Exchange Sees Record Growth with Expansion for Rapid Crypto Adoption

Cryptocurrency platform Luno is now expanding into Australia. The region where bitcoin trading reached a record in February, to $74,000 up from $44,000 in January, still remains largely untapped.

In the last five years, Australia that has a supportive regulatory environment, has seen a fivefold increase in the number of fintech companies, said Luno General Manager Marius Reitz.

The South African company, which operates in Nigeria and the UK and recently started trading Uganda and Zambia as well, employs 350 people across offices in Africa, Europe, and Asia.

According to Reitz, Africa is one of the “most promising” regions for crypto adoption, given the challenges of high inflation rates, volatile currencies, and a lack of banking infrastructure in different countries of the continent.

Moreover, “Africa’s young and mobile-native make the continent even more ideal for the rapid adoption of crypto,” he said. Not to mention, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Kenya, and Ghana are frequently among the top 10 countries by Google searches for the term “Bitcoin.”

Luno has added about a million users to its platform since the pandemic began. Just yesterday, it announced that the company has officially reached 5 million customers.

Founded seven years ago, Luno attracted $3 million in funding in 2015, led by Africa’s biggest company Naspers, which along with Rand Merchant Investment Holdings Ltd, Balderton Capital UK LLP, Venturra Capital, and Digital Currency Group all own less than 20% stakes in the company.

As we reported, DCG here just made a bet of $100 million on bitcoin mining with its fourth subsidiary, Foundry, the other three being Grayscale Investments, Genesis, and Coindesk, to reduce China’s dominance on BTC hash rate and bring it back to North America.

The crypto world is seeing a lot of development in 2020, just this week, Fidelity unveiled its first bitcoin fund for family officers and registered investment advisers with a minimum investment of $100,000.

As the crypto market is enjoying the gains, with Bitcoin up 56.4% YTD, development in the space is gathering speed as well.

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Author: AnTy

MENA’s Unbanked to Drive Crypto Adoption While China’s 5G SIM Cards to Enable Digital Payments

  • In MENA region, two-thirds of people unbanked but over half of the countries have 70% mobile subscriber penetration rate
  • China Telecom working on huge blockchain projects with superior safety features

In the next five years, half of the smartphone owners who don’t have a bank account will use a mobile-accessible cryptocurrency account, said Miriam Burt, managing VP at Gartner while delivering his Keynote presentation titled: “Gartner’s Strategic Predictions for 2020 and Beyond,” at Oracle OpenWorld 2020.

Financial leaders will have to anticipate the future of consumer payments in order to remain competitive and optimize customer satisfaction, said Burt. And as the digital currency space matures, the future of payments will be centered around cryptocurrency that will target the unbanked.

“In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, two-thirds of people have no bank accounts; however, more than half of the countries have a mobile subscriber penetration rate of 70% of the population. This means we have more people who have phones than bank accounts. An estimated 23% of these people are under-banked, so they have access to smartphones, but don’t have access to traditional financial services.”

Under and unbanked will offer cryptocurrencies a huge opportunity to be at the center of digital wallets and mobile payments. It will also increase financial inclusion initiatives globally, she said.

China’s 5G SIM cards to trade in Cryptocurrency

At the forefront of this, Burt predicts, would be China which is ready to become the first central bank to launch its own digital currency. Burt said:

“China Telecom is one of the largest operators in China and they are working on huge blockchain projects which use 5G SIM cards to trade in crypto-currency. If they pull this off, the platform is going to be the largest in the world.”

“This will have superior safety features which will become standard, such as digital authentication and decentralized authentication, to enable these kinds of crypto unit transactions.”

Africa to Lead the Crypto Adoption

Released in Oct. 2019, the report stated that as marketplaces and social media platforms start supporting crypto payments, the world will shift to mobile-accessible crypto accounts, with Africa expected to have the highest growth rate. It will also drive e-commerce as trading partners that previously were unable to access capital markets will emerge in the sector.

72% of e-commerce sales are expected to take place on mobile devices by 2021, as per research firm Statista. The blockchain meanwhile will be used to authenticate 30% of world news and video content by 2023, countering deep fake technology, it predicted.

