Nigeria Plans to Regulate Digital Asset Platforms

Nigeria, one of the most curious nations about cryptocurrencies, is preparing new industry regulations for digital asset platforms. The Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is considering new regulations that would allow licensed digital exchanges to list tokens backed by certain assets, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Abdulkadir Abbas, the head of securities and investment at the Nigerian SEC, noted that the authority plans to only authorize listings of tokens based on assets such as equity, debt, or property. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether will not be among those assets. The aim is to register fintech firms as digital sub-brokers, crowdfunding intermediaries, fund managers, and tokenized coins issuers. However, the SEC will not register crypto exchanges until the central bank provides clear regulations for the crypto market.

License applicants would undergo a year of “regulatory incubation,” during which the SEC would study their operations and render their services in the country, according to Abbas. He added that by the 10th month, the SEC should be able to make a determination whether to register the firm, extend the incubation period, or even ask the firm to stop operation.

The Central Bank of Nigeria had banned local banks from providing services to cryptocurrency-related platforms in early 2021. On the ban, the regulator cited high risks associated with trading cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The central bank also promised to impose strict penalties for any lender or financial institution failing to comply with the directive.

Despite the ban, Nigeria has emerged as one of the most active countries in terms of adoption and curiosity about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Nigeria ranks second by search interest for the keyword “Bitcoin,” behind El Salvador, which adopted Bitcoin as legal tender in 2021, according to data from Google Trends. Other jurisdictions in the top-five crypto-curious countries list include Slovenia, Netherlands, and Switzerland.

Nigeria was also among the top 20 countries in terms of crypto adoption in 2022, according to Chainalysis’ crypto adoption index.

While prohibiting cryptocurrencies, the Central Bank of Nigeria has been actively promoting its central bank digital currency known as the eNaira. The eNaira reportedly saw increased adoption due to national fiat reserves facing severe shortages.

In conclusion, Nigeria is taking steps to regulate digital asset platforms, with the SEC considering allowing licensed digital exchanges to list tokens backed by certain assets. The country aims to register fintech firms as digital sub-brokers, crowdfunding intermediaries, fund managers, and tokenized coins issuers. However, the SEC will not register crypto exchanges until the central bank provides clear regulations for the crypto market. Despite the ban on cryptocurrencies, Nigeria has emerged as one of the most active countries in terms of adoption and curiosity about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.


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Twitter to Add Cryptocurrency Trading

Twitter is set to expand its offerings by launching a new feature that will allow users to trade cryptocurrencies and stocks, according to a report by CNBC. The social media giant has partnered with fintech firm eToro to bring the new financial features to its platform. This is the first notable deal for Twitter since Elon Musk took over as CEO in 2020, after acquiring the social media network for $44 billion.

The new feature can be accessed through a “view on eToro” tab, which will take users directly to eToro’s trading platform. The fintech company, which was founded in 2007, introduced cryptocurrency trading features and a crypto wallet in 2019. With this new partnership, eToro hopes to bring a new audience to the Twitter platform, while Twitter aims to offer more financial services to its users.

Yoni Assia, the CEO of eToro, has called the partnership a perfect match. He believes that Twitter has become an important part of the retail investing community, with many users accessing financial news and acquiring knowledge on the platform. Assia added that “cashtags” searches have grown into the millions, indicating a growing interest in financial discussions on Twitter.

The partnership comes at a time when financial Twitter has become a trend, and was key to the retail trading boom in 2021. This new feature is expected to play a central role in this conversation and is already gaining a lot of traction. Assia also noted that this partnership is a significant opportunity for eToro to expand its customer base and reach more users who are interested in trading cryptocurrencies and stocks.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk has expressed his ambition to turn Twitter into “the biggest financial institution in the world.” In a recent interview, he floated the idea of turning Twitter into a “super app,” offering users access to several online services in one place. This concept is quite popular in China, where super apps function as a gateway to everything a consumer needs in their day-to-day life. WeChat, for example, offers instant messaging, social media, travel and hotel booking, banking and more.

In conclusion, the partnership between Twitter and eToro is a significant step towards offering more financial services to Twitter users. It also provides an opportunity for eToro to reach a wider audience interested in trading cryptocurrencies and stocks. The move also aligns with Musk’s ambition to turn Twitter into a super app, offering users access to various online services. It remains to be seen how successful this new feature will be and whether it will attract a significant number of users to the platform.


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US Crypto Crackdown Could Push Industry to Hong Kong

The cryptocurrency industry has been at the forefront of technological innovation for quite some time, and the United States has been a leader in the sector. However, recent US government actions toward cryptocurrency regulation have raised concerns for some about the future of the industry in the country. While the US has been adopting a regulation-by-enforcement approach, there is a growing feeling among some that a significant amount of companies, developers, and investors will soon flock elsewhere to work in friendlier environments.

