Fidelity Investments poised to launch crypto products by end of 2018

This past summer, Fidelity Investments indicated that it was preparing to join the cryptocurrency ecosystem. It said at the time that it had plans to introduce a cryptocurrency exchange, but didn’t lay out a time frame for when it would be ready. Now, the company has announced that it is setting up a number of crypto options, and that it expects to launch some, or all, by the end of this year.

The company’s CEO, Abigail Johnson, spoke last Friday at the Boston FinTech Week conference. In her speech, she said that Fidelity’s crypto and blockchain-related products will go live in the last quarter of 2018, but didn’t provide details on exactly which products and services the company would be rolling out. Johnson said, “We’ve got a few things underway, a few things that are partially done but also kind of on the shelf because it’s not really the right time. We hope to have some things to announce by the end of the year.”

Given that Fidelity is one of the most well-known financial companies in the world, the announcement will certainly have all eyes watching for future releases from the company to find out exactly what’s in store. Traditional finance entities and cryptocurrency companies alike will be anxiously awaiting any and all further announcements on the topic.

Johnson alluded to the fact that the rollout of products and services isn’t the same as what the company had first envisioned. She said, “What we started with was building a long list of use cases for either Bitcoin, Ethereum, other cryptocurrencies, or potentially just raw blockchain technology. Most of them have been scrapped by now or at least put on the shelf. The things that actually survived were not the things I think necessarily we expected. We were trying to listen to the marketplace and anticipate what would make sense.”

Institutional investments are often seen as being the best way to ensure widespread adoption and market stability. The last quarter of the year could prove to be extremely beneficial to the cryptocurrency industry with developments like those from Fidelity, and a ruling by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on a number of cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETF), also expected sometime later this year.

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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Fidelity Investments poised to launch crypto products by end of 2018

This past summer, Fidelity Investments indicated that it was preparing to join the cryptocurrency ecosystem. It said at the time that it had plans to introduce a cryptocurrency exchange, but didn’t lay out a time frame for when it would be ready. Now, the company has announced that it is setting up a number of crypto options, and that it expects to launch some, or all, by the end of this year.

The company’s CEO, Abigail Johnson, spoke last Friday at the Boston FinTech Week conference. In her speech, she said that Fidelity’s crypto and blockchain-related products will go live in the last quarter of 2018, but didn’t provide details on exactly which products and services the company would be rolling out. Johnson said, “We’ve got a few things underway, a few things that are partially done but also kind of on the shelf because it’s not really the right time. We hope to have some things to announce by the end of the year.”

Given that Fidelity is one of the most well-known financial companies in the world, the announcement will certainly have all eyes watching for future releases from the company to find out exactly what’s in store. Traditional finance entities and cryptocurrency companies alike will be anxiously awaiting any and all further announcements on the topic.

Johnson alluded to the fact that the rollout of products and services isn’t the same as what the company had first envisioned. She said, “What we started with was building a long list of use cases for either Bitcoin, Ethereum, other cryptocurrencies, or potentially just raw blockchain technology. Most of them have been scrapped by now or at least put on the shelf. The things that actually survived were not the things I think necessarily we expected. We were trying to listen to the marketplace and anticipate what would make sense.”

Institutional investments are often seen as being the best way to ensure widespread adoption and market stability. The last quarter of the year could prove to be extremely beneficial to the cryptocurrency industry with developments like those from Fidelity, and a ruling by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on a number of cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETF), also expected sometime later this year.

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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Sterlin Lujan: 51% attacks are highly exaggerated

Sterlin Lujan, cryptocurrency expert and ambassador to Bitcoin.com, recently participated in an exclusive interview with the crypto website cryptovest.com. Lujan broached a number of subjects, including 51% attacks and the future of Bitcoin BCH. His insight shines a great deal of light on the future of the crypto ecosystem and the part played by mining in the entire endeavor.

Lujan identifies the biggest risk to cryptocurrencies as being the developers themselves. He points out that Bitcoin Core (BTC) developers didn’t properly scale to meet market demand, resulting in a stagnation of the market share. He asserts that not being able to trust the developers to scale to the demand, the cryptocurrency use case becomes extremely damaged. He stated, “I think the outside security risks are much less visible and much less likely to occur than the internal risks. Being able to protect cryptocurrencies as cryptocurrencies is extremely important – 100%!”

