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Crypto rush in Africa

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“Africa will define the future (especially the Bitcoin one”

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, tweeted at the end of his trip to Africa in November 2019

This week, Africa saw several major improvements in the aspects of crypto and blockchain. The last couple of weeks documented several fascinating news ranging from an announcement from Crypto exchange Yellowcard.io about entering Tanzania and PaxFul adding USDT P2P trading, amid Africa still leading in bitcoin search.

Crypto news from Africa

  • South Africa’s Standard Bank, joins contour’s blockchain network

Standard Bank, South Africa became the first African country to become part of the Contour decentralized ecosystem to issue a Letter of Credit (LC). 

The Contour blockchain network aims to improve processing time by as much as 90%. Standard Bank is known for having a wide African network, and as a result of this development, the past week has been a solid week for crypto in Africa.

  • Zimbabwe approves cryptocurrency listings on VFEX

There seems to be another exciting moment in the African crypto community in general, and Zimbabwe in particular. 

The CEO of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) has proclaimed its licensed subsidiary; Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX) is open to crypto listing, depending on regulatory approval. 

Zimbabwe’s monetary authorities have previously warned citizens against trading in cryptocurrencies, proclaiming them as risk assets which are prone to fraud. However, the country has gradually experienced a change in its stance. 

The Zimbabwean government sees VFEX as a fundraising platform for local firms. VFEX already achieved exchange control approval to trade in US dollars, and a number of supporters have shown interest in the development.

  • Bitcoin rush in Egypt

Egyptians are showing serious interests in bitcoin mining and trading, amid a surging economic crisis and unemployment. 

Resulting from the spread of the coronavirus and the precautionary measures taken, there has been a global spike in unemployment. However, the new tech, Blockchain, alongside bitcoin, is taking the world by a storm and proving to be a means to transform lives, particularly in the creation of employment. 

A huge number of Egyptians have reportedly tilted towards the cryptosphere which seems to be providing a safe-haven and escape from job loss following the COVID-19 outbreak. Many have joined the bitcoin community by investing their savings to get daily yields.

Interesting! 

  • Blockchain now powers indoor security cameras

IoTex, in partnership with Tenvis, has announced the world’s first blockchain-powered home security camera. Yes, you “read” right, a blockchain-powered UCAM. 

I’m willing to bet my precious little TRX bag that this is coming as a shock to you (rightfully so, as blockchain was first invented only for Bitcoin). However, we are gradually beginning to see the full potential of blockchain and the wonders of a decentralized network. 

Again, blockchain is taking us to another incredible level. What’s more interesting than a totally private security-focused camera? Users can access their camera data through a decentralized system logging in with an untraceable password. 

By allowing the users’ camera or mobile phone to handle all computing, and by giving users total control of their data, the system is poised at eliminating security breaches which have always been a part of many internet-based security cameras. 

ICYMI: other top stories you may have missed

  • Have you read South Africa’s largest crypto exchange, VLAR.com, CEO open letter to SA Regulators? The Chief executive of the cryptocurrency exchange expressed concerns against an article published by Business Insider in the country.
  • Bitmex, one of the worlds biggest crypto trading exchange, faces criminal charges on grounds of allowing Illegal transactions. There are rumours the exchange could be shutdown. 
  • Fastbitcoin partners with prepaid Voucher, Flexepin, To Expand to Uganda and Kenya. 
  • Bundle Africa: Arguably the hottest crypto payment app, Bundle userbase and investment on the platform is growing in an interesting rate. For key metrics, check their recently published Bundle Rewind.

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Market Watch

Jack Dorsey‘s Square to develop open source Bitcoin mining

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Jack Dorsey Bitcoin

On Friday, October 15, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that American fintech company, Square, would be looking to get into Bitcoin mining. Jack Dorsey who is also Square’s CEO announced this on Twitter which subsequently sent waves through the bitcoin market, surging its price to almost a record high, rising over $62,000 over the weekend. According to the Twitter boss, Square is looking to building an open source Bitcoin mining system that would be available to individuals and businesses.

Sharing his thoughts further on the initiative, he stated that “Mining needs to be more distributed” and that “the more decentralized [mining] is, the more resilient the Bitcoin network becomes. He also mentioned the apparent inaccessibility of mining stating that “Bitcoin mining should be as easy as plugging a rig into a power source.

Dorsey also believes that bitcoin mining “needs to be more efficient and that “clean and efficient energy use” would be undoubtedly beneficial to the digital currency in the long run.

Dorsey ended the thread by saying that a “technical investigation would be undertaken by a Square team led by Jesse Dorogusker, Square’s hardware lead. If successful, this initiative would be another of Square’s bitcoin focused projects which includes a Bitcoin hardware wallet.

