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Facebook’s Libra Project Development Update

The Libra Association have published an update on Libra’s development progress in blog post titled “5 months and growing strong”. The update comes five months since the announcement of the Libra project on 18 June 2019, and a month since the Libra Association charter was signed in Geneva.

The Libra Association pointed out that the success of the Libra project lies with the extended community that supports it.

A few of the things the Facebook’s Libra has been working on include:

Inviting community participation in shaping how they get to mainnet by making a detailed technical roadmap available to all.

Encouraging developers to test Libra network functionality by launching and continuously improving testnet.

Simplifying how developers work with the Libra project team, so they can focus more on building.

Teaching developers of all backgrounds and skill levels how to work with the Libra network by consistently publishing documentation and technical blogs.

Lastly, incentivizing developers to help find and fix bugs faster by launching a Bug Bounty program.

Additionally the Libra Association have been building involvement in Libra Core, expanding to the pre-net, and deepened the developer experience. The technical roadmap and technical governance is also being expanded.

The Libra Association expressed their gratitude to all the developers in the community for all the hard work.

Libra’s community of developers have logged 34 projects in just seven weeks since launch of the testnet. The projcts include; 10 wallets, 11 blockchain explorers, 2 IDEs, 1 API, and 11 clients.

Recently, the Bank of England finalized a set of principles the Libra cryptocurrency must adopt before going live in the UK.

What is Facebook Libra?

According to the official white paper, “Libra is a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people’. Facebook’s Libra is built on a secure, scalable, and reliable blockchain. It is backed by a reserve of assets designed to give it intrinsic value, and it is governed by the independent Libra Association tasked with evolving the ecosystem.

BRICS, favour the idea of developing a common payment system

The five BRICS nations; Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are considering the development of a common payment system or cryptocurrency to decrease their dependence on the U.S. dollar.

The creation of a cryptocurrency for the BRICS nations was discussed by the business council of the alliance during the forum in Brazil, said Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).

BRICS nations also planned to develop a single payment system for operations between the countries, reported Russian news outlet RBC.

BRICS nations have developed sectorial cooperations in different areas, such as science and technology, trade promotion, energy, health, and education.

According to the Reuters, Kirill Dmitriev, pointed to increasing non-market risks of the global payment infrastructure for being the reason behind the plan to integrate the group’s national payment systems.

Dmitriev, a member of the BRICS Business Council, also told reporters that an efficient BRICS payment system can encourage payments in national currencies and ensure sustainable payments and investments among the BRICS nations, which make up over 20% of the global inflow of foreign direct investment.

Dmitriev further stated that the five BRICS nations had also discussed creating a common cryptocurrency for mutual payments. This comes as the BRICS nations were reducing the share of payments in the U.S. dollar.

Earlier this year, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) released a consultation paper focusing on digital assets in the country as part of an Intergovernmental FinTech Working Group (IFWG), which includes the National Treasury, the South African Revenue Service (SARS), the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) and the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC).

The consultation paper was released in a bid to propose tougher regulation of cryptocurrencies and the use thereof in South Africa.

Further more, in a tender notice published on 14 May 2019, the South African Reserve Bank called for prospective solution providers in anticipation of a feasibility project on a digital currency.

It said “The primary aim of the project is for the South African Reserve Bank to investigate the feasibility and desirability of central bank issued digital currency to be used as electronic legal tender, complimentary to cash”

China also appears to have accelerated the push towards digital currencies after U.S. social media giant Facebook announced plans in June to launch a digital currency named Libra – the most high-profile proposed digital currency thus far.

Should the BRICS nations create their own common payment system, or cryptocurrency they will be able to find new avenues to trade among the alliance while decreasing their dependence on the U.S. Dollar.

Two Men Arrested for Sim Swapping and Crypto Theft

Eric Meiggs, 21, of Brockton, Massachusetts, and Declan Harrington, 20, of Rockport, Massachusetts, were arrested and charged in an 11-count indictment. The two men were charged with with one count of conspiracy, eight counts of wire fraud, one count of computer fraud and abuse and one count of aggravated identity theft. This is according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to the press release, Eric Meiggs and Declan Harrington allegedly targeted executives of cryptocurrency companies and others who likely had significant amounts of cryptocurrency.

The two individuals allegedly schemed to steal more than R8 100 000,00 in cryptocurrency from around 10 different individuals, and according to the press release secured access to two social media accounts.

Those involved with this national scheme used an illegal practice known as “SIM-swapping” and other techniques to access, take control of, and in some cases steal cryptocurrency from, the accounts. 

SIM swapping involves an individual duping your cell provider into believing that you are activating your SIM card on another device.

