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IBM Research Teams up With Agritech Firm to Boost African Agribusiness with Blockchain

IBM Research has teamed up with U.S.-based agritech firm Hello Tractor to boost the African agriculture industry with blockchain.

IBM Research has teamed up with United States-based agriculture tech firm Hello Tractor to boost the African agriculture industry with blockchain. The partnership was described in a Dec. 11 blog post on IBM’s official website.

According to the post, the IBM Research division in Kenya is working with Hello Tractor’s developers in order to apply various tools and technologies, including blockchain, to the Hello Tractor mobile platform that enables farmers to access tractor services on demand.

Specifically, IBM Research scientists will incorporate blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to Hello Tractor’s tool platform. IBM Research also intends to integrate the platform with its own cloud solution IBM Cloud, as well as Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture, a jointly developed agribusiness tool based on artificial intelligence (AI).

The new jointly developed platform will reportedly represent an “agriculture digital wallet” featuring a blockchain-based AI platform that will provide a high level of transparency of  instantly shared data between all parties involved in a certain agribusiness value chain.

In particular, the pilot is expected to address to a wide range of processes in the agriculture industry, such as crop yield prediction by farmers, fleet utilization management and predictive maintenance, and compilation of credit portfolio for farmers and tractor owners by banks, as well as investment and regulation processes by governments.

According to IBM, less than 20 percent of crops are managed by tractors and other machinery in sub-Saharan Africa to date, while food demand is constantly increasing due to population growth averaging 11 million per year. Moreover, around 50 percent of farmers face significant harvest losses each year, which is caused by poor planting practices.

Last week, Overstock.com’s blockchain venture wing Medici Ventures bought $2.5 million in equity in agricultural blockchain project GrainChain, which enables supply chain parties to track the distribution process of harvests.

Earlier this year, the Ethiopian government signed a MOU with crypto startup Cardano (ADA) in order to apply blockchain technology to the country’s agritech industry.

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First Kenyan Cryptocurrency Project Aims to Improve Quality on Logistics Industry

Blockchain technology-based businesses and ventures continue to grow. Every day new projects appear on the market, showing the potential that DLTs have to promote economic activity without any distinctions.

A case worth mentioning as an example of crypto money having no borders is TMX, the company behind TMX Global Coin, a project that seeks to consolidate itself as the first cryptocurrency of Kenyan origin in the crypto-verse.

The development team behind TMX Global Coin seeks to solve a real problem that has affected the country for years: logistics failures and the difficulty of re-tracing packages and transactions.

Anthony Njoroge, CEO of TMX, told the Kenyan portal Daily Nation how he hopes to change the cargo logistics business around the world through the use of specialized tokens running on a blockchain:

“We are using Blockchain technology to enhance Cargo logistics business to have more open, transparent and democratic process using a decentralized system, where all the users are able to talk to each other on an open platform, “

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According to a video that can be seen on the official website, the kenyan project uses a series of ERC20 tokens as cryptocurrency that allow the execution of smart-contracts between various parties involved in a business. In this way, they hope to provide the ability to real-time track the status of a package as well as any associated transactions.

Mr. Njoroge explains that the payment system developed by TMX provides stakeholders with a higher level of security than current solutions

“The consumer as well gets to know the amount of money required throughout the different processes the cargo goes through and the estimated amount of time. Once the cargo successfully goes through a process the system ticks in the system as complete and starts the next process.”

A Long Way To Go, A Better Future Approaching

TMX Global Coin started its development process last year; however, it was not until mid-2018 that the product was mature enough to generate a sufficient level of credibility in the marketplace.

The TMX team has made contacts to establish business alliances in Asia and Europe as stated by local media; however, there is not yet a specific date for its implementation. According to its Roadmap, the Pre-ICO phase will begin in September of this year and is expected to be launched sometime in May 2019.

Kenya is one country that is using blockchain to boost its economic and political development. Just a few days ago, Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati said in a public statement that the government is considering the use of DLTs to improve efficiency and transparency of its electoral system

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Cardano (ADA) Possibly Turning to the Leader of the New Gen of Cryptocurrencies

Waking up to the green bullish sentiment it automatically comes to your mind what should you choose to diversify your wallet. When it comes to digital token assets, they impressively are impacted and affected by how the network and blockchain respectively is performing. As time passed more competition arise and one of the most intriguing ones to follow by no doubt is Cardano (ADA).

