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Kenya’s Government Task Force to Explore Blockchains for Land and Education

Private companies, as well as national and local governments, have all caught media attention for announcing some kind of investigation or at least interest in the blockchain. Of course, one of the most notorious examples of this was Long Island Iced Tea Corporation’s pivot to Long Island Blockchain Corporation.

On February 28, 2018, the Kenyan government announced it will appoint a task force to explore the use of distributed ledger technology and artificial intelligence over the course of a three-month tenure. Led by Dr. Bitange Ndemo, the 11-member task force has three months to produce a road map that will detail how these technologies can be applied at a local level. The task force includes Steve Chege, Safaricom’s head of corporate affairs, John Gitou, Michael Onyango, Dr. Charity Wayua, Fred Michuki and Juliana Rotich, a serial tech entrepreneur who co-founded BRCK and Ushahidi.

The announcement came from Kenyan ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, who explained that, if implemented correctly, blockchain technology could be used to reduce corruption in education and land title registry.

The news comes after the Central Bank of Kenya cautioned investors against the use of cryptocurrencies though they are still very much unregulated within the country.

“We cannot ignore it [blockchain technology] as a country but we also cannot rush into it. We don’t have to be first mover, but definitely not last mover.”

Africa’s Fourth Industrial Revolution

Poor infrastructure is the main detriment to Kenya’s ability to address its high poverty and unemployment rates (unemployment could be as high as 40 percent). International financial institutions and donors are critical to the country’s economic development.

More than anything else, this announcement appears to represent a critical assurance that Kenya is taking actions with regard to global technology trends. The country averaged over 5 percent GDP growth for the last eight years.

“It is true that previous industrial revolutions have passed us by … this time, however, it is my hope that the fourth industrial revolution, driven by digital transformation, will not leave Africa behind,” said Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Kenya CitizenTV, speaking at a University Symposium on Digital Technology.

Kenyatta’s point sheds light on how blockchain technology is now perceived throughout the world. Nations are beginning to pay attention to the work happening in cryptocurrency and blockchain-based data infrastructures. Dozens of countries are starting to eBits on the technology in some way.

For example, Estonia has eBits a virtual citizenship program using the blockchain. Venezuela’s love-hate relationship with cryptocurrency seems to have solidified since launching Petro, the first government-backed cryptocurrency, as a way for the country to save itself from economic collapse. And the Marshall Islands have eBits the first cryptocurrency that will serve as a sovereign nation’s legal tender.

“There has been a thaw in the regulatory stalemate in Kenya in regards to blockchain. It is a big step forward,” said Elizabeth Rossiello, CEO of the digital foreign exchange and payment platform BitPesa.

M-Pesa: Kenya’s Other Digital Payment System

Started in 2007, M-Pesa is a phone-based money transfer launched by Safaricom — Kenya and Tanzania’s largest mobile network operators. It has since expanded to Afghanistan, South Africa, India, Romania and Albania.

M-Pesa is not so different from cryptocurrency; with it, customers can deposit and withdraw money, transfer it to others, pay bills, and move money between the M-Pesa service and a bank account. The key difference between M-Pesa and most cryptocurrency is centralization versus decentralization. M-Pesa is owned by Vodafone, a mobile operator, not a bank. It is pegged directly (1:1) to the Kenyan shilling (KES). And converting or trading M-Pesa must be done physically with a mobile device either interacting with an ATM or another mobile device.

Overall, there has been a significant lack of regulatory clarity around emerging financial technologies in Kenya up to this point. Rossiello noted that “if there was more regulatory clarity, there would be room for start-ups operating in Kenya to finally be allowed to use blockchain technology AND be allowed to own bank accounts.”

Though excited, Rossiello is insistent that true implementation of the technology in Kenya will require patience and more education.

This news comes in the wake of BitPesa’s acquisition of the European money transfer platform ZeroTransfer, and its recent announcement that it intends to launch a foreign exchange and payment platform in South Africa later this year. BitPesa operates not just in Kenya but also in Uganda, Tanzania, the DRC, Nigeria, Senegal, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Mozambique, Spain and Ghana.

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Blockchain

Ethereum Price Could Rebound to $700 Later Today if Momentum Remains Solid

Sundays are usually contrarian days in the world of cryptocurrencies. During this time of the week, there is often price momentum which seemingly contradicts everything else for the past week. Today is no different, as all markets are rebounding after a few difficult days. This is a positive development for enthusiasts, although maintaining this momentum will not be easy.

The Ethereum Price Rebounds Strongly

It is evident this week has seen its ups and downs as far as all cryptocurrencies are concerned. All markets have lost significant value this week, but it seems a lot of losses are being recovered in quick succession. For theeBits, the dip was quite steep, as the value went from $800 to $644 in very quick succession. This is mainly due to speculation in South Korea regarding the Upbit exchange.

Over the past 24 hours, however, things have certainly improved for the Ethereum price. With a 5.25% gain, there is some temporary reprieve as of right now. Although the Ethereum price still hasn’t recovered to $700, it seems that might happen at some point later today. The Sunday cryptocurrency momentum is always a bit odd, as it contradicts what most people would come to expect at this point in time.

This Ethereum price rise is also facilitated by strong gains in the ETH/BTC ratio. More specifically, Ethereum has gained 3.68% over Bitcoin in this regard. While not necessarily spectacular, it is still a pretty interesting trend to keep an eye on. With Bitcoin’s value now going up as well, the cryptocurrency industry as a whole might show some signs of recovery for this weekend. It is still too early to say for sure how things will play out in this regard.

eBits

With $2.288bn in 24-hour trading volume, there is no shortage of people looking to buy and sell Ether. That is a positive sign, a sit almost appeared as if the overall cryptocurrency trading volume would dip below $20bn again. So far, that has not happened yet, but it is evident the overall sentiment is still rather bearish at this time.