Specifically touching upon Bitcoin BCH’s position in the cryptocurrency food chain, he indicated in the interview that the digital currency is “poised to be the cryptocurrency of the future as it fits the criteria of being an actual cryptocurrency…” Lujan ads that ultimately, however, there doesn’t need to be just one single cryptocurrency—many can exist in a cohesive system as long as they are “usable, efficient and growing with demand.”

When asked about a statement he recently made at the NEXT BLOCK conference in Bulgaria regarding 51% attacks being exaggerated, Lujan clarified that he believes there will always be some degree of mining centralization, even though crypto is designed to be decentralized. “Without mass adoption and with intensifying government efforts to regulate cryptocurrencies, entrepreneurs will have fewer opportunities to get involved in the mining process and compete with the already operating miners,” he explained.

Lujan added, “The [51%] problem is overstated. There are no incentives for these miners to conduct a 51% attack and break the network. If they do that, it would be like shooting themselves in the foot, shooting themselves in the head even.”

To support his assertion, Lujan points to the attack that was launched against the ZenCash network. Following the attack, developers upgraded the protocol, made changes and enhanced the network to keep moving forward. “So, a 51% attack is not all doom and gloom. There is still an opportunity to pivot and to survive those attacks,” he stated.

Lujan also sees an extremely bright future for cryptocurrency in general. He expects to see even more decentralization, entrepreneurship and other products thriving in the space as it continues to mature.

Bitcoin BCH is especially centered to be the leading cryptocurrency. According to Lujan, “The developers have made it so open source that people can now build initial coin offerings on top of it, launch smart contracting platforms, and create colored coins because the opcodes have been enabled. You can’t do this with the [BTC] network anymore. It generates additional use cases.”

The main takeaway is that cryptocurrencies need to be created to prevent them from being intercepted, frozen or seized. As long as there is a substantial amount of decentralization to allow for censorship-resistant transactions, the industry will be able to flourish.

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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Sterlin Lujan: 51% attacks are highly exaggerated

Sterlin Lujan, cryptocurrency expert and ambassador to Bitcoin.com, recently participated in an exclusive interview with the crypto website cryptovest.com. Lujan broached a number of subjects, including 51% attacks and the future of Bitcoin BCH. His insight shines a great deal of light on the future of the crypto ecosystem and the part played by mining in the entire endeavor.

Lujan identifies the biggest risk to cryptocurrencies as being the developers themselves. He points out that Bitcoin Core (BTC) developers didn’t properly scale to meet market demand, resulting in a stagnation of the market share. He asserts that not being able to trust the developers to scale to the demand, the cryptocurrency use case becomes extremely damaged. He stated, “I think the outside security risks are much less visible and much less likely to occur than the internal risks. Being able to protect cryptocurrencies as cryptocurrencies is extremely important – 100%!”

Specifically touching upon Bitcoin BCH’s position in the cryptocurrency food chain, he indicated in the interview that the digital currency is “poised to be the cryptocurrency of the future as it fits the criteria of being an actual cryptocurrency…” Lujan ads that ultimately, however, there doesn’t need to be just one single cryptocurrency—many can exist in a cohesive system as long as they are “usable, efficient and growing with demand.”

When asked about a statement he recently made at the NEXT BLOCK conference in Bulgaria regarding 51% attacks being exaggerated, Lujan clarified that he believes there will always be some degree of mining centralization, even though crypto is designed to be decentralized. “Without mass adoption and with intensifying government efforts to regulate cryptocurrencies, entrepreneurs will have fewer opportunities to get involved in the mining process and compete with the already operating miners,” he explained.

Lujan added, “The [51%] problem is overstated. There are no incentives for these miners to conduct a 51% attack and break the network. If they do that, it would be like shooting themselves in the foot, shooting themselves in the head even.”

To support his assertion, Lujan points to the attack that was launched against the ZenCash network. Following the attack, developers upgraded the protocol, made changes and enhanced the network to keep moving forward. “So, a 51% attack is not all doom and gloom. There is still an opportunity to pivot and to survive those attacks,” he stated.

Lujan also sees an extremely bright future for cryptocurrency in general. He expects to see even more decentralization, entrepreneurship and other products thriving in the space as it continues to mature.

Bitcoin BCH is especially centered to be the leading cryptocurrency. According to Lujan, “The developers have made it so open source that people can now build initial coin offerings on top of it, launch smart contracting platforms, and create colored coins because the opcodes have been enabled. You can’t do this with the [BTC] network anymore. It generates additional use cases.”