Cardano Debut

Ethereum co-founder and founder of Cardano and IOHK – Charles Hoskinson, has introduced a first row competitor to the second in the lead. Being the pioneer of smart contracts [which are contract allowing exchange of tokens, lets say ETH in this case after various requirements are met] Ethereum became famous and very respected throughout the crypto-verse and financial industry. But, Mr. Hoskinson wants to step up the game by fixing the existing issues that the second generation of coins [e.g Ethereum] do face until this day.

Some of the problems that cryptocurrencies are facing are: Scalability, Sutainability and Interoperability. Cardano here comes with its layer architecture structure making it stand out in safety and security of the smart contracts. As its divided into layers, the security is heightened as the processing done by the following layer [part] is made independently from the previous. Such the information is handled safely and not shared.

Another very highlighted issue is communication between the network and outside forms of financial entities like banks or virtual networks. Standing behind the privacy idea of cryptocurrencies, it is very difficult to know where the tokens are coming when you transact or to communicate between the systems with the different codes in them. This was a major game changer for many that initiated an offering last year or this year when traders wanted to fun various start-ups like ICO’s. The invested money was needed to be explained to the bank where its coming from. Additionally this is a No to do in the crypto-verse in which all we know is private and decentralized. The 9th largest coin by market capitalization targets to go beyond these issues and be the network where all entities can communicate with freedom.

Cardano’s Aim

The platform is attempting to overcome various hurdles (M-Pesa) and and take over various markets by offering the solutions to the above. Market in different nations, for example in Africa, South America and Central Asia. M-Pesa’s payment system lead is for the time with no rival in the globe. It has made possible money transfer on the mobile very easily and impacting. The service was launched back in 2007 during the boom of mobile devices in Africa.

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Cardano (ADA) Possibly Turning to the Leader of the New Gen of Cryptocurrencies

1,173

Waking up to the green bullish sentiment it automatically comes to your mind what should you choose to diversify your wallet. When it comes to digital token assets, they impressively are impacted and affected by how the network and blockchain respectively is performing. As time passed more competition arise and one of the most intriguing ones to follow by no doubt is Cardano (ADA).

Cardano Debut

Ethereum co-founder and founder of Cardano and IOHK – Charles Hoskinson, has introduced a first row competitor to the second in the lead. Being the pioneer of smart contracts [which are contract allowing exchange of tokens, lets say ETH in this case after various requirements are met] Ethereum became famous and very respected throughout the crypto-verse and financial industry. But, Mr. Hoskinson wants to step up the game by fixing the existing issues that the second generation of coins [e.g Ethereum] do face until this day.

Some of the problems that cryptocurrencies are facing are: Scalability, Sutainability and Interoperability. Cardano here comes with its layer architecture structure making it stand out in safety and security of the smart contracts. As its divided into layers, the security is heightened as the processing done by the following layer [part] is made independently from the previous. Such the information is handled safely and not shared.

Another very highlighted issue is communication between the network and outside forms of financial entities like banks or virtual networks. Standing behind the privacy idea of cryptocurrencies, it is very difficult to know where the tokens are coming when you transact or to communicate between the systems with the different codes in them. This was a major game changer for many that initiated an offering last year or this year when traders wanted to fun various start-ups like ICO’s. The invested money was needed to be explained to the bank where its coming from. Additionally this is a No to do in the crypto-verse in which all we know is private and decentralized. The 9th largest coin by market capitalization targets to go beyond these issues and be the network where all entities can communicate with freedom.

Cardano’s Aim

The platform is attempting to overcome various hurdles (M-Pesa) and take over various markets by offering the solutions to the above. Markets in different nations for example in Africa, South America and Central Asia. M-Pesa’s payment system lead is for the time with no rival in the globe. It has made possible money transfer on the mobile very easily and impacting. The service was launched back in 2007 during the boom of mobile devices in Africa.

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Even If It Fails: Why Dash Could Have a Lasting Impact on Crypto Adoption

It’s easy to see why Zimbabwean entrepreneur James Saruchera wants to use cryptocurrency to circumnavigate inflation.

