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.

African Union

Single digital currency discussed in Transform Africa summit: The latest summit Transform Africa once again discussed the idea of a single African digital currency, according to CNBC Africa.

This year’s event in Kigali attracted political, economic and industry leaders from across the continent and many topics were in discussion. However, much of the conversation revolved around the use of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies and a possible African economic union that would enhance connectivity.

South Africa

South Africans still believe in crypto despite major price decline: According to a recent survey by Savings and Investment Monitor 2018, many South Africans interested in cryptocurrencies still believe that investing in cryptocurrencies will reap benefits and profits for them.

The report involved more than 1,000 face-to-face interactions lasting one month from 26 April to 26 May 2018. While a majority of the respondents were not knowledgeable about cryptocurrencies, the 4% who knew about the cryptocurrency space were optimistic about the future growth of the cryptocurrency space.

More than 71% of the respondents said that it was possible to make money from cryptocurrencies despite major price tanks since the start of the calendar year.

Bitcoin ransom rumors arise in kidnapping case: Rumors regarding cryptocurrency-based ransom have started circulating around a recent kidnapping in Cape Town according to latest reports from local TV sources.

News24 reported that a local man Liyaqat Parker was kidnapped from his business in Parow and rumors have started circulating in the neighborhood that there was a cryptocurrency-based ransom involved. The police have declined to comment on the matter.

A spokesperson for the Cape Town Police said:

“This case is also investigated by our provincial detectives. Please bear with us as we cannot divulge details of the investigation that has yet to be presented before a court of law.”

Nigeria

Entrepreneurs choosing crypto over national currency: An increasing number of Nigerian entrepreneurs are using cryptocurrencies rather than the national currency Naira.

Cryptocurrencies are increasingly drawing battle lines with local fiat currencies in a battle for relevance as they present P2P transactions, lower fees, an alternative to inflation and fast transaction times. The Naira has been losing its value for some time just like many other local currencies across the continent. To offset this huge inflation issue, Nigerians are increasingly turning towards cryptocurrencies as a safer bet. Retailers, importers and engineers are using cryptocurrencies to make and receive payments.

Dash continues expansion in Nigeria: Use of cryptocurrency Dash is growing rapidly in Nigeria. Dash Africa’s mobile refill project called Bitrefill.com has released mobile data showing that an increasing number of Nigerian users are using cryptocurrencies like Dash to buy mobile minutes across the country.

Nigeria, the biggest economy in Africa, was obviously the forerunner in the stats as the Dash’s service got 111 orders from 59 unique numbers with a total purchase of over EUR 191. Nigeria had even bigger purchase limits than Germany. Dash is now working to increase the wider appeal of cryptocurrencies and is offering a 10% discount if users use the Dash-based service.

Zimbabwe

Reserve bank studying blockchain implementation: The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is pursuing its acquired interest in blockchain technology according to local media outlet NewsDay.

The current RBZ governor John Mangudya said that the bank is looking to embrace the technology citing similar moves by banks in China, US, UK and South Africa who have been studying blockchain technology and its uses.

He said:

“I did not say cryptocurrencies because it is lower than blockchain. Blockchain encompasses all the cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin… and we are saying we are putting in motion studies, ways and means of investigating that blockchain technology.”

Israel

Crypto platform hacked, resulting in $24 million losses: Bancor, an Israeli crypto company, saw the biggest hack in the past several weeks as more than USD 23.5 million worth of cryptocurrencies were stolen from its wallets.

The combined Swiss-Israeli company raised over USD 150 million last year in an ICO and the services it was offering included a built-in exchange service. The company said in a statement that “a wallet used to upgrade some smart contracts was compromised”.

Bancor has subsequently frozen its native BNT token and is communicating with a number of exchanges to stop the liquidation of the stolen coins.

 

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