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

First Coin Project Launched in South Africa: This week saw the launch of the first ICO project’s network with SAFCoin’s system which is set to go online soon. Meanwhile, trading has already been enabled for these tokens. SAFCoin was the first indigenous Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in the country and the ICO lasted till October 31 earlier this year.

On the occasion Neil Ferreira, the CEO and Founder of the parent company FHM Limited said:

“We are proud to be part of the blockchain and crypto revolution. We are excited to bring the SAFCOIN blockchain, mobile app and exchange to the people of South Africa.”

The South African authorities are currently advocating for self-regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges and coin projects with only Know-your-customer and Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) rules passed for the space.

Nigeria

Banking Regulator Voices Concerns for Bitcoin Disintermediation: A top regulator of the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Company (NDIC) has voiced concerns regarding cryptocurrencies and disintermediation in a recent interview to the local news outlet, The Sun. Disintermediation is when investors start investing in markets, be it cryptocurrency or other markets directly instead of investing through banks and their bank accounts.

Ibrahim Umaru, the regulator in question said:

“The partial disintermediation of the banking system arising from the proliferation of digital currencies such as Bitcoin, as well as the activities of fintechs are all of critical concern to the corporation.”

NDIC was formed back in 1988 to regulate the just liberalized banking sector in the African country. Nigeria itself is facing a cryptocurrency revolution with a presidential candidate recently pledging to legalize cryptocurrencies in the country.

Kenya

More Merchants and Small Businesses Start Accepting Bitcoin: More and more Kenyan small businesses are now accepting Bitcoin payments in the country after the government adopted a pro-crypto stance. Health Land Spa, Boxlight Electronics Limited and many other restaurants and small businesses are now accepting Bitcoin as payment.

The reasons for adopting cryptocurrencies are various, including ease of use, mitigating inflation in the country or just for novelty purposes. The Nigerian government is monitoring the situation but it has so far avoided engaging in a tussle with the cryptocurrency industry.

Israel

Tax Authority Aggressively Pursuing Cryptocurrency Tax Evaders: Top Israeli Tax Authority has started to aggressively pursue the cases of cryptocurrency tax evasion in the country. The new measures include notices being sent to the addresses of traders as well as monitoring overseas expenses of traders who do not file their income sources.

According to Israeli News Agency Calcalist:

“[Bitcoin] will be considered in accordance with the Income Tax Ordinance as “assets” and their sale will be taxed as a sale of “property.” Income from their sale will be classified as capital income and capital gains will be taxed according to fixed tax rates.”

A net 25% Capital Gains Tax and 17% VAT is applicable on cryptocurrency earnings right now in the Middle Eastern country.

Saudi Arabia-United Arab Emirates

Central Banks to Develop Joint Cryptocurrency for Money Transfers: The UAE Central Bank and the Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority (SAMA) are working on a project to create a joint cryptocurrency for cross-border transactions between these two countries according to a local daily, Gulf News.

According to Mubarak Rashed Al Mansouri, the chief of the Central Bank of UAE:

“This is probably the first time ever that witnesses the cooperation of monetary authorities from different countries on this topic and we hope that this achievement will foster similar collaboration in our region.”

But, the new effort is just in its preliminary phase now. It is yet to be seen whether this so-called cryptocurrency will actually come into circulation.

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