Nokia Floats Permissioned Blockchain Platform for Data Exchange

Nokia Floats Permissioned Blockchain Platform for Data Exchange

Telecoms giant Nokia is launching a private blockchain for enterprises, dubbed the Nokia Data Marketplace, per an official press release.

This enterprise solution is designed for the secure sharing of data, transactions, artificial intelligence (AI) models built within a permissioned blockchain architecture.

Nokia Designs Platform For Data Trading

The marketplace will provide enterprises and communication service providers (CSPs) access to trusted datasets. The service will facilitate real-time access to silos of trusted datasets for enterprises to choose from.

Furthermore, with the monetization of data swaps between customers, these CSPs could be empowered to grow into data marketplace providers.

The blockchain-focused effort would be useful in several sectors. These include EV charging, environmental data monetization, supply-chain automation, transportation, ports, energy, smart cities, and eventually healthcare.

Commenting on the service rollout, Nokia’s Vice President Cloud and Cognitive Services Friedrich Trawoeger said that customers are in need of secure and trusted access to data for effective business decision making.

Nokia Data Marketplace solves this problem, according to Trawoeger. The private blockchain enables CSPs and enterprises to benefit from richer insights and predictive models.

The Nokia Data Marketplace would also accelerate AI growth through a federated learning approach. This would see it use orchestration capabilities to drive the development of highly accurate machine learning models for analytic use cases. Nokia Data Marketplace is also looking to be the platform that would efficiently apply AI and machine learning algorithms for data on-site.

Enterprise Blockchain Growing

In a fast-growing digital ecosystem, more people are spending time behind their screens than outdoors. Companies are frantically searching out channels to lay hands on the numerous ways data is being created daily.

This need is even more apparent as many people stay indoors and connect to the world through their phones. Now more than ever, millions of data are being generated by the second, and Nokia may just be providing a platform where companies can easily get user info.

Aside from Nokia’s efforts, blockchain companies Stellar, XinFin, and Ripple Labs are notable players in this market segment. These combined trios have brought the blockchain-based enterprise service into the limelight and led to wider adoption of blockchain for various other uses.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Bitcoin: Get Ready to Take Cover if FOMC Meeting Misses the Mark

Market sentiments are in Bitcoin’s favor as on-chain data signals an influx of retail and with stimulus checks coming in, as long as Fed Chairman Jerome Powell doesn’t pull the rug on equities.

This week, the cryptocurrency market is experiencing some losses. Bitcoin went down to just under $53,350, not long after hitting a new ATH near $62,000 on Saturday.

The new high came amidst the highly leveraged trading as seen in the flying funding rates on perpetual contracts. As we reported, this means not only intense upward momentum but also equally extended drawdowns that normalize the funding rates, which also went negative for the first time in two months.

“There’s just an insane amount of leverage in the system at all times,” Jeff Dorman, CIO for Arca, an investment management firm specializing in digital assets, told Bloomberg.

“During any period of exuberance, you see investors borrowing to lever up, and over the weekend we saw all the risk metrics we watch start to really get frothy. Generally, when that starts to happen, it’s only a matter of time before the slightest hiccup starts to liquidate those levered positions.”

Keep Them Coming

Not only the stock market is looking good, adding to positive market sentiments, stimulus-fueled bets that some of this money will move into Bitcoin also helped prop up the crypto over the past weekend. “The stimulus news was bid up by everyone in the Bitcoin world over the weekend,” said Dorman.

“Then we came in last night, futures were flat, 10-year was flat, and all of a sudden that started to unwind because there wasn’t nearly as much of a bullish overtone as some of the Bitcoin traders thought there might be.”

While this weekend was just some front running, according to a survey released Monday by Mizuho Securities, the majority of Americans are planning to spend their $1,400 stimulus checks on Bitcoin. 100 million checks will be sent to people over the next ten days, as per President Joe Biden.

In the short-term, stimulus checks are bullish for Bitcoin price, but any equity rebalancing and bearish Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting this week can bring more pain for the crypto asset, according to trader and economist Alex Kruger.

“I lean higher, but if Powell tanks the equity market on Wednesday, take cover aggressively,” said Kruger.

