Category Archive : Africa

Tala closes $145 Million Series E to increase current offering and pursue crypto adoption

Tala has closed an impressive $145 million Serie E investment raise led by Upstart (fintech company) with participation with open source crypto platform the Stellar Development Foundation looking to speed and streamline financial transactions worldwide. Existing investors are Revolution Growth, IVP, and Lowercase Capital also took part in the round. Paul Gu Upstart co-founder and Denelle Dixon (CEO of Stellar Development Foundation) join Stella’s board as directors.

As per a Forbes article, Tala CEO Shivani Siroya used her prior UN experience to found the fintech company in 2011 to offers loans to the underbanked in the Philippines, Mexico, India, and Kenya. In mid-2020 Tala launched a debit card in Mexico as the coronavirus epidemic prompted the need for such an approach.

In May 2021 Tala announced a partnership with global payments giant Visa and crypto company Circle. This would allow Tala customers to send, receive and hold “stablecoin” cryptocurrencies. The company will make a bold move towards the expansion of Tala’s current account offering and crypto adoption with the newly acquired funds. At present keen focus goes towards adopting crypto at the backend so as to improve Tala’s backend account infrastructure.

The round brought Tala’s total raised to date at $350 million, a valuation of $800 million – fairly similar to its 2019 valuation.  According to Siroya the Serie E approach was preferred as opposed to the traditional venture-led round on account of the expertise Tala stands to gain from Stellar and Upstart. She further revealed that Tala lending volumes are at $60 million monthly and has had over half a million customers access its credit facilities thus far.

Source: Forbes

Read more at www.techinafrica.com

Alleged Crypto-Broker ExpertDreamTrade.com appears to be operating a fraud

The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) has received a complaint from a California resident regarding a crypto investment scam.

The victim told DFPI that he deposited more than $300,000 into ExpertDreamTrade.com, which he believed operated like a bank, but when he asked to withdraw the money, the scammers told him he would need to pay $50,000 to get it out. He believes he has tracked to the money to the crypto wallets of two individuals located in Nigeria, but so far, cannot get his money back. These allegations have not been verified by the DFPI.

This appears to be what is commonly called an “Advance Fee scheme,” which can take many forms, as discussed here: https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes/advance-fee-schemes.

The DFPI urges consumers to exercise extreme caution before responding to any solicitation offering investment or financial services.  To check whether an investment or financial service provider is licensed in California, consumers may contact the Department for questions or inquiries at [email protected] or call toll-free at (866) 275-2677.  If a consumer believes a person or company has violated state law or acted improperly regarding a consumer financial product or service, they may file a formal complaint with the DFPI at https://dfpi.ca.gov/file-a-complaint/.

Read more at www.einnews.com

Bitcoin surges above $64,000 as first crypto-linked ETF lists on NYSE

The price of Bitcoin surged, near the all-time high after ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, the first bitcoin-linked exchange-traded fund (ETF) listed on the New York Stock.

On Tuesday, Bitcoin rose 4.58 percent or $2812, trading $64,241 up 4.22% over the past 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap.

The price is less than 1 percent from its record of $64,899 as of April 14, 2021.

ProShares Bitcoin listing has been described as a new milestone in cryptocurrency’s journey toward the financial mass market.

After listing under the ticker BITO, the ETF by ProShares, an investment management firm, gained 4 percent to close at $42 on the first trading day.

The ETF primarily invests in bitcoin futures contracts, betting on the future prices of bitcoin instead of the cryptocurrency.

ProShares, in a statement on Monday, said BITO’s launch would offer investors an opportunity to gain exposure to Bitcoin returns through a brokerage account.

“BITO can be bought and sold like a stock and eliminates the need for an account at a cryptocurrency exchange and a crypto wallet,” the statement reads.

Michael L. Sapir, ProShares chief executive officer (CEO), said, “We believe a multitude of investors have been eagerly awaiting the launch of a bitcoin-linked ETF after years of efforts to launch one.”

“BITO will open up exposure to bitcoin to a large segment of investors who have a brokerage account and are comfortable buying stocks and ETFs, but do not desire to go through the hassle and learning curve of establishing another account with a cryptocurrency provider and creating a bitcoin wallet or are concerned that these providers may be unregulated and subject to security risks.”

In Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned citizens against trading in cryptocurrencies. In February, it directed banks to close accounts of persons or entities involved in crypto transactions.

The apex bank is planning to launch its own digital currency,…

Read more at www.thecable.ng

IMF: How regulators can ensure co-existence of private stablecoins, CBDCs

CBDCs are all the rage of late. While cryptocurrencies continue to be seen with skepticism by most regulators, the idea of a CBDC has grabbed a lot of eyeballs. In doing so, it has also stoked a lot of conversation around it.

During a recent event, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) spearheaded a discussion on CBDCs and private stablecoins.

Innovation

Economics and Policy Professor Eswar Prasad explained that while financial innovation is nothing new, it changes the fundamental nature of money. In this context, he called for a bifurcation of private crypto-payment platforms and centralized cryptocurrencies. He said,

“I think we will have private currencies potentially playing a more important role, but I think other forms of currencies especially central bank-issued digital currencies are likely to retain the roles and stores of value.”