This is how hackers can steal your phone number and associate it with a SIM card of their own.

If successful, this attack will deactivate your device, while the new device with the hacker’s SIM card will become the destination for all texts, phone calls, data, and accounts tied to your phone number and your SIM card.

With your information obtained from the sim swap, the hacker could easily gain access to your app accounts, personal data, and in this case gain access to your social media accounts or steal cryptocurrency.

Numerous individuals have lost access to their social media accounts and have had their cryptocurrency assets stolen.

Those active in the cryptocurrency space should stay alert of the threat of SIM Swapping and know how to respond should they become a victim to one of these attacks.

According to CNBC, in another case, Eric Meiggs allegedly harassed a Michigan-based victim, sending the victim messages showing that he knew his and his mother’s addresses, and threatening to kill the victim’s wife if he did not give up his Instagram handle.

More recently, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was hit with a SIM swap attack on 30 August, allowing hackers to post racist and anti-Semitic tweets to his account.

The case is being investigated by the FBI and IRS-CI. Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Harman Burkart, Chief of the Cybercrime Unit, are prosecuting the case. 

The press release further states that the details contained in the charging documents are allegations and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

State of FinTech in South Africa

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FinTech is an emerging sector in South Africa. With funding pouring into startups like Zande Africa, Bright on Capital and Livestock Wealth. FinTech will surely play a big role in the digital transformation of South Africa while creating jobs and new business opportunities.

FinTech, short for Financial Technology, encompasses the new applications, processes, products, or business models in the financial services industry. Some uses cases for FinTech include crowdfunding, Insurance, mobile payments, blockchain and cryptocurrency.

FinTech is ripe for mainstream adoption in South Africa. Banking systems across the country is expensive and/or outdated. Many South Africans do not have access to these banking systems or even basic financial utilities. The lack of economic infrastructure paired with inadequate financial education has left many South Africans without bank accounts.

There is a need for a secure way to make digital payments and loans. Many South Africans also do not have a place to store their hard-earned salaries or wages.

We have already seen FinTech attract a large user base in Asian and Western countries. Is South Africa next?

Reasons Why South Africa Might be the Next Big Market for FinTech

It’s hard to expect widespread FinTech adoption in a country where a large percentage of the population do not have bank accounts or even basic financial utilities. However several indications show that FinTech will become a major market in South Africa.

Many people in South Africa, suffer from the slight fluctuations of the South African Rand. When purchasing goods or services internationally or online, South Africans are subject to ridiculously high bank fees, and the exchange rate between the South African Rand and foreign currencies like the United States Dollar.

Banks in South Africa are going digital. TymeBank is one of South Africas only fully digital banks and offers no monthly fees, free day-to-day banking transactions, and low charges for other transactions.

Standard Bank, one of South Africas largest banks also has plans to go digital, and according to BusinessTech, plans to cut around 1,200 jobs and close 91 branches as part of efforts to digitise its retail and business bank.

South Africa has increasingly shown itself to be open to the idea of FinTech.

Many countries in Africa realise the potential economic improvement that comes with FinTech, and have started experimenting with the technology, or have invested in FinTech startups. The South African Reserve Bank is actively studying cryptocurrency and is encouraging FinTech innovation through their FinTech programme.

FinTech Advantages and Disadvantages for South Africa

FinTech is not the final solution to South Africa’s problems just yet, there are still many challenges that need the country needs to overcome. With this challenges come advantages and disadvantages for FinTech in South Africa

Advantages:

  • The first advantage is a faster rate of approval. No more waiting in long queues or having to sign your way through stacks of paper. Today you can open a bank account from the comfort of your home.
  • Convenience is the second advantage as you may no long require a physical plastic or metal card to transact in the real world. Simply login to your phone and open an app and proceed to make the payment. Snapscan is a great example of this.
  • Lower costs result in savings for customers and confidence in the FinTech market.

Disadvantages:

  • Connectivity required. Most FinTech apps and software require a stable internet connection. Going digital is the way forward, but having lower costs for data and internet lines, adsl/fibre, will surely help in that regard. Many South Africans do not own smartphones, so FinTech has to be inclusive for all South Africans, especially the poorest of the poor.
  • Crime is another disadvantage. FinTech solutions will surely become a target for those who are trying to make a quick buck or who want to game the system. FinTech has an enormous responsibility in keeping user funds safe and to ensure transactions are secure, if not, the FinTech market in South Africa will have to face many challenges before it can win over the trust of the South African consumers.