US Treasury yields have also been climbing up, which is not good for the risky-assets, including Bitcoin, ahead of the meeting. This would be time for Chairman Jerome Powell to assuage market expectations’ that the bonds sell-off won’t continue. Yields and prices and are inversely related.

The influx of Retail Traders

The amount of BTC held by exchanges is climbing in 2021. After reaching an all-time high in early 2020, BTC held on exchanges dropped after the March 2020 crash.

BTC reserves trended downward for most of the last year, only for the trend to reverse in November 202. Most of it is because of an increase in supply held by Binance and Gemini.

But this can be taken as a bullish sign as Coin Metrics says, “this potential signals an influx of retail traders holding their supply in exchanges instead of in their own wallets.”

Retail adoption continues to see a big jump as we reported; they are beating the institutions in Q1 of 2021. In Norway as well, a recent Arcane Research survey found that 7% of all Norwegian adults now own cryptocurrency. This is a growth of 75% since 2019.

As such, in the long-term, the “outlook remains very bullish, as many more leading financial institutions are considering adopting cryptocurrencies,” said Atichanan Pulges, CFO of Bitkub Capital Group Holdings Co., operator of Thailand’s biggest crypto exchange.

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Author: AnTy

2-Day Old DeFi Protocol Amasses Over $6.4 Billion; Boasts of 3-Digit APY

2-Day Old DeFi Protocol Amasses Over $6.4 Billion; Boasts of 3-Digit APY

Big Data Protocol runs on Solana, and FTX CEO’s Almeda firm has aped in with over $1 billion. All of the BDP’s circulating supply for the first 2 months will be distributed over the course of 6 days.

A new decentralized finance (DeFi) application is taking over the crypto scene as people are in with not millions but billions of dollars.

During the summer of 2020, the DeFi market saw people piling in millions of dollars in day-old unaudited projects. A few months later, the market has increased the stakes, and now the projects are seeing billions of dollars getting invested.

Over the weekend, a new project Big Data Protocol (BDP), had a fair launch. The same day it attracted over $100 million, which skyrocketed to more than $5.7 billion in just a day, and today it stands at more than $6.4 billion.

What’s important here is that FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s quantitative trading firm Almeda is pumping about $1.1 billion of these funds. The project is also powered by Solana.

The assets supported are Wrapped Ether (wETH), Wrapped Bitcoin (wBTC), Tether (USDT), USDC, SUSHI, LINK, UNI, YFI, AAVE, SRM, OCEAN, TOMO, and BDP Token.

BDP boasts annual percentage yields of three to four-digit on these assets.

The project, Big Data Protocol, tokenizes commercially valuable data and makes the data token liquid on Uniswap, as per the official website. Users earn data by providing liquidity to data tokens.

BDP currently has access to 14,141 professional data providers to source data. The data sourced here is relevant to oracle projects such as real-time price feeds and geared towards investors, including crypto-investors, traditional hedge funds, and other investment managers.

BDP tokens are used to pay for fees, burned to access the protocol, and unlock features and benefits on the platform.

The huge amount of funds pumped into the project could be because of the fact that all the circulating supply of BDP for the first 2 months will be distributed among 12 seed pools over the course of 6 days.

Another token, bALPHA, which is a data token, is minted to unlock access to the first collection of datasets. It has a hard cap of 18,000, all of which will be distributed among the two liquidity pools over 3 months, as per FAQs. These are earned by providing liquidity on Uniswap to either BDP/ETH or bALPHA/ETH.

As of writing, the BDP token is trading at a loss of 75% at $3.80 from yesterday’s $14.93 ATH, and bALPHA at $5,941 is down 86% from yesterday’s ATH of $42,135, as per CoinGecko.

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Author: AnTy

Tezos Partners with Wolfram, A Computational Tool to Integrate Data Oracles on the Blockchain

Tezos Partners with Wolfram, A Computational Tool to Integrate Data Oracles on the Blockchain

  • Wolfram Blockchain Labs (WBL), the creator of Wolfram Alpha, a mathematical computing tool, announced its partnership with TQ Tezos, a New York-based tech firm building Tezos blockchain solutions open software.
  • The partnership is also set to integrate Tezos blockchain in the Wolfram Language to support smart contract development and develop an oracle that provides Wolfram data to Tezos smart contracts.
  • This brings the total number of oracles on Tezos to three – Chainlink and Harbinger, the other two.

