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

Crypto in Africa: Adoption in Medical, Education, Trading Industries: Africa has been making considerable strides in adopting crypto technology and implementing innovations in the financial markets. Prime examples of the intent would be Zimbabwe’s crypto school that will be launched by SUNFund, a local incubator.

In that same vein of thought, IBM announced that it is working in its lab in Haifa to utilise blockchain system and stem the flow of counterfeit medicines. South Africa is also not going to be left behind, as a SA based crypto exchange’s Hybrid Stock Exchange (HYBSE) platform went live last week. The platform is part of the Data Interchange Module (DIM) and will offer an online marketplace for global issuers and users to provide tradable tokenised equity.

Community-Led Pan-African Blockchain Standards Org Publishes Draft ICO Guidelines: The African Digital Asset Framework (ADAF) has just published its first version of guidance for initial coin offerings (ICO) on 25 March.  

ADAF is a project that looks to establish compliance-focused, cross-border blockchain standards for Africa, and it just has revealed its first guideline in an official blog post titled “Consumer Protection Guidelines on Token Generation Events, version 0.1.” The document was created by an open source community comprising of 17 companies and aims to generate set of standards for consumers, business owners, and policymakers to regulate evaluation or participation in token generation events for utility-token based ecosystems.

Israel

Malware Affects an Israeli Cryptocurrency Company: The cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Network’s research division, Unit 42, has recently published a report stating how it has detected a serious malware that has been targeting two Israeli cryptocurrency trading companies. Known as “Cardinal RAT malware” or Remote Access Trojan, it was first discovered in 2017 which allows full remote control of the device, collects the target data and then wipes itself from the device.

Palo Alto also revealed that this Trojan had repeatedly targeted Israel’s fintech and cryptocurrency trading firms since 2017 which includes at least two large scale attacks. The report also adds that the attacker can access the victim’s personal data, clean cookies capture screenshots, execute commands, retrieve passwords, and even update settings.

Turkey

Turkey Is Leading Europe in Cryptocurrency Possession: Although the Turkish Lira seems to be going downhill, the economy is apparently not entirely bust as the country appears to transition and focus on building crypto assets instead.  In a survey conducted by ING Bank, Turkey had the highest percentage of individuals who own cryptocurrencies, with a total of 18%.

The second country on the list was Romania with 12%, and then came Poland with 11% and Spain with 10% respectively. Apart from the impressive numbers by Turkey, the European continent also showed significant improvement as it recorded a 9% increase in total demand.

UAE

Crypto in the UAE Booms, Generates Over USD 210 Million in Investments in January and February ICOs: According to a recent report, the United Arab Emirates stands tall as the number one country in terms of total capital generated by Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Only in the first two months of 2019, UAE successfully raised a baffling sum of USD 210 million. The next in the list are the United Kingdom and Singapore, but they stand nowhere even close to UAE.  

In January 2019, UAE successfully raised USD 142 million, a whopping 41% of all funds raised worldwide for the month. Interestingly, UAE’S figure was raised by only one ICO, the Genesis Crypto Blockchain Investment Bank, that aims to establish a fully regulated bank that is also accommodative of cryptocurrencies. Other countries on the top 10 list include Canada, Netherlands, Latvia, Belize, Cayman Islands, and Australia.

Iran

Iran Turns to Crypto to Enable Easier Spending by Tourists: Amidst the latest wave of sanctions by the US, the Iranian rial has plummeted to a record low in several decades, losing about 60% of its total value. But while the Iranian economy grapples with the challenges, the government has been looking to alleviate the crisis with the help of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies and has launched many high profile projects.

For instance, the Iranian tourism sector led by the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (CHTO) has been encouraging tourists to use cryptocurrency when possible. Similarly, the Iranian Electronic Tourism Association has announced they are even discussing a proposal to create a state-run digital currency for the tourism sector.

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