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

Bank in South Africa Develops a New Blockchain Financial System: In a bid to reduce economic trade and foreign exchange problems, South Africa’s Standard Bank has developed a private blockchain and permission blockchain system which will be launched on behalf of its corporate clients. Standard Bank and its partner in Uganda, Static Ban, will use the system along with 3rd parties directly involved with the banks.

The system aims to accelerate settlement processing as well as increase transparency of transactions since the involved parties will be able to view the documents in real time. The system is built using the Hyperledger Fabric, and will also be connected to SASB’s foreign currency-trading app, Shyft. The solution is projected to go live in the second half of 2019.

Bahrain

Bahrain Pressure Could Legalize Crypto Market in India: Due to the negative legislations by Reserve Bank of India on crypto businesses, Indian Bitcoin dealers have been using only peer-to-peer transfers to convert cryptocurrencies. But pressure from other market competitors, in particular from Bahrain whose recent invitation to Indian crypto companies to relocate to their country might take away investment worth billions of dollars out of India, forcing the country to rethink its policies.

Bahrain completed its regulatory draft for cryptocurrencies two months ago and now has also finished the legislation. The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has also been pushing for the optimal ecosystem to encourage crypto growth and innovation, and initiatives like open banking, crypto asset trade regulation, regulation on robo advisory, and streamlined remittance collection make Bahrain a very enticing prospect.

UAE

UAE Bullish for Crypto, Records USD 210M Investment in January and February 2019: While ICOs have generally been going down across the globe, UAE shows no signs of stopping as it was the #1 country in terms of funds raised by ICOs. This amounted to a whopping USD 210M in January and February 2019 alone, overtaking Singapore and the UK.

The UAE raised USD 42M in January 2019, which is about 41% of ICOs’ amount worldwide. And they were well ahead of the second-best Estonia, who raised over USD 64M. The total amount raised was about USD 347M, with the top 5 countries constituting about 63% of the funds. UAE’s success can be attributed to a single ICO — the Genesis Crypto Blockchain Investment Bank — which alone raised over USD 142M.

Turkey

Turkish Telecom Giant Turkcell Introduces Blockchain ID Management Product: Turkcell, an Istanbul-based telecommunication services provider, has announced the launch of a blockchain-based service for ID management which offers the users control over their personal information while ensuring privacy under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements.

The data will be stored on blockchain and thus will eliminate any additional identity verification requirements. The solution also includes a blockchain-based donation collection option that leverages the ID management tool to verify the donation eligibility for people in need.

Israel

Israel Securities Authority Recommends Crypto Regulation: Israel Securities Authority (ISA) wants to move the crypto business operations forward with regulations, as revealed in its final report on the cryptocurrency industry.

The report includes the findings of the crypto regulatory committee, which recommends implementing security laws on the sector concerning issuance and trading of the cryptocurrencies. The committee also claimed that this supervision would help in the progress of cryptocurrency, courtesy the significant connection between the regulator and the industry.

Israeli Company Partners With the Marshall Islands to Launch a Digital Currency: The Marshall Islands, a small nation with over 55000 population, is preparing to release their own digital currency this year, called “SOV.”

The development of SOV has been undergoing since 2017 in collaboration with Neema, an Israel-based company. Although an exciting prospect, the officials admitted that a definitive date for the launch couldn’t be given because of many pitfalls in the technological and logistical side of issuing the SOV using blockchain in addition to the concerns of United States financial regulators.

Largest Israeli Blockchain Company Facing Extensive Layoffs: The reverberations of the crypto market crash have also been felt in the Israeli Blockchain market, which has forced the First Digital Assets Group to restructure and sanction massive layoffs.

The changes will involve shutting down of its research company, One Alpha, and the merger of the remaining four companies – Knox, Stamina, Titan, and K1– into one parent company. The group still reiterated their faith in the technology and insisted that they will now be investing in new blockchain solutions with a focus on the liquidity functions of the company.

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