Kaiko’s CEO, Ambre Soubiran, recently spoke to The Wall Street Journal and suggested that the recent crackdown on crypto in the US will inadvertently help Hong Kong in its goal of becoming a major crypto hub. She noted that “The U.S. being more stringent these days than ever on crypto and Hong Kong regulating in a more favorable way…is going to clearly shift the center of gravity of crypto assets trading and investments more towards Hong Kong.”

Hong Kong has been moving in a different direction, with the government initially outlining plans in January 2023 to become a crypto hub by rolling out progressive regulation to support high-quality crypto and fintech firms. The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) proposed a crypto licensing regime on Feb. 20, aiming to provide consumer protections without stifling innovation. According to a March 20 speech from Hong Kong’s Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Christian Hu, over 80 virtual asset-related firms have expressed interest in setting up shop there, and 23 crypto firms have already indicated that “they planned to establish their presence.”

Bloomberg reported on March 28 that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and SFA are set to hold a joint meeting on April 28 to help crypto firms set up domestic banking partnerships. Chinese banks, such as Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, the Bank of Communications, and the Bank of China, have reportedly started offering banking services to crypto firms in Hong Kong or made inquiries with crypto firms.

Soubiran also revealed in mid-March that Kaiko is looking to relocate the headquarters of its Asian-Pacific unit from Singapore to Hong Kong in response to the country’s friendly crypto stance. “What we’re seeing is a clear support for more clarity on the regulatory framework in Hong Kong,” she told Bloomberg in an interview, adding that “while we’re seeing an increased attractivity of Hong Kong in the region, we are relocating.”

The US government has become increasingly aggressive toward crypto since the collapse of FTX in November 2022, with Senator Elizabeth Warren even recently stating that they are building an “anti-crypto army.” However, the industry’s “center of gravity” could soon shift toward Hong Kong, as it rolls out progressive regulation and attracts more virtual asset-related firms to establish a presence there.


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Revolut faces issues with 2021 annual report

Revolut, a British-Lithuanian fintech company known for its crypto-friendly services, recently released its annual report for the year ending December 2021. The report revealed that Revolut generated a revenue of £636 million ($769 million) in 2021, a significant increase from the previous year’s £220 million ($266 million). This marks the company’s first-ever full year of profit since its launch in 2015.

Despite the positive financial news, the company’s annual report has faced issues. Independent auditors from the global accounting network BDO have reviewed the report and confirmed that it accurately reflects the state of the company’s affairs as of Dec. 31, 2021. However, the auditors also noted certain qualifications related to the report, which could impact its accuracy.

According to BDO’s qualified opinion section, the report was correct “except for the possible effects of the matters described in the basis for the qualified opinion section.” This suggests that there are certain factors that may affect the accuracy of the report, which the auditors have identified and highlighted.

Despite this, Revolut’s leadership remains optimistic about the company’s future prospects. The neobank has rapidly expanded its user base and range of services, including allowing customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. The company has also expanded its operations globally, with offices in over 30 countries and plans to launch in new markets.

Revolut’s CEO, Nikolay Storonsky, expressed his satisfaction with the company’s performance in the 2021 fiscal year, stating, “We are delighted to report our first-ever full year of profitability, which is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team.” He also emphasized the importance of innovation and growth in the company’s ongoing success, stating, “We are continuing to push boundaries and innovate in order to provide our customers with the best possible experience, and we look forward to even more growth and success in the years ahead.”

Revolut’s recent financial success and ongoing expansion efforts have cemented its position as a leading player in the fintech industry. Despite the issues with its annual report, the company’s strong financial performance and focus on innovation bode well for its future prospects.


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China intensifies focus on blockchain despite cryptocurrency stance

The draft rules that have been developed by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to strengthen the requirements for the development of blockchain technology by the year 2025 are evidence of China’s increased attention on blockchain technology. In spite of China’s negative attitude toward virtual currencies, the country’s government is actively encouraging the development of its financial technology sector, notably in digital sectors such as blockchain.

The People’s Republic of China has established the year 2025 as the target date for the completion of a number of technological advancements, including the advancement of blockchain and distributed ledger technology. This deadline was included in the “National Economic and Social Development and Vision 2035 of the People’s Republic of China.” The draft rules were made available on the ministry’s website, along with a request for feedback on the topic from “people from all areas of life.”

The purpose of these rules is to make China’s blockchain and distributed ledger technology standards system’s degree of design more transparent. The deadline for comments from the general public on the draft has been extended to April 28.