The main takeaway is that cryptocurrencies need to be created to prevent them from being intercepted, frozen or seized. As long as there is a substantial amount of decentralization to allow for censorship-resistant transactions, the industry will be able to flourish.

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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OKCoin lists five new cryptocurrencies trading against USD, BTC and ETH: XRP, Cardano, Stellar, Zcash and 0x

Expands its licensed exchange to include five new fiat-to-crypto and token-to-token trading pairs

SAN FRANCISCO — September 19, 2018 — OKCoin, one of the world’s leading digital asset exchanges, today announced it has listed five new popular convertible virtual currencies on its exchange, including XRP, Cardano (ADA), Stellar (XLM), Zcash (ZEC) and 0x (ZRX). US traders and institutional investors in applicable states can now buy and sell these five convertible virtual currencies safely and securely through OKCoin’s licensed trading platform. The five new convertible virtual currencies will be paired against fiat (USD), Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Fiat-to-Token Pairs

The five new convertible virtual currencies will be paired against USD and available for trading to California residents. This addition adds to OKCoin’s rapidly growing stable of convertible virtual currencies paired against fiat, which also includes Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic and Litecoin.

Token-to-Token Pairs

The five new convertible virtual currencies will be paired against Bitcoin and Ethereum and available for token-to-token trading in 21 US states.

“We are very pleased to welcome these five new cryptocurrencies and all of the communities that trade them,” said Tim Byun, OKCoin USA CEO. “As we build out the broadest set of financial products on a globally regulated exchange, we are committed to expanding the trading pairs for our customers, while bringing tokens to the exchange that offer utility, value and demonstrable use cases. Today’s announcement signifies a giant step forward for the entire ecosystem.”

XRP

An independent, decentralized digital asset, XRP settles payments in 3-4 seconds and can scale to handle 50,000 transactions per second, which makes it the best digital asset for cross border payments. Ripple, an enterprise blockchain company, uses XRP in one of their products – xRapid – to help banks and payment providers source liquidity on demand.

Cardano (ADA)

Cardano is a decentralised public blockchain and cryptocurrency project that is fully open source. Based on a project that began in 2015 as an effort to change the way cryptocurrencies are designed and developed, Cardano’s focus is to provide a more balanced and sustainable ecosystem that better accounts for the needs of its users.

Lumens (XLM)

Lumens are the native token of Stellar, an open network that allows any currency or asset to be digitally issued, transferred, and exchanged over the internet. The Stellar public ledger has a built-in order book, pathfinding algorithm, and network token that together allow assets to move seamlessly between participants. With investment from payment company Stripe and a partnership with IBM, Stellar is an open-source, decentralized protocol for the transfer of value globally.

Zcash (ZEC)

Zcash is the first open, permissionless cryptocurrency that can fully protect the privacy of transactions using zero-knowledge cryptography. Aiming to make transactions more private than other cryptocurrencies, Zcash allows users to selectively disclose private information such as the sender, recipient and amount being transacted.

0x (ZRX)

Enabling the creation of a decentralized exchange, 0x is an open source protocol designed for exchanging any ERC20 token on the Ethereum blockchain in a fast and cost-effective way. The 0x protocol facilitates the exchange of a growing number of Ethereum-based tokens including currencies, game items, and many more digital assets.

About OKCoin

Founded in 2013, OKCoin is one of the world’s first and largest regulated digital asset exchanges. OKCoin provides traders and institutions with a fiat-to-token trading platform for digital assets including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Ripple, Cardano, Stellar, Zcash and 0x. Offering fast trades and industry-leading expertise and support, OKCoin’s mission is to help eliminate trade barriers and improve transaction efficiency while complying with the highest regulatory standards in the US and the world. Headquartered in San Francisco, OKCoin has a global footprint with offices around the world to serve its growing community and customer base. For more information, visit www.okcoin.com.

Media Contact

Matt McAllister

Fluid PR & Communications

(510) 229-9707

matt@fluidspeak.com

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Over 200 Bitcoin BCH miners sign up ahead of SVPool’s official launch

More than 200 Bitcoin Cash (BCH) miners have already pre-registered to join SVPool ahead of its launch later this month, a sign of a growing appetite in the community for ‘Satoshi Vision’ and the Miner’s Choice initiative.

At press time, some 233 miners and groups around the world have already signed up for SVPool. Majority of these registrants come from the United States, followed by Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, China, India, South Korea, Brazil, Japan, Germany, Malaysia, Spain, and Venezuela.

