Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 5th to 11th January 2019

Africa

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here, we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news, continent by continent and country by country.

South Africa

South Africa Deliberating Tax with the Crypto Task Force: The South African government has set the wheels into motion to create a crypto task force and include all the cryptocurrency activities into the tax net.

The group consists of representatives from the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, Financial Intelligence Centre, the SA Revenue Service (SARS), Treasury, and the Reserve Bank as they aim to develop a unified intergovernmental regulatory framework while ensuring that losses on cryptocurrencies are only offset against profits from the same system, a phenomenon known as ring-fencing.

Kidnappers Demand Bitcoin Ransom for Missing Nine-Year-Old: As the saga unfolds following the disappearance of a 9-year-old girl known as Linathi Titshala, possible kidnappers have recently sent an anonymous message demanding a ransom of 5 BTC ($19,200) for the girl’s return.

The message was sent to the anti-crime group Western Cape Gangwatch, who said to have tried to trace the email’s source via the Bitcoin address but failed since it was probably created at an internet cafe with an untraceable IP address.

Nigeria

Nigeria’s Electoral Commission to Conduct Pilot Test of Electronic Results Transmission: After the earlier success of electronic results transmission back in 2015 during the off-season elections, Nigeria’s Electoral Commission (INEC) has recently announced a pilot run of the system ahead of 2019 general elections.

Although Nigeria’s current Electoral Act doesn’t allow any provision for its adoption, the officials hope that the success of the test run will compel lawmakers to press for a much-needed change in the legislation.

Kenya

Cryptocurrency Regulation Battle Intense in Africa, Regulators Pin Down Suspicious Cryptocurrency Projects: Capital Markets Authority of Kenya (CMA) has recently warned the users of Kenya’s up-and-coming crypto tokens company KeniCoin about possible fraudulent activities. KeniCoin was launched in July 2018 and promised its users 10% monthly ROI.

CMA published the report in the wake of the ongoing investigations of KeniCoin’s parent company ‘Wiseman Talent Ventures’ and has already highlighted drastic discrepancies in the information on the KeniCoin website and the interviews given to the authorities.

Israel

Gold Reserves to Bitcoin Reserves: Nick Szabo on Crypto in 2019: History of currencies, scope of Bitcoin as a mode of payment, and predictions on the future developments; the first Israel Bitcoin Summit at Tel Aviv University had it all as the early pioneer Nick Szabo, and Bitcoin’s probable founder, Satoshi Nakamoto graced the event with their presence.

Among all the presentations, the highlights included Szabo’s claims that all central banks may soon be inclined to supplement their gold reserves with cryptocurrency. He also remarked that 2019 could see the adoption of the Lightning Network, which would allow two users to make payments to each other almost instantaneously.

Turkey

Interest-free payment platform developed in Turkey: Turkish Blockchain payment platform, MenaPay, has announced that it will launch the first-ever Islamic finance based payment methods to accommodate their large Muslim userbase. This will allow the residents of MENA region to utilize the safety of blockchain technology and leverage MenaPay Platform’s payment transparency while abiding by the religious obligations.

MenaPay has already made headway into the market thanks to its QR code payment system which allows all transactions to be executed within 5 seconds, and this move puts them on the path to becoming the largest cashless service in the MENA region.

UAE

UAE Wants 50% of Government Business on Blockchain by 2021: UAE Government has announced the launch of two new initiatives under the title “the AI and Blockchain Guide initiative.”

The program aims to allow the federal government to develop a standardized system to define and regulate blockchain technology and AI while streamlining the way to implement the technologies across all the smart cities in the seven emirates. The initiative will also focus on training and educating all relevant authorities on these technologies and integrate them in all sectors of the economy.

UAE’s Etisalat Picks Startups for Ai and Blockchain Scale-Up Program: Dubai-based telecommunication giant Etisalat recently announced that it had chosen four startups for the development of AI and blockchain technologies for its “Future Now” scale-up program.

The program offers the participants to access Etisalat’s digital resources, expertise, and office space and develop joint applications for the company’s client base. Among the companies chosen were China’s Yitu Technology, UAE’s Com IoT Technologies, Hong Kong’s 300cubits, and USA’s Tradefin.

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