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Weekly Roundup: Crypto Retail Payments Thriving in Sub-Saharan Africa & More

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In this week’s news roundup, you will read about a new report by Chainalysis revealing how crypto payments are flourishing in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Bank of Namibia’s inclusion of virtual assets in its regulatory framework, the conversion of Namibian uranium into NFTs, and more.

Chainalysis: Crypto Retail Payments Thriving in Sub-Saharan Africa

A new report released by Chainalysis, a blockchain data firm, has revealed that cryptocurrency is quietly thriving in Sub-Saharan Africa despite the continent having the least cryptocurrency transaction volume in comparison to any other region.

The region recorded volumes of $100.6 billion in on-chain volume received between July 2021 and June 2022, which represented a global activity of 2%, but a growth of 16% compared to the previous year. Despite the low transaction volumes, the report revealed that Africa has some of the most well-developed crypto markets of any other region, with deep integration and penetration into everyday financial activity for users in Nigeria and Kenya.

Additionally, both Nigeria and Kenya rank 11th and 19th on Chainalysis’ Global Crypto Adoption Index, respectively, with both countries showing strong crypto adoption when weighted for population and purchasing power, mostly for P2P exchanges. Retail-sized transfers under $10,000 make up 6.4% of the transaction volumes, which is higher than any other region. Looking at the number of individual transfers, retail transfers in that aspect make up 95% of all the transfers, while small retail transfers below $1,000 increase the share to 80% more than any other region. According to the report, the number of small retail transfers started growing at the onset of the crypto bear market.

The Sub-Saharan region also witnessed heavy adoption of P2P exchanges, which accounted for 6% of all virtual currency transaction volumes in Africa, more than double the share of the three next-closest regions.

Bank of Namibia Adds Virtual Assets as Part of Its Fintech Innovations Regulatory Framework

The Bank of Namibia (BON) recently announced that it has included virtual assets and virtual assets services providers under its Fintech Innovations Regulatory Framework in a phased approach through its innovation hub despite the fact that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in the country.

The bank also said it was considering making changes to applicable laws and regulations in consultation with the relevant authorities. Furthermore, the bank noted that while virtual currencies aren’t legally recognized, merchants and traders were free to accept them as a form of payment provided both parties willingly participated in such a trade or exchange.

The bank’s new position on cryptocurrencies seems to suggest that the bank is warming up to digital currencies despite prior warnings to citizens not to utilize or trade in cryptocurrencies.

Further, Johannes Gawaxab, the BON Governor who has in the past criticized cryptocurrencies, revealed that the bank is exploring and studying the feasibility of rolling out a CBDC. He, however, cautioned that the bank will not be rushed into it and added that the BON plans to release a consultation paper on CBDCs this month.

If CBDCs are explored and implemented with due care and caution, they could hold immense potential benefit for a more stable, safer, more widely available, and less expensive means of payment than private forms of digital money,” said Gawaxab.

Namibian Uranium to be Converted to NFTs

Madison Metals, a mining and exploration firm operating uranium mines in Namibia, has reached a first-of-its-kind agreement with the Lux Network of blockchains to tokenize up to 20 million pounds of uranium in the next five years.

Madison will deliver 20 million pounds of U308 uranium oxide from its project in Namibia to the Lux Network as soon as it commences commercial production. However, interested individuals will be able to mint uranium non-fungible tokens on the Lux Market as of October 15, 2022. While the mining will only occur exclusively on LUX Network, the NFTs will be available on every major blockchain with the fulfillment of the delivery backing the first-ever uranium-backed NFTs.

The token sale is expected to generate revenue for corporate use.

Luno Appoints Johan Hetzel as Head of Compliance for Africa

Crypto investment app, Luno, has announced the appointment of Johan Hetzel as Head of Compliance for Africa.

Hetzel’s immediate focus will be to continue building on Luno’s high compliance standards as one of the world’s most regulated digital asset service providers. With operations in Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda, Hetzel will also participate in the development of regulatory frameworks and the associated licensing applications in both Nigeria and South Africa.

The incumbent’s past experience has largely been in compliance at various banks in South Africa, with the most recent being at Mama Money, where he serves as the Head of Compliance for the fintech’s global operations.

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Weekly Roundup: South African Crypto Exchange VALR Launches in Zambia & More

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In this week’s news roundup, you will read about VALR, a South African cryptocurrency exchange’s expansion into Zambia, a report by the Bank of International Settlements on the survey carried out on some African central banks on CBDC, and more.

South African Crypto Exchange VALR Launches in Zambia 

VALR, a South African crypto exchange, has launched its operations in Zambia. The expansion into Zambia will enable Zambians to buy and sell BTC and USD Coins using Kwachas, in addition to the 60+ crypto assets available on the exchange. 

VALREstablished in 2018, VALR is the largest crypto exchange headquartered in the African continent. It also allows customers to safely buy, sell and store digital assets at some of the lowest fees globally. Since its inception, the platform has processed more than $10 billion of trades. 