These groups are joined by miners from Russia, South Africa, Sweden, the Netherlands, Vietnam, Finland, France, Iran, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Qatar, Switzerland, Austria, Bulgaria, Cayman Islands, Chile, and Colombia. Groups from Croatia, Denmark, Greece, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Portugal, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Swaziland, Taiwan, Thailand, UAE, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Belgium round up the first batch of early registrants for SVPool.

A personal initiative of nChain Chief Scientist Dr. Craig Wright, SVPool is a public Bitcoin BCH mining pool that will represent miners following the original Satoshi Nakamoto vision via the Bitcoin SV implementation of the BCH protocol. SVPool stands in solidarity with CoinGeek in the belief that BCH is the only true Bitcoin that fulfills the Satoshi Vision.

SVPool will have an initial Pay-per-last-N-Shares (PPLNS) offering when it goes live towards the end of September, while a Pay-per-share plus (PPS+) option will be added in November. SVPool, managed by CoinGeek Mining, will help and remunerate miners—large or small—to ensure BCH remains a truly trustless and decentralized system, in accordance with the original Nakamoto white paper.

Want to help Bitcoin BCH realize its full potential? Pre-register now for SVPool.

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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Morocco to see 36MW wind-powered crypto mining farm in 2019

Starting in January 2019, 37,000 acres of land in Morocco will be full of bulldozers and construction workers busy building a 36-megawatt (MW) wind farm for cryptocurrency mining.

The Soluna.io project, which is being developed by Brookstone Partners out of New York, will involve the setting up of wind turbines that will generate electricity at the farm to facilitate crypto mining, in this case that of BTC. Speaking to Ars Technica, Soluna spokesperson Yoav Reisler said the company has the rights to a 37,000-acre land near Dakhla in Morocco, which is capable of accommodating up to 900MW of wind capacity.

Majority of the farm’s power will be utilized for crypto mining, although the site’s computing facility is also expected to consume 18MW of the electricity generated from the wind farm. The project will install an energy storage system, which will come in handy when wind power isn’t adequate.

Under Morocco’s Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA), 20% of Soluna’s excess power will be bought by the Moroccan government. Although the law facilitates the selling of excess power back to the grid, renewable energy investors can’t sell more than 20% of the electricity generated. According to John Belizaire, Brookstone CEO, Soluna is considering lobbying the government to amend the country’s law framework to allow the company to sell more than 20% of its excess power.

Amending the existing laws will provide Soluna with an opportunity to increase its footprint in Morocco. Moreover, Soluna will be able to approach large commercial offtakers within and outside Morocco to sell their excess power to more people.

Although the project will kick off in January 2019, the project has already been denounced by the organization Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW), which is fighting against the Moroccan government’s influence in Western Sahara. According to the group, the Moroccan government is violating the rights of the Sahrawi people by legalising the creation of the crypto farm in Western Sahara. They also accused the Moroccan government of using the crypto mining farm to exercise its authority in Western Sahara.

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China’s central bank warns public (again) against cryptos, ICOs

Residents in China have received a new warning against getting involved in cryptocurrency-related activities. This week, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has issued yet another notice to remind everyone in the country against investing in cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) amid reports that domestic crypto activities have been flourishing recently.

According to the central bank, the cryptocurrency market is filled with so many uncertainties. The industry has seen skyrocketing prices, disrupting the market. The PBoC also reaffirmed its stance that ICOs do not have a proper financing mechanism, which needs to be regulated by relevant authorities. The PBoC notice reminded Chinese citizens that ICOs are “suspected of illegally selling tokens, illegally issuing securities, illegal criminal activities, financial fraud, pyramid schemes and other illegal and criminal activities.”

According to the Chinese central bank, “It is important for consumers and investors to increase their awareness of risks associated with the industry and avoid falling in the same traps.”

The announcement comes a few weeks after the bank revealed a significant drop in cryptocurrency activities in the country. In August, PBoC stated that “The global share of domestic virtual currency transactions has dropped from the initial 90% to less than 5%, effectively avoiding the virtual currency bubble caused by skyrocketing global virtual currency prices in the second half of last year in China’s financial market.”

Since it banned ICOs in September 2017, mainland authorities have already shut down 88 ICO platforms and 85 ICO projects in the country.

However, reports recently surfaced that some investors and companies were braving the regulatory forces in China. Underground crypto transactions have become the order of the day with many people looking for ways around the ban. According to reports, some traders have resorted to using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), while others opted for offshore exchanges. Others have turned to peer-to-peer transactions to pay for services and products or purchase their favorite currencies and tokens.

