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.

South Africa

New draft tax law could have crypto implication: A South African law firm’s analysis of the recent draft law published by the national treasury regulator could have negative implications for the cryptocurrency sector. 

According to Cox Yeats Attorneys based in Durban, the recent Taxation Laws Amendment Bill will be bad for the digital currency industry. The bill is the first attempt by the government to regulate the cryptocurrency industry which has largely remained unregulated till now. The proposed changes include revisions to the Income Tax Act and Value Added Tax Act.

Nigeria

Union Bank warns against crypto usage: The Union Bank of Nigeria has cautioned the public against using cryptocurrencies and their transactions according to a letter sent to its users on 26 November.

The letter was published at popular Nigerian online community portal Nairaland which has over 55 million users. The community saw a letter being circulated citing the Central Bank of Nigeria saying that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender and cautioning against transacting in them.

According to the bank: “In order to guarantee the security of our customers’ funds, Union Bank will monitor accounts being used for cryptocurrency transactions and may impose restrictions including closure of such accounts.”

While the Union Bank of Nigeria is a commercially run bank with assets worth USD 4.1 billion, it suggests that even the private banking sector is not keen on adopting cryptocurrencies.

Kenya

Central bank digital currency under discussion: A Kenyan author has recently analyzed the case for a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in the country. While the Nigerian currency itself is quite prone to inflation, it pales next to the recent price tank of cryptocurrencies in the market so the topic can be a challenging one for the government.

The analysis points out that even though the creation of CBDCs is usually aimed at fixing the issues with the current system, the idea is invariably tied to the whole concept of cryptocurrencies and how they can ideologically not be manipulated by governments. It observes that a CBDC will probably be open for government manipulation and thus it will lose its original purpose. The Nigerian government is advised to think long and hard before embarking on any attempt to launch one.

Uganda

Government looking to regulate crypto as fake schemes proliferate: The Ugandan government is looking to regulate cryptocurrencies in the country after witnessing a recent increase in crypto-related scams.

Minister of State for Finance Planning David Bahati revealed this week that the government was finalizing a bill on national digital payments that has a focus on cryptocurrencies as well. This bill will be given to the parliament for approval in December.

Specifics regarding the new law are not available at the moment but it is expected that cryptocurrency scams are being singled out in the country.

Israel

Businessman charged with ICO embezzlement: A “cryptopreneur” has reportedly been arrested in Israel on embezzlement charges in connection with his role with two Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and their missing funds.

According to Israeli media outlets, the court case was initiated by 17 affectees of the ICOs and their defunct binary company AnyOption against Moshe Hogeg, a cryptocurrency entrepreneur. According to reports, issues between the coin holders and Hogeg arose after he failed to meet deadlines. Eventually, he was accused of being involved in the funds going missing.

 

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