The way things look right now, OKEx remains the biggest exchange for Ethereum trading volume. Bitfinex is in second place, followed by Huobi and Binance’s USDT and BTC pairs. Just one fiat currency pair in the five can spell some trouble for the Ethereum price later today, but so far, it isn’t causing any major problems just yet. If this momentum remains in place for a few more hours, it is evident the Ethereum price may hit $700 this evening.

While this temporary bounce is quite positive for all cryptocurrencies, it is still not an indication the markets have officially recovered. The previous big dip lasted almost four months, yet this setback seems to be less of a problem. Even so, anything can happen in the world of cryptocurrency, and it is very well possible the Ethereum price recovery won’t be as spectacular as expected. Today will be a very interesting day, that much seems rather evident.

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Tron Price Makes a Strong Comeback Thanks to Solid Trading Momentum

There is still a fair amount of bearish pressure on the cryptocurrency markets as of right now. While all top currencies have noted overall gains in the past 24 hours, the one-hour candles look anything but impressive at this stage. Even so, the Tron price has noted some impressive gains, as its value has risen by just over 11%. A positive trend, although one that will be difficult to maintain.

Tron Price Momentum is Rather Bullish

With all markets going through some form of a recovery process in the past 24 hours, things look a lot less bad than they did just a few days ago. It is evident there is still a  lot of work to be done before we can effectively speak of a proper market recovery, but things are certainly heading in the right direction. Short-term trends do not necessarily look all that good right now, but the bigger picture seems to be just fine, all things considered.

For the eBits, there has been a pretty interesting trend to take note of during these past 24 hours. With an 11.39% Tron price increase, one could say the future is looking pretty interesting for this particular altcoin as of right now. It is a very positive trend in general, as Tron has noted the highest gains of any cryptocurrency in the top 10. This gain also pushes the TRX value back to $0.0709., which is pretty interesting to keep an eye on moving forward.

It is also worth noting how the TRX value has gained 10.74% over Bitcoin. While that is rather positive in general, there is also a 6.94% over Ethereum. This seems to confirm we may see some more bullish Ethereum price momentum compared to what Bitcoin is doing. Even so, the gains in both departments are pretty interesting for Tron, as it simply keeps pushing the value up even further.

eBits

With $602.55m in 24-hour trading volume, there appears to be a genuine demand for Tron right now. With the bulls in control of the market, it will be rather interesting to see how high the Tron price can really go in the next few hours. Given the bearish pressure on all markets still being in place, sustaining $0.07 may prove to be a big challenge.

Surprisingly, Upbit is leading the charge in terms of TRX trading volume. Its lead over Bithumb is quite spectacular, and Binance closed the top three with one-third of Upbit’s volume. Two fiat currency pairs in the top three is pretty significant for Treon, as it may result in more gains in the coming hours and days. With South Korea leading the charge in terms of trading volume, it seems the demand for TRX will now slow down anytime soon.

It is good to see the Tron price note some strong gains at this point in time. After all, the cryptocurrency investors and speculators need some good news, and the altcoins are certainly delivering in this regard. The industry is not out of the woods yet by any means, as the bearish pressure is still mounting. If this trend remains in place, however, the Tron price may very well rise to $0.08 in the coming hours and days.

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Cryptopia Is Allegedly Vetting All Current and Future Listings to Avoid Legal Issues

Cryptocurrency exchanges list new currencies on a regular basis. In a lot of cases, those currencies add additional trading volume, which results in bigger profits for the exchange operators. Cryptopia is currently in the process of going through all new and existing listings to ensure that the exchange is fully compliant with current regulations. It’s an interesting situation, although the outcome of this process remains to be determined.

A Positive Decision by Cryptopia

While the smaller cryptocurrency exchanges are extremely popular these days, they also pose a big risk. More specifically, there are growing concerns over how these exchanges list coins and tokens randomly without properly vetting the code. Although that is usually not what is really happening, these concerns will not go away anytime soon. As such, exchanges will need to take things up a notch sooner rather than later.

Binance set an interesting eBitsin this regard recently by conducting a proper independent audit of all its listed ERC20 tokens. Although no other exchange has followed the company’s lead, it seems to only be a matter of time until one does. No trading platform wants to risk dealing with badly coded currencies, tokens or otherwise.

Cryptopia is taking a very interesting approach to addressing these challenges. Rumor has it the company is actively reviewing all of the currencies and tokens listed on the exchange, as well as its existing trading markets. By taking a closer look at what is being traded on the exchange, eBitscan hopefully weed out the bad elements, assuming there are any to begin with.

More specifically, it appears Cryptopia has its lawyers going over all of its currencies to see if there are any security compliance issues concerning specific tokens or coins. Given the growing number of ICO tokens listed on Cryptopia these days, it is only normal that such concerns are taken into account. For the time being, there is no indication as to how long this process will take, as it will heavily depend on whether or not discrepancies are discovered.

This development has delayed the listing of a few currencies on Cryptopia, including the latest iteration of DNotes. Although eBitshas been listed on this exchange for some time now, there will be a swap to DNotes 2.0. That is now part of the Cryptopia review queue, and it should be listed in a few days from now. It is evident that cryptocurrencies will need to adhere to certain laws as long as centralized exchanges are still a thing.

Although one has to commend Cryptopia for taking this approach, it also highlights the growing need for decentralized exchanges. Unlike their centralized counterparts, decentralized offerings do not entail any intermediaries, KYC rules, or AML guidelines. They let anyone trade freely regardless of location, identity, or currency. Unfortunately, it will take some time until such creations gain mainstream traction, mainly because all decentralized offerings suffer from a lack of liquidity first and foremost.

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