INSIGHT-How bitcoin met the real world in Africa
* Monthly crypto transfers to and from Africa rise 55% in a year
* Much of the activity in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya
* Driven by small businesses and migrant worker remittances
* Devalued local currencies, banking red tape boost demand
* However risks abound in a mostly unregulated crypto market
By Alexis Akwagyiram and Tom Wilson
LAGOS/LONDON, Sept 8 (Reuters) – Four months ago, Abolaji Odunjo made a fundamental change to his business selling mobile phones in a bustling street market in Lagos: He started paying his suppliers in bitcoin.
Odunjo sources handsets and accessories from China and the United Arab Emirates. His Chinese suppliers asked to be paid in the cryptocurrency, he said, for speed and convenience.
The shift has boosted his profits, as he no longer has to buy dollars using the Nigerian naira or shell out fees to money-transfer firms. It is also one example of how, in Africa, bitcoin – the original and biggest cryptocurrency – is finding the practical use that it has largely failed to elsewhere.
“Bitcoin helped to protect my business against the currency devaluation, and enabled me to grow at the same time,” Odunjo told Reuters from his two-by-eight metre shop.
“You don’t have to pay charges, you don’t have to buy dollars,” the 30-year-old said, raising his voice above the sound of loud haggling and the honking horns of scooters.
Odunjo is one of many people at the heart of a quiet bitcoin boom in Africa, driven by payments from small businesses as well as remittances sent home from migrant workers, according to data shared exclusively with Reuters and interviews with around 20 bitcoin users and five cryptocurrency exchanges.
Monthly cryptocurrency transfers to and from Africa of under $10,000 – typically made by individuals and small businesses – jumped more than 55% in a year to reach $316 million in June, the data from U.S. blockchain research firm Chainalysis shows.
The number of monthly transfers also rose by almost half, surpassing 600,700, according to Chainalysis, which says the research is the most comprehensive effort yet to map out global crypto use. Much of the activity took place in Nigeria, the continent’s biggest economy, along with South Africa and Kenya.
This represents a reversal for bitcoin which, despite its birth as a payments tool over a decade ago, has mainly been used for speculation by financial traders rather than for commerce.
Why a boom in Africa? Young, tech-savvy populations that have adapted quickly to bitcoin; weaker local currencies that make it harder to get dollars, the de facto currency of global trade; and complex bureaucracy that complicates money transfers.
The bitcoin users interviewed by Reuters, based in five countries from Nigeria to Botswana, said the cryptocurrency was helping people make their businesses nimbler and more profitable, and helping those working in places like Europe and North America hang on to more of the earnings they send home.
Yet risks abound.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are unregulated in many countries and their legal status is unclear, meaning there is no safety net and little recourse if you lose funds.
For many, converting local currencies to and from bitcoin relies on informal brokers. Prices are volatile, and buying and selling is a complex process that demands technical knowledge.
In 2018, the Nigerian central bank warned cryptocurrencies were not legal tender, and investors were unprotected.
TO SHANGHAI WITH CRYPTO
A steady stream of customers comes and goes from Odunjo’s shop, one of a dozen units along a dark corridor in an indoor section of the market known as Computer Village.
Odunjo makes two or three transfers a month of around 0.5-0.7 bitcoin ($5,900-$8,300) each, to suppliers in Shanghai and Zhangzhou. East Asia, Chainalysis found, is one of the top partners for bitcoin trading with Africa.
Odunjo’s trades offer a microcosm of the wider trends at play in both Nigeria and across the continent.
In Nigeria, small cryptocurrency transfers totalled nearly $56 million in June, nearly 50% more than a year before. The number of transactions jumped over 55% to 120,000.
Gauging how cryptocurrencies are used in particular locations is tough, though. Digital coins offer a high degree of anonymity, and though the value of transactions can be tracked on the blockchain, the identity or whereabouts of a user cannot.
