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



crypto retail payments

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: Africa’s Cassava Network Partners with UniPass to Expand Crypto Adoption in Africa & More



Cassava Network Partners with UniPass

In this week’s news roundup, you will read about Cassava Network, an African Web3 platform that has partnered with UniPass to advance crypto adoption in Africa, and more.

African Web3 Platform, Cassava Network, Partners with Self-custody Crypto Wallet to Expand Crypto Adoption in Africa

Cassava NetworkCassava Network, an African Web3 platform with a focus on gaming, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and rewards, has announced the launch of the third version of its platform that features integration with UniPass, a non-custodial smart contract, enabling users to use their email addresses instead of seed phrases and gas. 

The partnership will enable Cassava Network to onboard Africans from Web2 to Web3 as users will be able to create Cassava accounts and automatically sign up to UniPass where they will be able to send, receive, and store on-chain digital assets across various Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) blockchains. 

Speaking about the launch of the new platform version, Mouloukou Sanoh, Co-founder of Cassava Network, said, “Cassava v3 serves as a bridge for global Web3 businesses to connect with African Web2 users.”

Sanoh went ahead to mention that 90 percent of the partners engaging with the community feature of the new version are African businesses. 

Benjamin Obenze, Cassava Network’s Business Developer, in an interview said that African users and businesses will be able to use the new platform version to enter Web3 spaces. 

Nigeria Leads the African Continent with Crypto Leverage Searches on Google

According to an analysis of Google searches done by Leverage Trading, Nigeria scored the second-highest globally (94) for searches related to crypto leverage in the last five years. 

Singapore is the only country that outscored Nigeria with a score of 100 regarding searches but with more emphasis on transactional searches like ‘how to leverage trade crypto’. South Africa and Ghana follow Nigeria closely as both countries have also dominated Google searches for the term ‘trade crypto.’ 

Despite Nigeria leading in the crypto leverage searches and South Africa and Ghana following closely, Leverage Trading established that Africa still lags behind when it comes to searches for the term ‘stock leverage.’ 

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Weekly Roundup: Kenyan Senate in Discussion with CBK to Legalise Bitcoin & More



kenya legalise bitcoin

In this week’s news roundup, you will read about the Senate initiating talks with the Central Bank of Kenya to develop policies on digital assets, Zambia’s move to test the tech it desires to use for crypto regulation, and more. 

Kenya’s Senate to Hold Discussions with CBK to Legalise Digital Assets

The Committee on Information, Communication & Technology, under the Senate of the Republic of Kenya, has made its intention known that it will engage the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and other stakeholders to develop policies on the use of crypto assets and virtual service providers in the country.

The news was shared on the official Twitter page of the Senate of Kenya. The committee is keen on facilitating the development of a crypto regulatory framework that can enable Kenyans to carry out safe and secure crypto transactions. Moreover, the committee also noted that having regulations on cryptocurrency use in the country will help Kenya to harness the benefits of financial innovation while curtailing the risks associated with digital assets. The committee also stated that it is committed to accelerating the implementation of the country’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). 

Despite these new developments, the CBK hasn’t outrightly changed its stance on virtual currencies like Bitcoin not being a legal tender. However, the CBK, in 2022, published a discussion paper calling on Kenyans to share their opinions on CBDC as it looked to explore the potential implementation of a CBDC. 

Zambia Testing Technology for Crypto Regulation

The Bank of Zambia and the country’s securities regulator are currently testing technology to allow for the regulation of cryptocurrencies. The news was shared by Zambia’s Technology and Science Minister, Felix Mutati, on the ministry’s website in a move that is aimed at achieving an inclusive digital country.

Speaking about the news, Mutati stated that cryptocurrency is the future that the country desires to achieve,” but a policy framework is required to support this “revolutionary technology.” He went ahead to state that the testing of the technology that will potentially be used to regulate cryptocurrencies in the country will be upscaled in due time as part of deliberate efforts to achieve an inclusive digital economy in the country.

In addition, the minister also claimed that Zambia aspires to become a technology hub in Africa by developing digital infrastructure and attracting investments in the sector. 

South African Startup Momint Keen to Boost Electricity Generation Utilising Blockchain-Based Solution

Momint, a South African startup, recently announced that it had launched a blockchain-powered solution that can alleviate the country’s energy distress by installing more rooftop solar systems in public institutions such as schools and hospitals. 

The company has so far piloted the solution at one local school – Delmas High School – in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa, according to a news report published by News 24. According to the report, investors who are keen to participate in the project can do so by acquiring non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that are linked to solar cells and retail for just under $9. 

The solar cells will then be leased to institutions that agree to buy the generated electricity through a standard power purchase agreement. 

Speaking of his company’s solution, Ahren Posthumus, Momint’s CEO, said, “We are a technology company that’s trying to build for the next 15 years, but what we realized is we can’t build a technology company in a country that doesn’t have electricity.”

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Weekly Roundup: South Africa Introduces New Cryptocurrency Standards to Advertising Code & More



south africa cryptocurrency advertising

In this week’s news roundup, you will read about South Africa’s new clause on its advertising code targeted towards the cryptocurrency sector and more.  

South Africa Introduces New Cryptocurrency Standards to Advertising Code

The South African Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) has introduced a new clause targeted at the crypto industry and aimed at protecting consumers from unethical advertising. 

According to the new clause introduced to Section III of the country’s advertising code, both companies and individuals in South Africa will be required to abide by certain advertising standards in relation to the provision of crypto products and services. The first clause makes it mandatory for adverts, including crypto offerings, to clearly express that crypto investments may result in the loss of capital given the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies. In addition, crypto adverts should not contradict warnings about potential investment losses that investors may face. 

The clause also went ahead to emphasize that adverts for particular services and products must be explained in an easily understandable manner for the target audience. Advertisements must also have balanced messages around benefits, features, returns, and risks associated with the particular service or product. 

Rates of returns, projections, or any kind of forecasts must also be sufficiently substantiated, including how they are calculated and what conditions apply to touted returns. Moreover, any information relating to a crypto product or service’s past performance will not be used to promise future performance or returns, and should, therefore, not be presented in a way that creates ‘a favourable impression of the advertised product or service.’

The clause went on to state that adverts from crypto service providers who aren’t registered credit providers should not push for the acquisition of digital currencies using credit. However, this does not prevent the advertising of associated payment methods provided by crypto service providers. In the same breadth, brand ambassadors and social media influencers will also be expected to comply with certain advertising standards, such as sharing factual information and not offering advice on investing or trading in crypto assets as well as the prohibition of promises of benefits or returns. 

Central African Republic Keen on a Legal Framework for Cryptocurrency Adoption

Central African RepublicCentral African Republic (CAR) has set up a 15-member committee that will be responsible for developing a bill on the use of cryptocurrencies and tokenization in the region.

Once developed, the legal framework will enable cryptocurrencies to operate in the Central African Republic and expedite the development of the country’s economy. CAR’s President, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, believes that digital currencies will help eliminate the country’s financial barriers and build a business-friendly environment that’s supported by a legal framework for crypto usage in the country. 

He went on to say, “With access to cryptocurrencies, the monetary barriers existing until now will disappear, the main objective of the measures adopted by the government being the development of the national economy.”

The committee tasked with drafting the crypto bill comprises 15 experts from five different ministries of CAR, including the Ministry of Mines and Geology, the Ministry of Waters, Forest, Hunting and Fishing, the Ministry of Agriculture ad Rural Development, the Ministry of Town Planning, Land Reform, Towns and Housing and Ministry of Justice, Promotion of Human Rights and Good Governance.

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