As a university student in South Africa, Saruchera dropped classes and worked multiple jobs when inflation in his homeland made it impossible to remit school fees. His parents later lost their savings and pension investments after another bout of hyperinflation.

Yet when Saruchera founded his payments startup in February 2017, after years of researching different blockchain networks, he made what many in the crypto community might consider a surprising choice. He picked dash to be the backbone of the business.

Founded in 2014 as darkcoin before adopting a more regulator-friendly brand, dash is best known for its optional privacy features and boasts a market capitalization in the lower half of the top 20 cryptos. It’s drawn a fair bit of criticism for its cryptography practices and the way the core team has been run as a for-profit venture from day one.

But dash has at least one thing going for it: Its team has figured out how to win over entrepreneurs in the developing world like Saruchera.

His startup, Kuvacash, was seeded with a grant for roughly $550,000 worth of the cryptocurrency from the Dash Treasury DAO, a pool of mining rewards that allows dash fans worldwide to submit proposals and vote on which ideas get funding.

Saruchera said:

“It’s as close as you can get to a perfectly decentralized, democratic organization.”

Now, he’s getting ready to pilot Kuvacash’s mobile payments app with 100 users in October and negotiating with the government of Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, to build a dash-powered transit app for an upcoming tram line.

While cryptocurrency adherents have been evangelizing the technology in poorer countries since the early days of bitcoin, few projects if any have done so as aggressively as dash.

The Dash Treasury DAO alone has granted over $33 million worth of dash since 2015, $2.3 million of which went to projects in developing countries such as Zimbabwe, Ghana and Kenya. That number is clearly ramping up as the community shifts strategies. Out of 27 grants in the developing world, 20 of those proposals received funding over the past 12 months. The August 2018 payout alone is expected to give around $920,273 worth of dash, including grants for programs in Venezuela and Brazil.

In addition to providing this startup capital, the project has set it itself apart in these markets by offering support for entrepreneurs, starting with their first transaction and wallet all the way to launching a dash-oriented business. Protocol developers also improve the underlying software based on feedback from such diverse users.

And despite the lingering controversies over dash’s technical infrastructure, these efforts to serve marginalized communities are starting to gain notice.

“I have heard about and admire their outreach,” said Ray Youssef, CEO of Paxful, a bitcoin exchange that focuses on emerging markets.

Boots on the ground

The Dash Core startup, which stewards the dash network, learned people in the developing world can drive adoption on their own when given free capital and technical support.

“In the same way that you have a credit card that might say JPMorgan Chase on it, and its powered by Visa, it’s their own brand of services and its powered by dash,” Dash Core Group CEO Ryan Taylor told CoinDesk.

According to Taylor, dash is seeing the fastest adoption rates in places with high inflation and easy access to mobile phones. So, to maximize growth, the company will focus on hiring more local staff in emerging markets.

“We’re going to be putting a lot more resources into that corridor of countries that exhibit those attributes,” Taylor said.

Beyond funding, grant recipients also engage with Dash Core developers to provide feedback and get support on infrastructure development.

“We have the ability to effect improvements, feedback on certain use cases and how those [insights] can be adjusted at the core platform level,” Saruchera said, adding:

“On-the-ground insight has led to them [Dash Core Group] modeling zero confirmation instant send, increasing the speed and capacity of InstantSend on the network. These high-performance protocol adjustments help lay the foundation to improve dash’s speed even further.”

Meanwhile, Dash Core Group employees often give away small amounts of crypto to users in places like Venezuela.

To be sure, other blockchain projects have used similar tactics in developing countries. Some have rewarded locals for recruiting new users, such as the South African startup Wala, or worked with crypto exchanges to increase access, like the startup behind Zcash did by partnering with AirTM exchange in Latin America. The Ethereum Foundation funds one-off research projects. Some bitcoin projects are donating crypto to groups in the developing world.

But dash is doing all of the above, and starting to get some results. Take, for example, Venezuela, where according to the Dash Core Group, hundreds of merchants are now transacting with dash thanks to local advocacy programs. These ambassadors literally walk up to Venezuelan businessmen and convince them to start using dash.

