Crypto Usage and Trading Surging in Africa, Exchange CEO Says
Crypto usage and trading has made its way over to Africa, gaining prevalence all over the continent, according to Chris Maurice, CEO of Yellow Card — a crypto exchange based in Lagos, Nigeria.
“In terms of the crypto scene and everything, things are growing very rapidly, really across the continent, but specifically in Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, and Kenya,” Maurice told Cointelegraph in an interview.
With the four mentioned countries leading the crypto charge, Maurice added, “At this point, it’s just a matter of time before it continues to expand outward to the rest of the continent.”
Contrary to North America, with its plethora of exchanges, Africa sees more over-the-counter, or OTC, crypto trading, transactions and usage, making definite exchange volume a less accurate representation of the asset class’ prevalence.
“The majority of it is not running through formal exchanges,” Maurice said of crypto asset volume. “It’s running through either WhatsApp, or Telegram, or informal OTC,” he mentioned, noting a few examples of other crypto usage avenues seen across the continent.
“The actual volume in Africa, I would estimate that it’s at least five to eight times higher than any actual volume number that you can find, just based on the amount of money that moves through these dark pools, essentially, through these Telegram and WhatsApp groups.”
“I’ve heard estimates that Nigeria and South Africa are both in the top five in terms of crypto users per capita,” Maurice said. “I’ve seen estimates as high as 10% of people in South Africa own, or have at some point owned Bitcoin,” he added. Recent Cointelegraph reporting confirms high crypto ownership and usage numbers across the region.
Pulling on his experience with the Yellow Card exchange, as well as his involvement with crypto participation across the continent, Maurice noted the data as logical. “In Nigeria and South Africa especially, it’s very unique in that pretty much anyone you talk to has at least some base level of understanding of Bitcoin,” he said, comparing the scene to that of the United States.
Crypto usage poses a logical option for people of the region, Maurice explained. As a global digital asset run by the people away from government control, Bitcoin holds potential for fast transactions and self-sovereign money storage.
Maurice explained Bitcoin’s aspects as attractive to people in Africa, given difficulties associated with accessing similar, more traditional options. He also mentioned crypto as an alternate source of income for residents of the continent.
African residents began gaining interest in crypto roughly between 2014 and 2015, with the industry seeing major public traction by 2017, Maurice said.
A massive year for the cryptocurrency industry, 2017 also yielded crypto-related media headlines from Asia, North America and Europe. The industry took its place in the mainstream spotlight as Bitcoin rose dramatically in price amid speculation and hype. The whole global movement facilitated education around the industry, Maurice said.
“Everybody that I’ve met in Africa is very resourceful,” he explained. “When they see an opportunity like that, they’re interested — they want to learn more.”
As a global asset class by nature, crypto has grown substantially since Bitcoin’s 2009 launch, presenting itself as a solution to a number of problems, ranging from an inflation solution in Venezuela, to a financial asset class in North America.
- Visa, Mastercard And PayPal Are Changing Their Tune On Bitcoin And Crypto
- New Bitcoin Whales Emerge As $2,197,000,000 in BTC Exits Crypto Exchanges in Just Seven Months
- Gemini Exchange to Offer Custody of .crypto Blockchain Domains
- PayPal is Set to Make Cryptocurrency Trading Mainstream?
- Crypto Scammers Steal $381 Million in 2020, While Twitter Hackers Direct Funds to Mixers
Visa, Mastercard And PayPal Are Changing Their Tune On Bitcoin And Crypto
Payments giants Visa, Mastercard and PayPal have had a rocky relationship with bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in recent years (though have been softening their stances for some time).
In 2018, all three companies cracked down on bitcoin and cryptocurrency transactions in the wake of bitcoin’s massive 2017 bull run that thrust cryptocurrencies into the global limelight.
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Visa, Mastercard and PayPal have all taken a more welcoming stance toward bitcoin and … [+] cryptocurrencies recently.
“The concept of digital currency—or a digital version of cash controlled by a private key—was created more than a decade ago, with the launch of bitcoin,” Visa wrote this week in a blog post titled “Advancing our approach to digital currency.”