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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Leave crypto alone: Hester Peirce admonishes fellow regulators

The lone dissenter in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) orders rejecting cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETFs) called on the regulator to ease up on cryptocurrency-related products.

Commissioner Hester Peirce began her speech at a Cato Institute event in San Francisco with a disclaimer that her remarks were not to be taken as those of the commission, before launching into a plea for the SEC to be open to innovations in blockchain-based markets.

“We know we will be blamed when something goes wrong, and this fear leads to a default suspicion of risk-taking and a regulatory mindset that too often presumes that innovations designed to provide greater access to risk-taking are threats, both to our reputations and investor safety,” Peirce said.

She noted that the SEC decisions to deny ETF applications—currently under review—included a statement that the rejection was not based on an evaluation of the underlying assets, that is, cryptocurrencies. “The order, however, seemed to do almost that,” Peirce said. “It focused on the alleged flaws with Bitcoin markets, rather than on whether the exchange proposing to trade shares of the trust had taken steps to ensure the orderly trading of those shares.”

Peirce pointed out that much of the flaws of cryptocurrencies and related products were discussed openly. “What authority do we have to require that assets’ underlying securities be regulated as if they were securities? Even if we had this authority, private markets can and do regulate themselves. The crypto community includes lots of people who are very willing to speak up, criticize one another, and bring to light technological, corporate governance, and other perceived weaknesses in cryptocurrencies,” she said.

According to the SEC commissioner, cryptocurrency investments had to be made with care, just as any other investment. “Kleptocrypto is a new way of stealing from investors, but investors can protect themselves by exercising an old-fashioned dose of skepticism,” she said.

Risk, she noted, was a present factor in all investments, with people having differing appetites for it. “The SEC, as regulator of the capital markets, therefore should appreciate the connection between risk and return and resist the urge to coddle the American investor,” she said.

Rather than simply rejecting new financial products, Peirce said, “The SEC’s statutory mandates are much more modest. We are directed to protect investors, facilitate capital formation, and maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets. In my view, this threefold mission requires the Commission to ensure that investors have access to products and services that enable them to construct investment portfolios that meet their needs.”

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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Blockchain in Africa: The next frontier

An interview with John Kamara, Director for Global Gaming Africa, on how Africa has embraced Blockchain technology, by Katy Micallef

VALLETTA, Malta, September 19, 2018 – What kind of solutions can blockchain technology offer the continent? Is Africa on the road to becoming a blockchain hub?

Africa is rising and technology is at the forefront of our growth as a continent. We have seen the explosion of the mobile space in the continent and how it has allowed a number of services and solutions to become easier. Blockchain is about to help solve a number of issues we are currently facing in the public and private sector. Pockets of blockchain innovation are fast springing up in innovation hubs across Africa, as the public and private sector alike seek effective new systems of record with trust embedded.

With Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa among the countries taking the lead in blockchain experimentation, the financial sector looks set to be the continent’s earliest big adopter. However, development and trials are also underway to apply blockchain technology to virtually every industry sector – from health and social development to retail and agriculture. Governments are exploring ways of using blockchain to aid corruption across multiple verticals and also to push value to service sectors.

One company planning to maximize blockchain’s potential in Africa is Ecobank, a pan-African banking conglomerate with operations in 36 African countries. Ecobank’s Fintech Challenge actively seeks out fintech innovations harnessing Blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other next-generation technologies.

Other countries like Kenya and Nigeria have either setup a blockchain committee or advisory programs to explore the opportunity. Some of the happenings in the private sector around blockchain education are also key to use case of the technology, i.e IBM research on blockchain and movement of trade in Africa. ITEX, a payment solution company servicing multiple POS solutions and software for banks across Africa is exploring blockchain for security and trust.

From my perspective Africa is looking at blockchain as a solution to solve some of the multiple problems we have, as we pioneer digital payment technologies in Africa as well.

As we move into the African future in technology blockchain represents a perfect decentralized and incorruptible ‘truth engine’ that cannot be hacked growth for payment, SME trade and a number of identity management and transactional problems we have in Africa.

Nairobi and South Africa have implemented crypto-friendly laws and Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta has launched a blockchain and artificial intelligence task force. Do you think other African countries will follow suit?

Yes, more countries will follow and create other types of structures that will work for their economy based on their market need.