In a post this Monday, Wolfram targets the high-speed network to build out its blockchain wing, Wolfram Alpha expanding the features and services available to developers. Johan Veerman, the chief technology officer of WBL, said,

“Tezos is an exciting third-generation blockchain that features several services and functions that will expand what’s available to our developers.”

The post further explained that the partnership would enhance the deployment of smart contracts on the Tezos blockchain.

Wolfram Blockchain Labs offers institutions and developers a computational tool necessary to build blockchain solutions and quickly develop smart contracts. The partnership sees Tezos added to the Wolfram Language, opening new avenues for developers to deploy their apps efficiently.

Notwithstanding, the partnership will also see Wolfram develop an oracle that allows Tezos apps and developers to get data from Wolfram Alpha, a computational engine built by Wolfram Research Inc. According to the statement, the oracles were verified through the Mi-Cho-Coq framework, created by Nomadic Labs, to ensure all smart contracts on the platform run smoothly and correctly.

WBL will also provide a smart contract development toolkit, currently supporting basic features and services, to simplify the development of smart contracts on the Tezos blockchain.

Tezos now becomes the latest blockchain to join the Wolfram Language following Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, Ark, and Multichain, since 2019. Additionally, WBL is looking at solutions to add baking (staking) properties of Tezos in the near future, the statement reads.

“This and our other blockchain partnerships help move WBL toward the larger goal of bringing computational reform to the financial industry: smart contracts, symbolic data, and smart reporting.”

Tezos recently announced its major Edo hard fork upgrade late last year to increase users’ privacy on the network. The network automatically updated on November 30, adding the sapling protocol by Electric Coin Company (ECC), allowing shielded transactions.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Privacy Browser Brave Unknowingly Leaked Users’ Dark Web Activities: Researchers

Privacy-oriented web browser Brave has been leaking users’ web data for months unknowingly through a bug in its code. The bug named Support CNAME, which was incorporated into its Tor mode offering had been sending user data to local network providers without the company knowing.

Leaked DNS Requests

Tor mode on Brave Browser allows users to access hidden services better known as .onion dark web domains while using Brave’s private browsing windows. The feature, which was added in 2018, was created to ensure increased privacy for Brave users while surfing the web.

But in recent research revealed on Friday for the Brave stable build, a Reddit user said Brave’s Tor mode was re-routing web queries for .onion domains to public internet domain name system (DNS) resolvers rather than designated Tor nodes.

Although the claims were initially refuted, other security experts confirmed the issue and asked the privacy browser to do something about it.

A DNS leak occurs when a request that should be sent through a private network arrives at a DNS server unprotected. The DNS server is likely your local network provider who will likely collect, evaluate and possibly sell the data. A DNS leak also leaves a trail that can be traced by government officials, hackers, or anyone with top-level security clearance.

To address this sort of issue, the Tor network was created in 2002. This network directs your web traffic through myriads of nodes, hiding the location you are searching from and protecting against network surveillance and traffic analysis.

Brave Browser has subsequently addressed the issue and released a formal fix for the erring bug the same day the data leak was discovered. The company said it first found the CNAME bug in its Brave Nightly build which developers mainly use. The issue was fixed on Feb. 4, and it proceeded to look into the stable build. It delayed the fix because it looked for other likely bugs that may result from the data leak.

The company has advised users genuinely concerned about their privacy to use the Tor network instead.

Brave’s User Community Grows By 130%

But despite what might seem like a bad deal for the ads blocking browser, Brave browser has enjoyed some measure of success in 2021. In a published report, the privacy portal said it has seen its user community increase from 11.6 million to 25.4 million as of Feb. 2 reflecting a 130% increase.

The Brave browser is sometimes compared to the famous Tor network due to its privacy-centric business model. Its Tor mode deployment in 2018 has seen it become a household name in a few short years.

The Chromium-based browser also rewards its users a basic attention token (BAT) for accepting to view ads. These digital tokens can then be exchanged for other crypto-assets or given to content creators through its in-built wallet.