The Case for FinTech in South Africa

As we have come to know that new technology often creates a chasm between those who have and those who do not, especially in South Africa. FinTech presents a massive opportunity for South Africa, and its citizens. South Africa definitely seems to be the next big market for FinTech and boasts massive business opportunity. There are already numerous FinTech Startups in South Africa working towards a South Africa where everyone has access to financial tools and education.

Litecoin (LTC) Users Affected In Large-scale Dusting Attack

Many Litecoin (LTC) users have recieved small amounts of Litecoin (LTC) in a dusting attack.

A dusting attack refers to a relatively new kind of malicious activity where hackers and scammers try and break the privacy of Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies users by sending tiny amounts of cryptocurrency to their personal wallets.

The transactional activity of these wallets is then tracked down by the attackers, who perform a combined analysis of several addresses in an attempt to identify the person or company behind each wallet.

Dusting attacks were initially performed with Bitcoin (BTC), but they are beginning to occur more and more with other cryptocurrencies, in this instance, Litecoin (LTC) that is running on top of a public and traceable blockchain.

One Reddit user said:

Binance, which has recently been susceptible to an attack which led to data leaks, informed their users on Twitter:

If you have received a small amount of Litecoin (LTC) in your wallet, you may be a victim of a Dusting Attack. I recommend reading this post on how to protect yourself from a dusting attack.

NEXO rolls out its Crypto Card

Nexo has announced the arrival of the Nexo Card. Earlier this month, Nexo’s Board of Directors have announced that a Nexo Dividend of US$2,409,574.87 will be distributed to NEXO Token Holders on August 15, 2019, and that Nexo had entered into a deal with MasterCard to roll out a co-branded crypto card, which is claimed to be the world’s first.

The new Nexo Card can be ordered and managed from the comfort of the Nexo Mobile App, giving you instant worldwide access to Nexo’s services.

The Nexo Card is linked to the assets in your Nexo Wallet. When making purchases, the Nexo Oracle confirms in real-time your credit line balance, approves the transaction and will send you the details in a push notification.

Key features of the Nexo Card

  • Freeze and unfreeze your Nexo Card with a single tap
  • Create free virtual cards for safe online purchases
  • Monitor all your transactions in real-time and full detail
  • View your PIN. Change it at any ATM if needed
  • No hidden fees
  • No account maintenance fees
  • No inactivity fees
  • No surcharges at Point-of-Sale payments
  • No foreign exchange (FX) fees
  • Instant cashback on all transactions

Nexo is pioneering the world’s first card that allows holders to spend the value of their assets without selling them.

Get early access to the Nexo card here.

NEXO Announces $2,409,574.87 Dividend for NEXO Token Holders

Nexo’s Board of Directors have announced that a Nexo Dividend of US$2,409,574.87 will be distributed to NEXO Token Holders on August 15, 2019. This news comes shortly after  Nexo entered into a deal with MasterCard to roll out a co-branded crypto credit card, which is claimed to be the world’s first.

Today a meeting of the Board of Directors of Nexo Capital Inc. convened, where a decision regarding the distribution of a dividend for the financial period December 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019 was approved.

Details of Interim Dividend 

Total Dividends US$2,409,574.87 Dividend per NEXO Token TBA Dividend Declaration August 03, 2019 Ex-Dividend Date August 05, 2019 15:00 UTC Record Date August 05, 2019 15:00 UTC Payment Date August 15, 2019 

Dividend Eligibility 

  • NEXO Tokens are placed in a Nexo Wallet no later than 15:00 UTC on August 5, 2019.
  • The Nexo Wallet holder has passed the ‘Advanced Verification’ compliance level. 

Nexo Directors also added:

“We are confident that going forward, Nexo’s profitability will continue its upward trajectory. Nexo consistently dominates the crypto lending space and with the addition of the Nexo Card, new assets for both our Instant Crypto Credit Lines™ and for our high-yield ‘Earn Interest’ product, and the acquisition of commercial banking capabilities, Nexo is the only crypto banking account that the blockchain space will ever need.”

In addition to growing dividend payouts, the Nexo Team is said to be working on Utilities 2.0 for the NEXO Token that will bring a plethora of new amazing features, including, but not limited to:

  • Better interest rates on all Nexo products
  • Premium features and functionalities
  • Nexo Card cashback
  • Exclusive Nexo Card designs
  • Affiliate commissions
  • Invite-only access to products and events

NEXO Continues to reward its users and investors. The crypto community is definitely hyped for their new Mastercard co-branded crypto credit card.

How To Buy Bitcoin (BTC) In South Africa | Beginner’s Guide

Buying Bitcoin (BTC) in South Africa is often easier said than done. 