Some momentum has been gathered around the use of blockchain in Africa so far and throughout 2018. But what could be unusual is the role that governments and public sector organisations could play in raising its profile further. Typically, the development and application of emerging technologies is championed by the private sector before the public sector tends to take notice. Given that the potential use cases for blockchain align so closely with many public services, this is a technology where the public sector cannot afford to be sat in the passenger seat.

For example the Blockchain Association of Uganda was established earlier this year to create a credible vehicle for driving standards for blockchain across industries in Uganda. The membership organisation also aims to make blockchain-related resources available to government and public-sector consumers.

We also see the evolution of the Blockchain centre for excellence positioned to provide education and train young developers on blockchain and how to build solutions that can solve African problems.

Do you foresee any difficulties with the implementation of blockchain systems? There are some concerns about the risk of crypto asset crime, including tax evasion and money laundering.

Bitcoin’s wild skyrocket last year may well have turned the world’s interest on to cryptocurrencies, but in Africa we “still have a long way to go” before they will be considered legal tender, and as such are not of major interest. Governments are still struggling with how to manage crypto space and this is affecting the conversation around blockchain. Any decision to buy into a new cryptocurrency would be guided by the same criteria as other investment decisions, with a focus on avoiding the “cloud” created by the crypto buzz.

African Cryptocurrency exchanges – allowing people to trade various digital currencies against African currencies – may present a more valuable prospect in the short term, but overall, he leans away from the crypto proposition in favour of blockchain solutions. These, he says, will be far more attractive investment opportunities: It will not be as straight forward as it may sound.

A lot of African banks and government run when they hear the word crypto because of the effect they feel it will have on the economy and also loss of control. Issues around tax evasion are real and have to be discussed with clarity for us to find a way forward.

What potential does this have to revolutionize the lives of the unbanked, does it represent an opportunity to democratize the economy?

On the private sector side it is a huge opportunity for the fintech and private sector space. Also, the drive for financial inclusion is one that bodes well for the crypto space in Africa. We can already see a number of exchanges setting up in Africa to take advantage of this growing opportunity.

Just as Africa skipped the early fixed-line telecommunication phases of the 20th century and moved straight on to mobile phone usage, could new blockchain tech provide it with a similar opportunity to bypass inefficient systems and leap into the future?

Yes, 1000% – blockchain is going to revolutionize the way we look at tech and solutions going forward in Africa.  And blockchain on mobile is the next frontier.

There is certainly a lot of buzz around blockchain tech and its potential to bring about change in Africa. In your opinion, is this sense of optimism realistic or are we jumping the gun a bit?

It is optimistic but needs guidance and clarity. It’s also a huge educational opportunity for various private sector companies to create a whole new revenue and income stream. Africa is the land of milk and honey at the moment and blockchain is another form of milk that is going to become huge. Some interesting things happening in blockchain in Africa:

ITEX, one of the top payment solutions in Africa and specifically, Nigeria (over 14 years old), has exposure in over 23 countries throughout Africa and is currently working on an integrated Pan-African settlement platform on the blockchain.

Paxful has announced plans to establish a blockchain incubator hub in Lagos, Nigeria, as well as to run Blockchain and cryptocurrency events in Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon.

AID:Tech and PharmAccess are harnessing AID:Tech’s blockchain platform to collect and verify digital health data to make antenatal care more effective in Tanzania.

Kenyan real estate firm Land Layby Group plans to use blockchain to store land registry records, eliminating the existing real estate challenges of fraud, double ownership and false documents.

Kenyan startup ‘Nurse in Hand’, has signed a MoU with Apla Tech Company to build a blockchain-based accident and emergency response platform.

Blockchain start-up TariLabs has launched in Johannesburg, South Africa, with the aim of building the open source Tari blockchain protocol. The protocol is being constructed as a platform for the management, trade and use of digital assets, and will be merge-mined with the Monero blockchain.

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) ran the Project Khokha proof of concept trialling a distributed ledger technology-based wholesale payment system in a ‘real world’ environment. It reported that the typical daily volume of the payments system could be processed in less than two hours with full confidentiality of transactions and settlement.

Jamborow, the Pan African B2B platform for financial inclusion in Africa is also building a blockchain solution to help secure data, transactional information and identity management for her clients in Africa.

These developments prove that the private sector and governments are taking blockchain seriously in the continent. The proof is in the drive of our private companies to explore and deploy funds into blockchain research as well as projects.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Malta Blockchain Summit.

For more information contact:

info@maltablockchainsummit.com

+356 7777 3092/93

Skype: eman.pulis

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