“We’re going to be rolling out a plan for Latin America more broadly,” Taylor said. “Venezuela has become our second largest market.”

Yet these Venezuelan users aren’t necessarily joining the broader crypto community. One such merchant in Caracas, food truck entrepreneur Alejandro Valderrama, told CoinDesk he hasn’t learned about any other blockchain technologies or engaged with the dash community beyond his own customers and dash ambassadors.

To be fair, a dash saleswoman introduced Valderrama to digital wallets this July, so he’s quite new to the scene. Now four or five customers a day now buy Valderrama’s food with dash, worth up to $7 per transaction, adding around three percent to his overall revenue. He hodls without converting into fiat or seeking any significant funding from dash organizations.

Valderrama described dash as a “strong currency,” the best way to hedge against the devalued bolivar.

Critics and converts

Funding and infrastructure model aside, some still question Dash Core Group’s tactics and sustainability.

Critics say the dash model artificially restricts supply with misaligned incentives since node operators and miners share fractional profits. Plus, it is far more expensive to operate a dash node than a bitcoin node, which some say hinders the network’s decentralization.

Blockchain consultant Tone Vays told CoinDesk he’s concerned the dash governance model isn’t sustainable and the community’s evangelizing tactics may confuse less tech-savvy consumers, adding:

“If people convert their dash into something that has a higher probability of lasting for a longer time, that’s great. But if they don’t, they will be scammed or lose all their value and hate all crypto going forward.”

Bitcoin is more secure and decentralized than dash’s experiments, Vays said. Bitcoin may not accommodate low-value transactions yet, but onboarding merchants with a dash-only digital wallet troubles Vays.

When asked about the risks of promoting an altcoin to unsophisticated consumers, Venezuelan business development lead Alejandro Echeverría, head of the Dash Merchant program, pointed to dash’s educational efforts. These include monthly events drawing 500 attendees in Caracas and “Dash Youth” lectures at high schools and universities.

“We are focused in Dash exclusively and we want people really use it as a daily currency,” Echeverría said.

On the other hand, Tricia Martinez, CEO of the ethereum-powered Wala, told CoinDesk hiring local ambassadors to promote a single digital asset is the norm in emerging markets. Gathering feedback from novices is also invaluable to developers abroad, as is hands-on cooperation from sophisticated users like Saruchera in Zimbabwe.

“These consumers need to be on our team,” Martinez said. “They need to be building.”

As for the criticism about expensive nodes, dash node operator Eric Sammons wrote a blog post that running such software is simply a job that requires collateral as a prerequisite. And in response to criticisms of mining and other technical aspects, the Dash Core Group published a statement that dash is a work in progress able to “deliver innovations” without venture capital or a token sale because investors and users decide for themselves whether to support the project.

Crypto rails

Since there’s no substitute for giving people tools to help themselves, dash adoption may deliver the most impact in places where entrepreneurs run their own experiments with support from technical experts.

Starting in October, Kuvacash will run a pilot with roughly 100 users to test the mobile app’s remittance, merchant payments, and peer-to-peer money transfers.

“Not just in stores, but also in informal trading settings like a person selling tomatoes or bananas at a market,” Saruchera said. “If the person that they are sending funds to doesn’t have a smartphone, just a feature phone, we can allow them to get a reference number so they can go to our agents and cash out that way.”

Following the hyperinflation cycles over the past decade, most Zimbabweans use imported U.S. dollars because they no longer trust local bonds or banks. So, Kuvacash got a license to import dollars and is now deploying local agents who can help users cash out in person for fiat bills as needed.

By 2019, Kuvacash aims to offer both peer-to-peer payments and crypto-powered transit accounts through the same wallet app to anyone in Harare who wants to use dash. Representatives from the municipality of Harare confirmed they are negotiating a transit deal with Kuvacash, although it is not yet finalized.

If all goes according to plan, commuters will use the mobile app pay for tram rides with dash, which Kuvacash will promptly convert back into U.S. dollars for the tax collector.

At the moment, it’s difficult to regulate public transit in Zimbabwe, in terms of price gouging, safety, and taxation, because vehicles are mostly operated by individual drivers and owners. Transparent blockchain records of tax revenue could be especially useful for establishing trust in a country fraught with accusations of bureaucratic corruption.

