Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

Nigeria

Nigerian diaspora considering Bitcoin for sending remittances: The Nigerian diaspora around the world is using Bitcoin to send remittance money in more and more cases, according to latest reports from the African nation. Nigerians sent a staggering amount of USD 22 billion in remittances back to the country and Bitcoin is now being increasingly seen as a viable alternative to the expensive SWIFT transfer.

Requiring no bank account or previous history, many blockchain startups have now started in the country to address this issue and ensure flawless remittance transfers from around the world irrespective of location.

Blockchain conference by local blockchain group organized in Lagos: A local blockchain user group has successfully organized a blockchain conference in the capital city of Lagos. The conference was a step to make the Nigerians realize the immense potential of cryptocurrencies in the present and future.

According to Chimezie Chuta, founder of the user group, “Blockchain technology will transform our lives, governments. And how we run organizations, structure them and interact with people across the world.”

South Africa

$14.5 billion investment firm Sygnia launches crypto exchange: A big South African Investment firm has launched its own cryptocurrency exchange according to latest reports coming from the African country. Sygnia Asset Management, a big investment firm worth SAR 180 billion (USD 14.5 billion) has announced that it will launch a cryptocurrency exchange this year according to BusinessTech.

CEO of Sygnia was of the opinion:

“The cryptocurrency market is evolving at a rapid pace internationally and domestically, and is attracting both domestic and international flows. With its fintech focus, Sygnia is well-positioned to become the first major financial services institution to embrace cryptocurrencies and to offer investors a secure trading and execution platform backed by an international infrastructure, well-designed custody and integration with standard savings products.”

Crypto scam leaves thousands of investors defrauded: Defunct South South African cryptocurrency scam Bitcaw Trading Company (BTC) is now under investigation by the South African authorities.

Several investors complained to the authorities that they invested in a fraudulent scheme that turned out to be Bitcaw. Bitcaw operators conned tens of millions of dollars from the investors.

Central bank terms crypto “cyber-tokens” and not currency: In a recent move this week, the South African central bank has termed cryptocurrencies “cyber tokens” and not currencies according to latest reports from Bloomberg.

Francois Groepe, the deputy head of the Reserve Bank said:

“We don’t use the term “cryptocurrency” because it doesn’t meet the requirements of money in the economic sense of the stable means of exchange, a unit of measure and a stable unit of value. We prefer to use the word ‘cyber-token’.”

Zimbabwe

Court lifts ban on crypto by national bank: Latest news emerging from Zimbabwe states that the country’s Harare High court has lifted a ban on cryptocurrencies operating in the country following last week’s move by the state bank.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had earlier placed a blanket ban on banks and other financial institutions on cryptocurrency trading. The move was challenged in the court by Golix, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the country and the verdict came in the exchange’s favor.

Despite the ban being overturned in court, the restoration of the accounts of the cryptocurrency exchange will take some time following finalization of regulatory issues by the government.

Middle East

Israel

Crypto regulation delayed: The Israeli government has postponed regulation on the cryptocurrency market.

The government is looking for increased discussions on the topic with the public but the move also leaves blockchain startups practically stuck in limbo with no legal cover.

United Arab Emirates

50% of fiat banking to shift to blockchain: According to latest reports from the Middle East, the government of the UAE is going to shift over 50% of banking operations to blockchain-based systems by 2021.

According to the ruler of the UAE, Sheikh Muhammad Al Maktoum, the move will save the country USD 3 billion a year and will bring revolutionary changes to the country’s banking system.

 

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