Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 10th to 16th August 2018

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

Crypto regulation needed to settle inheritance, divorce cases: The South African government is moved to attend to the issues arising from the ambiguity of cryptocurrencies in the country when it comes to settling inheritance claims and divorce cases.

Cryptocurrency has been around for a decade now and South African Revenue Service (SARS) designated them as an asset of intangible nature as far back as 2009. While it may have granted Bitcoin some legality, issues remain as legality of cryptocurrencies are unclear in comparison with other assets like shares and bonds and that can complicate things.

VAT may not be applied to Bitcoin in South Africa under new regulation: According to a draft being prepared by the South African Revenue Service (SARS), cryptocurrencies in the country will not be liable for Value Added Tax (VAT) but other regular tax laws will be applicable.

SARS has been deliberating on cryptocurrency regulation for some time and according to it, transactions of cryptocurrencies are seen as a service and thus it will be exempt from a VAT for now, something that is often a damaging perspective for cryptocurrencies in a country. All crypto dealers, however, will have to declare their gains and losses in crypto transactions and trades and pay relevant taxes.

Nigeria

Crypto exchange Luno educating users on identifying scams: Cryptocurrency exchange Luno is trying to educate the masses to help them avoid scams in the cryptosphere.

Luno’s country manager while speaking in a conference in Lagos said:

“The Central Bank of Nigeria while presently studying the market to enable it come up with a regulatory framework that will protect every player, Luno will not hesitate to guide present investors against scams.”

The exchange is advocating for self-regulation right now but welcomes regulation from the government in the future to help secure a better future for crypto.

Government launches blockchain hub: The Nigerian government’s blockchain innovation KAD ICT Hub, in collaboration with UK Blockchain company Coinfirm, has announced a new blockchain hub in the country called Africa Blockchain Lab.

The initiative is to launch a program to help bring together Blockchain companies across the continent to bring solutions to various problems in the continent and Nigeria itself. Some startups like Kora, a blockchain marketplace and digital payment system, have already signed on the new project.

Middle East

Turkey

Bitcoin popularity soars as lira freefalls: The recent freefall of Turkish lira has resulted in cryptocurrencies becoming more and more popular in the country as Koinim, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the country, recorded more than 63% increase in trades last week alone.

Turkey is currently embroiled in a diplomatic tussle with the United States as the latter recently imposed sanctions on the country that followed up with a sharp decrease in demand for lira, the national currency. More and more Turks used platforms like Localbitcoins.com to save themselves from inflation. However, with the recent USD 15 billion loan from Qatar on the cards, it is yet to be seen how the future of cryptocurrency trading will look like in the short term as lira might bounce back.

12,000 investors affected in TurCoin scam: Turcoin, self-styled national cryptocurrency of Turkey has been revealed as a Ponzi scheme and more than 12,000 investors have been affected.

TurCoin offered swift dividends and even claimed backing of the Turkish government,resulting in excitement in Turkish crypto circles. Many investors invested some money in it only to be left out in the cold as it was eventually revealed to be a scam. Investigators have frozen company founder’s assets and he is now awaiting trial.

United Arab Emirates

Investor takes $140K loan and loses 85% in crypto trading: The risks of cryptocurrency investment are evident after the recent case of an Emirati investor borrowing USD 140,000 to invest in cryptocurrencies and lost most of it.

The amateur currency investor based in Abu Dhabi is 85% down from his USD 139,500 bank loan that he took a while ago. The investor goes by the name of Cryptohomie on Reddit and he shared documents regarding the loan online which he used to fund his cryptocurrency trading at the height of the 2017 bull run that brought Bitcoin to as high as USD 20,000. He is currently giving monthly payments of USD 3,381 that run till 14 December 2021.

Saudi Arabia

Government warns against use of crypto: The Saudi government has warned against the use of cryptocurrencies, describing them as illegal due to their perceived role in fraud and unauthorized payments.

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) gave the statement that included (cryptocurrencies) as “illegal in the kingdom and no parties or individuals are licensed for such practices”.

While the cryptocurrency use is currently deemed illegal, it is unclear to see what kind of authority the SAMA has to enforce a full ban in the country.

 

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