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‘In Africa the Utility of Cryptocurrencies Is Attractive’, Says Marius Reitz, Luno Africa GM

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BeinCrypto spoke to Marius Reitz, the General Manager of Luno Africa. We discussed the growth of crypto in Africa, the hurdles, and what’s in store for crypto across the continent.

Luno, began as BitX in 2013 in South Africa before a rebranding in 2017. From the beginning, it expanded its African markets, including Nigeria, in 2014.

Following impressive growth, the company set up the Luno African regional offices in Johannesburg. From here, the company works with markets across the continent.

“We’ve launched operations in Uganda and also opened a remote office in Nairobi, while growing our office in Lagos, Nigeria,” explains Reitz.

“Luno sees Africa as one of, if not the most promising region for the adoption of cryptocurrencies due to its unique combination of economic and demographic trends.”

Success in South Africa and Nigeria

In its two biggest markets, Luno has seen impressive growth and adoption. The platform saw almost a million new customers in South Africa alone during 2020. In addition, Nigeria took the spot as second-biggest bitcoin trader in the world in the same year.

“We were the first company to enable SA and Nigerians to buy crypto with their local currency, which made access safe and easy.”

However, despite positive growth, Nigeria is one example of a market meeting complicated roadblocks. In February, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ordered all financial institutions to stop providing on and off-ramp crypto services.

For Luno, this meant customers have been unable to withdraw or deposit their money. In May, Luno CEO Marcus Swanepoel assured users that the exchange was still negotiating with stakeholders to find a solution.

Addressing regulatory authorities

Despite the issue in Nigeria, according to Reitz, Luno “works closely with regulators in the territories in which we operate.”

“Regulatory authorities internationally are paying attention to the rules that should govern the cryptocurrency industry but it would be fair to say that many governments in Africa are cautious and even hostile to cryptocurrencies.”

Reitz explains that Luno supports regulations for cryptocurrencies. It has an interest in working with regulators in the territories it operates in. In fact, that’s where much of its efforts are placed.

“Most of our efforts have been on the regulatory front, speaking with regulators in countries such as Uganda, Zambia, Kenya and Ghana to share learnings and our experiences from working with regulators in other countries where Luno operates.”

“Several are quite progressive in working with industry to build regulations that make sense and are enforceable. In South Africa, for instance, we work closely with the Intergovernmental Crypto Assets Regulatory Working Group, which also includes the Financial Sector Conduct Authority,” he explains.

He explains that while regulations, in some context, may bring more restrictions, this doesn’t mean it’s going to be the long-term outcome.

“We’ve seen a clear global move to regulate cryptocurrency or the companies that provide cryptocurrency related services,” he explains.

“In the short term, we could see more restrictions, e.g. bans on banks that provide deposit and withdrawal services to crypto companies. This will make access more difficult in the short term, but more often than not the end result will be the introduction of new regulations, as was the case in Malaysia.”

However, Reitz explains that despite the length of the progression, regulations are important ultimately for consumers.

“In the absence of regulations, it becomes more difficult for consumers to get easy access to crypto with their local currency as banks are reluctant to work with crypto platforms,” he says.

“In Africa the utility of cryptocurrencies is attractive.”

Beyond regulatory issues, Reitz sees Africa as fertile ground for cryptocurrencies.

“Luno sees Africa as one of, if not the most promising region for the adoption of cryptocurrencies due to its unique combination of economic and demographic trends.”

He specifically references the remittances, which are a key source of income for families across Africa.

A remittence is money paid by a person in a foreign country to their family back in their home country. This is incredibly common in sub-saharan Africa, as those from struggling economies will go find employment elsewhere.

“Remittances are an important source of income to many families and a source of foreign currency to many countries,” explains Reitz.

“In 2019, expats sent around $48 billion back to families in sub-Saharan Africa according to the World Bank.”

However, traditional money transfers are often inefficient and carry high fees. This is one space where cryptocurrency exchanges are proving to be powerful tools.

Reitz also sees stablecoins and DeFi as solutions to other problems, including the un- and underbanked.

However, overall Africa has a positive outlook. Growth of tools that will help increase adoption is promising. For example, smartphone and internet penetration are improving, making accessing exchanges easier than ever.

In 2017, there were 250 million smartphone connections across sub-saharan Africa, accounting for 34% of
total phone connections.