“Poor people, they can spend as much as 50 percent of their income on travel,” Saruchera said, adding the new metro would offer reliable transportation for less than $0.50. “If we can help fix this, then we can exponentially increase their quality of life.”

Image via Dash Foundation

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Overstock Subsidiary Partners With Zambian Gov’t on Blockchain Land Registry

Zambia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the blockchain land registry subsidiary of American retail giant Overstock, the company revealed in a press release July 31.

Under the agreement, Overstock’s Medici Land Governance (MLG) will work with the Zambian government on overhauling land ownership, allowing rural landowners to legitimize their estates and gain access to the financial world.

“Without formal ownership, individuals struggle to obtain access to credit and public services, while governments are limited in their ability to collect taxes, enforce property rights, and plan for economic expansion and innovation,” the release explains, continuing:

“Using blockchain and other technologies, Medici Land Governance […] will create systems to collect and easily secure property ownership information.”

Discussing the Medici venture, the subsidiary’s CEO Dr. Ali El Husseini called its partnership with Zambia “momentous.”

“[The partnership] has the potential to be a real, sustainable game-changer in reducing poverty and supporting economic development on a large scale,” he added.

Blockchain land projects have been underway across the world for several years, the technology offering a promising solution to fragmented paper records and unverifiable claims.

This week, the world’s fourth-largest bank by assets, Agricultural Bank of China, confirmed it had issued a blockchain-based loan backed by land.

Overstock continues to make multiple inroads across blockchain and cryptocurrency-related spheres, despite warnings earlier this year that its share price was suffering and its future could involve upheaval.

The company currently has fourteen ventures in its Medici Blockchain accelerator, to which MLG is the most recent addition.

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CFA Exams To Include Crypto and Blockchain Topics beginning Next Year, 2019

The financial industry is not being left behind with the recent decision by the CFA Institute to include cryptocurrencies and blockchain in its Level I and II curriculums beginning next year, 2019. According to Bloomberg, the new material for the 2019 exams will be available in August this year.

The fact that the new Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams in 2019 will include cryptocurrencies and blockchain, is a sign that the digital assets have arrived in Wallstreet. The debate as to whether cryptocurrencies are investment instruments, can now be put aside for they will now be included in the 3 level CFA program to help train more financial professionals who are in tune with the ever evolving crypto industry.

The CFA Institute added the topics as part of a new reading called Finetech in Investment Management as a result of industry leaders showing urgent interest in surveys and focus groups. The CFA material on Crypto and Blockchain will appear alongside other finetech subjects such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data and Automated Trading.

Crypto and traditional finance have been fused together ever since Bitcoin made it to mainstream media mid last year with a corresponding stellar Bitcoin bull run into the Holiday season of 2017. We also have firms like Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, Mastercard and J.P Morgan Chase, expressing their interest in blockchain technology as well as cryptocurrencies.

Stephen Horan, Managing Director for general education and curriculum at CFA Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia, had this to say about the new curriculum:

We saw the field advancing more quickly than other fields and we also saw it as more durable. This is not a passing fad.

Kayden Lee, a 27 year old financial economics student at Columbia University had this to say about the inclusion of crypto and blockchain into the CFA curriculum:

It will be beneficial for us, since there’s been a huge expansion and adoption of crypto in our investment universe. But more importantly the focus is on fintech and blockchain. How it works to improve, unravel or even disrupt certain sectors.

[Photo source, InvictusNews.com]

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Crypto Exchange to Target African Market by Offering Low Transaction Fees

An “advanced and robust” trading platform is vowing to help emerging economies embrace cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology — in the hope that inclusion and education will bring economic freedom to the masses.

KuBitX claims that there is widespread reluctance to learn about crypto, compounded by a lack of knowledge and resources for those who want to discover more. The company believes this has enabled a small group of traders to dominate the market and even manipulate it at will — resulting in extreme fluctuations in cryptocurrencies.

Its white paper cites a study by Cambridge University, which suggests that Africa is home to just four percent of the world’s exchanges, even though adoption rates across the continent are on the rise. In time, KuBitX hopes its user-friendly platform will lead to the development of a diverse cryptocurrency marketplace for buyers and sellers — one that welcomes crypto enthusiasts even if they live in one of the remotest places on Earth.

