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.

Africa

African Union

African blockchain businesses growing despite regulatory pressure: A new report by Weetracker shows that ICOs, blockchain projects and cryptocurrencies overall have seen a sustained growth in Africa despite regulatory concerns in the markets.

The report highlights that while the investment has increased, most of the progress has been seen in South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe. The largest ICOs in the region include Kenya’s cryptocurrency exchange platform SureRemit that raised over USD 7 million and South Africa’s The Sun Exchange that raised over USD 5 million.

Overall in the continent, there is growing awareness regarding cryptocurrencies.

The report says:

“Globally, Bitcoins and cryptocurrency have seen notable downfall with a scare of coming close to end, just like the dot-com crash. Last two weeks especially have been chaotic for the global markets as all the cryptocurrencies were trading at lower rates than preceding weeks. Africa too has had its share of surprises in this sector in H1 2018, taking many tumultuous turns.”

Virtual currencies preferred over fiat in many African countries: The volatility of many African currencies is resulting in increased importance of cryptocurrencies in Africa, according to latest reports from the continent.

The volatility debate around cryptocurrencies may have caused problems early on for the decentralized universe but since then, the liquidity issues with fiat currencies and their regulatory problems have resulted in more mainstreaming of cryptocurrencies than ever before.

Binance used cryptocurrencies to increase job opportunities in the continent and alleviate poverty, and there are efforts being made to address food-related issues in Zimbabwe and South Sudan. It is expected that cryptocurrencies will become a dominant monetary tool in the future of the continent.

Kenya

Solar-powered mini grids utilizing crypto benefitting rural Kenya: The Kenyan countryside is being lit up through solar micro-leasing and rural mini-grid operations through local companies Sun Exchange and Powerhive.

Both Sun Exchange and Powerhive announced new measures for acceleration of decentralized grids in the country. According to CEO and founder of Powerhive Christopher Hornor:

Over the past seven years Powerhive has built a vertically integrated platform that allows us to identify, construct and operate the highest quality and lowest cost solar-powered mini-grids in Africa.”

Millions of people are without access to reliable electricity supply in Kenya and it is hoped that that this decentralized clean energy initiative will result in increased electricity stability and job opportunities for Kenyans.

Kenyan task force recommends creation of local crypto: A Kenyan blockchain task force has recommended the creation of a local cryptocurrency.

The recommendation comes after a thorough study by the 11-member team. The team argued that a traceable cryptocurrency is a good play as it created a trusted identity for every citizen. The local currency can potentially be used to create employment, enhance creativity and the users will have access to a host of government services using the single digital identity.

Nigeria

Nigerian poor look to crypto bounty hunting as means of extra income: Nigeria’s marginalized are turning to crypto bounty hunting to earn extra money.

A bounty is defined as a simple job that anybody can do in order to lay claim to free tokens in the future as payment from the coin project. The main tasks are simple and anybody can do it including tweeting about the project using the hashtag, creating blog posts, designing logos, posters for the coin and participating in the coin’s forum.

Bitcoin News previously reported that such work opportunities are being taken seriously by users across the world including impoverished countries like Afghanistan.

South Africa

More than one-third of South Africans regret not buying Bitcoin: South Africans, almost 38% of them regret missing out on early Bitcoin price uptakes.

The poll was conducted by Pan-African financial services company Old Mutual Limited. The poll showed that overall, South Africans are still receptive to cryptocurrencies. 71% people believe that there is a lot of money to be made in the future in cryptocurrencies.

But, on the downside, 53% of the respondents had no idea how cryptocurrencies actually worked and 43% thought of them as a pyramid scheme.

Middle East

Israel

Bitmain to expand operations in Israel: Bitcoin mining giant Bitmain has announced that it is expanding its Israeli development center according to latest reports from Globes Israeli Edition. Bitmain is likely to triple the number of employees in the country and work on research is set to be started.

While Bitmain is based in China, the regulatory backlash from the Chinese government has forced the company to look to other areas for setting up research areas.

United Arab Emirates

Stellar launched in Middle East, gains Sharia certification: Unique Cryptocurrency Stellar has announced that it is the first cryptocurrency in UAE to get sharia compliance certification according to latest reports from the Middle Eastern country.

Operating on an open-source system, Stellar aims to provide global access to basic value exchange services. The DLT services on Stellar will be used for money transfer and asset tokenization in the country.

According to a press release by the company:

“Islamic financial institutions in the Gulf Cooperation Council (i.e. Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE) and parts of Southeast Asia (e.g. Indonesia and Malaysia) will now be able to integrate Stellar technology in their Sharia-compliant product and service offerings. This is a big advancement for the Stellar network given that these regions are endpoints of popular foreign worker remittance corridors.”

While the partnership in UAE is not mentioned itself, it is understood that Stellar is on track to have legitimization and fast track crypto development in the country that is embracing cryptocurrencies at a rapid rate.

 

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