Although the regulation on cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, has become stricter in South Africa, It is actually easier to buy and sell Bitcoin, thanks to more secure cryptocurrency exchanges and KYC (Know Your Customer).

Today, buying Bitcoin in South Africa, is as easy as opening a bank account, if not easier. All you need is your I.D (Identification Document) or passport and an email address. Some exchanges might require you to upload your proof of residence. 

You will also definitely require some South African Rands.

How to buy Bitcoin In South Africa, step-by step (Only 3 steps)

Step 1

Choosing where to store your Bitcoin (BTC). This is the MOST IMPORTANT part of buying Bitcoin In South Africa. Because, if you ever lose your Bitcoin, or it gets stolen, you will most probably never regain access to it. 

About 6 million Bitcoin BTC, if not more is inaccessible and permanently lost on the bitcoin blockchain. 

Given that it is not possible to hard fork the chain to recover the lost Bitcoin, around 28.5 percent of the bitcoin’s fixed supply is permanently lost. So choosing a more secure wallet will be to your benefit.

There are various types of Bitcoin wallets, namely; web wallets, desktop wallets, cloud wallets, paper wallets, and hardware wallets (also known as cold storage, highly recommended).

There are also cryptocurrency cards available, however it may be difficult to get a hold a physical cryptocurrency card in South Africa. Check out Wirex. Wirex offers virtual cards (In app).

The first Bitcoin wallet you are likely to interact with will be an exchange wallet. When you buy Bitcoin (BTC) on an exchange like LUNO, your Bitcoin will will be stored on a Bitcoin wallet provided by the exchange. Should LUNO have a security breach and you lose your Bitcoin. You lose your Bitcoin. LUNO might be able to cover the lost funds, however most exchanges won’t be able to cover stolen funds. 

Unless you plan to actively trade Bitcoin (BTC) multiple times a month, you should consider storing Bitcoin on a wallet that you own. Owning your own wallet is a great option if you plan on simply holding some Bitcoin as an idle investment.

If you choose to store your Bitcoin on a wallet that you own, you need to accept the following: 

  • There is no central authority that will reset your password for you if you forget it.
  • There is no customer service center to complain to when something goes wrong.

Be sure to choose the best wallet for your needs.

Step 2

Now that you have your Bitcoin wallet, it’s time to change your South African Rands into Bitcoin. If you wish to buy Bitcoin with cash, you will need to find a local Bitcoin ATM, or someone willing to give you Bitcoin for your cash. 

If you are privileged to have a bank account and you are able to do EFT’s (Electronic Fund Transfers) you can buy Bitcoin on most of South Africa’s local cryptocurrency exchanges. 

South Africa’s most popular and trusted exchanges are:

  • LUNO: Gives South Africans the option to buy Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH) with South African Rand (ZAR). LUNO is serving more than 2 million customers and has a learning portal to help new cryptocurrency users to quickly understand the basics.
  • VALR: Brings you over 50 cryptocurrencies with more to come.
  • OVEX: supports over 20 of the world’s top 20 cryptocurrencies.
  • Ice3x: One of South Africa’s oldest and best cryptocurrency exchanges, constantly adding new cryptocurrencies to trade.
  • BitFund: BitFund removes the barriers to entry of investing in the cryptocurrency market in South Africa, offering users the option to buy baskets of cryptocurrency.
  • Coindirect: Buy, sell, store, convert and trade BTC, ETH, USDT, XRP, LTC, DASH, BCH and 35 more of the world’s leading cryptocurrencies in one place.
  • Altcoin Trader: Buy and Sell Bitcoin (BTC) on one of South Africa’s largest Crypto Exchanges.

Have a credit Card? You can buy Bitcoin on International exchanges. 

Recommended International Bitcoin (BTC) exchanges:

  • CEX.IO: A quick, cheap, and safe way to buy Bitcoin. Whether you would like to receive some Bitcoin instantly by making a market order, or to wait for specific conditions for the order execution with a limit order option, CEX.IO offers a unique and simple solution.
  • Coinbase: Buy/ Sell bitcoin. You also have the option to invest in digital currency slowly over time by scheduling Bitcoin purchases daily, weekly, or monthly. Digital assets stored on their servers is covered by their insurance policy.

Step 3

Once you have purchased some Bitcoin, you now need to receive it and keep it safe. When buying Bitcoin on exchanges, the transfer is near instant. Once you have received your Bitcoin, you can trade it, spend it or you can HODL (Hold On For Dear Life).