Taking on market leaders

Despite being a new entrant to the cryptocurrency exchange industry, KuBitX believes its service can offer considerable service improvements when compared to the established market leaders. For example, the company claims it can process more than 12 million transactions per second — a rate which it says is well ahead of Binance and Bitfinex.

In another nod to its goal of becoming an accessible service for emerging economies, KuBitX says its transaction fees (0.05 percent) are considerably lower than its rivals.

The company has partnered with Modulus, a company providing financial software and hardware systems for exchanges, brokerages, hedge funds, financial institutions and traders.

The exchange, powered by Modulus, is planning to support fiat withdrawals and offer a mobile app, with its platform initially being available in five languages. To appeal to an international user base, KuBitX says it will offer online customer support 24 hours a day, in addition to a training platform where users can discover more about the exchange’s functionality in programs tailored to beginners, intermediate users and professionals.

When it comes to Africa, KuBitX argues that traditional banks are still struggling to reach adults who don’t have a bank account — with two out of three people across sub-Saharan Africa being unbanked. The company says the continent’s entire banking system has been hindered by a lack of financial literacy, small national markets, low incomes and political instability, but it believes that hundreds of millions of people could have a better future if they are given the chance to develop a strong financial footprint.

The exchange says it has a “huge” target market of 1.28 billion Africans to reach — and to do this, it plans to introduce channel ambassadors, whose mission is to raise awareness about cryptocurrencies and educate the public through meetup sessions. KuBitX is going to first reach out to people in Uganda, South Africa, Angola, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Kenya — all with the view of gaining up to 10 million users within the first three years of operation.

Suite of financial services

KuBitX says it has forged relationships with banks and payment providers to ensure that a range of services can be offered through its platform, including remittances, bill payments, fund transfers and merchant services. Customers are also going to be able to track and spend their cryptocurrencies from one account, and connect with other digital currency trading platforms.

The pre-public round of its token generation event is taking place from July 16 to August 31. Its ambassadors in flagship countries will be deployed in the third quarter of 2018, and this is also when the exchange’s soft launch will take place. KuBitX aims to go live by the last quarter of 2018, paving the way for global promotions to spread the word about its platform.

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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Bitcoin Exchange Paxful Reveals Plan to Reach Venezuela's Unbanked

Peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange Paxful is doubling down on developing markets.

Revealed exclusively to CoinDesk, the startup plans to open an office in hyperinflation-ridden Venezuela in September and release an Android app, its first for mobile devices, in October.

According to Paxful co-founder Ray Youssef, the reason for both moves is that exchange use is surging in developing nations, where mobile phones are abundant and cheap but access to crypto remains scarce.

Youssef told CoinDesk:

“Underbanked, unbanked or people in a desperate situation, such as with market inflation. Those are the markets where Paxful can add the most value and where bitcoin actually adds the most value for people.”

Africa (the continent with the highest rate of unbanked adults, according to a 2010 McKinsey study) is Paxful’s biggest market, he said. According to Paxful’s internal data, June saw 772,000 bitcoin trades averaging $64 each in Nigeria and 50,000 bitcoin trades in Ghana averaging $56 each.

All told, Paxful has 2 million users. The company, with 65 employees, collects a 1 percent fee from the seller on each trade.

Aside from Paxful and the similar P2P exchange LocalBitcoins, Binance, KuCoin and Luno are among the few exchanges serving users in cash-strapped economies like Nigeria and Ghana, where U.S. dollars and South African rand are harder to find, said South African entrepreneur Thabang Mashiloane.

“Most African currencies are not [stable], there’s a lot of volatility,” Mashiloane, co-founder of the Johannesburg-based exchange Chankura, told CoinDesk. “You can’t do remittances in that way [with bitcoin] if Ghana doesn’t have liquidity.”

In Venezuela, Paxful’s new office will conduct market research focused on local users. Youssef thinks crypto could be both a more stable store of value and a more convenient medium of exchange there than what’s available to residents right now.