This is not the first time that China has shown interest in blockchain technology. The plans for a national blockchain research center were announced by the government in February. The center’s purpose is to bring together blockchain-related businesses, developers, and academic institutions in order to investigate fundamental blockchain technologies and grow the blockchain industry.

According to a national white paper, China’s blockchain industry is currently comprised of over 1,400 different companies. Nevertheless, despite the fact that they claim to make up 84% of all blockchain applications filed globally, only 19% of all applications that were filed were approved.

Even though it maintains a wariness toward cryptocurrencies, China is continuing to place a significant amount of emphasis on blockchain technology. This demonstrates China’s dedication to the development of its financial technology industry. Along with other digital industries, such as communications equipment, core electronic components, and key software, the country has its sights set on the blockchain as a potential growth area for the business sector. China has high hopes that it will be able to boost the overall quality and power of its blockchain industry if it follows through with its plans to clarify its blockchain technology standards system by the year 2025.


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Alchemy Pay Scores License to Expand in Indonesia

A license to execute remittance and financial transfers in partnership with a local fintech business, Berkah Digital Pembayaran, has been issued to cryptocurrency payment service Alchemy Pay by the central bank of Indonesia. This license will allow Alchemy Pay to work with Berkah Digital Pembayaran. Both Alchemy Pay and BDPay were granted permission to use this license, which enables them to improve the payment ways they provide customers and lower their overall operating expenses.

In addition to providing local and cross-border remittance services, client payroll services, and transfers through bank application programming interfaces, Berkah Digital Pembayaran is a payment service provider. According to information gleaned from the official website of Bank Indonesia, the business was recently included on a list as a payment service provider falling under licensing category three. Transfers to any of Indonesia’s 136 banks may be made using the BDPay platform by retail and business customers alike.

Due to the acquisition of this license, the cryptocurrency on-ramp offered by Alchemy Pay is now able to enable payments made using Mastercard, Visa, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and other regional mobile wallets such as BDPay. At this time, operations are being carried out in 173 countries, and the organization is well-known for its relationships with big crypto giants like as the Binance exchange.

The acquisition of the license is a major achievement for Alchemy Pay as the company works to expand its service offerings throughout Asia and bolster its standing in the cryptocurrency payment sector. The firm began operations in 2018 in Singapore and manages its own utility token known as Alchemy Pay (ACH), which is issued on the Ethereum blockchain. The company was founded in 2018. The Automated Clearing House (ACH) system is an essential component of the Alchemy Pay network, since it is responsible for the provision of transaction fees, network incentives, and other operations.

In conclusion, the license that was awarded to Alchemy Pay and BDPay by the central bank of Indonesia allows the firms to provide improved payment ways while simultaneously lowering their operational expenses. This license is an important milestone for Alchemy Pay as it continues to extend its service offerings across Asia and improves its position within the bitcoin payment sector.


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Revolut Introduces Crypto Staking to UK and EEA

Customers in the United Kingdom and the European Economic Area (EEA) may now participate in crypto staking thanks to the neo-banking platform Revolut, which is headquartered in the United Kingdom and claims to have 25 million users worldwide.

The staking function, which will enable users to make money on their cryptocurrency holdings while it is still in the “soft testing” phase, is likely to go online this week, according to a report published by a news agency located in London called AltFi.

At the moment, the staking function is accessible for the DOT token issued by Polkadot, the XTZ token issued by Tezos, the ADA token issued by Cardano, and the ETH token issued by Ether, with returns ranging from 2.99% to 11.65%. Nevertheless, these returns are not guaranteed in any way.

Staking is a method that is used in the realm of cryptocurrencies. This process involves a person holding or locking up a certain quantity of a certain digital asset in a wallet for a given length of time. This time period may range anywhere from several days to several months. This activity contributes to the network’s overall security and verifies transactions on a blockchain that uses proof-of-stake. In exchange, people may choose to get freshly created coins or a portion of the costs associated with the transaction.

Revolut has, over the course of the last several years, been working to integrate cryptocurrency into its many businesses. It started providing crypto trading services in 2017, and these services have since grown to become an important source of income for the firm, especially with the launch of goods like crypto cashback for premium customers. Now, clients of Revolut have the ability to make purchases using their cryptocurrency holdings, and the company also allows trading for roughly one hundred other cryptocurrencies.

Revolut has also been providing free “Learn & Earn” courses on the fundamentals of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, and rewarding users who complete the programme with free cryptocurrency. This is part of the company’s effort to educate its customers on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

After being granted an extension to operate as a crypto asset firm with temporary registration in March 2022, Revolut joined the ranks of the other 37 companies that have been given permission to provide these services in the United Kingdom. The extension allows Revolut to remain in business until March 2022.


