Business 16 November 2018Dennis Wafula
Crypto in Africa: Crypto market in Africa expands amid regulatory pressure
Africa is poised to become the next hub for blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The continent has experienced significant growth of cryptocurrency-related activities, and more countries are opening up their doors to crypto innovations and investments; however, the growth has suffered a great deal of opposition from authorities through various regulations. Despite the pressure, though, there are more crypto exchanges, tokens and wallets across the continent.
South Africa is leading in blockchain and crypto activities in Africa and now has many blockchain-based startups, exchanges and wallets. The cryptocurrency community in South Africa is actively involved in growing the crypto market in the region. While the crypto community is thrilled by the new technology, authorities are finding ways to control these operations.
In 2014, the South Africa Reserve Bank (SARB) published information that hinders cryptocurrencies to be considered as valid legal tender. Despite the publication, more people continued to invest in Bitcoin BCH, Bitcoin Core (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies. Even when the South Africa Revenue Service started taxing cryptocurrencies in the country, cryptocurrency numbers kept on rising.
The crypto market in Kenya has seen exciting developments. From the creation of BitPesa to the recent innovation that allows mining companies to use solar panels to mine crypto, the country is increasing its crypto impact in Africa. Authorities in Kenya, however, have not been forthcoming in stating their stance in regards to cryptocurrencies. As reported previously, the country’s finance minister, Henry Rotich, was given two weeks back in July to decide the regulations for cryptocurrencies in the country. Several months have passed, and there is still no regulatory system in the country.
Uganda is catching up with Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria. Many citizens were unbanked for a long time before digital currencies were introduced to the country. Binance, one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, recently launched a platform in Uganda and, in the last few months, the exchange has had over 40,000 users register on its platform.
Bitcoin Trading Platform (BTN) thrives in Namibia
BTN has adopted know-your-customer and anti-money laundering requirements by the Bank of Namibia in order to provide crypto services in the country. The emerging marketplace wants to survive and create a healthy relationship with financial authorities despite the ban.
According to Tshuutheni Emvula, co-founder and CEO of BTN, the company wants to provide a safe and secure on- and off-ramp for crypto for the emerging crypto community in the country.
BTN wants to create an environment that enables business people and customers to stay digitally connected to the world. Emvula explains that it will take a long time before the company can entirely create such an environment. He states that the first step to attaining this dream is making it possible for individuals in the country to directly own cryptocurrencies.
BTN, which was launched in March of this year, terms its self as a non-speculative Bitcoin Core (BTC) marketplace. The platform does not work as an exchange; rather, it allows buyers to transfers local Namibian dollars to a BTN bank account number in exchange for BTC. The clients then get the crypto sent to an address of their choice, a process that can take up to 72 hours for clients to receive their digital assets.
BTN does not store or keep any BTC on behalf of users. The platform also does not open order books, which allow users to trade BTC with each other. This has enabled the company to provide crypto services despite the ban imposed in 2017. That ban prevents local shops from pricing or accepting cryptocurrencies in exchange for goods and service, but does not have specific penalties attached to it.
Emvula explains that their operations are well within the stipulated laws. He explains that the ban does not mention that people are not prohibited from trading cryptocurrencies. He hopes their crypto space in the country will grow to allow the diversity that comes with the new technology.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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