Xona Partners’ Riad Hartani: First blockchain applications are in Africa

CoinGeek’s Becky Liggero speaks to Riad Hartani of Xona Partners, who looks at how blockchain technology will impact markets across the world.

Even at such an early point in the history of blockchain, its real-world applicability is already being put to test by companies big and small. Yet to Riad Hartani, co-founder of tech firm Xona Partners, the potential for the technology’s mass adoption is particularly strong in Africa.

One present problem he sees is fundraising for small and medium enterprises. According to Hartani, “The whole process of raising money is very cumbersome, and basically difficult to put into practice. So this is a typical example, and with blockchain, you come up with a solution that facilitates all of that… Even if it’s a North American-developed technology, any advanced technology, teams and so on, but the first applications are in Africa, which is interesting.”

Xona Partners, according to Hartani, does three things to push blockchain technology: “We see blockchain as what we call a ‘leapfrog’ technology that just comes into markets and [is] given the opportunity to disrupt, basically. Solve problems definitely, one. Number two, since it’s new, basically the whole world’s probably at the same levels. You can take it, build it, and then go global with it. And number three, it’s mostly open-source, so the knowledge is very much accessible if you have talent. You can have access to it without any restrictions. So these three things make it very valuable for Africa and building technology ecosystems in Africa, in our opinion.”

Hartani sees the Transform Africa summit as part of the necessary gatherings among people that will make the technology thrive. “I see overall the value is really building this connectivity between people and ideas, and this is ideal. Because what is technology these days? Basically being able to be close to those that understand it and have it, right? So building that connectivity model between people and ideas is really the goal, and I think this event has been doing a lot of that. And meeting people from any part of the world that have that knowledge and keys to be able to work with them. So fundamentally, I see it as a way to basically get us closer to that, you know, ‘world is flat’ thing. We all work with each other,” he said.

If you’re interested in helping the growth of merchant adoption of Bitcoin BCH, join the bComm Association, an industry group that intends to be the focal point for miners, merchants, exchanges, developers and members of the BCH community. Developers and merchants of the Bitcoin BCH community will also be on hand for the first CoinGeek Week Conference happening in London on November 28-30. Members of bComm Association can avail CoinGeek Week tickets at discounted prices. Tickets to the three-day conference are still available via Eventbrite.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Crypto in Africa: Paxful looking at cryptocurrency’s potential in East Africa

Paxful, a peer-to-peer marketplace, is reportedly looking at the cryptocurrency market’s growth potential in East Africa. The startup has already set up shop in Rwanda, ventured into Kenya, and has grown over the last three years into a global peer-to-peer crypto marketplace. It reportedly handles $15 million in crypto transactions, BTC in particular, per week from across the world. This rapid expansion has solidified its place among major reputable crypto players and offers enhancements in both security and efficiency.

Paxful has over 1 million active monthly users from around the world. This is because it has partnered with popular payment platforms such as PayPal, Western Union, Amazon Gift Cards and iTunes Gift cards.

Paxful’s entry into the East African scene is at a time when crypto penetration in Africa is at an all-time high. According to recent studies, one in three Kenyans owns a crypto wallet. Additionally, Kenya’s M-PESA system, a mobile phone-based money transfer and micro-financing service, recently announced the launch of its own crypto device. This will make it convenient for Kenyans to buy and sell cryptos on peer-to-peer marketplaces.

A tokenization drive has been initiated in Rwanda to help steer the crypto market. It has helped connect buyers and sellers to easily trade cryptocurrencies like BTC. This has been aided by the fact that the platform has no buyer fee and a minimal 1% seller fee in online shopping, which has attracted the attention of many online shoppers.

In Rwanda, Paxful is engaged in a project called #BuiltWithBitcoin in conjunction with the non-profit organization Zam Zam Water. The project aims to a school for 6- to 15-year-olds. Previously, the charity initiative funded launched a school in Bugesera in the Nyamata Sector for 3- to 6-year-olds. The aim is to promote charity within the crypto community and to improve and change lives for a better world, according to Paxful CEO Ray Youssef.

The developments in Rwanda and Kenya reflect the growing demand for investing in crypto in East Africa. In Kenya, for instance, more and more people are becoming more confident in dealing with cryptocurrency despite it being new and coming with a learning curve. Most people have come to accept its plethora of benefits. It offers massive wealth distribution globally as well, and presents financial freedom to individuals.

Crypto ventures have the potential to be the initiator of many emerging fundamentals of economic growth in the East African region if the right balance is found.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Africa’s BitPesa, Japan’s SBI Remit team up for cross-border payments

Venture-backed firm BitPesa has partnered with Japan’s remittance service provider SBI Remit to bring cross-border blockchain payments to Africa.

On Monday, CCN reported that the partnership will see the two companies utilizing blockchain technology to make it easier for Africans to buy Japanese products. With the help of blockchain, the companies expect to get rid of challenges accompanying the transfer of funds between African traders and Japanese exporters, resulting in traders enjoying faster cross-border payment transfers with improved efficiency and more stringent security.

The partnership will focus on a number of industries, including used cars, electronics and cosmetics. This is expected to foster strong business ties between Japan and Africa. The partnership will especially benefit the used cars industry—the leading business between the two continents.

According to BitPesa founder and CEO Elizabeth Rossiello, traders stand to gain a lot from this partnership since “they don’t need to do any conversion.” Traders will be able to deposit funds directly to BitPesa’s accounts in their local currencies. Once the funds have been deposited, BitPesa will disperse the funds to their Japanese counterparts at SBI Remit, who will proceed to pay clients.

