Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 27th April to 3rd May 2018

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.

South Africa

Tax imposed on Bitcoin and other crypto: In a recent move, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has announced that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will be subject to tax in the country.

While the move wasn’t seen as a positive one in cryptocurrency circles, some experts believed that it may not ultimately be a bad thing in the long term. According to Christine Rodrigues, a partner at Hogan Lovells, jurisdictions do not necessarily mean a slow-down in the cryptocurrency space.

He said, “The United Kingdom, as an example, has set up several cryptocurrency organisations to bring more legitimacy to the industry… Legitimate regulation on cryptocurrency may increase confidence on existing users and possibly induce an investor appetite for potential users and thereby cause a rise in demand and, as mentioned above, the more demand for and confidence in the commodity, the more value it will earn.”

The move follows weeks of consideration by the South African government to allow crypto communities to self-regulate but instead, the tax was imposed and the recommendations from the cryptocurrency startups wasn’t followed. But, while monetary taxes have been promulgated, the overall regulation of the cryptocurrencies may still be handled indigenously.

Luno helping South Africans pay Bitcoin tax: Capitalizing on the promulgation of the so-called Bitcoin Tax, blockchain startup Luno is now offering citizens to make fair returns on their investments in a transparent manner. Calculating taxes on cryptocurrency profits can be as complicated as that of the stock market because losses and profits are fluid and may even balance each other out at the end of one day.

The gains tax imposed by the South African government will apply to traders’ cryptocurrency earnings and Luno will help traders download their transaction history in CSV format, thus making the process smoother.

Nigeria

House of Representatives intends to regulate crypto and blockchain apps: Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is gearing up for cryptocurrency regulation with the the lower house of parliament tasking the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to come up with a regulatory framework for the adoption of cryptocurrencies in the country.

The move came after the assembly adopted a bill called ‘Need to regulate Blockchain applications and Internet Technology’ authored by MP Solomon Adaelu.

Nigeria’s attitude towards regulating cryptocurrency exchanges is not clear at the moment.

Kenya

Authorities establish agency for monitoring crypto activities: Kenyan authorities have announced the establishment of an agency to monitor the cryptocurrency space in the country. While the Bitcoin and altcoin economy is seen as a big investment circle in the country, the Capital Markets Authority of the government is determined to bring these markets under its control.

The move follows similar decisions around the world including the establishment of a special task force in the UK for this exact purpose. It said in a statement this week:

“There is a need for regulators to devise a common approach towards handling issues revolving around cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs). A joint workgroup by financial sector regulators could be put in place to tackle issues around cryptocurrencies and ICOs.”

Egypt

National bank joins 200 financial institutions’ R3 blockchain alliance: In a bid to promote the cryptocurrency scene in the country, the National Bank of Egypt has announced that it has recently joined the R3 Blockchain consortium with over 200 financial institutions around the world as its members.

The benefits of entering this collaboration include access to commercial applications of blockchain technology and using Corda, a custom Blockchain developed by the R3 initiative. According to Hisham Okasha, the NBE chairperson, it allows the bank to “better assess the value this technology can bring to the banking industry and the impact it can have on faster and more cost-effective services to our customers for future implementation.”

United Arab Emirates

Global crypto exchange for celebrities launched in Dubai: In a recent partnership aimed at expanding celebrity token footprint in the world, Global Crypto Offering Exchange (GCOX) has signed an MOU with Bin Zayed International in Dubai, UAE.

The celebrity exchange allows influencers to create, list and trade their own personal crypto tokens on a new blockchain called Acclaim.

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