According to a report written in collaboration with Luno, The State of Crypto-Africa, this is projected to increase to 690 million in 2025, with smartphones accounting for 67% of phone connections.

“Taking into account demographic and societal trends, with a fast-growing, young and mobile-native population, Africa is well-suited to the rapid adoption of cryptocurrencies.”

Adoption through education

Reitz sees education as important to Luno’s efforts and adoption of cryptocurrencies across markets. It has been this area that Luno has been focusing on.

“Luno has a massive focus on education – we were the first and only company to provide educational content to customers via the free learning portal,” explains Reitz.

“In our view, one of the mistakes the crypto industry made was to overestimate the level of crypto knowledge of the general public. We still have a long way to go until most people start to use crypto in their everyday lives.”

This, in combination with real-life utility, is what he notes as the basis for growth of cryptocurrencies.

“If crypto solves a specific problem, e.g. enabling a migrant worker to send money back home without incurring exorbitant fees, then people will use it. Grassroots level growth is the basis of the growth of cryptocurrency – any disruptive technology, in fact,” he says.

“Innovative technologies take hold because they disrupt the status quo by making it easier and quicker for people to get things done.”

Disclaimer

All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk.

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After working in news and lifestyle journalism, Leila decided to bring her interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain to her day job. She now runs the Features and Opinions desk at BeinCrypto which fits perfectly with her enthusiasm for crypto’s social and political impact.

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Source: https://beincrypto.com/marius-reitz-on-crypto-utility-in-africa/

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El Salvador to airdrop $30 in Bitcoin to every adult citizen

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The president of El Salvador  has announced the government will airdrop $30 worth of Bitcon (BTC) to every adult citizen of the country.

The announcement was welcomed by Bitcoiners, with influencers speculating El Salvador’s government wil need to purchase the required BTC it intends to distribute adding more than $100 million in buying pressure on markets.

Quickly googled estimates of the adult population of El Salvador varied, with onchain analyst Willy Woo tweeting that Bitcoin’s global user base will grow by 2.5% thanks to the influx of 4.5 million Salvadorians.

Others placed the Salvadoran adult population as high as 6.5 million (which is actually the total population), with Yahoo Finance anchor Zack Guzman using the figure for some rough back of the envelope calculations suggesting that $195 million worth of Bitcoin will be airdropped across the country.

Exact figures are hard to find but Statista shows that in 2019 the population aged 15 and above was 4.72M.

However, crypto Twitter’s euphoria may be be slightly premature, as local publication Prensa Latina notes El Salvador’s citizens will only receive the free Bitcoin after downloading the government-issued cryptocurrency wallet application.

The news was announced during a June 25 press conference, with President Bukele stating the government’s “wallet app will even work anywhere with a cell connection, and you won’t have to have a cell plan for the app.”

President Bukele also stated that the country’s much-celebrated Bitcoin law recognizing BTC as legal currency nationwide will come into effect on September 7.

Related: Opposition poses constitutional challenge to El Salvador’s Bitcoin law

El Salvador’s Bitcoin law was passed roughly two weeks ago. While the move has been praised by the global crypto community, the legislation has faced opposition from a minority political party and the World Bank.

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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/el-salvador-to-airdrop-30-in-bitcoin-to-every-adult-citizen

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Ethereum London upgrade launches on testnet as 100K staked in a day on Eth2

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Ethereum’s forthcoming London upgrade, containing the highly-anticipated Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 1559, has been deployed on the Ropsten testnet.

Following the June 24 launch on Ropsten, London is now expected to progress through Ethereum’s Goerli, Rinkeby, and Kovan testnets at roughly weekly intervals — from which point the Ethereum community expects a date for mainnet deployment to firm up.

The new upgrade will see transaction fees burned. According EIP-1559 tracking website, Watch the Burn, roughly 88,500 testnet ETH nominally worth $177.6 million has been burned on Ropsten over the day since London’s deployment.

The high rate of Ether being burned on Ropsten has reignited discussion regarding whether EIP-1559 will render Ethereum deflationary — where more ETH is destroyed than new supply enters into circulation — and what this could mean for Ethereum’s price moving forward.

However, EIP-1559 is not the only upgrade that the community is looking forward to from London, with David Mihal of CryptoFees describing EIP-3074 as “fixing one of Ethereum’s most overlooked security issues” to do with approvals.

