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.
Reserve bank bags award for best distributed ledger initiative: The South African Reserve Bank (SARS) has bagged the award for the best DLT initiative at the Fintech RegTech Global Awards 2018.
The project called Khokha saw seven banks conduct gross settlements of the native currency rand on the Quorum blockchain from JP Morgan’s Byznatine fault-tolerant system. The system is designed as a high-throughput blockchain-based interbank payment system that adheres to the country’s principles for Financial Market Infrastructures.
While the initiative is good, the bank overall has been reluctant to adopt blockchain and said:
“This is only the starting point… Key considerations that need to be addressed include the evaluation of supporting frameworks and other systems that integrate with the RTGS system, as well as the legal, regulatory and compliance factors.”
Blockchain technology is seen by many as a solution to overcome South Africa’s financial woes.
Blockchain startup Elkrem receives $75,000 for blockchain development: Egypt’s blockchain startup Elkrem has managed to secure crucial funding of USD 75,000 from the ConsenSys Tachyon blockchain accelerator to create a smart kit for blockchain Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Elkrem hopes to launch its products across the globe soon.
The company started back in January 2018 and got a seed investment of USD 250,000 from Endure Capital. The company also won the competition at EthDenver Hackathon that featured over 100 teams from around the world.
US company aims to bring blockchain banking to Nigeria: US blockchain development company HashCash is looking to engage financial institutions in Nigeria to set up potential blockchain solutions in the banking industry.
Blockchain and cryptocurrency’s popularity is increasing in the country and HashCash is aiming to profit from it. The case of financial exclusion of millions of Nigerians is a big point of concern for many and the government is keen on solving it. The company aims to use the wide accessibility of mobile devices to implement a blockchain-based banking solution. The move will be especially important for far remote areas and their mainstreaming.
Blockbank purchases stake in local Bank to provide blockchain banking: Blockbank, a cryptocurrency banking startup, has purchased a stake in local Kenyan bank Spire. This strategic acquisition will allow the startup to provide global blockchain and cryptocurrency payments and other banking services to the customers of the bank.
The bank’s aim to is to provide users with a platform for faster transactions and increased transparency.
Currency crisis forces Turkey to focus on blockchain and crypto: Turkey’s lira has been suffering from a crisis in recent weeks due to sanctions imposed by the US after a diplomatic row. To counter these effects and move towards a crypto future that is free from US intervention and sanctions, Turkey is working to adopt blockchain and cryptocurrencies into its fintech space.
The Turkish Borsa Stock Exchange has announced the development of a first blockchain-powered customer database for the exchange services and a result, the Istanbul Gold Exchange and the Turkish Derivatives Exchange (TurkDex) will both move forward to a blockchain-based future.
Cryptocurrency trading is also becoming more and more popular in the country as people look to circumnavigate the effects of lira depreciation.
United Arab Emirates
Market watchdog recognizes crypto as securities: The UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority has unveiled new regulation to give cryptocurrencies the status of a security.
According to the regulator’s statement:
“In light of the rapid development of the digital tokens market and the response thereto by the regulators in a number of countries worldwide towards regulating the initial coin offerings (ICOs), the SCA Board of Directors has approved the SCA plan to regulate the ICOs and recognize them as securities.”
UAE has become one of the crypto hubs of the region, allowing more and more blockchain companies to grow under its umbrella.
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