Blockchain technology received mixed reactions in the 54 African countries at its inception. While most African countries are slowly warming up to blockchain technology, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana are taking the bull by the horns. Since last year, these countries have made tremendous milestones in the blockchain industry, with startups and blockchain awareness emerging in recent months.
The young and old embrace blockchain in Nigeria
Blockchain technology has faced great challenges in Nigeria from the government, which keeps enacting new regulations that are unfavorable for cryptocurrency-related activities. However, blockchain continues to thrive in Nigeria.
Last week, Blockchain Nigeria Users Group (BNUG), organized a Nigerian Blockchain Conference at the Civic Center, Victoria Island in Lagos. The conference had a large turn up with youngsters and elderly making up the majority of the attendees.
Many startups and crypto-related businesses attended the conference to support and showcase their products. These startups—Luna, Trasefada, Yellow Card, Nairaex, Zilla, Dash, and Kurecoinhub—are just but a few blockchain-based companies in the country.
Cryptocurrencies startups, especially virtual exchanges, are thriving in Nigeria. This has helped to utilize potential from many unemployed young men and women. Cryptocurrency exchanges have provided Nigerians with a cheaper alternative to sending money abroad and other online transactions.
First public South African blockchain ATM
South Africa is one of the leading countries in Africa in adopting blockchain technology. Blockchain has been used to create various services including the Blockchain Academy and the Sun Exchange.
Vendibit, a South Africa blockchain firm, recently opened the first-ever blockchain ATM in the country. The blockchain ATMs, also known as Vendibit-Blockchain Teller Machines (VTM), were opened in Spar-Northwold, Johannesburg. The VTM machine will help customers make transactions in BTC, Litecoin, Ethereum and the South African Rand. The VTM machines were initially launched in 2014, but were limited to private individuals in the country.
In a statement, Daniel Cappiello, a senior blockchain consultant at Vendibit, was quoted by local news outlet Tech Financials saying more people in the country are accepting blockchain, noting that the introduction of the VTMs is “proof that the public is demanding access to the future.”
South Africa tax cryptocurrency
The increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies in the region have prompted authorities in South Africa to start taxation on cryptocurrencies. In April, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) issued a statement informing people to include all cryptocurrencies and related products to their taxable income. The move to tax cryptocurrency has had mixed reactions within the cryptocurrency community with the majority being of the opinion that cryptocurrencies should not be taxed.
SARS explained to the public stating that though cryptocurrency is not clearly defined by any law, it can be valued to ascertain an amount received or accrued which made them “gross income,” and thus taxable. Individuals in the cryptocurrency community in South Africa will face penalties if they fail to adhere to the new legislation.
ADAF met to structure ICO framework for Africans
Kenya is also taking steps to grow blockchain in the country.
The Africa Digital Asset Forum (ADAF), a blockchain startup in Kenya, had a busy weekend last week. ADAF members and blockchain enthusiasts gathered at the Moringa School to help draft a framework that would be used as a guideline for all upcoming ICOs in Africa. The meeting, organized by Raise Impact founder Marvin Coleby, aimed to create a solution to cushion against the constant regulations from the governments that have been preventing innovation in African countries.
The meeting also sought to develop a framework that would protect customers and investors from frauds and Ponzi schemes. So far, a draft of the framework has been created, with members agreeing to work on different aspects of the proposed guidelines to create a working version for all ICOs.