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Blockchain’s Adoption & Capabilities Increase against Fraud in Public Finance Sector

Based on blockchain’s inherent capability of tackling fraudulent transactions, this cutting-edge technology is expected to continue being adopted in the banking and financial services sector, according to HashCash Consultants CEO Raj Chowdhury.

Chowdhury pointed out:

“Innovations such as blockchain empower public finance managers with greater visibility and control of public fund utilization in real-time. Efficient use of public money will lead to improved services for the public, economic boost, and improvement of the community as a whole.”

With research forecasting that the worldwide blockchain expenditure will clock $67.4 billion by the close of 2026, the banking and financial services industry is expected to remain the top spending area in the blockchain space, contributing to nearly 30% of the total expenditure. 

Chowdhury stated:

“The performance of decentralized blockchain architecture is proportional to the number of available network members.” 

He added:

“The underlying crypto platform offers real-time transaction visibility based on permissioned access along with hassle-free provisions for eKYC and auditing, leading to improved overall service.”

Not only does blockchain technology prompt fraud prevention it also instigates transparency, smart contract enforceability, capital optimization, and instant settlements.

Fraud prevention becomes a reality based on blockchain’s secure data encryption that utilizes multiple security layers. 

Chowdhury had previously acknowledged that the banking infrastructure required blockchain technology to meet the needs of the rapidly changing fintech environment. 

Meanwhile, the global blockchain technology market in the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) sector is expected to hit $4.02 billion by 2026, thanks to a surge in FinTech spending, Blockchain.News reported. 

Image source: Shutterstock


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Global Blockchain Technology Market in BFSI Sector Expected to Hit $4.02B by 2026

The global blockchain technology market in the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) sector is expected to hit $4.02 billion by 2026, thanks to a surge in FinTech spending, according to ReportLinker. 

The market is expected to record a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36.6% during the 2022-2026 forecast period. 

The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) is anticipated to be a key driver of the blockchain technology market in the BFSI sector. 

Moreover, the growth of blockchain as a service and quantum computing will prompt notable demand in the market. The report added:

“The market is driven by the increase in FinTech spending, easier access to technology, and disintermediation of banking services.”

The report seeks to offer insights companies need when positioning themselves in the market by scrutinizing vital parameters such as promotions, competition, pricing, and profit. 

Some key players in the blockchain technology market in the BFSI sector include Ripple Labs Inc., Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, Oracle Corp, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co., Microsoft Corp, and Coinbase Global Inc., among others.

The report segmented the market into a consortium, private, and public blockchains by type for enhanced insights.

Meanwhile, heightened demand for the worldwide blockchain in the retail market is expected to drive its value past the $3.27 billion mark by 2028, according to a recent report by market research organization Facts and Factors. 

Since blockchain plays an instrumental role in showing the precise location of different products and their safety and reliability, retailers were anticipated to continue embracing this technology. 

The urge for enhanced transaction transparency-based solutions was expected to spur more growth in the worldwide blockchain in the retail market, Facts and Factors added. 

Image source: Shutterstock


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Revolut Adds 29 New Tokens to Serve Clients in US

British fintech giant Revolut is deepening its foothold in the United States and has announced the addition of 29 new tokens to serve its customers.


The tokens, which include Avalanche (AVAX), Solana (SOL), and Dogecoin (DOGE), are an avenue for the company to compete for the growing market share in the country.

“Today, we’ve more than quadrupled our token portfolio to give our customers access to a much more diverse crypto offering,” Revolut global business head for crypto Mazen Eljundi said in the announcement, adding that exchange services on its platform are commission-free up to $200,000 a month.

Revolut is exploring avenues to compete with its counterparts in the US, including Gemini and Kraken, amongst others. The trading firm is also mulling the plans to add more tokens to the suite should it get the needed greenlight from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS).

To offer more valued added services in the long run, Revolut also hopes to launch staking services to complete its generous no-commission trading offering.

Revolut is primarily a fintech firm but is growing strategically as a crypto payments firm. Besides its ambitious push into the US, the firm announced the launch of its cryptocurrency exchange offshoot in Singapore earlier in August. The Singapore move came after the firm tapped the in-principle approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

As part of its entry into new markets, education and proper awareness are crucial to the company as it looks to offer its services in a socially responsible way.

“We plan to provide educational features in the coming months to help customers better understand the trends and risks associated with cryptocurrency,” said Deepak Khanna, head of wealth and trading at Revolut Singapore, “We believe the regulatory strengths in Singapore and proactive industry engagement are key to serving clients with the highest standards.”

In complement, the firm launched the Learn and Earn campaign featuring Polkadot in July and it is open to all users.

Image source: Shutterstock


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