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Author: AnTy

China Continues Supporting Blockchain Technology With New Investment In Hainan’s Free Trade Zone

Blockchain could receive support in China from Hainan Province. This region released the first blockchain pilot zone in the free trade zone of the province. This would bring talents, improve technological adoption and it would eventually help investment grow, among other things.

The goal is to test a wide range of blockchain solutions in different industries, including healthcare, trade, tourism and many others. Blockchain companies are also going to be receiving financing from a special fun of 1 billion yuan ($142 million) in order to expand in the region.

It is worth mentioning that the blockchain pilot zone was launched back in October 2018 in the Hainan Resort Software Community (RSC). The RSC is an internet industrial park located in the province. Until now, there are more than 100 different blockchain firms and companies operating there and offering services not only to China but also to other countries.

The goal is to create a free trade zone in the region by 2020 and become a totally free port in the next five years.

During the last few months, blockchain technology became a hot topic in China and around the world. The Chinese President Xi Jinping pushed for wider blockchain adoption a few months ago.

This generated a massive price increase in Bitcoin’s price, despite the fact that the leading cryptocurrency remains far from being legalized in China. There are other countries such as Belarus that have created crypto and blockchain hubs. The country established the High Technologies Park as a special economic zone that attracted several crypto-related companies.

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Author: Carl T

Banque De France Calls for An Embrace of Blockchain Financial Solutions In The Euro-System

The Central Bank of France is pushing for a blockchain-powered settlement system in the European region for quick and cost-effective euro transfers. Dennis Beau, the Deputy Governor, spoke in support of the Distributed Ledger Technology during a speech on Thursday, November 21. He said the technology is the answer to many of the presenting financial market problems.

One Solution France is suggesting is a Central Bank Digital Currency and Beau seconds this suggestion saying,

“The TOKENIZATION of financial assets combined with the recourse to blockchain-based solutions and more broadly Distributed Ledger Technologies to store and transfer those assets could help answering market’s demands.”

The Distributed Ledger Technology will help in solving delay problems related to cross-border payments. According to Beau, members of the European Union and other regions have always had to suffer long periods of waiting for payments to get transferred between international banks. Such long processes attract high fees and are generally insecure services.

Tokenization of the banking space would bring a twist and an end to the pressing problems. A combination of tokens and the DLT will aid in securing easy money transfers and addressing market demands.

Banque de France has been advocating for the adoption of the Distributed Ledger Technology for quite a long time. It has been working on a project on a digital currency execution program since October. Beau credits the bank for being the pioneer central bank to have a blockchain-powered registry system globally. Beau said,

“The Eurozone being the provider of settlement services and wholesale clearing in euros, should try the new technology to improve its services of using central bank funds for settlements,”

“The Banque de France, European Central Bank, and other central banks in the European Union are already experimenting with the new tech, especially on Central Bank Digital Currency.”

The European Central Bank has its fintech-powered Innovation Hub that it launched early this month. The platform advocates for international central banks to work together in embracing the new technologies in the financial space.

There have been rumors that the European Central Bank is issuing its own stablecoins, but the presidency of the ECB has nullified the rumor claiming that it was only interested in regulating the digital coins and not owning them.

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Author: Denis Miriti

Catalonia To Develop ‘IdentiCAT’ A Blockchain Identity Platform To Give Citizens Control Over Data

Catalonia, an autonomous region in Spain, is about to create a new decentralized ID platform that will be used in order to give the locals more control over their data. According to the local government, the platform, which is known as IdentiCAT, will empower Catalan citizens to be safe when using the internet.

The minister of Digital Policy and Public Administration Jordi Puigneró was responsible for the announcement, affirming that the new platform will use the distributed ledger technology and that the platform will be centralized. According to him, the government will act as the validator of the network.

However, he affirmed that the government will not collect any data from the people, as this is the whole goal of the initiative. The government has also revealed that the users can use several apps to manage their identities on the platform and that they can maintain their privacy this way.

Another use for the new platform is that, for instance, a user could verify his age by using the platform instead of having to provide more data to private systems.

The new IdentiCAT platform will be used to develop solutions that will be compliant with the rules from the European Union on electronic IDs and trust services.

Now, the government is focused on getting the system up and running to be used soon. As soon as the development of the platform is finished, the system will be distributed and used by local citizens, public companies and organizations.

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Author: Gabriel Machado