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

Blockchain Companies Respond to New Legislation: In the aftermath of the new proposed crypto legislation by the government of South Africa, companies are now starting to respond to it. The paper titled Consultation Paper on Policy Proposals for Crypto Assets was proposed by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) earlier this year and drew mixed reactions from most of the crypto community.

Cryptocurrency platform Luno has come forward and praised the latest initiative by the government especially the part about not placing cryptocurrencies on the Value Added Tax (VAT) list. While other crypto companies and commentators have had mixed reactions, exchanges are breathing a sigh of relief as the taxes are not as high as expected.

DR Congo

Ford and IBM are Working on Blockchain-based Ethical Mining: Car manufacturer Ford and electronics giant IBM are working to source minerals more ethically from African countries including DR Congo. Just like blood diamonds, rare earth metals that have abundant use in electronics are also blamed much for the violence and warlord-like style of governance in some African countries.

Now, attention is being paid to the history of the mined metals including the labour being used in the process and adherence to basic human rights. Ford and IBM, both require huge quantities of these rare earth metals themselves but are now looking to help themselves and other companies procure them ethically with the help of blockchain technology. Every mineral shipment is recorded on the blockchain starting from its origin, processing, all the way up to the product itself. IBM’s Hyperledger DLT will be used for this purpose.

Israel

Sirin Labs CEO Says Whitepapers are not Legally Binding: Amid allegations that he misappropriated funds, Sirin Labs founder Moshe Hogeg has said before a court that whitepapers of Initial Coin Offerings are not legally binding. He also clarified that investors in ICOs have no actual ownership stakes in the company itself.

Hogeg was being sued by a Chinese investor who claimed Hogeg deviated from the whitepaper and was therefore liable to a penalty. The company in question is STOX or STX Technologies Limited. While Hogeg hasn’t been convicted right now, the revelation could make investors more careful about participating in ICOs.

Saudi Arabia/ United Arab Emirates

Cross Border Payments being Tested between Saudi Arabia and UAE: The Saudi Arabian and Emirati central bank task forces are working to create a borderless currency between the two nations. The project is part of a seven-point cooperation plan for strengthening the mutual banking and financial channels.

The joint statement from the two countries read:

“The cross-border digital currency will be strictly targeted for banks at an experimental phase with the aim of better understanding the implications of Blockchain technology and facilitating cross-border payments. The virtual currency relies on the use of a distributed database between the central banks and the participating banks from both sides. It seeks to safeguard customer interests, set technology standards and assess cybersecurity risks. The project will also determine the impact of a central currency on monetary policies.”

So, for now, the currency will strictly be used for interbank and interdepartmental use only.

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