Ripple and Onafriq Forge Alliance for Blockchain-Enabled Payments in Africa

Ripple, a frontrunner in blockchain and cryptocurrency solutions, has joined forces with Onafriq, a leading payments fintech, to revolutionize digital asset-enabled cross-border payments connecting Africa with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the UK, and Australia.

The partnership marks a new era of efficiency for remittances and business payments across these regions, as Onafriq integrates Ripple’s crypto-enabled payment technology to establish new payment corridors. This collaboration is set to address the longstanding hurdles in cross-border payments, such as high costs, slow transfer times, and reliability issues, thereby accelerating financial inclusion across the African continent.

Utilizing Ripple’s robust blockchain technology, Onafriq is poised to dismantle the barriers that have historically plagued cross-border financial transactions. The collaboration will connect PayAngel in the UK, Pyypl in the GCC, and Zazi Transfer in Australia with Onafriq’s extensive pan-African network, encompassing 27 countries. This move is expected to vastly improve the speed and affordability of sending remittances and conducting business payments to Africa.

Onafriq boasts the largest mobile money footprint across Africa, a continent where mobile money has been transformative in enhancing financial services access. The fintech’s payment hub unites over 500 million mobile wallets across 40 countries, operating in more than 1300 payment corridors. This level of connectivity is pivotal for fostering regional payment interoperability and facilitating seamless cross-border transactions.

The announcement coincides with the appearance of Dare Okoudjou, Onafriq’s Founder & CEO, at Swell Global 2023 in Dubai. This event, Ripple’s annual customer conference, provides a platform to showcase the partnership’s potential to leverage blockchain technologies to amplify Onafriq’s impact on the African continent.

Aaron Sears, SVP of Global Customer Success at Ripple, expressed excitement over expanding their solutions into Africa. Meanwhile, Dare Okoudjou highlighted the partnership’s alignment with Onafriq’s mission to diminish the relevance of borders in African payments. Partner CEOs from PayAngel, Pyypl, and Zazi Transfer also shared their perspectives on the transformative potential of the collaboration for remittances and economic growth in Africa.

Image source: Shutterstock


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African Blockchain Ventures See Explosive Growth

Blockchain technology is making waves across the African continent, as it continues to provide fertile ground for the growth and implementation of this cutting-edge technology. According to the African Blockchain Report 2022 by Crypto Valley VC, the funding for blockchain deals in Africa raised a whopping $474 million in 2022, representing a staggering 429% increase in African blockchain venture funding. This surge in funding for African blockchain ventures outpaced the global average of only a 4% increase in blockchain funding.

The report revealed that African blockchain funding demonstrated a growth rate that was over 12.5 times higher than that of general African venture funding on a year-on-year basis. Specifically, African blockchain ventures raised $474 million through 2022, reflecting a 429% increase in funding. In contrast, overall African venture funding saw a 34% increase, with $3.14 billion raised across 570 deals during the same period.

Africa experienced the highest growth rate in funding among all regions, with Seychelles and South Africa responsible for 81% of the blockchain venture funding in Africa, having raised $208 million and $177 million, respectively. This can be attributed to the fact that the number of African blockchain deals increased by only 12% year-on-year, from 26 to 29, indicating that the median deal size has significantly risen. This suggests that businesses are securing more substantial funding, and investors are becoming more confident in African blockchain ventures.

In the past year, Nigerian blockchain startups raised the highest number of deals in the continent, followed by South Africa, Seychelles, and Kenya. However, despite Nigeria’s high number of deals, it only accounted for 3.4% of all African blockchain venture funding, with an average deal size of $1.25 million.

Meanwhile, the United States remained steady at $15.2 billion in funding, while Asia and Europe saw a year-on-year increase of 50% and 35%, respectively, with $4.74 billion and $4.88 billion in funding. African blockchain venture funding made up 1.77% of global blockchain venture funding, which saw an impressive 407% year-on-year increase, with several countries contributing to the surge. In comparison, the US concluded 137 deals, while Asia and Europe had 84 and 78, respectively.

