Crypto in Africa: Binance Uganda launches fiat-to-crypto exchange

International crypto exchange Binance announced on October 15 the launch of its fiat-to-crypto service in Uganda. The launch will be rolled out starting with support for ETH and BTC, with more digital currencies to follow. The cryptocurrencies will be available for conversion from Uganda’s national fiat (UGX) starting October 17.

Market expansion

The launch is in line with Binance’s action plan of market expansion through the introduction of several fiat-to-crypto exchanges in several countries. This is according to CEO and founder Changpeng Zhao, who added that Know-your-customer (KYC) procedures were already underway.

According to Binance’s CFO Wei Zhou, the launch is expected to cement sustainable economic stability in the country and the region as a whole. Binance hopes to bring more innovations to the region through such startups.

The move has been hailed by Uganda’s government as a huge step forward, despite warnings issued by the Bank of Uganda to investors against cryptocurrency risks in March 2017. The government has also registered intentions of using blockchain technology.

The move is not a sure win for Binance. On one hand, it could strengthen Africa’s grip on economic stability. On the other hand, it could backfire, as Binance doesn’t have enough experience offering a fiat-based exchange.

Crypto not legal tender: Bank of Zambia

Through a communique (in pdf) issued by the Bank of Zambia (BoZ), the Zambian government has warned that only it can issue currency. It reminded citizens that only the national currency has legal tender, adding that too many risks were associated with digital non-fiat currencies.

There has been growing public interest in cryptocurrencies that might have compelled the government to make its announcement. Notwithstanding, the government did not necessarily disclose what led to the decision other than to say that the BoZ had been receiving a significant amount of inquiries related to cryptocurrencies.

The government reiterated that it was supportive of innovations but only to desirable innovations. It warned of the risks accompanying crypto assets such as money laundering and funding terrorist activities. The BoZ statement follows a similar warning issued by the Zambian Securities and Exchange Commission this past February, which advised investors against digital currencies since they fell outside its mandated jurisdiction.

While cryptocurrencies come with some monetary characteristics—such as being used as a peer-to-peer method of payment—the Bank of Zambia noted that they did not fall within the four walls of “legal tender.”

The government defended the move, saying it was meant to protect consumers and its citizens in general against risks such as hacking, phishing and other forms of fraud. It argued that no legal recourse would be available to victims due to the absence of legislative mechanisms.

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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Zambia’s central bank confirms stance on cryptos—they’re not legal tender

The Bank of Zambia (BoZ) is finally making a stand on the increasingly popular activity of cryptocurrency trading—cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in the country.

In a statement, the central bank of Zambia said it has received an increasing number of inquiries about cryptocurrency-related activities in Zambia, specifically trading in the crypto coins.

BoZ, however, noted that despite having “some monetary characteristics,” cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in Zambia.

“Section 30 of the Bank of Zambia Act vests the right to issue notes and coins exclusively in the BoZ. To date, BoZ has not issued any form of cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in the Republic of Zambia,” according to the central bank.

And since the bank has yet to regulate the cryptocurrency landscape, investors taking part in the crypto trade are doing so at their own risk. BoZ urged investors to be very careful while trading in crypto to avoid losing their funds to possible scammers and illegal traders in the cryptocurrency market.

“Some of [the] risks include money laundering, financing activities of terrorism and general consumer protection risks such as fraud and hacking, to which in most cases, no legal recourse would be available to customers due to the unregulated nature of cryptocurrency-related transactions,” BoZ stated.

The central bank, however, isn’t closing its doors on the cryptocurrency sector. According to BoZ, it “will continue to actively monitor all developments” in line with its “position that regulation should not constrain but enable innovation.”

Lawmakers in the African country are reportedly seeking to create a legal framework that will allow the crypto market in Zambia to grow. Currently, the country does not make much contribution to the global cryptocurrency market. Also, Zambia does not have a local cryptocurrency exchange forcing local crypto trades to rely on foreign exchanges through peer-to-peer transactions.

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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