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

Cryptocurrency Regulatory Working Group Formed by the Government: In an effort to be more decisive and inclusive in cryptocurrency regulation, the South African government has announced the formation of a local working group task with the responsibility of formulating regulations and getting input from the industry.

According to a letter by Tito Mboweni, the Finance Minister of the country, the Cryptocurrency Asset Working Group will not just focus on cryptocurrencies but all other facets of the industry including blockchain technology and its wide range of applications.

According to the Minister:

“It is anticipated that, following broad industry comment and participation, the crypto assets regulatory working group will be ready to release a final research paper on the subject during the course of 2019.”

It remains to be seen what will be the constitution of this latest working group.

Nigeria

Investors Training Nigerians on Cryptocurrency Trading Profitability: To encourage more investment and trading in the sector, cryptocurrency trading experts are tutoring an emerging generation of traders in the country to become more profitable in trading cryptocurrencies.

Ian Balina, an acclaimed bitcoin trader and investor said that trading can be a profitable investment for youngsters if they can understand more about its working. Faith Titus, the co-founder of Blockchain Nigeria User Group believes that it is necessary for one to be educated in order to succeed in the sector. Toyosi Abolarin, the Lead Project Manager at Venture Garden Group endorsed the government’s efforts to regulate the industry fairly and believed it will boost trading.

Zimbabwe

Reserve Bank Declares Cryptocurrencies a Threat to the Nation: The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is continuing its anti-cryptocurrency stance by declaring cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin a threat to the nation.

Governor  Dr. John Mangudya made these comments in an official statement, saying that all cryptocurrency investments have no legal protection and they are prone to embezzlement as well as being used in Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism.

While the government has taken a hardline stance in the country, many Zimbabweans are turning to cryptocurrencies to avoid the crippling hyperinflation prevalent in the country. This is also the reason why cryptocurrencies are being traded at a heavy premium in the country.

Israel

Israel Blockchain Industry Survives Despite Tough Year: The Israeli Blockchain industry has had a tough year as dozens of new projects were scrapped because of lack of regulatory approval and fears of government crackdown which hasn’t materialized yet. Despite the tough year, many blockchain projects have survived and are looking to build on their survival with a little help from the government if needed.

Sirin Labs rolled out the first blockchain smartphone in the country and may look to build on its initial success despite the high price tag of the phone. There are other exchanges and new startups that made money in the course of 2018, but in the end, due to the price tank of Bitcoin and regulatory challenges, the kind of growth expected in the industry didn’t happen. Still, innovators are looking at 2019 with hope.

Turkey

Countries Looking to Abandon US Dollar May See Cryptocurrencies as an Alternative: Several notable economies in the world including Turkey, Russia, China, etc are looking to undercut the dominance of the US Dollar in the market by adopting alternative ways of payments, with cryptocurrencies being eyed as a possible alternative.

While China is beefing up gold reserves for this purpose, Turkey has had a bad experience because of its dependence on the greenback with the local currency Lira losing as much as 25% at one time because of an ongoing diplomatic tussle with the US. P2P cryptocurrency trading platform LocalBitcoins.com noticed a considerable spike in trading volumes during the tense period. With cryptocurrencies gaining popularity in the country, the government may also look to adopt them from a strategic point of view.

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