Overall, the remarkable growth in African blockchain ventures indicates a promising future for the industry in the region. As more businesses secure larger investments, and investor confidence grows, the African blockchain industry is poised for continued success and innovation. With Nigeria leading the charge in the number of blockchain startups receiving funding, the future looks bright for African blockchain ventures.


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Shapella Upgrade, Privacy Concerns, Hacks, and Financial Inclusion

The DeFi space had a busy week with several significant developments. The highly anticipated Shapella upgrade on Ethereum’s mainnet was successfully completed, allowing validators to withdraw their staked Ether after three years. However, only 253 validators have signed up to fully exit their staked Ether position, with analytics firm Glassnode predicting that less than 1% of the staked ETH will be withdrawn.

In addition to the Shapella upgrade, an Ethereum researcher revealed that staking Ether could become a privacy concern. The researcher found that staking Ether shows a user’s IP address information, which could lead to privacy issues. This discovery raised concerns within the cryptocurrency community.

A DeFi hack also occurred during the week, where a hacker exploited an old contract and minted 1 quadrillion Yearn Tether (yUSDT). The hacker then swapped the yUSDT to other stablecoins, allowing them to take hold of $11.6 million worth of stablecoins.

However, the week also had positive news regarding financial inclusion in Africa. Fonbnk, a Web3 on-ramp that allows Africans to obtain cryptocurrency assets by exchanging their airtime credits, partnered with Tanda, a merchant network platform in East Africa, to launch an airtime trading marketplace across Tanda’s network of agents. This partnership aims to increase liquidity and earning opportunities for African micro-entrepreneurs.

Finally, the top 100 DeFi tokens had a bullish week, thanks to a late surge in the crypto market after Ethereum’s much-awaited upgrade. Most DeFi tokens traded in the green along with the rest of the market.

In conclusion, the DeFi space had a busy week with several significant developments, including the successful Shapella upgrade, privacy concerns related to staking, a major DeFi hack, and a partnership to increase financial inclusion in Africa. The top 100 DeFi tokens had a bullish week, and Glassnode predicted only a small percentage of staked ETH would be withdrawn.


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Gamers in Africa Can Earn Bitcoin While Playing Classic Titles

Zebedee, a fintech and payments processor, has partnered with Bitnob to allow African gamers to earn Bitcoin while playing classic games such as Counter-Strike. The partnership will provide African users with a new way to earn Bitcoin through Zebedee-powered apps and games. The offering serves as a second layer in games that allows developers to replace vague in-game points rewards with satoshis, the smallest denomination of Bitcoin. These, in turn, can be converted to a local currency like the Nigerian nairas.

The partnership was driven by game developers who had Bitcoin in mind for tournaments and other gaming rewards. Zebedee’s chief strategy officer, Ben Cousens, explained that the Bitcoin Lightning Network will allow game developers to offer rewards to African gamers without the high costs associated with fiat rails.

“If I’m Activision Blizzard or EA Games and I have 30 million players of my games in Africa, and I run tournaments or giveaways, I cannot pay those players on fiat rails — it is too expensive. I am limited to the U.S., and I lose money from loss of engagement. Try sending $0.01 to these territories on another rail,” Cousens said.

Africa benefits from a young demographic and a digitally native population. Cousens continued, “We’ve seen consistent evidence of high demand for our platform across the African continent, where the purchasing power of Bitcoin is considerably higher than markets like the U.S. and Europe.”

The partnership between Zebedee and Bitnob highlights the growing trend of using the Bitcoin Lightning Network in gaming. Cousens stated that it is a natural evolution of the interactive entertainment landscape, where “Rewarded Play” provides meaningful performance uplift for game developers against a backdrop of slowing growth in mobile gaming revenue while engaging players in a fun and creative way.

