Cryptocurrency Middle East & Africa

Digital Currencies and MEA: Latest News

The month of August has seen a focus on digital currencies at The Fintech Times. With the industry constantly changing and innovating, within this article you can find some of the most recent developments within the digital currencies vertical. From how countries in Africa are coping with the pandemic, to how a regulated security token for the Middle East is now live.

Konnect Africa Offers Broadband Internet Connection To All Isolation Centres in Sokoto State, Nigeria To Fight Against COVID-19

Konnect Africa is pursuing its ambition to connect the entire African continent to very high speed Internet.

They have recently proposed to offer broadband internet connection to isolation centres to fight against Covid-19 in Sokoto, a north-western state in Nigeria, where it will enable the real-time connection of centres, leading to an effective coordination of medical services and improved the care offer thanks to telemedicine.

With this offer, Konnect joins the fight of several African governments to combat Covid-19 by allowing access to care for the greatest number of people. Each isolation centre will benefit from free broadband connectivity.

Jean-Claude Tshipama, CEO of Konnect Africa, said “This operation demonstrates our ability to meet as quickly as possible the connectivity needs of institutional and commercial structures, even in complex times like these. We want Sokoto State to benefit from our expertise and the quality of our broadband services by providing free connectivity to all isolation centres.”

Konnect, in partnership with Coollink, has been operating in Nigeria since 2017, with the ambition of offering broadband connectivity to all segments of the population, in particular those located in unserved or underserved areas.

Shahin Nouri, CEO of Coollink, added: “Helping the Sokoto State Government to provide free satellite internet services to isolation centres is very important to us. It shows our engagement to deliver high-speed Internet anywhere in Nigeria and to help communities in crisis. Eutelsat Konnect has been a very important partner for us, and with such initiatives, is showing its commitment to the Nigerian market.”

Blockchain-Based Alternative Currencies Helping Nairobi Slums Cope With Coronavirus

Blockchain-based community currencies are being piloted in Kenyan slums by the Red Cross to help fill the need for cash during the coronavirus outbreak.

More than 500 people a day are signing up to the community inclusion currency (CIC) known as Sarafu to use the e-vouchers for food, soap and other essentials. This includes community health volunteers, who are often left out of pocket while helping families cope with the outbreak.

Mukuru slum has joined more than 30 communities across Kenya using the alternative currency developed and piloted by non-profit Grassroots Economics and US-based engineering firm BlockScience with support from the Danish and Kenyan Red Cross and Innovation Norway, since late 2019.

Daily transactions using Sarafu have reached up to US$10,000 across Kenya. Meanwhile, feasibility studies to expand the program to Ethiopia and Malawi have already taken place.

From April 7 to April 29, the CICs pilot has recorded roughly 10,000 transactions across Kenya totalling:

  • US$5,000 for food and water
  • US$10,000 of shop items like cereals and soap
  • US$7,000 of services such as waste collection and support for elderly
  • More than US$5,000 worth of women’s savings group support, transport, fuel, education, environmental and health services 

Electroneum Becomes the First Crypto To Offer In-App Electricity Top-Ups

Electroneum has become the world’s first cryptocurrency to enable electricity top-ups with ETN in four African countries – Gambia, Senegal, Nigeria, and Mali – from within their mobile app at a tap of a button.

Mobile airtime and data top-ups with ETN from within the Electroneum app are already possible in 140 countries. No other crypto in the space has this level of usability. As part of their ground-breaking strategy to spark further adoption, Electroneum has enabled electricity top-ups in Nigeria, Gambia, Senegal, and Mali.

“We plan to expand electricity top-ups to more countries gradually,” said Richard Ells, CEO, and Founder of the award-winning cryptocurrency.

“Today, Electroneum has more real-world adoption than virtually every other cryptocurrency project out there. We have real-world adoption, unlike 99% of the cryptocurrencies.”

With 19% of the world’s population currently using cryptocurrency and 14% more saying they are prepared to start using digital assets, most blockchain start-ups are falling behind in the race to create real-world use cases using their virtual currencies.

Electroneum has demonstrated to be ahead of the curve, and in only 30 months since its November 2017 launch, their ETN token can be used to top up mobile phone airtime and data in over 140 countries from within the Electroneum app. Also, nearly 2,000 merchants and service providers around the world accept ETN payments.

Ells added, “Electroneum is one of a handful of cryptocurrencies that are building an ecosystem with real-world use cases, adding value for more than 2.6 million verified app users. Today, approximately 185,000 mobile top-ups have taken place from within our mobile app.”

A New Regulated Security Token for the Middle East Is Now Live

A new blockchain-based securitisation & crowdfunding platform in the Middle East is now live now. The company, YourVC.club, which is based in Dubai, has been granted an “Innovation Test License” by Dubai Financial Services Authority is ready for start-ups to raise funds through its Security Token Offering (STO ) platform for crowdfunding. Eventually, the firm plans to convert the test license into full license by demonstrating the benefits of the proposed social fintech platform.

The sole aim is to provide support to the SMEs and start-ups in UAE who are looking to raise early-stage Pre-VC funding. According to the company, they are the first blockchain-based securitization & crowdfunding platform in the Middle East.

Investors from UAE can now onboard themselves into the securitisation platform, boasting next-gen solutions like tokenisation, listing, marketplace & trading backed by the cutting edge Blockchain technology.

The distinguishing feature behind tokenisation is that it increases liquidity wherein community members can unlock their investments whenever they need and can be sent to other wallets. Just like investors do in secondary markets, community members have control of their investments through the integrated “share token buy-sell” marketplace.

Also, another competitive advantage is that tokenisation is the best way to reach investors. Companies who use YourVC platform’s blockchain function for tokenisation of shares and its worldwide network of investors to contribute and buy these shares across geographical boundaries. It extends investment exposure to almost anyone who has access to the Internet, resulting in entrepreneurial growth. The more diverse investors equate to more opportunities.

Author

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

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