in South Africa in partnership with Luno, a leading crypto exchange in South Africa.

The campaign’s rollout is expected to feature a series of television adverts that will promote a long-term investment attitude towards cryptocurrencies. Kolisi was front and centre of the first advert of the new campaign, which was aired during the Springboks’ third match of the Rugby Championship against Australia on Saturday.

In a statement highlighting Luno’s efforts in making crypto investing accessible to newbies that are unfamiliar with the space, Kolisi said, “Like many South Africans, I am new to crypto investment, so I had to do some research before deciding to partner with Luno. I love that Luno focuses on providing education for new crypto investors like me so we can make better, long-term financial decisions.”

Marius Reitz, Luno’s General Manager for Africa, highlighted the current downturn across cryptocurrencies markets as a prime example for investors to zoom out and focus on long-term investing in the space, “When you zoom out, the ups and downs do not change the fundamental potential of crypto to improve the world’s financial system, which is what its long-term value is based on. The long game in crypto means holding, rather than trading.”

Central African Republic Court Terms the Purchase of CAR Citizenship Using the Sango Coin Unconstitutional

Just over a month after the Central African Republic (CAR) launched the Sango Coin project that allowed foreign investors to purchase CAR citizenship by purchasing $60,000 worth of the coin, the Constitutional Court in the country has now ruled the move unconstitutional.

Despite the crypto winter, CAR’s government went ahead to launch the crypto project on July 25, 2022, amid backlash from various institutions, such as the World Bank, which distanced itself from the project. The court ruling, among other reasons, argued that nationality did not have a market and that residency required a physical stay in Central African Republic (CAR) as shown in a decree.

It is not immediately clear what the impact on the Sango Coin project will be over the coming days and weeks.

Binance Launches Educational Hub in Cameroon

Crypto exchange Binance has, in a partnership with Inoni Tech, opened a training center in Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé.

Cheta Nwatarali, a Binance Angel and an active member of Binance Africa, told BSC News, “With an average of 4.2% global crypto owners, Africa boasts 53 million crypto users, the second after Asia. Binance prioritizes educating about web three education and advancement in Africa through webinars, workshops, meet-ups, etc., which means they already know the drive to expand the crypto ecosystem starts from Africa.”

The educational hub that was launched on August 25, 2022, will act as a training centre for in-person blockchain and crypto education, up-to-date crypto news as well as host regular in-person events. In addition, the space will also offer resources and training for young people across Francophone Africa.

This latest move is part of Binance’s continued efforts to make cryptocurrencies more accessible in Francophone Africa and other parts of Africa.

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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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