“We believe that digital currencies have the potential to extend the value of digital payments to a greater number of people and places. As such, we want to help shape and support the role they play in the future of money.”
Visa quoted its founder Dee Hock, who gave a speech in 1996 explaining why he created Visa, using the same rationale to justify the company’s pivot toward cryptocurrencies.
“Money is nothing but alphanumeric data and it would become alphanumeric data not in paper form, but in a form of arranged electrons and photons,” Hock told the Extension National Leadership Conference over 20 years ago. “And they would move around the world at the speed of light by infinitely diverse paths through the entire electromagnetic spectrum.”
Visa, pointing to its work with bitcoin and crypto exchange Coinbase and bitcoin rewards app Fold, said it wants to “provide a bridge between digital currencies and our existing global network of 61 million merchants.”
Meanwhile, Mastercard has this week said it’s extending its cryptocurrency program to make it easier for companies in the space to issue their own payment cards, signing a deal with London-based Wirex, making it the first “native” cryptocurrency platform to gain principal membership and allowing Wirex to directly issue cards on Mastercard’s network.
“The cryptocurrency market continues to mature, and Mastercard is driving it forward, creating safe and secure experiences for consumers and businesses in today’s digital economy,” Raj Dhamodharan, Mastercard’s executive vice president for digital asset and blockchain products and partnerships, said in a statement.
Elsewhere, PayPal, is reportedly poised to begin offering cryptocurrency purchases to its 325 million users, potentially joining the likes of popular payments services Cash App, Square and Robinhood.
The move toward bitcoin and cryptocurrencies from the biggest names in payments has been cheered by the crypto community.
“The continued rise and spread of bitcoin is about as inevitable as anything in the worlds of technology and economics, so it’s no surprise that the big payments players are positioning themselves to benefit,” Cory Klippsten, tech investor and founder of bitcoin buying app Swan Bitcoin, said via Telegram, adding bitcoin and crypto “fits perfectly” into Visa’s “network of networks business model.”
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Some have argued that with companies like Jack Dorsey’s payments company Square reporting $306 million in bitcoin revenue via its Cash App in its latest earnings report, crypto services are becoming harder to ignore—and will drive further adoption.
“As more publicly listed companies showcase the results they’re having by adding crypto capabilities, more companies will be incentivized to announce their plans and to engage with this high growth segment that could drive significant top line and bottom line growth,” Meltem Demirors, chief strategy officer of digital asset investment firm CoinShares, said via email.
“[This is] affirmation that crypto has become too big for corporates to ignore, and will be integrated into many of the products and services people are already using.”
The recent moves from Visa, Mastercard and PayPal highlight the potential of cryptocurrencies, according to Mati Greenspan, founder of money management advisory firm Quantum Economics.
“It seems that payment providers are taking a more neutral stance towards currency in general,” Greenspan said via email, attributing this in part due to “central bank actions over the last few years and particularly the deliberate debasement of fiat currency.”
“More people are waking up to the power of cryptocurrencies lately and these major corporations that are the most ripe for displacement are doing their best to get in front of it.”
Author: Billy Bambrough
New Bitcoin Whales Emerge As $2,197,000,000 in BTC Exits Crypto Exchanges in Just Seven Months
Nearly $2.2 billion worth of Bitcoin exited centralized exchange addresses in the first seven months of 2020, according to crypto intelligence firm Glassnode.
The vast majority of that net outflow occurred in the second quarter. While 55,400 BTC left exchanges in Q1, a whopping 174,000 BTC exited between April and June, Glassnode reports.
The mass BTC exodus from exchanges corresponds with an increase in whale addresses, defined by the firm as those holding more than 1,000 Bitcoin. Since the end of April, the number of such addresses has grown by 3%.
Glassnode says high net worth investors are likely taking control of their BTC instead of relying on exchanges to hold their assets.
“Much of the recent increase in the number of whales can be explained not by new money, but rather by existing wealthy entities withdrawing their BTC from exchanges.
We can see that this decrease in the balance of BTC on exchanges coincides with the increase in the number of bitcoin whales. It also correlates with the increase in whales’ BTC balance, which can be seen when we compare whale dominance to exchange dominance.”