Chainalysis, which tracks crypto flows for financial firms and U.S. law enforcement, gathered the data by analysing web traffic and trading patterns, though locations can be obscured by virtual private networks. It separated transfers of under $10,000 from larger sums common among professional traders.
NAIRA’S LOSS, BITCOIN’S GAIN
With Nigeria’s oil-dependent economy rocked by low crude prices and COVID-19, the central bank has twice devalued the naira this year. As a result, Odunjo and other importers must pay more to buy increasingly scarce dollars.
The naira’s fall has pushed many Nigerians towards bitcoin, the interviews showed, as they seek methods of purchasing goods from overseas without having to buy dollars.
Sylvester Kalu, who runs a clothing starch maker in Uyo, eastern Nigeria, uses bitcoin to buy supplies from Istanbul and Shenzhen.
“Everything is oil. When the price of oil dropped, forex became scare,” he said. “That became a very big problem.”
The 30-year-old said his transactions totalled around 2 bitcoin ($20,000) a time, adding: “I don’t need anyone in the banks, I don’t need a person to use the back door to get dollars.”
Timi Ajiboye, who runs Lagos exchange BuyCoins, said its monthly cryptocurrency volumes jumped over three-fold to $21 million in June after the naira was devalued in March.
Exchanges across Africa spoke of a similar boom.
Yellow Card, which operates in five countries, said its monthly crypto volumes had jumped five-fold in 2020 to $25 million in August. A big driver was workers using bitcoin for remittances, it added.
Luno said the combined monthly bitcoin trading volumes of all market participants in South Africa and Nigeria had jumped by half this year to more than $536 million in August.
IT’S A RISKY BUSINESS
For some people working abroad, in other continents or other African countries, sending money home via bitcoin can be quicker and cheaper.
A Nigerian worker in London sending 100 pounds ($132) in cash to Lagos via a big traditional money-transfer firm, for example, would pay fees of around 5%. Costs are lower when sending larger amounts or using a debit card, but the exchange rates on offer are typically several percentage points less favourable than the market rate.
Bitcoin fees vary depending on the exchange or broker, but would typically total about 2%-2.5% for sending 100 pounds.
However both exchanges and over-the-counter (OTC) brokers carry risks, from hacks to scams.
And bitcoin, while handy for transfers, isn’t much use on the ground – shops and landlords rarely accept it, for instance. This means friends or family sent funds by workers must convert it back to traditional currency, often via a broker at their end, introducing additional risk.
Yet the bitcoin users interviewed said many OTC brokers, who rely on word-of-mouth reviews, functioned reliably in an increasingly competitive market and were loath to imperil the reputations they needed to stay in business.
And for a growing number of people, the potential rewards outweigh the pitfalls.
“People are very adoptive of any technology that will make their life easier,” said Frankline Kihiu, a crypto broker in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.
“In most African countries, there are lots of government restrictions that bitcoin takes away.”
($1 = 0.7585 pounds)
(1 bitcoin = $10,065)
(Reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram in Lagos and Tom Wilson in London; Additional reporting by Nneka Chile in Lagos; Editing by Pravin Char)
Author: Alexis Akwagyiram and Tom Wilson
Popular XXX Site, Pornhub, Now Accepting Bitcoin | Bitcoin News Summary Sep 7, 2020
The 9th most popular website in the world, Pornhub, now accepts Bitcoin and Litecoin for the purchase of premium x-rated content. Pornhub is owned by the MindGeek company, which also owns the popular RedTube and YouPorn sites, as well as the Brazzers production company.
The biggest crypto exchange in South Korea and the fifth largest in the world, Bithumb, was reportedly raided by police. The raid is apparently connected to a token sale and failed corporate takeover by a Singaporean firm. The exchange’s chairman has been accused of fraud and illegal money transfer. Some have blamed this week’s falling crypto prices on the raid. Late last month, another major exchange in South Korea, Coinbit, was also seized by police for wash trading charges.