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Financial Leaders from G7 Release Guidelines for Central Bank Digital Currency

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Source: World Atlas

At a meeting that was held in Washington, yesterday, October 13, G7 leaders discussed central bank digital currency and endorsed 13 public policy principles with regards to their implementation. The financial leaders from G7 agreed that CBDCs would complement cash and should not be detrimental to the monetary system. The G7 leaders have been discussing CBDCs this week concluding that they should do no harm and meet rigorous standards.

It should be noted that G7 includes finance leaders in advanced economic nations comprising of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.S and the U.K. the G7 leaders make it mandatory that any newly launched CBDC should not harm the central bank’s ability to perform its duty of maintaining financial stability. In a joint statement by the G7 finance ministers and central bankers, they said that, 

“Strong international coordination and cooperation on these issues help to ensure that public and private sector innovation will deliver domestic and cross-border benefits while being safe for users and the wider financial system.” 

The joint statement further states that CBDCs are complements to cash and could serve as a liquid or safe settlement assets with an added advantage of anchoring existing payment systems. CBDCs issuance should be entrenched in a long-standing public commitment to transparency, rule of law, and sound economic governance. The statement added at CBDCs must be so efficient that they are fully interoperable on a cross-border basis. 

The G7 leaders agreed that they had a duty to minimize the incidence of ‘harmful spillovers to the international monetary and financial system” 

The G7 statement reiterated a similar statement earlier made by G20 that no global stablecoin project should begin operation until such a token has addressed legal, regulatory and oversight requirements. 

Countries like China and Nigeria are ahead of the pack with regards to the adoption of digital Yuan and Naira respectively. China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency may be a step forward for the country’s plan to promote its digital Yuan. Nigeria, on the other hand, postponed the launch of its eNaira in deference to the 61st anniversary of Nigerian independence on Oct 1. 

However, countries like the US and the UK are dragging their foot with regards to the introduction of CBDCs to their financial system. There are insinuations that America is in danger of being left behind technologically and financially if it doesn’t get serious with the implementation of CBDC in its financial system.

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Learning Guides

Understanding Speculation and Crypto Volatility

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Everyone who dabbles in the crypto industry learns almost immediately that the market is very volatile and oftentimes things can change very quickly. That volatility is the fundamental reason why some investors make absolutely stunning gains in so short a time and others lose a lot of money as well. Trading in crypto is one of the riskiest ventures any person can undertake and as they say, it’s not for the faint of heart. The risks can be mitigated of course and sometimes depends specifically on the coin or crypto asset being traded on, barring general market trends.

Nevertheless, to get to the bottom of the volatility concept, one must understand speculation in the market. To start off, the concept of speculation isn’t limited to cryptocurrencies, on the contrary, speculation has existed for as long as economics and trading has. But it is worth saying that speculation is often a feature of novel sectors, assets, commodities and the like. So, even though cryptocurrencies have been around for more than a decade, they’re still in their infancy as far as markets go. One could say that the market is still trying to find its feet.

One of the fundamental reasons why cryptocurrencies are so volatile is that they are fundamentally backed by nothing of value outside the attention that they get. Unlike many fiat currencies which are either pegged to another currency’s value or whose value is unilaterally determined by a central authority, cryptocurrencies only derive value as a function of how many people are willing to use is to transact, i.e. trust in the asset because other people trust it. As a rule of thumb, the larger the number of people who accept the asset, the more valuable it becomes.

This is one of the hallmarks of speculative trading. In the crypto world or in any market that’s novel and untested, many people are in it to win it which means their strategies in trade has the objective of making as much profits as possible in the short term. Therefore, the market enters a subtly dangerous cycle of rapidly changing prices of assets. Basically, investors typically buy assets when prices are low and wait. As more investors are attracted to the commodity for its low prices, it sets off a cascade where more people buy in, causing the price to steadily rise. 

However, all good things must come to an end and it almost always gets to a breaking point whereupon the price gets high enough for investors to begin to sell. This reverses the earlier cascade and as more and more investors pull out, the prices can fall dramatically causing even more to sell off in fear of losing whatever investments they have left. The prices having fallen resets the game and primes investors to begin buying again.

Volatility has been one of the talking points of many critics of cryptocurrencies often comparing it to a Ponzi scheme. And in certain cases, persons of interest with large pulls and audiences can substantially affect the rate at which prices rise and fall. Other factors include government regulations. Volatility at its core reflects the often chaotic nature of trade and market interactions and human hopes and fears.

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