With the idea of privacy becoming a much-discussed topic in the last decade, Brave may continue to find itself in business for a long time to come.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

On-Chain Data Indexing Platform, The Graph, Looks to Support 8 New Layer 1 Blockchains

On-Chain Data Indexing Platform, The Graph (GRT), Looks to Support Eight New Layer 1 Blockchains

The Graph, an indexing and query layer of decentralized applications, evaluates a move to eight different layer 1 blockchains following a successful mainnet launch on Ethereum. The company is currently working on integration on the Bitcoin, Polkadot, and Binance Smart Chain (BSC) L1 networks – to name a few.

A blog post released on Monday revealed eight-layer 1 technologies being evaluated by The Graph for “potential integration.” The querying and indexing platform launched its mainnet on Ethereum at the tail end of 2020, building a robust and decentralized system on the Inter-Planetary File System (IPFS). Now, the company is shifting its focus to allow the deployment of sub-graphs (open APIs in the Web3 ecosystem) on other blockchains.

The list provided mentions eight potential L1 layer candidates to integrate The Graph (GRT), including Bitcoin (BTC), Polkadot (DOT), NEAR, Cosmos (ATOM), Solana (SOL), Avalanche (AVAX), Binance Smart Chain, and Celo.

The Graph was first conceptualized in 2018 to make it easy and efficient for developers to access on-chain data and build dApps by launching their sub-graph. Moving to new L1 blockchains will allow users and developers to build interoperable applications hence “growing the overall Web3 ecosystem”, the post further reads.

“After launching mainnet, we are looking to accelerate the upward trajectory of the Web3 ecosystem”

“That means ensuring that no matter which Layer 1 blockchain you are building on, you can build a subgraph and easily access data from across chains”.

Eva Beylin Director at The Graph Foundation

The company is still analyzing the conditions necessary to integrate its indexing platform to the Layer 1 blockchains – and the respective developer communities. The Graph is planning to use several criteria to integrate on a blockchain, including ease of integration, the communities’ hype and rigor, compatibility with its goals, and overall contribution to the Web3 ecosystem.

So far, over 7,000 sub-graphs have been deployed by decentralized finance products on Ethereum (ETH), including AAVE, Compound (COMP), Synthetix (SNX), and Uniswap (UNI). These projects use sub-graphs to retrieve data improving the efficiency of the platforms.

“By providing subgraph support across chains, developers will be able to utilize the best of whatever each blockchain has to offer,” Eva further said.

Finally, the post also revealed the Graph Foundation is launching the “Graph Grants Program” to any developers working on integrating the selected Layer 1 blockchains on its platform. The Foundation released 25 million GRT – The Graph’s native tokens – to be distributed across the Graph’s ecosystem across 2021.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Crypto ETP Volume Surges in January as Institutions Flood the Market

Data shows that the trading volumes for crypto-denominated ETPs saw a significant surge in January 2021. Institutions also appear to be cutting their losses as the crypto market braces for a more significant pullback.

All eyes are on institutional crypto investors this week again, as it appears that some have been making significant plays to begin the year. In its recent weekly report, market data and metrics provider CryptoCompare has confirmed a spike in the volume of assets under management (AUM) in crypto-denominated exchange-traded products (ETPs).

Promising Numbers Across the Board

Per the report, there has been a staggering 93.7 percent increase in the AUM for crypto ETPs across the board. In nominal terms, crypto ETPs now holds an impressive $36 billion. Aggregate daily volumes also jumped above $1.5 billion, marking healthy institutional participation to kick-off 2021.

CryptoCompare noted that Grayscale Investments makes up a significant chunk of these figures, with its various investment trusts housing $22.6 billion, 63 percent of all capital invested into crypto ETPs. The New York-based asset management firm’s products were also found to have represented 64 percent of the entire industry’s ETP volumes, pushing $972 million in daily trading volumes.

Grayscale’s dominance in the institutional investment space has been nothing short of astonishing. The company, which operates several investment trusts for large-cap cryptos, has been the go-to source for institutions looking to get their bit of the crypto pie. As a result, its AUM has been on the rise for months.