In addition to its partnership with Bitnob, Zebedee has also launched its own mobile game, Infuse Challenge. The game allows players to earn Bitcoin by completing simple challenges and is powered by the Bitcoin Lightning Network. The company is also working on a gaming platform that will allow game developers to integrate Bitcoin Lightning Network payments into their games.

Zebedee’s innovative use of the Bitcoin Lightning Network in gaming has the potential to revolutionize the way gamers earn rewards and interact with their favorite games. With the growing popularity of Bitcoin in Africa, it is likely that more African gamers will be eager to take advantage of this new way to earn Bitcoin while playing their favorite games.


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CBN is continuing to develop its eNaira

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is making progress on the development of its central bank digital currency (CBDC), the eNaira; nevertheless, the CBN is seeking assistance this time around.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is reportedly in discussions with new “technology partners” to establish a new and better system to administer the eNaira, as stated in a story published by Bloomberg on February 21.

According to people with direct knowledge of the situation, the Nigerian financial authority has reportedly discussed these intentions with the technology company R3, which is situated in New York.

The CBN will have full control over the effort thanks to new software that will be developed for the eNaria; nevertheless, the source who did not want to be identified said that the information on this topic is private.

In 2021, with the assistance of the financial software business Bitt, efforts were initiated to establish a digital currency known as the eNaira. According to the article, the new partner will not instantly take over Bitt’s function but would assist phase in absolute responsibility for the Nigerian central bank. This will take place over the course of many years.

Bitt has acknowledged, in a statement, that it is cognizant of the fact that the CBN collaborates with a variety of partners on its technical advancements. It affirmed that it continues to maintain strong collaboration with the CBN and that it is “actively developing further features and upgrades.”

Despite the fact that Nigeria was one of the first nations to introduce a CBDC, the country’s digital currency, the eNaira, got off to a slow start, and adoption was minimal. Only 0.5 percent of Nigerians are reportedly utilizing the CBDC, which leads some to conclude that the grandiose initiative has been “crippled.”

In January, a Nigerian entrepreneur became the first person in the nation to create an operational Bitcoin Lightning node. Not long before that, the government made public its intention to develop a regulatory infrastructure for stablecoins as well as initial coin offers (ICOs).

Nigeria is one of over 90 nations across the world that is investigating the usage of CBDCs. Among the others are Russia and Japan, both of which are making preparations to launch their own currencies before to the summer. Additionally, the city of San Francisco is investigating the potential for the establishment of a CBDC system.

However, CBDCs are facing opposition from activists who refer to them as “surveillance instruments.” This opposition is now being actively pursued.


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Africa Web3 Gaming Publisher Carry1st Raises $27M

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Carry1st, a mobile games publisher, has just completed a fundraising round that raised $27 million. The money will be used to enhance the company’s publishing and digital content production platform in Africa, an area that Carry1st’s investors believe is ready for Web3 adoption.

Bitkraft Ventures acted as the primary investor in the investment round that totaled $27 million, while Andreessen Horowitz, better known as a16z, contributed additional capital. A number of other investors took part in the investment round, including TTV Capital, Konvoy, Alumni Ventures, Lateral Capital, and Kepple Ventures.

The most recent transaction took place a year after Carry1st successfully raised $20 million in capital backed by a16z and Alphabet, the parent company of Google.

During that time, Carry1st said that the cash will be used to increase the company’s internal capacity as well as develop its content portfolio. This includes investigating play-to-earn gaming on Web3 as well as the incorporation of non-fungible tokens into the overall game experience.

The most recent capital will be used toward expanding the capabilities of Pay1st, the monetization-as-a-service platform that the firm offers. Pay1st makes it possible for third-party publishers in Africa to generate more money.

Carry1st, which is in the business of publishing video games, offers a comprehensive solution for monetizing and administering mobile games across the African continent. The business formed a partnership with Riot Games, which is located in Los Angeles and is responsible for creating League of Legends, in 2022 in order to test out local payments for its gaming games in Africa.

