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.

African Union

Africa May Become a Hub for Cryptocurrencies, Notes Media Report: African nations are positively endorsing crypto sector, claims media report. Even though Africa has the least number of internet users (only 36% having internet access), a number of crypto startups have appeared across the continent recently.

In the previous week, a coffee company based in South Africa declared that it has been using blockchain technology to monitor its coffee supply from Uganda.

Moreover, in order to resolve long-standing disputes related to land registration, Kenya and Rwanda have decided to use blockchain technology. Similarly, in Congo, Ford and IBM signed a contract to track mining of cobalt to avoid human right abuses.

South Africa

South Africa Is Leading Other Countries in Crypto Sector, Says Global Digital Report: South Africa has been ranked as the top country to provide a supportive environment for owning cryptocurrency, noted Global Digital Report.

Although South Africa currently lacks a stringent regulatory framework, it managed to beat leading crypto supportive countries such as Japan, Malta, and Bahrain.

The said report is based on the data collected over a period of six months during 2018. People aged between 16 and 64 were asked to fill survey forms. The report was compiled in collaboration with digital media firms Hootsuite and We Are Social.

Limited Regulations to Be Imposed on Cryptocurrencies Suggest Public Comments on Sarb’s Consultation Paper: On 15 February, public comments on the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) crypto related consultation paper closed.

According to the media reports, several limited regulations on crypto related activities have been proposed in the said paper. However, proposals did not suggest a bank-like licensing process for cryptocurrencies.

SARB maintained that it is looking to regulate the buying and selling of digital assets. Moreover, trading platforms have been advised by the government to track transactions that may be linked to terrorist activities.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Can Support Its Economy by Utilizing Cryptocurrencies, Claims Media Report: Zimbabwe can follow the example of Switzerland to strengthen its economy by turning towards cryptocurrencies, suggests media report.

Last year, Mthuli Ncube, newly appointed Finance minister at that time, claimed that he was considering digital assets as an option to overcome Zimbabwean economic challenges. He appreciated Switzerland central bank’s stance on virtual currencies. Later, he tried to urge the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to invest in the crypto sector. Moreover, he requested RBZ to develop an understanding of blockchain technology.

However, RBZ is not looking to pay any heed to those suggestions at the moment. Meanwhile, neighboring countries such as South Africa are playing a decisive role in blockchain development and strengthening their respective economies.

Turkey

Hackers Used Chat Feature of Pubg for Communication, Claims Turkish Police: Chat feature of an online video game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), was utilized by hackers for communication, stated Turkish police investigating a USD 2.5 million crypto hack.

The police conducted raids across eight Istanbul provinces and detained 24 suspects. Out of those 24 people, 22 were referred to the Istanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan. The court ordered the conditional release of 16 suspects while six were arrested. By now, only 10% of the stolen amount (1.35 million lira) has been recovered by the police.

UAE

Sharjah Aims to Implement Blockchain for Issuing Fraud-Free Waste Permits: Sharjah is set to launch blockchain based waste permit portal, reported Emirates News Agency (WAM).

According to the report, the Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA) will develop a waste permit portal in collaboration with Bee’ah (an environmental, recycling and waste management company).

By utilizing blockchain technology, costs for customers applying for permits within HFZA will be lowered. Moreover, permit-issuing time will be reduced to only a few hours. It is expected that blockchain integration will eliminate fraud risks.

Bahrain

Bahrain’s Central Bank Looking to Launch Sandbox for Crypto Sector: A regulatory sandbox will be launched by Bahrain’s central bank in order to allow crypto firms to operate, reported Bloomberg.

The prospective framework pursued by the bank is still in consultation process. The aim of the sandbox is to allow smooth operations of crypto-related businesses in the country until regulations are finalized. Reportedly, 28 companies have been selected for the sandbox.

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