Speaking about the launch in Zambia, Farzam Ehsani, VALR’s Co-Founder and CEO, said, “As the largest crypto exchange headquartered in Africa, VALR is excited to now be serving the people of Zambia. We’ve built a world-class product with a focus on robust security, high performance, and regulatory compliance, and we look forward to welcoming the Zambian retail and institutional market to VALR.”

The expansion comes nearly nine months after the exchange raised $50 million in a Series B funding round that was backed by global investors such as Avon ventures. Currently, VALR is the only crypto exchange in Zambia that offers a full-service digital asset exchange, local currency order books, and a trading platform. 

VALR is committed to enabling the blockchain ecosystem in Africa, and working with other businesses to expand access to digital assets is an important part of the brand’s ambitious growth strategy,” said Blake Player, VALR’s Head of Business Development. “We welcome startups, mobile wallets, and other fintech to build on VALR and use our powerful API to create exciting products for their customers.”

New BIS Report Shows African Central Banks Actively Interested in CBDC

A new survey conducted by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) has established that central banks in Africa are interested in the central bank digital currency (CBDC) despite a few drawbacks. 

While mobile money has been a great competitor to CBDC, 19 African central banks that responded to the survey have great faith in CBDC thanks to the fact that it can be used to implement monetary policies in Africa, unlike in other parts of the world. While all the 19 central banks that took part in the survey stated they were actively interested in CBDC, only Nigeria has so far launched a digital currency dubbed the eNaira. Ghana and South Africa are currently piloting a retail and wholesale CBDC, respectively. 

One primary motivation that 48% of the central banks surveyed listed as a key reason why they would launch a CBDC in their respective countries was the provision of cash. This, they said, would save them money on not just the printing and storage but also on the transportation of banknotes and coins. All the survey respondents also believe that CBDCs would help them achieve financial inclusion. 

Despite the positives, the surveyed central banks noted that some of the drawbacks in issuing a CBDC would include the availability and combinability of technologies, cybersecurity, high operational cost, functionalities, network resilience, and scalability. 

Bankrupt FTX Invested Millions of Dollars in Two Kenyan Firms

Court papers and regulatory fillings from crypto exchange FTX and Alameda Research, its sister company, filed in a court in the United States have shown that the collapsed crypto exchange invested millions of dollars in at least two Kenyan startups. 

According to the documents, FTX, through Alameda Research, invested money into Chipper Cash and Mara. FTX, through Alameda Research, participated in Chipper Cash’s 2021 Series C funding – among other investors – that saw the company raise $150 million for its expansion into Africa. Additionally, Alameda Research also took part in Mara’s seed round funding, where the startup was able to raise $23 million. 

The collapse of FTX has gone down will billions of investor funds, leading other crypto firms to file for bankruptcy and further crippling the crypto industry, which has been experiencing a crypto winter since the beginning of 2022. 

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Weekly Roundup: Kenya’s Capital Markets Bill 2022 Seeks to Tax Crypto Transactions & More

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In this week’s news roundup, you will read about Kenyan legislators getting ready to debate the new Capital Markets 2022 bill that seeks to tax cryptocurrencies in the country and more.

Kenya’s Capital Markets Bill 2022 Seeks to Tax Crypto Transactions

A Kenyan Member of Parliament has introduced a new Bill – dubbed the Capital Markets (Amendment) Bill 2022 – that seeks to introduce taxation on crypto exchanges and digital wallets, as well as impose transaction taxes on cryptocurrency transactions executed in the country.

The proposed Bill will give the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) the mandate to go after Kenyans who own digital currencies for the purposes of imposing taxation on their crypto holdings. Additionally, the proposed Bill is the first time that the East African country will bring digital currencies mainstream and establish regulations around cryptocurrencies. The Bill suggests a capital gains tax for the increased market value of crypto during its sale or use in a transaction. The proposed capital gains tax is akin to the excise duty tax charged by banks on transactions. 

Interestingly, the fragments of the Bill are quite similar to the policy interventions that were published by UNCTAD in July 2022 and aimed at helping to curb the risks associated with cryptocurrencies and stablecoins. The Bill is being presented as an attempt to justify crypto regulations in the country as a way of protecting Kenyans from such investments.

IMF Claims Africa’s Growing Crypto Market Needs Better Regulations

Following the collapse of the crypto exchange, FTX, and the crypto bear market witnessed thus far in 2022, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) claims that it might be time to push for calls to regulate the crypto markets in Africa in order to protect consumers. 

While acknowledging that regulating a highly volatile decentralized system that is highly volatile remains a challenge for most governments, the IMF believes that a balance can be achieved that minimizes risks and innovation. According to the IMF, only one-quarter of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have formally regulated digital currencies. In contrast, two-thirds have enacted some restrictions, and only six countries have banned crypto. 

Given that crypto assets are mainly used for commercial purposes, the IMF believes their volatility makes them unsuitable as a store of value. And considering that Africa has a fast-growing crypto market compared to other continents in the world, it might be an ideal time for policymakers to regulate the crypto space in the continent to avoid creating risks for financial and macroeconomic stability. 