Africa has emerged as one of the world’s digital asset marketplaces that is expanding at one of the quickest rates.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued a study in November that highlighted increased usage in locations like Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. This attracted the attention of the IMF, which noted that the continent’s venture into cryptocurrency has even garnered the attention of the IMF.

The IMF, using data from Chainalysis, said that the highest monthly volume of cryptocurrency transactions on the continent occurred in the middle of 2021 at $20 billion.

The continent of Africa’s youthful population, the mishandling of the economy by its government, and the absence of an effective banking infrastructure are driving crypto adoption across the continent.


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BIS analysis reveals unequal CBDC uptake in Africa

According to a report that was published on November 24 by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), many of the central bankers on the African continent have greater faith in CBDC than mobile money, which has been a strong competitor to central bank digital currency (CBDC) in Africa. Mobile money has been a strong competitor to CBDC in Africa.

According to the BIS, central bankers in Africa saw greater utility in CBDC for the implementation of monetary policy than bankers in other parts of the world did.

In response to the survey that served as the foundation for the report, nineteen different central banks in Africa gave their responses, and all of them indicated that they had an active interest in CBDC.

Only Nigeria has issued a retail CBDC, called the eNaira, which is intended for use by the general public. Ghana is currently in the process of piloting a retail CBDC project, and South Africa is in the process of running a project for a wholesale CBDC, which is intended for use by institutions.

The provision of cash was listed as a major motivation for the introduction of a CBDC by African central bankers in the responses of 48 percent of survey participants.

They believed that a CBDC would result in cost savings regarding the printing, transportation, and storage of banknotes and coins.

All respondents made mention of the importance of financial inclusion.

In the year 2021, less than half of Africa’s adult population had their DNA banked.

Two-thirds of the world’s total volume of money transfers come from sub-Saharan Africa, and more than half of all users are located there.

According to the findings of the report, the participation of CBDC in this market may result in increased competition and decreased prices.

“support new digital technologies and their integration with the broader economy.” would be one of the goals of a CBDC.


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Kenyan law taxes crypto protects consumers

The Capital Markets Law of Kenya was subject to a potential modification that was suggested on November 21. If this amendment were to become law, private individuals who own cryptocurrencies or participate in the trading of cryptocurrencies would be required to provide the Capital Markets Authority of Kenya with information regarding their activities for the purpose of determining how much tax should be collected from those activities.

To our knowledge, this is the first time that cryptocurrencies have been incorporated in any of Kenya’s financial regulatory system.

According to the Capital Markets (Amendment) Bill, Kenyans would be obligated to declare and pay capital gains taxes to the Kenyan Revenue Authority if they sell or purchase digital currencies. This obligation is detailed in the legislation.

Any cryptocurrency that is held for more than a year will be subject to capital gains tax, while any cryptocurrency that is held for less than a year would be subject to income tax on its value.

In Kenya, there is a graduated tax on income that ranges from 10 percent all the way up to 30 percent.

A centralized electronic record of all transactions involving digital currencies throughout the country would be created as a result of the bill, which would also make it possible for individual crypto dealers to register with the government. Additionally, it would recognize digital currencies as being securities.

Kenya is rated number 19 in the world for the amount of persons that use cryptocurrencies, and it is ranked number 5 for trading amongst peers, according to a survey that was done by Chainalysis and released in September.

At the same time as Kenyan President William Ruto is making a request to broaden the country’s income base, the possibility of making the move that is now being discussed is being studied.

It is estimated that around 4 million individuals in this country make use of various cryptocurrencies.

Due to the fact that approximately 8.5% of the population lives in privately owned homes, Kenya now has the fifth highest rate of property ownership in the world.


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Crypto Adoption in Sub-Saharan Africa Rises, Study Shows

Crypto usage in Sub-Saharan Africa is becoming mainstream rather than speculation, according to a report by blockchain analytic firm Chainalysis.