Partnerships

The role of private players is essential in providing low-cost and more efficient digital payment systems, he further added. In this setting, Ripple’s latest partnership with Digital Pound Foundation [DPF] can be a good example. The collaboration is working to innovate the U.K’s CBDC  and digital payments infrastructure.

However, the implementation of such private-public partnerships is likely to be uneven. According to Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it is a good thing that the “configuration of reserve currencies is changing.” In the context of Kenya, she added,

“M-PESA making a huge difference in Kenya…”

However, she also cautioned that the global community needs to steer clear of “fragmentation” and “lack of regulations” in the monetary system.

Contrarily, Prasad cited the example of China – A country that has a low-cost digital payments method. However, there are issues of domination and data control with private players kept out of the ecosystem.

Benoît Cœuré, Head of the BIS Innovation Hub, also reminded that central banks…

Read more at ambcrypto.com

Adrian Grenier Joins Panel Discussion about Green Bitcoin

By Adedapo Adesanya

At its virtual MacBook event on Monday, tech giant, Apple, launched the new generation AirPods which will support spatial audio, thanks to new sensors that support features like spatial audio.

The new Airpods sport a new design, closer to the AirPods Pro, but they lack the rubber in-ear tip. The case also charges magnetically using Apple’s magnetic charger MagSafe.

Apple says the third-generation AirPods have more powerful bass than previous models and that the AirPods now have six hours of battery life for listening to audio.

The new AirPods cost $179 (N102,388) and will hit the shelves next week.

Apple launched its first AirPods in 2016 and turned the wireless earphone market on its head.

Apple is the largest AirPods brand as it holds 29 per cent of the market share in the third quarter of 2020, three times that of its closest competitor, Xiaomi.

Also at the event, the company announced new chips, M1 Pro and M1 Max, for new high-end MacBook Pro laptops.

The M1 Max is a more powerful version of the M1 and M1 Pro. It has 57 billion transistors, Apple said, and a 32-core graphics processor, saying that its graphics processor compares favourably to current laptop graphics processors, especially when using less power.

Apple said the new MacBook Pro laptops are completely reimagined as they will come with Apple’s M1 Pro chip, a new processor Apple says has a 10-core processing unit that is 70 per cent faster than its current M1 chip.

The new models have an HDMI port to connect to displays and TVs, an SD card slot for photographers. It also uses a MagSafe magnetic connector, bringing back a beloved feature from older MacBooks.

Users can still charge using the USB-C ports, of which there are three, which support Thunderbolt connections.

It comes in 16-inch and 14-inch sizes with denser screens and ProMotion screens with a higher refresh rate, a feature that landed on the iPhone 13 this year. The displays are using MiniLED…

Read more at businesspost.ng

Trusted Online Casinos in South Africa

Gambling is quite popular in South Africa; South Africa has the most physical casinos compared to other countries in the African continent. It is no surprise that online casinos have grown and gained popularity with the age of the internet taking shape.

In 2011, the government opened up internet gaming. A law passed in 2004; the National Gambling Act had been in place to protect players from rogue sites and bookmakers. Following this change, online casino players can easily find a site that accepts rands on the internet.

The question now is how trustworthy these sites are. We examine this by taking into account players’ experiences, licensing of the casinos, and our expert’s opinion on each of the sites listed. This article will find out why Europa is the most trusted online casino in South Africa.

1. Europa Casino

Since 2003, Europa Casino has been a fan’s favorite. With 13 different languages to choose from, players worldwide can participate in this online casino. You get the thrills of being in Europe’s top gambling destinations with the click of a button.

Playtech, the famous game developer, contributes heavily to the over 400 slot games offered on this site. The games include baccarat, blackjack, roulette, among other table favorites. Other renowned game developers for this online casino include Microgaming, NetEnt, Red Tiger, Wazadan, and many more. Europa Casino allows banking methods convenient to people living in South Africa to further build confidence in their players. EFT, VISA, Mastercard, Neteller, ecoPayz, and PaySafeCard are among the payment methods accepted in this online casino.

You don’t need a VPN to access the Europa Casino as your South Africa IP address will give you access to their site. This casino also has a mobile casino which you can easily access by scanning a QR code on the Europa Casino Website. The security of your data when using either the desktop or mobile platforms is guaranteed, as this site uses state-of-the-art software…

Read more at pvplive.net

New Bitcoin ETF Launches

“Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

— Wayne Gretzky

In May 2016, I recommended that my Bull and Bust Report readers buy Bitcoin:

By the end of 2014, no one was interested in Bitcoin. All the sellers were out. It was yesterday’s news. And starting late last year and coinciding with the Fed December rate hike, Bitcoin more than doubled in price to $458, where it is today. As you can see by this one-year chart, Bitcoin is now trading with low volume with ever-higher lows and a flattop resistance point. 

The rule of thumb is that the trend will break out and go up as far as it went sideways. This is the “coiled spring” thesis. This would get you a price of $900 BTC… I suspect it will go even higher…

My investment catalyst was based on Bitcoin halving that day. The amount bitcoin miners were paid went from $0.25 to $0.125 per block. That was the start of a long run to $61,999, where it is now.

