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.
Public stake in Bitcoin drops: Amid to a price slump in recent week, the Nigerian market’s share dropped significantly from NGN 1.733 billion to NGN 1.51 billion since the beginning of last month.
The drop in market share of Nigeria was due to a row of negative news and developments coming from the cryptocurrency circles in addition to the overall drop in price, according to an analyst at FXTM Lukman Otunuga. The maximum capitalization was back in December 2016 with NGN 2 billion invested in the cryptocurrency.
ICOs are becoming increasingly commonplace but investor confidence in them is taking serious hits. According to researchers, Hugo Benedetti and Leonard Kostovetsky:
“People often look at returns and say this is a great deal, but we teach in finance that return is a compensation for risk. These are stakes in platforms that have not yet been built, that have no participants yet. There’s a lot of risk. The majority of ICOs do fail.”
Zimbabwean exchange Golix’s token sale ends: Popular cryptocurrency exchange Golix announced that its token sale had ended and the numbers are finally coming in what seems to be an overall moderately successful public funding campaign.
Golix almost went out of business at one point due to regulatory hurdles but then it set its eyes on nearby countries and their markets and has been planning to expand aggressively ever since. The token generation event was a move to raise money through an ICO and help propel the exchange to markets outside the country.
However, the ambitious USD 32 million funding target was not met and Golix is yet to release official figures. But, analysts predict that the exchange raised around USD 10 to 12 million overall even though the central bank was against the raising of the capital by the exchange. It is yet to be seen if Golix can execute its plans to expand based on the performance of the ICO.
Egypt crypto coin launched: A new crypto token and ICO called Egypt CryptoCoin is launched in Egypt. It is a gold-backed decentralized payment network that is in its advanced stages of development. An ICO has been launched for the project but it is yet to be seen how practical and disruptive this new coin and its tech can be in the future.
One of the reasons why there is skepticism is that the Egyptian government and banks have historically cracked down on cryptocurrencies and declared cryptocurrencies illegal. The Egypt CryptoCoin is designed to be used by the vibrant Egyptian coin community but it is yet to be seen how the local government will react to it.
Largest cannabis market to accept cryptocurrencies: The largest cannabis market in Israel, Telegrass, has announced that it will start charging its customers for services with special discounts for Bitcoin payments.
Telegrass is a 100,000-strong community in Israel that promotes recreational use of marijuana. The new fees are meant to pay the Telegrass staff that have been working as volunteers until now. Bitcoin payments are discounted to encourage decentralized payment approach to an industry that is constantly under threat by the Israeli government regarding regulations.
United Arab Emirates
Blockchain court announced in Dubai: The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has announced a partnership to jointly develop a Court of Blockchain for improving the judicial system, according to local news outlet Arabian Business.
The partnership has been signed with Smart Dubai and together, the two organizations will see how the technology can be used to aid verification of court judgments and cross-border enforcement.
According to Dr Aisha Butti Bin Bushr, the Director General of Smart Dubai:
“An invention of this calibre and potential requires an equally disruptive set of rules and an empowered institution to uphold them. This is where our partnership with DIFC Courts comes in.”
UAE continues to be the center of excellence in the region in blockchain development and adoption.
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