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Binance to Launch its First Fiat Exchange in Africa

Up until now the world’s largest crypto exchange by daily volume has only permitted crypto-to-crypto trading. This will soon be changing for Binance when it opens its first fiat-to-crypto platform in Uganda.

Binance currently handles just over a billion dollars a day in trade volume according to coinmarketcap.com, and around 20% of that total is on the BTC/USDT pair. By offering fiat transactions Binance would be expanding its services further and joining the ranks of Coinbase which does just that.

According to Cointelegraph the new platform, Binance Uganda, will be operating for the first time using fiat, in this case the Ugandan Shilling. CEO and founder, Changpeng Zhao, explained that the company is not just chasing more developed markets and sees promise in lesser developed ones;

“We think that crypto has a very strong use case in less developed countries… there’s more money to be made in a more developed country, but we want to distribute crypto to the rest of the world.”

Known on social media as CZ, the Binance boss went on to state that Africa is a big market for crypto since so little of the population has access to a bank account;

“Uganda [is a] really interesting situation, only 11 percent of the population has bank accounts. It’s both a challenge and an opportunity. So it may be easier to adopt cryptocurrency as a form of currency instead of trying to push for bank adoption. It’s an interesting experiment – Africa’s a big market, that’s why we’re there.”

When fiat is involved the KYC and AML regulations have to be adhered to, regardless of the country so Binance will need to work with the framework already put in place by the government. The new exchange will be a separate platform to Binance as we know it but will retain strong links with the mothership.

When questioned about the current state of the markets and falling trade volumes Zhao remained unperturbed putting it down to market over reaction adding that he has seen it happen five to six times per year. He also said that volatility will continue until total market capitalization increases and opening more fiat channels is a path to that increase.

At the time of writing crypto markets had shed another $10 billion on the day, falling to $236 billion.

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Bittrex Enters Next Phase for USD Trading Upping Rivalry with Coinbase

As US crypto exchange Bittrex gears up to allow fiat trading the company has updated its customers on its phased approach to implementing the change.

According to the company blog the approach is designed to ensure the processes and systems are operating without issues before the system goes live to the clients. The latest phase involves allowing a select small group of retail customers to participate in USD markets to enable testing and evaluation.

The initial announcement was made on May 31 when the company decided to open fiat trading for corporate customers as part of the first phase. The first markets to be opened were Bitcoin (BTC), Tether (USDT) and TrueUSD (TUSD).

Two weeks later the second phase has been implemented to include participants who reside in Washington State, California, New York and Montana as well as qualified international regions. The announcement went on to state;

“Don’t worry, as we roll out future phases, more states will be added. So, please continue to be patient as we roll out these phases overtime. Also, if you’re reading this and you aren’t a Bittrex customer yet, you should sign-up now to have the opportunity to be included in USD trading in the future.”

Once all phases have been completed customers that qualify will have a smooth and streamlined process for buying cryptocurrencies directly using USD. The move places Bittrex in direct competition with Coinbase and may even improve its standings since Coinbase only offers four crypto currencies, five when Ethereum Classic is added. Bittrex has almost 200 cryptocurrencies and according to the post “we have a deep pool of good candidates to consider for USD trading pairs.” To entice new users the company went on to add;

“In addition to methodically adding more customers, it probably won’t be too much longer before we start adding new USD pairs – pairs that may only be found on our platform.”

In a further announcement the company said that it would be rebranding and ticker symbol changes on June 20. Bitcoin Cash (BCC) will undergo a ticker change to BCH, the name remains unchanged, Legends (LGD) ticker and name will change to More Coin (MORE) and Bitswift (SWIFT) ticker will change to BITS, name remains unchanged. In order to make this change, Bittrex will need to take the BCC, LGD and SWIFT markets offline for at least three hours.