“If you just want to buy some eggs or groceries for your family in Venezuela you have to go through this very painful, long and drawn out process,” he said. “You can’t use cash, because cash is scarce and if you’re lucky enough to actually have cash you can get a 50 percent discount.”

To address such situations, Paxful’s upcoming app in October will include in-app calculators for volatile currencies like the Venezuelan bolívar.

“It would allow users and merchants to transact, for the local currency, but using purely cryptocurrency in the background,” Youssef said. “So people can use it on a daily basis.”

Checking ID at the door

Still, the demand for Paxful’s services in these areas highlights the complexities of bitcoin usage in the developing world.

Communities where crypto represents a potential economic lifeline are often excluded from both traditional banking services and global exchange platforms. Exorbitant banking fees are one reason low-income users in Africa rarely use exchanges, as a bank wire is usually needed to get money to the exchange. Plus, many people in the developing world don’t have government-issued IDs, which regulated financial providers, whether they’re traditional banks or crypto exchanges, must check.

And Paxful itself hasn’t been completely immune to these issues – starting in September, it will require IDs from buyers of bitcoin, a change Youssef said was necessary to fight fraud.

Up to now, Paxful required only the sellers of bitcoin to upload their IDs, because it didn’t want to exclude potential buyers who were attracted to cryptocurrency for the same reasons they lacked access to banking.

“For a long time most Paxful users were actually female,” Youssef said, speaking to the segment of the developing world’s population who, according to World Bank statistics, are most likely to lack IDs and bank accounts.

But not requiring ID from one side of the trade can lead to problems when business is conducted wholly online.

Most Paxful users swap bitcoin for fiat wire transfers or online gift cards. The model is similar to LocalBitcoins in that open offers to buy or sell bitcoin are posted and traders contact each other and swap directly. But while LocalBitcoins focuses on swaps between people in the same area (who often meet face-to-face), Paxful mainly deals in small online trades among users who are geographically spread out.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, in the three years since the Delaware-incorporated Paxful’s founding, the startup attracted a number of scammers and struggled to weed them out manually.

Beyond traditional IDs, however, Paxful will also accept the Nigerian BVN Code (a form of biometric identification), fingerprint scanning, or verifications through other know-your-customer providers such as NetVerify, Jumio, Onfido, and Veriff. The next version of the web app, coming in September, will also use artificial intelligence to detect suspicious behavior.

“Scams and frauds are the problem in peer-to-peer trading,” Youssef said. “We’re redoing our entire KYC process.”

Bolivars image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Cardano (ADA) Threatening Cryptocurrency Market Leaders

The past two weeks could easily be considered Cardano’s week. First the IOHK meeting with Google in London for a could-turn out true partnership but with just a few details let known.

Future of Cardano Looking Solid

Charles Hoskinson received and accepted an invitation by Google to put on table various technological advancements that would help both enterprises. Details of the meeting will be made soon enough public for the crypto-community, according to Mr. Hoskinson.

.@IOHK_Charles was invited to talk about Cardano and the future of cryptocurrencies at Google’s London Headquarters last month. Read @InputOutputHK ‘s blog post on the visit here: https://t.co/BsouiOWGf5

— Cardano Community (@cardanocom) June 28, 2018

This came right after Mr. Hoskinson proposed a partnership with Tron’s Justin Sun.

Right now, IOHK is delivering the blockchain platform in various countries in Africa and Asia. It is not long ago, when our team covered the signed partnership between the Ethiopian gov and Cardano.

Following up, Cardano has continued to raise its bar of presence in various markets. The ADA coin listing on Bitkub in Thailand is a show of its intent to continue venturing into unexploited markets.

With all the-above being said, it is easy to conclude that many crypto-enthusiasts have put Cardano under a choice for wallet diversification.

On the updates and improvements of its platform’s infrastructure, worthy to be mentioned is the Plutus Corewhich is a language that will work well with the Cardano simplicity.

“It is highly expressive yet simple and secure. It is based on well-understood ideas from programming language theory, for example, pure functional programming, which will enable verification technique to ensure correctness of scripts. Plutus Core is not designed to be written directly by programmers but to be a target for compilers, including the Plutus language.”

As explained above, Bitkub listed Cardano (ADA) as a trading option on the digital asset platform. In Thailand, Bitkub has a very large fan base.

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