Earlier this week, Danny Scott, the CEO of crypto exchange CoinCorner, confirmed that Grayscale purchased 16,244 BTC ($607 million) in 24 hours. Even with the threat of a liquidity crunch, the company has continued to suck up Bitcoins from the open market at incredible levels.

While Grayscale dominated trading volumes, the company’s products still trailed in the spot markets, as the premiums on its shares fell by 8 percent this month.

As for exchange-traded notes (ETNs), trade volumes almost tripled in January. These were dominated by the BTCE product from ETC Group, which saw nearly $50 million in daily trades.

The second-most traded ETN was the BTCW/USD ETN from WisdomTree, which had $7million in trading volumes, while VanEck’s Bitcoin Vectors saw $5 million in daily trades.

Profit-Taking from Investors

Although the commitments into crypto ETPs have been impressive, institutions are also staying vigilant as Bitcoin’s price begins a significant pullback.

Crypto fund provider CoinShares reported that institutional crypto products had seen $85 million in outflows this past week, asserting that some investors seem to be taking profits following Bitcoin’s bull run over the past month.

CoinShares noted a similar trend in Ether-derived investment products, with $3 million exiting the past week’s market.

Despite the strong profit-taking, institutional inflows are still strong, with $359 million entering crypto investment products this week. CoinShares noted that Bitcoin remains investors’ top prize, with the leading cryptocurrency representing 99 percent of all capital inflows this week.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

DoJ Challenges Visa’s Proposed $5.3B Acquisition of Plaid in a North California Court

The U.S Department of Justice (DoJ) has challenged Visa’s acquisition of financial data aggregation firm, Plaid. According to the filing on Nov 5, Visa’s move to initiate a transaction process for purchasing Plaid at $5.3 billion is a monopolistic approach. It deprives the American people of cheaper and better debit-focused innovations. The filing reads,

“By acquiring Plaid, Visa would eliminate a nascent competitive threat that would likely result in substantial savings and more innovative online debit services for merchants and consumers.”

It goes on to term Visa as a ‘monopolist in online business transactions’ given that it enjoys a market share of around 70% in the online debit transactions industry. The DoJ claims that Visa will be violating Section 7 of the Clayton Act and Section 2 of the Sherman Act as per the filing made in a North California based federal court. Both Visa and Plaid are defendants in this case, whereas the DoJ is the complainant.

While Plaid’s focus area is not the distribution of debit cards, this Fintech startup proposes a significant value in today’s world where data is the new gold. In fact, the firm received a strategic investment from both Visa and Master card back in 2019. This platform is designed to harmonize interaction between different databases held by financial service providers, including banks. Apparently, the firm was on its way to disrupt Visa’s fort in the online debit service before the ‘monopoly’ swung in to acquire them.

Per the DoJ filing, Visa’s senior executives, including the firm’s CEO, have previously hinted at the move to acquire Plaid as a strategy to neutralize competition. This strategic decision was particularly triggered by information that Plaid had plans to launch a parallel competition to Visa’s money movement business by the end of 2021.

At the time, Visa’s downside risk estimation for the next four years stood at $300-500 million, should Plaid have been acquired by a rival. This prompted them to act swiftly with the CEO noting that ‘Visa seeks to buy Plaid as an “insurance policy” to neutralize a “threat to our important US debit business.’ A statement that appears to have rattled the DoJ is now a focal point in its filing against Visa and Plaid.

Nonetheless, Visa has indicated through a spokesperson who shared with the Wall Street Journal that they intend to defend the Plaid transaction,

“Visa intends to defend the transaction vigorously … Visa’s business faces intense competition from a variety of players — but Plaid is not one of them.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Justin Sun’s P2P Streaming Service Acquires eSports Platform DLive; Launches BitTorrent X

BitTorrent Inc, the popular peer-to-peer data sharing protocol and app, has acquired the well-known decentralized streaming platform DLive. The firm also announced that it will roll out the decentralized DLive platform to its newly established BitTorrent X ecosystem.

The BitTorrent X ecosystem consists of a popular file-sharing system called BitTorrent File System (BTFS) along with a BitTorrent client, which would be utilized to deliver different services to users in the ecosystem.

