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Africa and Middle East Cryptocurrency News Roundup 17-24 August 2018

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Dubai's Goal as Global Tech Player in Banking, Tourism, and Art, via Blockchain

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Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news, continent by continent and country by country. Next up is Africa and the Middle East.


South Africa

Cryptocurrency Mining Still Popular Despite Price Tank: Bitcoin may not be profitable to mine in many places but cryptocurrency mining equipment is still seeing popular demand in South Africa as people continue to buy a wide range of mining rigs in the country.

According to the BitSmart CEO Jacques Serfontein, crypto miners still have a strong appeal in the South African mining community because of a decent return on investment over there.

He said:

“People are still buying miners, a 7%-30% ROI per month based on the different cryptocurrencies out there is still a great ROI,”

While both ASIC miners and GPUs were popular in the country, the focus has now shifted towards ASIC chips rather than gaming chips, much to the relief of the gaming community because it resulted in expensive gaming equipment for them.

Government Targeting Cryptocurrency Traders: The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is researching ways through which they can track down cryptocurrency traders in the country who are not paying taxes.

According to the acting commissioner Mark Kingon:

“The key thing is identifying people who are trading because it’s easy to say cryptocurrency gains must be deductible, but there are also those who lose. That’s why it’s important to identify the trader,”

The expected tax dodgers are likely to be identified by tracking credit cards that they use for purchasing cryptocurrencies with fiat for trading purposes. There are other ways under deliberation as well.


Nigerian Bitcoin Stake Drops Down to N1.3 Billion: The Nigerian crypto investors are feeling the brunt of a bearish coin market as the total unofficial holding of Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency is down to N1.3 billion. 

The total bitcoin holdings are on a downward trend overall, partly because of falling prices in the Bitcoin market as the currency has reached the $8,000 figure twice, only to disappointingly return to the $6,000 mark. The total holdings in the country are down from N1.6 billion earlier this month to N1.3 billion currently.

Middle East


Bitcoin Being Promoted as the Answer to Turkey’s Financial Crisis: Turkey’s recent spat with the USA has resulted in its national currency lira crashing in the currency market in anticipation of sanctions. But, while the situation is becoming worse, it is proving to be a fertile ground for cryptocurrency adoption in the country that can help Turkish citizens circumnavigate the issues in the currency market.

Bitcoin P2P trading platforms like have experienced a flood of activity in recent times as soon as the lira started to spiral out of control. While the government made appeals to the Turks to liquidate their dollar reserves, many are paying as much as 25% premium to buy Bitcoin through lira.

United Arab Emirates

Realtors Looking to Add Cryptocurrency Options: UAE realtors are looking to add cryptocurrency payment options to boost investment in the sector. The country is already a real estate haven in the world but it is facing increased competition from other areas and now the sector sees cryptocurrencies as a game changer.

Dubai-based IMKAN Properties is considering a cryptocurrency payment alternative for home buyers in the business. Imkan is among other realtors who are looking to add the cryptocurrency feature.

CEO Walid El-Hindi said:

Imkan is looking into new ways of approaching financials… We’re looking into cryptocurrencies and new technologies when it comes to putting together financial packages in relation to real estate,”

Bitcoin is regulated fiercely in the region, but in UAE it has some legal protection.

Saudi Arabia

Government Puts Blanket Ban on Cryptocurrency Trading: The Saudi Arabian government, after banning the use of cryptocurrencies in the country has now put a blanket ban on their trading as well and tasked competent authority to limit cryptocurrency market dealings.

A statement released by the government said:

“The committee warns all citizens” against investing in cryptocurrencies or digital currencies for their high-risk consequences. One should not give the illusion of getting rich quick, there are risks in terms of regulation, security, and volatility”

The kingdom’s attitude towards cryptocurrencies follows a regional trend but many citizens are reportedly involved in cryptocurrencies.

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