From this partnership, traders will enjoy easy transfer of funds, lower fees, and they will also not have to deal with currency conversion. Moreover, through the BitPesa and SBI partnership, transactions will be much faster than the two-week duration given to by local banks. It will also reduce the volatility risk that comes with forex conversations.

Enabling cross-border payments will also help open up business between Africa and Japan. The latter will be able to tap directly into BitPesa’s digital exchange platform, which has a presence in Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Kenya. Traders from these countries will now be able to pay for goods from Japan easily.

Asian traders have been finding it hard to launch businesses in Africa due to fund transfer bottlenecks. Transferring funds from local currencies to a G20 currency has not only been time consuming but also expensive. Similarly, even transfer of funds locally within African countries requires the local currency to be converted to a G20 currency to facilitate this transfer.

With the BitPesa platform, Rossiello said the transfers can be done on their platform and would be more affordable and cost effective than conventional approaches. Both companies are optimistic about working together to grow business in Africa and Japan.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Dr. Craig Wright on how Bitcoin BCH will open Africa to global trade

CoinGeek’s Becky Liggero caught up with Dr. Craig Wright, chief scientist of nChain, to discuss what Bitcoin Cash (BCH) can bring to developing countries around the world.

For nChain’s chief scientist Dr. Craig Wright, the use of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) as means of payment in Africa should not be confined to within the continent. The potential of a universally accepted currency making instant transactions possible should be explored farther.

“I think trade globally is what matters. Trade forms markets because of an emergent property in markets, all those people interacting without regulations stopping them,” he said.

Goods in one country in Africa are often available elsewhere in region, where trade opportunities are not maximized. “There’s coffee beans in Rwanda, there’s coffee beans in Ethiopia, there’s coffee beans in Kenya. Do you think Rwandans are going to buy Kenyan coffee beans and swap their coffee beans for the other? So what we need is a world market. Right now, that is a very primary market, one where people haven’t opened up and developed. That can be services and other things as it develops more and it can be global. With the internet, with the ability to trade from here to America, from here to Europe, that brings money in and can be used to further develop the country, to build infrastructure,” he said.

Bitcoin BCH might eventually serve as a medium of exchange to a greater capacity than the U.S. dollar and other fiat currencies.

“Bitcoin Cash, first of all, enables a payment system. So that’s going to open up the markets, the ability to trade, not just locally, which is part of it. Within the regions, but [also] globally. A global money becomes trusted because you know it’s liquid everywhere. But we can take that further. With the introduction of smart contracts, we can do things like enabling people to invest here in maybe even coffee plantations, maybe other forms of agriculture, maybe growing plantains that not get sold locally but become sold everywhere so that you can then get more money back and buy more goods and services, maybe educate your children and develop a future,” he said.

Because of BCH’s great exchangeability, the products for which BCH serves as remuneration ought to be something usable on a global scale. “I think the real issue is actually creating something that is going to be globally distributed. We don’t want to localize. This is the whole point of specialization. What are you building here? And there are some new industries that are starting to pop up, and that’s what they need to focus on, whether it’s developing new technology, whether it’s having the agriculture in a way that [you] can sell to the world, whatever else. But to do that, you’re not looking at selling between Africans. You want to sell to the world, you want to sell to Europe, you want to sell to Asia, you want to sell to America. That’s when it really becomes powerful. And having Bitcoin Cash will help and enable that,” Wright said.

If you’re interested in helping the growth of merchant adoption of Bitcoin BCH, join the bComm Association, an industry group that intends to be the focal point for miners, merchants, exchanges, developers and members of the BCH community. Developers and merchants of the Bitcoin BCH community will also be on hand for the first CoinGeek Week happening in London in November. Members of bComm Association can avail CoinGeek Week tickets at discounted prices. To purchase tickets or learn more about CoinGeek Week Conference, visit the official website here.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Kenya’s cryptocurrency project seeks to improve logistics quality

Several days after Kenya’s electoral agency decided to integrate blockchain into its voting system, the East African country is now reportedly preparing to launch its first blockchain-based cryptocurrency for value supply chain by the end of September. According to the Daily Nation report, the cryptocurrency project, called TMX Global Coin, aims to solve the problems in the logistics industry in Africa. TMX Global Coin was reportedly developed in 2017 as a decentralized platform that utilizes smart contracts to eliminate problems associated with both domestic and international import and export business. Speaking to nation.co.ke, TMX Global CEO Anthony Njoroge pointed that the numerous reports and complaints arising from the supply chain sector especially in Africa, led to the development of Kenya’s own cryptocurrency. He said, “We are using blockchain technology to enhance cargo logistics business to have more open, transparent and democratized process using a decentralized system where all users are able to talk to each other on an open platform.” With the TMX platform, customers can place their orders online and monitor the whole supply chain process. They can also review all of the required documentation before they start the trading. According to Njoroge, “The consumer as well gets to know the amount of money required through the different processes the cargo goes through and the estimated amount of time.” Kenya’s landmark crypto project is set to launch by the end of September 2018, with a goal of gaining adoption in the trading sector by May 2019. Kenya has recently turned to blockchain for help in its bid to boost its economic and political development. The East African country’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati announced that the government is eyeing distributed ledger technology (DLT) to improve the efficiency and transparency of Kenya’s electoral system.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
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