BitTorrent was developed as a P2P data sharing protocol back in 2001, and ever since its establishment, it has managed to garner over 2 billion users around the world up until now.

BitTorrent was later acquired by Justin Sun, CEO of Tron, in 2018 and since then has become an integral part of the Tron ecosystem. The file-sharing system of BTFS is especially actively utilized by TRON blockchain and DLive as a decentralized storage solution.

Justin Sun, the founder of TRON and CEO of BitTorrent, commented on the newly launched BitTorrent X ecosystem,

“BitTorrent X is the next step in establishing a truly decentralized internet. In one big step, the BitTorrent X ecosystem may drive blockchain-related tools to billions of devices.

Hundreds of millions of users will have access to the next era of tools to share, store, and stream their content directly to anyone across the web.”

DLive To Help in Expanding BitTorrent X Ecosystem

DLive decentralized streaming services have grown rapidly over the years and currently boast over 7 million users and over 200,000 content creators. Pewdepie, a very popular and most subscribed YouTuber, is one of the platform’s famous content creators. With decentralization being the ongoing trend and growing censorship from a mainstream platform like Youtube, many popular content creators are looking to join decentralized platforms such as DLive.

Charles Wayne, CEO of Dlive, commented on their acquisition by BitTorrent Inc and said,

“The acquisition marks a new start for We are more than excited to join the BitTorrent ecosystem as the collaboration will provide us with more innovative solutions to empower content creators and reward communities.

Together with the BitTorrent team, we look forward to bringing disruptive innovations to the digital media space and create value for our global community.”

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Author: Hank Klinger

More than Speculation, Bitcoin’s Real-World Usage Booms in Africa

Outsiders claim the sole purpose of bitcoin is speculation. Still, the data presents a much different picture in which these people who have declared the digital currency dead hundreds of times conveniently ignore.

As we reported several times, the use of bitcoin and stablecoins have been gaining a lot of traction in Argentina, Venezuela, Africa, and other parts of the world.

In these regions, cryptocurrencies are being used as a hedge against currency debasement. In Africa, especially, the use of cryptos is booming.

While weaker local currencies and complex bureaucracy are pushing people towards bitcoin, the young and tech-savvy population of Africa is finding it easy to adapt to bitcoin quickly.

While central banks continue to warn that cryptos are not legal tender and investors are unprotected, this is not deterring the users and investors.

South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya are the hotspots of bitcoin on the continent. In Nigeria, small crypto transfers total at about $56 million in June, which is nearly 50% more than a year before. The number of transactions also jumped over 55% to 120,000 in the country.

According to Chainalysis, which tracks crypto flows for financial firms and US law enforcement, monthly crypto transfers to and from Africa of under $10,000 has jumped over 55% in a year to reach $316 million in June. The number of monthly transfers also doubled, surpassing 600,700.

This is the real deal!

Abolaji Odunjo, a mobile phone seller in Lagos, saw his profits boosted after he started paying his suppliers in bitcoin. His Chinese supplies, from whom he sources the handsets and accessories, ask to be paid in crypto for speed and convenience.

“Bitcoin helped to protect my business against the currency devaluation, and enabled me to grow at the same time,” Odunjo told Reuters. “You don’t have to pay charges, you don’t have to buy dollars,” said the 30-year-old.

Nigeria, the continent’s biggest economy, is oil-dependent whose local currency naira is devalued twice by the central bank this year amidst low crude prices and COVID-19.

Naira’s fall pushed Nigerians towards bitcoin as reflected in the volume of the Lagos exchange BuyCoins, which jumped more than three-fold to $21 million in June following naira’s devaluation in March.

Another exchange Yellow Card also saw its monthly crypto volume spiking five-fold in 2020 to $25 million last month. Bitcoin trading volumes in South Africa and Nigeria combined on Luno jumped by half to $536 million.

Bitcoin is booming in Africa, driven by remittances sent home from migrant workers and payments from small businesses.

“People are very adoptive of any technology that will make their life easier,” said Frankline Kihiu, a crypto broker in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. “In most African countries, there are lots of government restrictions that bitcoin takes away.”

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Author: AnTy