Related: A London tour guide: What the EIP-1559 hard fork promises for Ethereum

Coincidentally or not, crypto data aggregator, CryptoQuant, identified that 100,000 Ether had been deposited into Eth2’s staking contract around the same time as the launch, worth roughly $200 million.

CryptoQuant also noted that more than 5% of ETH’s supply is currently locked in staking worth approximately $11.75 billion.

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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/ethereum-london-upgrade-launches-on-testnet-as-100k-staked-in-a-day-on-eth2

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Crypto Companies Innovate to Serve Their Users Better

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The quest to leverage the crypto and DeFi boom means crypto companies must constantly be innovative to serve their users. If company “A” doesn’t do it, there is every certainty that company “B” will fill in that gap. TrustToken, Phemex, and Kryll are among the many crypto companies constantly innovating and launching new features on their platform. In this article, we shall look at some of the ways these companies are evolving in order to meet the demands of their users, and serve them better.

New $USDT lending pool by TrustToken

On June 18, 2021, TrueFi launched a new USDT lending pool for collateral-free loans. According to Head of Strategy Ryan Rodenbaugh, USDT remains one of the most demanded assets by crypto borrowers – and the new pool has grown rapidly in both size and utilization.

Growing these lending pools was helped by lucrative incentives: depositors enjoyed loan interest and generous TRU token rewards totaling more than 40-50% APY. In lending, utilization is key: with much of the capital sitting unallocated, are TrueFi users “overpaying” for stablecoins deposits?

TrueFi governance was quick to respond: a new proposal adjusting pool incentives based on utilization, pegging incentives for given lending pools (of TUSD, USDC and USDT today) to their rate of borrowing – dynamically – helping TrueFi reward the most productive assets.

The pools add a new way for crypto holders to earn returns while sitting in the safe haven of stablecoins during the market’s swings. In fact, TrueFi pools may offer some of the highest earning opportunities on stablecoins – and are free of impermanent loss.

Phemex launches Learn and Earn on its platform

Since its launch in 2019, Phemex crypto and futures trading exchange has been making giant strides in the crypto space. The platform offers spot trading, contract trading, and futures trading. It seeks to position itself as the most trusted in the industry.

In its bid to educate beginners on the crypto and blockchain industry, Phemex has recently launched its “learn & earn” program. The purpose of the new feature is strictly to incentivize new crypto users.

The new feature comes with interactive videos and other intuitive lessons designed for beginners. To motivate these learners, the crypto exchange has come with a way for learners to earn rewards while they learn. At the end of each lesson, users will be presented with a short quiz for them to provide the right answers. If a user answers all the questions correctly, the user will receive a reward from the platform. This becomes a good motivation for learners to pay attention and be serious throughout the learning process.

No more struggle to understand jargon-filled information

The “learn & earn” program is designed to be beginner-friendly and offers learners a fun and easy way to understand cryptocurrency basics. Users will first learn about Phemex’s essential features and how each feature works. The program also explained how cryptocurrency works and how beginners can trade cryptos on exchanges.

Kryll allows users to create their own crypto trading strategies

Krill is a crypto trading marketplace where users can create and own trading bots. There are currently more than 270 active trading strategies on the platform. Users can also publish their trading strategies for other users to use, and the publisher makes good profit in the process. In its bid to offer efficient services to users, Kryll developed tools that allow its users to create powerful trading bots for Binance, Kraken, and Bittrex. The interesting thing is that users don’t need to have prior coding skills to use this new feature on Kryll. Creating your trading bots on the platform is as easy as drawing on a whiteboard.

Users no longer have to constantly stay in front of their computers to trade. These bots are hosted in the cloud and operate 24/7. As a user of Kryll, you can now leverage the trading bots to save time and optimize your profits.

The platform also has a marketplace which gives users access to a community of experienced crypto traders who automate their trades on Binance, Kraken, Bittrex, and HitBit. Users can test, rent and offer automated trading strategies with each other.

Building better interaction with users

The innovative approach of crypto companies like TrustToken, Phemex, and Kryll is the tip of the iceberg, considering the high number of features introduced in the crypto space every day. It is an indicator that the cryptocurrency industry is still growing, and there are still more grounds to cover. TrustToken, Phemex, Kryll, and other crypto platforms are persistently leveraging the crypto boom to interact better with their users.

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

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Source: https://bitcoinist.com/crypto-companies-innovate-to-serve-their-users-better/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=crypto-companies-innovate-to-serve-their-users-better

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