The report dubbed “How Cryptocurrency Meets Residents’ Economic Needs in Sub-Saharan Africa,” disclosed that the number of small retail transfers has surged, despite the bear market occurring in May. On the other hand, transfers of different sizes have dropped.

Per the study:

“If many of the people carrying out small retail transactions are trading cryptocurrency out of economic necessity — especially in countries where the values of local fiat currencies are dropping, as we’ve seen in Nigeria and Kenya, for example — then those people may be more willing to continue trading despite price drops.”

Source: Chainalysis

The report pointed out that many young people in the region were taking the cryptocurrency route to build and preserve wealth despite low economic opportunities. 

Based on an interview with Chainalysis, Adedeji Owonibi, the founder of Nigeria-based blockchain consultancy Convexity, noted:

“We see a lot of daily traders who are trading to make ends meet.”

He added:

“We don’t have big, institutional-level traders in Sub-Saharan Africa. The people driving the market here are retail. Nigeria has a ton of highly educated young graduates with high unemployment rates, no jobs available — crypto to them is a rescue. It’s a way to feed their family and solve their daily financial needs.”

Chainalysis found out that the uniqueness of Sub-Saharan Africa was pegged on the high usage of peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms and the retail market based on the transaction volume witnessed. Per the report:

“Retail transfers make up 95% of all transfers, and if we drill down to just small retail transfers under $1,000, the share becomes 80%, more than any other region.” 

Source: Chainalysis

With P2P exchanges clocking 6% of the entire crypto transaction volume in Sub-Saharan Africa, they are a fundamental part of the ecosystem. This is double that of the Central & Southern Asia and Oceania region, which comes second.

Source: Chainalysis

Creativity played an instrumental role in enabling leading P2P platforms like Paxful set foot on African soil. For instance, connecting Chinese and Nigerian gamers with gift cards.

Ray Youssef, the Paxful CEO, added:

“We had to get Bitcoin into Africa, which was difficult because it’s so hard to get money out of Africa. We needed a clever hack to make that happen. That hack ended up being gift cards.That got Bitcoin into Nigeria, and then the rest of Western Africa.”

Meanwhile, crypto exchange Binance recently launched a crypto education tour in five French-speaking countries to propel blockchain adoption and financial accessibility, Blockchain.News reported. 

Image source: Shutterstock


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Binance Rolls Out Crypto Education Tour in 5 French-Speaking African Nations

To propel blockchain adoption and financial accessibility on African soil, crypto exchange Binance has launched a crypto education tour in five French-speaking countries.

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Having kickstarted the first meetup in Cotonou, Benin, on September 10, the tour will be extended to four more countries, namely Togo, Côte D’Ivoire, Cameroon, and Burkina Faso, between  September 24 and October 22 this year.

Per the announcement:

“The Benin meetup was an offline educational event introducing people to the world of cryptocurrency, as well as the Binance Ecosystem. There were about 400 attendees with keen interests in blockchain technology. Attendees also participated in engaging games like an NFT quiz, with 250+ winners receiving NFTs.”

Binance sees offline meetups as a stepping stone toward deepening and democratizing crypto accessibility and adoption in Francophone Africa. The report noted:

“The Francophone meetups demonstrate the blockchain giant’s continued commitment to providing avenues for offline connections, learning, and sharing of experiences in the crypto space.”

The innovations rendered by cryptocurrencies are expected to render a borderless way for Africans to participate in the market. Moreover, they will simplify settlements for users, cross-border transfers, and remittances.

Carine Dikambi, the Francophone Africa Lead at Binance, stated:

“It is clear that Francophone Africa has limitless potential to be a key player in the blockchain revolution and we are committed to providing more people with access to the necessary information and tools to use digital assets and blockchain.” 

The education tour will touch on various topics like understanding crypto trading and real-world applications of blockchain technology.

Through the Binance Masterclass Education Series launched in January 2020, Binance has already educated more than 541,000 Africans about cryptocurrencies and how to detect bad actors or scams, Blockchain.News reported. 

Image source: Shutterstock


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