The Future Is Here

The first Bitcoin-linked exchange-traded fund officially launched today. The new ETF comes from ProShares and will track the Bitcoin futures market. It will trade on the NYSE under the ticker BITO.

BITO won’t actually own any Bitcoin, but it will give exposure to people who have brokerage accounts but don’t want to go through the hassle of getting a Bitcoin wallet or opening and funding another account from somewhere like Coinbase.

I don’t advise buying Bitcoin here. It will likely be a “buy the rumor, sell the news” type of scenario.

Furthermore, after running from $450 to $62,000 over the past five years, it is unlikely to repeat that type of performance. No,…

Read more at www.energyandcapital.com

A Warning That Africa’s Last Glaciers Will Soon Vanish

The last three mountain glaciers in Africa are receding at such a rapid pace that they could disappear within two decades, a symbol of the broader devastation being wrought by climate change on the continent, according to a new U.N. report.

While African nations contribute less than 4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the report by the World Meteorological Organization and other agencies underscored the outsize impact that changes in the climate are having on the continent’s 1.3 billion people as floods grow worse, droughts last longer and temperatures continue to rise.

“The rapid shrinking of the last remaining glaciers in eastern Africa, which are expected to melt entirely in the near future, signals the threat of imminent and irreversible change to the Earth system,” the World Meteorological Organization’s secretary general, Petteri Taalas, said in a foreword to the report.

The climate in Africa in 2020 was characterized by “continued warming temperatures, accelerating sea-level rise, extreme weather and climate events, such as floods, landslides and droughts, and associated devastating impacts,” he added in the report presented in advance of the U.N. climate conference in Scotland starting on Oct. 31.

The loss of the glaciers — icy holdouts high above the steamy tropics that have long been objects of wonder and fascination — is a physical manifestation of the change in Earth’s climate. Found on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mount Kenya in Kenya, and the Rwenzori Mountains bordering Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the glaciers have been in retreat for years.

The report paints a chilling picture of both the impacts to date and the consequences to come if urgent action is not taken. By 2030, up to 118 million people living on less than $1.90 a day “will be exposed to drought, floods and extreme heat in Africa if adequate response measures are not put in place,” it said.

It warned that the daily struggle of families to…

Read more at www.nytimes.com

Rapid improvements in payment systems key driver for financial services – BoG

Mobile money has improved the efficiency of money transactions

• Changes in the payments system structure is yielding results

• Mobile money has improved the efficiency of money transactions

• Transactional cost of digital payments have also improved

Dr. Ernest Addison, Governor of the Bank of Ghana, has touted the rapid improvement in the payments system as a key driver for financial services.

According to him, the move has driven consumer demand for efficiency, convenience, and offered a lower cost of financial transactions.

Speaking at the ongoing Ghana Economic Forum in Accra on October 18, 2021, the BoG governor said digital payments have been on an uptrend with various governments joining in on the digitisation process.

“Most central banks are at various exploratory stages of developing Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC), with the recognition of money as an important public good and whose stability needs to be protected,” he pointed.

“As you may be aware, the Bank of Ghana has already entered the space and piloting the CBDC, with broad stakeholder consultations on the project. This will eventually lead to the issuance of a digital currency, the E-Cedi, a safe and stable means of payments and settlements which would further advance financial inclusiveness, promote efficiency in the payment systems, and foster competition in the financial sector,” Dr Addison added.

Meanwhile, Ghana’s central bank has since 2019 been planning to issue a Central Bank Digital Currency with the announcement of a rollout in 2021.

The innovation which was expected to be piloted in September last month is however yet to commence though at an advanced stage.

CBDCs are digital forms of a jurisdiction’s legal currency and are designed to be available via smartphones.

These smart cards are physical cards embedded with a chip, similar to that of modern bank cards.

Read more at www.ghanaweb.com

Ghana to use E-cedi digital currency without internet, power

Ghana is working to make a digital form of its currency available to offline users.

The e-cedi, which the Bank of Ghana is set to pilot, seeks to facilitate transactions without the need for power or connectivity, according to Kwame Oppong, who heads fintech and innovation at the regulator.

“Financial inclusion is limited by the availability of connectivity and power,” Kwame Oppong said at the Ghana Economic Forum Monday.

“What we hope to be able to do and we’re one of the people pioneering this – is that the e-cedi would also be capable of being used in an offline environment through some smart cards.”

“Financial inclusion is limited by the availability of connectivity and power,” Oppong said at the Ghana Economic Forum Monday. “What we hope to be able to do – and we’re one of the people pioneering this – is that the e-cedi would also be capable of being used in an offline environment through some smart cards.”

About half of Ghana’s population had access to the internet as of 2019, and 84% had access to power, according to World Bank data.

Globally, more central banks are testing digital forms of their legal tender, allowing for faster and cheaper money transfers across borders, without losing control over their monetary systems.

The rapid growth of cryptocurrencies, which are distinct from digital currencies issued by central banks, is posing a potential threat to existing monetary regimes and adding urgency to debates on handling cross-border transfers.

Read more at www.ghanaweb.com

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