Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 13 May to 19th May, 2019

Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 30 November - 6 December 2018

Written by:

Talha Dar

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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.


Kenya’s biometric ID scheme, blockchain for refugees, universal health and moonlighting officials: The government of Kenya has hired the Minneapolis-based company BanQu to help create blockchain-based digital platform and record “economic identities” of the refugees. The platform would allow the users to add their data and a photo that would be stored in a customized blockchain database and would have to be verified by others.

The economic profile would also include transactions, work experiences, and relationships to create a holistic identity, even for people with zero official documents. According to BanQu’s website, the scheme has already added data about “several hundred refugees and individuals in extreme poverty zones, to create a long-term, secure economic profile they could leverage for access to financial and government services.”

South Africa

Reserve Bank wants to test a digital currency backed by the Rand: The South African Reserve Bank is considering launching an officially-backed digital currency and is currently conducting a feasibility analysis, according to a tender notice published on 14 May. The SARB called for ‘prospective solution providers in anticipation of a feasibility project on a digital currency’, and the bank defined the project as an attempt to investigate the feasibility and market demand of an official digital currency used as electronic legal tender, which will compliment cash.


Bitcoin’s Sudden Price Increase Lures Nigerians, Ghanaians into Crypto, Extracted Data Reveals: African countries are booming in terms of cryptocurrency searches, with the 20 million strong country of Nigeria leading the charge.

This surge has come particularly after the recent Bitcoin valuation boom, as shown by the data gathered through Google Trend, with the stats revealing South Africa and Nigeria as among the top 5 countries around the world in searching Bitcoin through Google search. This trend is not something temporary though, as the previous 12-month data on Google Trend also shows Nigerians, South Africans, and Ghanaians having an ever increasing interest in Bitcoin, blockchain, and its applications.


BitOasis Secures Preliminary Approval With UAE Financial Regulator: BitOasis, the UAE based-based cryptocurrency exchange, has been preliminarily approved by the financial regulators. The exchange was founded in 2015 and claims to be the Middle East’s first digital currency wallet employing multi-signature technology.

The company has been pushing for the license by the financial centre Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) for a very long time, and the current approval is a significant step towards the goal. To get the full license, the exchange will need to attain specific technical and operational requirements, after which it will become one of the first regulated exchanges to be licenced.


New details emerge about Israeli darknet and crypto suspects indicted in the US: Israeli cryptomarket has been recently in the news for all the wrong reasons, with multiple Israelis involved in high-profile crypto related fraud cases. Hailing from Tel Aviv, Michael Phan and Yonatan Fingel were arrested after being charged with money laundering conspiracy.

Similarly, in the most recent incident, Israeli police arrested two men allegedly running an affiliate marketing scheme for unauthorized purchases on the dark web. In another raid, the police apprehended money laundering suspect, Tal Prihar, who sold khat and cannabis to Israelis. Also, one more Israeli named Ravid Yosef was arrested for alleged bank fraud by offering fake dating advice to Angelenos. In a separate case, an Israeli woman known as Ravid Yosef was indicted in absentia in New York for alleged bank fraud through illicit cryptocurrency payment processing company.


Turkey on Its Own Bitcoin Bull Run With Europe’s Highest per Capita Holder Rate: Despite the downfall of Turkish Lira, recent data has shown steady growth for cryptocurrency in Turkish crypto markets, with as many as 18% of Turkish respondents claiming to own some form of cryptocurrency.

Another indicator of the booming crypto landscape is how global crypto exchanges like OKEx have now extended their services to Turkey and have reported a massive influx of Turkish registrations, as large as 30,000+, just within the first week. The surge in crypto adoption might be an indication of people’s mistrust in the Turkish Lira, as Turkey now also accounts for the highest per capita percentage of Bitcoin holders within Europe.

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