Africa and the Middle East

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.

South Africa

South Africa’s Central Bank Proposes Rules for Crypto Companies: South African Reserve Bank (SARB), as it attempts to protect customers and investors from the vulnerabilities in the current system, has issued new regulations which compel crypto exchanges and wallet services to register with regulators.

Amid the concerns that the regulatory measures might suffocate the market, the central bank insisted they will be “walking a middle line … to attain only limited regulation.” The changes are expected to start with a registration scheme for crypto asset service providers, followed by a review of the existing laws on assets to include crypto assets, and finally the creation of a regulatory body to implement the decisions.

South Africa’s ANC Election Manifesto Cites Blockchain as Game Changer:  As the political landscape in South Africa gets hot ahead of the general elections in May, the ruling party – African National Congress’ (ANC)’s President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed their manifesto that termed advancement of blockchain and crypto tech as a top priority.

And it does appear that there is more meat to this rather than just political lip service as the Government already has developed a new assets regulatory working group to maximize the potential of cryptocurrency. Similarly, another factfinder project — Project Koha, underway in collaboration with multiple financial institutes, and the SA Reserve Bank has also reported positive results when it comes to high volumes blockchain payments.

Congo

Ford Will Fight Child Labor in Africa Using Blockchain: According to Reuters, the American car manufacturing giant Ford has teamed up with the likes of IBM, LG Chem, and Huayou Cobalt to design a common blockchain platform that tracks down cobalt coming from Congo that is ultimately used in Ford’s lithium-ion batteries.

The project looks to cut down the rampant child labor at the cobalt mines in Congo, where minors are worked against their will often in life-threatening conditions, as it will try to detect and track down such instances and completely ban and boycott suppliers who are involved or connected with these heinous crimes.

Israel

Israel’s Top Cargo Shipping Firm Zim Opens Blockchain Platform to All Clients:  Zim, Israel’s largest cargo shipping company, has announced the launch of its blockchain platform for all clients using electronic bills of lading (eB/Ls).

After completing a year-long pilot of its blockchain-powered eB/Ls platform, the firm claims that blockchain can replace the existing paper-based processes and dramatically improve the workflow. To prove this, two recent transactions were conducted in less than two hours each using the blockchain-based platform, whereas they used to take multiple days or even weeks earlier.

Bahrain

University of Bahrain Will Issue Diplomas on the Blockchain Employing Blockcerts: The University of Bahrain has announced the issuance of diplomas on the blockchain in a bid to encourage the development and adoption of the technology in the country.

The institute, using the Blockcerts open standard, has developed the diploma program in collaboration with Learning Machine, a startup that provides a system to issue verifiable official records through the blockchain-anchored format. Last year, the Government of Bahrain stressed the importance of the blockchain technology, and termed it as “a true mark of progress.”  This particular initiative is also part of that ideology, as it aims to offer an overall digitization strategy for mobile learners.

United Arab Emirates

UAE Telecom Operator du Announces Blockchain Solution For Fake Drugs: UAE-based telecom operator du has revealed its latest weapon in the war against fake drugs, as it announced the launch of a Blockchain Platform as a Service (BPaaS) at the Unlock Blockchain Conference in Dubai. The patient-centric safety blockchain solution allows users to verify the origin and metadata of the medicines, and after the data is entered onto the distributed ledger, there is no possibility for manipulation.

This allows complete accountability for pharmaceutical products and increases transparency in the distribution system. Developed in collaboration with MedTech solutions provider Dhonor HealthTech, it will enable easy identification and removal of fake drugs from the supply chain.

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