Glassnode says their data indicates “that whales may have used Black Thursday as an opportunity to get in at the bottom and then withdraw their bitcoin to HODL for the longer term in anticipation of the next bull run.”
The total level of BTC held by whales decreased relatively steadily from 2016 till the beginning of 2020, declining more than 22% from around 6.7 million to 5.2 million, according to the intelligence firm. Since the beginning of the year, however, that number has begun to creep upwards.
Gemini Exchange to Offer Custody of .crypto Blockchain Domains
Unstoppable Domains announced today that Gemini, a top cryptocurrency exchange and custodian, will provide custody services for .crypto blockchain domains. Starting today, users can store .crypto addresses purchased through Unstoppable Domains with Gemini Custody. Registrars of traditional DNS domains will be top customers of this service.
Domain registrars like 101domain and EnCirca will use Gemini’s custody services to make it easier for customers to buy blockchain domains without worrying about storing blockchain assets.
“At 101domain, we implement the highest standard of security to ensure our corporate clients’ digital assets are protected,” said Lauren Tussey, Vice President of Operations at 101domain. “Blockchain domains are a new type of domain system that businesses should be aware of. We’ve made it easy for brands to register, store, and secure blockchain domains through 101domain.com.”
Blockchain domains are used to access the decentralized web, and are Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) built on Ethereum and stored inside of a user’s wallet. This creates an opportunity for secure storage through custody services, just like with cryptocurrencies. Although it is possible for users to store their own digital assets, many users trust third-parties like cryptocurrency exchanges and custodians to store assets for them.
Gemini, which holds a BitLicense, is now the first regulated cryptocurrency exchange to offer custody for NFTs. Not only does this demonstrate the value crypto exchanges see in NFTs and blockchain domains as an asset class, but it also forges a path for traditional domain registrars to move into blockchain with this custodian option.
“Gemini is always excited to support new uses for cryptocurrency and to bring more people into the crypto ecosystem. By providing readable ERC-721 domains that allow for both digital asset payments and uncensorable websites, Unstoppable Domains have brought another use case for NFTs beyond crypto collectibles. We think there’s a big opportunity for custody providers to support this asset class, and we’re proud to be the first licensed exchange and custodian to offer such a service,” added Kristen Mirabella, Principal at Gemini.
Unstoppable Domains co-founder, Brad Kam, added, “Gemini providing custody for blockchain domains is a watershed moment for blockchain domains. We’re extremely encouraged by this, as well as the interest from Fortune 1000 companies – several of which have already claimed domains. We’re really excited by this and the interest from forward thinking domain companies like 101Domain and EnCirca.”
Top uses for blockchain domains are:
Cryptocurrency Payments – Sending cryptocurrency simply by typing a domain into a wallet as a destination address. Domains work for payments across 18+ wallets including Trust Wallet, Myetherwallet, Opera Wallet, and more.
Decentralized websites – Type in a blockchain domain and view websites that can only be put up and taken down by their owner. Websites work in Opera Browser for Android or by using a Chrome extension.
Decentralized Chat – Send and receive messages over an encrypted p2p network. Users control their own messages.
Unstoppable Domains recently launched an integration with Opera Browser so that .crypto domains can be typed into the Android App just like a .com domain. To date, thousands of websites have been launched on the decentralized web and Unstoppable Domains has registered over 200,000 domains.
To learn more, visit unstoppabledomains.com.
About Unstoppable Domains:
Unstoppable Domains is a San Francisco-based company building domains on blockchains. The company is backed by Draper Associates and Boost VC and has received grants from the Ethereum Foundation and Zilliqa Foundation.
101domain is an established worldwide leader in domain management with over fifteen years of experience providing international domain name solutions for tens of thousands of clients. Our suite of services is designed to assist website owners of all sizes with domain management, trademark protection, DNS management, and more domain services.
View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200723005268/en/
PayPal is Set to Make Cryptocurrency Trading Mainstream?
Last month, rumors began circulating that online international payment giant PayPal Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:PYPL) had plans to enter the cryptocurrency industry, and will soon begin offering cryptocurrency buying and selling functionality.