Kazakhstan’s minister of Digital Development announced that the country is set to confirm $714 million worth of investment funding in a major new mining facility. Thirteen mining farms are already operating in the Central Asian nation. The country claims to account for 6% of crypto mining around the world.
We reported months ago on malicious Electrum servers sending messages to users urging the download of malicious wallets. Electrum then patched the issue and the matter was considered ended. However, last week a user reported launching their 2017-vintage Electrum wallet, getting the message and following it, then losing 1,400 BTC. The moral is to always keep your wallet software updated.
Before we conclude, this week’s “Bitcoin quick question” is how do I keep my bitcoin transactions private?
Maintaining privacy is not an easy task when it comes to Bitcoin transactions, as the accounting ledger is completely transparent.
There are several layers of privacy. The first and easiest one is to ensure you are using a hierarchical deterministic wallet such as the popular hardware wallets, Ledger and Trezor. These types of wallets change your wallet address after you receive transactions, therefore making it harder to track your transactions.
Another layer would be to use CoinJoin services or privacy-oriented wallets such as Wasabi or Samourai.
The most advanced layer would be to run your own full node, meaning download and sync the Bitcoin blockchain, while relying on the TOR privacy network as well.
If you want to know more about using Bitcoin anonymously, visit the link in the description below.
Have a question you want us to answer? Just leave it in the comment section below.
And a huge thanks to eToro for supporting us in putting this video together. If you’re looking to trade cryptocurrencies, consider joining the millions who are already using the unique features eToro offers, like CopyTrader, which lets you automatically replicate the moves of top performing traders on the platform. For more information, visit etoro.com.
That’s what’s happened this week in Bitcoin. See you next week.
Bitcoin Price Prediction: BTC/USD May Slump Below $10,000 Support, Targets $9,300 Low
Bitcoin (BTC) Price Prediction – September 8, 2020
Today is the fourth time; sellers will be attempting to break below the psychological support. Bitcoin bulls buy the dips, each time price breaks below the $10,000 support. The support is holding because many investors are prepared to buy BTC at this level.
Resistance Levels: $10,000, $11, 000, $12,000
Support Levels: $7,000, $6,000, $5,000
For almost a week, BTC/USD price has been consolidating above the $10,000 support. The bears have not broken the support level convincingly. Buyers have also failed to push the coin above the $10,500 high. This is an indication that BTC lacks buyers at higher price levels. However, if more buyers come above the psychological price level, there is a tendency for BTC to rebound above the current support. Bitcoin will resume an upward move if there is a strong bounce above the current support.
The momentum will break the $10,500 resistance and a rally above $11,000. If buyers are successful above $11,000, the uptrend will resume in earnest. On the other hand, if the bullish scenario fails to hold, the bears may attempt to break below the current support. The king coin will decline to $9,800 or $9,000. Meanwhile, BTC is at level 35 of the Relative Strength Period 14. It indicates that BTC is in the downtrend zone and below the centerline 50.
Politics and U.S Dollar Currency Index May Affect Bitcoin This Week
In the meantime, Bitcoin has continued to tests the $10,000 support after the recent drop. Before Bitcoin drops to $10,000 support, the king coin has traded to $12,050 high. Later, it dropped to $9,900, and the price was corrected above $10,000.There are fresh fears among Bitcoin investors concerning the strength of the U.S dollar currency index and the monetary policy in Europe. According to Max Keiser, the U.S dollar currency Index should drop below 80 so that BTC and Gold will begin upside momentum. The U.S dollar currency index (DXY) measures USD against a basket of U. S trading partner currencies.
In the previous week, an inflationary announcement from the Federal Reserve had a bearish impact on the index. However, the reverse was the case last week as this affected the safe havens. According to reports on Sep. 7, DXY was at 92.95, and it rose to 93.25 during the weekend. Max Keiser said: “We need the DXY to drop through 80 to get the real fireworks going in #Bitcoin and Gold,” he tweeted. Keiser also indicated that the happenings in the ongoing Brexit saga may have a positive influence on BTC next month. He indicated that if the European Union assume a hard-line stance with the United Kingdom, the euro could benefit while the pressure will be on DXY. He said: “Hopefully the EU cuts (the U.K.) off in October, freeing the Euro to trade higher. This will help Bitcoin a lot,” he wrote.