Conclusion

Buying Bitcoin is not difficult, it’s the complexities that come with owning Bitcoin that makes buying Bitcoin seem difficult. We hope this guide makes buying Bitcoin In South Africa easier for you.

via GIPHY

Grayscale Joins Coinbase Custody

Coinbase announced today via a press release that Grayscale, the world’s largest digital asset fund manager, is to move billions of dollars worth of digital asset holdings to the U.S. crypto wallet provider and trading platform’s Coinbase Custody service in what could be one of the largest single day transfers of digital assets ever.

Grayscale Investments, the company behind the Bitcoin Investment Trust is expected to transfer around $2.8 billion in digital assets in fewer than 12 hours to Coinbase Custody.

Grayscale will be joining world-class institutions that have chosen to partner with Coinbase, including leading digital asset funds like Bitwise InvestmentsPolychain CapitalAutonomous Partners, and a16z crypto.

Coinbase Custody will be serving as a custodian for all of Grayscale’s digital assets, currently including Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), Stellar Lumens (XLM), XRP (XRP) and Zcash (ZEC).

Coinbase Custody operates as a standalone, independently-capitalized business to Coinbase, Inc.

Coinbase Custody will hold Grayscale’s assets for three years at the outset, charging a fee based on the assets under Coinbase’s custody. Both entities have escape clauses for the three-year period, according to the press release.

Grayscale assessed 30 custodian providers before making a final decision. Coinbase Custody was their final decision.

Grayscale raised $84.8 million into its single-asset and diversified investment products during the second quarter of 2019. With a nearly 100% increase in quarter-over-quarter product inflows. Grayscale demonstrates that the recent rally in digital asset prices is supported by institutional investment.

How To Buy NEM (XEM) In South Africa

XEM, the native currency of the NEM public blockchain, can be purchased by anyone who wants to diversify their portfolio or who is looking to earn some passive income through staking XEM tokens. NEM is short for New Economic Movement.

Some of the benefits of buying XEM are:

  • Zero Inflation
  • It’s scalable
  • Option to harvest XEM tokens
  • Negligible electricity and hardware costs
  • Transparent and traceable

In this guide we’ll teach you step-by-step how to buy XEM in South Africa.

See Also:

Step 1

The first step to buying XEM in South Africa is to find a compatible wallet. We recommend using The NEM Foundation’s Nanowallet. The Nanowallet is a browser based client that will allow you to use all of NEM’s features with ease. Nanowallet is also available for OSX, Windows, Mac and Linux.

XEM compatible wallets range in terms of features, platforms they can be used on, and security, so it is important to choose one that works for you, and that has a strong development team behind it.  

Other wallets that can handle the basic functionality of XEM Tokens are:

  • Magnum Wallet: Available for Desktop. Magnum is a decentralized wallet that supports the XEM Token. Users can also instantly exchange cryptocurrency within the wallet. 
  • Paytomat Wallet: Available for Android. The Paytomat wallet supports 14 cryptocurrencies, including XEM. Paytomat wallet is non-custodial, meaning the private keys never leave the secure storage of your phone. 
  • Raccoon Wallet: Available for IOS. RaccoonWallet is a wallet app created from scratch with engineers and designers of Japanese NEMs aiming for the world’s most easy-to-use, safe and fun NEM (XEM) wallet.

A list of more XEM compatible wallets can be found on The NEM Foundation’s website.

XEM is also compatible with the Trezor Hardware Wallet.

Make sure to store your wallet login details and private keys somewhere safe.

Step 2

Step 2 is to choose an exchange to buy XEM with either with fiat or cryptocurrencies.

  • Changelly. A fast way to purchase and exchange over 150 cryptocurrencies.
  • Poloniex. Trade dozens of cryptocurrencies.
  • Binance. Supporting up to 1,400,000 orders per second, Binance makes trading cryptocurrencies easy.

For more exchanges that list XEM click here.

NEM (xem)

Step 3

The 3rd step is to buy XEM. Once you have set up your wallet, and joined an exchange that has XEM listed you can begin purchasing and trading XEM Tokens. 

Step 4

Keeping your XEM Tokens safe. It is important to make sure you do not lose access to your XEM Tokens. Because there is no central authority that will reset your password for you if you forget it, and no customer service center to complain to when something goes wrong. You should always be cautious with your personal information.

Step 5

Lastly you can choose to spend, HODL (Hold On for Dear Life), trade or stake your XEM Tokens. You will need 10 000 XEM Tokens if you plan on harvesting. By harvesting you can earn transaction fees on the NEM Network.

Conclusion

XEM is one of those few tokens that is easy to store, transact with and exchange thanks to a large community surrounding The NEM Foundation. We hope you found this guide helpful.

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