These rumors appear to have been confirmed by a recently published letter, which clearly describes PayPal’s intent to develop its capabilities in the cryptocurrency space. Once these plans are brought to fruition, this will make PayPal the largest traditional finance platform to support digital assets.
This new feature is likely to have a significant positive impact on the cryptocurrency industry as a whole, but the cryptocurrency trading space looks set to benefit the most.
Making Cryptocurrency More Accessible Than Ever
Right now, the only way to purchase most cryptocurrencies with PayPal is to use peer to peer marketplaces like Local Bitcoins and Paxful, or one of the handful of cryptocurrency brokers that accept PayPal deposits.
Paypal PYPL Mastercard MA Visa
Unfortunately, this is frequently an expensive and time-consuming process, since accepting PayPal payments can be riskier for the vendor, due to the possibility of chargebacks and fraud. This risk is usually passed on to the consumer, in the form of higher fees and more extensive identity verification requirements.
But with PayPal’s direct entry into the cryptocurrency brokerage market, there is a good chance that these obstacles to buying cryptocurrencies with PayPal will vanish once and for all. Since most PayPal users have already completed identity verification, and PayPal already has strict fraud detection practices in place, PayPal should be able to offer cheaper, faster access to cryptocurrency than many current vendors.
With over 300 million active users worldwide, this could become a pivotal turning point for an industry that has been previously described as “niche”, “complicated”, and “inaccessible” allowing anybody from PayPal’s diverse userbase demographic to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency boom. Trading Education Platforms Are Gearing Up
Though the cryptocurrency trading industry is set to benefit from PayPal’s impending cryptocurrency on-ramp, there is a strong possibility that cryptocurrency trading and market analytics platforms will also experience a concomitant explosion in interest.
In the current competitive cryptocurrency climate, both new and established traders looking for an edge typically turn to the numerous market tracking and technical analysis tools available for use. These tools are generally used to either spot opportunities traders might otherwise miss, improve the profitability of trades, or improve the user’s understanding of market structure.
However, just a fraction of these platforms currently accepts direct PayPal payments for membership plans. But like cryptocurrencies, these platforms too will become more accessible with the advent of PayPal’s cryptocurrency purchase feature.
BREAKING: Buy $NWC with PayPal
— Newscrypto.io (@NwcPublic) July 3, 2020
Instead of waiting, some platforms have already begun making moves to accommodate PayPal users ahead of the feature launch. This includes the popular cryptocurrency market analysis and trading education platform, NewsCrypto, which recently began accepting PayPal and Mastercard (NYSE:MA) payments for its NWC tokens.
With more traders equipped to profitably trade cryptocurrencies, it might not be long until cryptocurrency investments become as popular as bank savings accounts are today.
Cryptocurrency Trading Will Continue to Blossom
Despite emerging barely a decade ago, the cryptocurrency trading industry has exploded in popularity in recent years, as digital assets have emerged as one of the most profitable financial instruments in the 21st century.
Since Bitcoin’s inception in 2009, it has gone on to experience meteoric growth, climbing from a value of practically zero, up to a peak of more than $20,000 in December 2017.
Other cryptocurrencies have also demonstrated a similar trajectory, including Nxt, which generated a more than 1 million percent ROI for initial coin offering (ICO) investors, and Ethereum, which has gained more than 80% in 2020 alone. These numbers completely blow away even the best performing shares, including the 989% gained by Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) since 2013, and 14% gained by Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) YTD.
This potential for profit led to massive demand for cryptocurrency trading platforms that can allow everyday investors to easily speculate on the price of digital assets. In response to this growing demand, the cryptocurrency trading sector experienced a Cambrian explosion of sorts between 2017 and 2020, as new spot, margin, and derivatives trading platforms were launched.
According to a 2019 report by consulting firm Chappuis Halder, there are now around 43 million cryptocurrency traders worldwide—compared to approximately 70-80 million each for foreign exchange and equities trading. Though this number is already considerable, it’s important to note that this number is still largely comprised of early adopters and traditional investors.
Nonetheless, though far less than 1% of the world’s population currently trades cryptocurrencies, more than $40 billion in cryptocurrency trades are completed each day, demonstrating the staggering size of the industry.
Disclosure: No positions.
Author: Insider Monkey Staff
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