In the meantime, sellers have pushed BTC below the $10, 000 support. The king coin has fallen to $9,980 at the time of writing. On September 3 downtrend, the retraced candle body tested the 78.6% Fibonacci retracement level. This implies that Bitcoin will fall to 1.272 Fibonacci level or $9,300 low. Later, BTC will reverse and return to 78.6% extension level where it originated.
Author: FOLLOW ON
Bitcoin and Tron’s TRX Weekly Technical Analysis – September 7th, 2020
Bitcoin tumbled by 12.39% in the week ending 6th September. Reversing a 0.57% gain from the previous week, Bitcoin ended the week at $10,276.0.
It was a mixed start to the week. Bitcoin fell by 0.50% on Monday to an early weekly low $11,600 before making a move.
Steering clear of the first major support level at $11,296, Bitcoin rose to a Monday intraweek high $12,067.
Bitcoin came up against the first major resistance level at $12,006 before hitting reverse.
The reversal saw Bitcoin tumble to a Saturday intraweek low $9,925.5.
Bitcoin fell through the week’s major resistance levels before finding support on Sunday.
On the day, Bitcoin broke back through the third major support level at $10,151 to wrap up the week at $10,200 levels.
4 days in the red that included a 10.85% stumble on Thursday delivered the downside for the week.
Bitcoin would need to move through the $10,756 pivot level to support a run the first major resistance level at $11,587.
Support from the broader market would be needed for Bitcoin to break back through to $11,000 levels.
Barring an extended crypto rally, resistance at $11,000 would likely leave Bitcoin short of the first major resistance level.
In the event of a breakout, Bitcoin could test resistance at $12,000 before any pullback. Bitcoin would likely come up well short of the second major resistance level at $12,898, however.
Failure to move through the $10,756 pivot would bring the first major support level at $9,445 into play.
Barring another extended sell-off, Bitcoin should avoid sub-$9,000 levels and 23.6% FIB of $8,900. The second major support level sits at $8,615
At the time of writing, Bitcoin was up by 0.18% to $10,294.0. A mixed start to the week saw Bitcoin fall to an early Monday morning low $10,258.2 before rising to a high $10,330.0 early on Monday.
Bitcoin left the major support and resistance levels untested at the start of the week.
Tron’s TRX surged by 16.92% in the week ending 6th September. Following on from an 11.04% rally from the previous week, Tron’s TRX ended the week at $0.031499.
It was a particularly bullish start to the week. Tron’s TRX rallied from a Monday intraday week low $0.02569 to a Thursday intraweek high $0.05337.
Steering clear of the major support levels, Tron’s TRX broke through the week’s major resistance levels before pulling back.
More significantly, Tron’s TRX also broke through the 23.6% FIB of $0.0291 and the 38.2% FIB of $0.0428.
The pullback saw Tron’s TRX slide back through resistance levels to sub-$0.028 levels.
Tron’s TRX also fell back through the 38.2% FIB and the 23.6% FIB before finding support.
It was a bullish end to the week. Tron’s TRX broke back through the first major resistance level at $0.02971 and the 23.6% FIB to end the week at $0.031 levels. The second major resistance level at $0.03237 pinned Tron’s TRX back late in the week.
4 days in the green that included an 18.61% breakout on Tuesday and a 15.90% rally on Thursday delivered the upside.
An 11.19% slide on Friday and a 15.92% tumble on Saturday limited the upside for the week, however.
Tron’s TRX would need to move through the $0.03685 pivot to support a run at the first major resistance level at $0.04802.
Support from the broader market would be needed, however, for Tron’s TRX to break out from the 38.2% FIB of $0.0428.
Author: Bob Mason