Get Lucky Tickets for World Cup Bets on 1xBit [*Paid Feature]

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The long-awaited World Cup 2022 is here, bringing many opportunities to win big. Are you excited about seeing your favorite players on the pitch? Then the World Cup is an opportunity not just to do that but also to win big from your passion. 

Participating in 1xBit’s Ticket Rush is all you need to have a fun World Cup experience. This tournament offers you the avenue to stay on top of the game, enjoying fascinating matches and securing impressive prizes.

1xBit has created Ticket Rush with numerous fanciful prizes that could change your entire gambling experience. With multiple prize draws designed to select many winners, you have a chance at winning big. The prize pool is 3 BTC, with numerous winners per category. 

To participate in the offer, you must log in or register on 1xBit. Proceed to the offer page, click “Take part,” and bet on World Cup 2022!

Participants collect tickets for bets on World Cup 2022 matches. There are three ticket categories:

  • Individual match tickets – for bets on any World Cup matches 
  • Supporter tickets – for bets on the picked 8 countries during the group stage 
  • Play-off tickets – for bets on play-off matches 

For the Individual match tickets prizes, the 1st place winner will emerge with 500 mBTC. The first-place winner in the Supporters’ tickets prize draw goes home with 10 mBTC, while the first-place winner in the Play-off tickets prize draw will win 250 mBTC. 

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Weekly Roundup: Cristiano Ronaldo Launches NFT Collection with Binance & More

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Ronaldo NFT Collection

In this week’s news roundup, you will read about Cristiano Ronaldo’s NFT collection that’s in partnership with Binance, the central bank of Zimbabwe’s move to conduct a consumer survey on CBDC, and more.

Cristiano Ronaldo Launches First NFT Collection with Binance

Cristiano Ronaldo NFT Collection

Renowned football player Cristiano Ronaldo is set to launch his NFT in partnership with Binance. The NFT collection will become available on November 18, 2022. 

Speaking about the partnership, He Yi, Binance’s Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, said, “We believe the metaverse and blockchain are the future of the internet. We are honored to collaborate with Cristiano to help more people understand blockchain and showcase how we are building Web3 infrastructure for the sports and entertainment industry.”

The collection launch, which is part of an exclusive, multi-year partnership with Binance, is supported by a global marketing campaign that features Ronaldo introducing Web3 to his fans through the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

It was important to me that we created something memorable and unique for my fans as they are such a big part of my success,” said Ronaldo. “With Binance, I was able to make something that not only captures the passion of the game but rewards fans for all the years of support.” 

The NFT collection, which is expected to drop on Friday, will feature seven different animated statues with four rarity levels: Super Super Rare (SSR), Super Rare (SR), Rare (R), and Normal (N). Each of the NFT statues will depict Ronaldo in an iconic moment from his life, from career-defining bicycle kicks to his childhood in Portugal.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Launches CBDC Survey

The Central Bank of Zimbabwe has announced that it will be conducting a central bank digital currency (CBDC) consumer survey to gather views on the design, nature of the digital currency, and overall acceptance by the public. 

The bank went ahead to reassure the participants that any information received via the survey would be treated with the utmost confidentiality. Additionally, the bank said that the results would only be used for research purposes. The move comes just a few months after the Zimbabwean central bank said it would publish a document that would kick off a public consultation process to help foster an extensive and transparent public dialogue with reference to the potential benefits and risks of the CBDC. 

The form includes questions to gauge whether residents understand the difference between CBDC and a normal Zimbabwe dollar, as well as rate their chances of using the digital currency. Zimbabwean residents have until December 7, 2022, to complete the exercise.

Modus Expands to Sub-Saharan Africa, Launches a $75 Million AI and Blockchain-focused Fund

Modus, a holistic New York venture platform, has announced the launch of Modus Africa, a venture capital fund for AI and blockchain startups across Sub-Saharan Africa. The $75 million fund is expected to reach its initial close in the first quarter of 2023.

With recent expansion into the Middle East, Modus says its expansion into Africa will create an “additional conduit of market access for Modus portfolio companies while also enabling African startups to scale into the MENA region.” in addition, Modus on its website states that the fund is backed by various investors ranging from family offices, government-backed entities from the US, EU and MENA, private investors and UHNWI. 

Modus, unlike other venture firms interested in Africa, has a focus on startups in the AI and blockchain space. According to a statement, Modus says Africa has the potential of reaching 200 million+ new blockchain users in the next four years, fueled by necessity and a fast-growing tech-savvy population.

Speaking on the formation of Modus Africa, Kareem Elsirafy, the Managing Partner of Modus, said in a statement, “Modus is proud to be launching an Africa-MENA investment corridor to continue supporting and investing in emerging innovation ecosystems. The Modus platform is uniquely positioned to deliver impact and value to African communities through operational, institutional, and financial capital. We’re excited to have Vianney and Andre leading the way on this journey.”

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