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.
To trigger talent development, education, and blockchain innovation on African soil, NEAR Foundation, has launched a regional hub in Kenya in collaboration with Sankore, an African-focused blockchain community.
As a Swiss non-profit in charge of the NEAR protocol, the NEAR Foundation sees the hub as a stepping stone towards more blockchain growth in Africa.
Marieke Flament, the CEO of NEAR Foundation, noted:
“We are excited by the potential avenues throughout Africa for blockchain solutions, which come from innovation in development, education and talent. This hub represents a unique opportunity to partner with local talent not only for the opportunities that we know exist today but also for the opportunities yet to be created in the future.”
The hub will consist of an incubation program, events, a Sankore Bounty ecosystem, and an academy. It seeks to bring together Africa’s most talented blockchain developers and support from international investors.
Kevin Imani, Sankore’s founder, pointed out:
“We are thrilled to be working with NEAR to educate and nurture talented individuals to become world-class blockchain developers.”
With Kenya being ranked fifth in 2021’s Global Crypto Adoption Index, NEAR saw the nation as ideal for setting up the hub.
“Our dream is to lead the way in blockchain innovations in providing solutions to Africa’s biggest problems. The NEAR Protocol allows tomorrow’s brightest developers to build custom solutions with scalability, security, and transparency and this hub is the next step in turning our shared vision into reality.”
The African continent continues to gain more limelight in the crypto/blockchain space.
For instance, leading crypto exchange Binance is bridging the financial Gap in Francophone Africa by offering blockchain education, Blockchain.News reported.
To expand its global footprint and presence on African soil, top-notch cryptocurrency exchange FTX has partnered with AZA Finance, a Kenyan-based fintech company.
Through the strategic partnership, FTX seeks to enhance the use of Web3 and cryptocurrencies in Africa by offering ideal networking and learning resources.
Moreover, plans are underway to offer African and digital currency trading pairs, which will make it easier to deposit and withdraw cryptocurrencies using African currencies. The non-fungible tokens (NFTs) market is also expected to be boosted by onboarding artists on the continent.
Elizabeth Rossiello, AZA Finance CEO, welcomed the partnership and stated:
“After serving these booming enterprises for years, we know that the next generation of users, creators, and builders for the Web3 economy is undoubtedly African.”
The swift adoption of cutting-edge technologies by Africans coupled with the continent’s rapid-growing population, which is anticipated to double by 2050, also triggered this partnership.
Founded in 2013, AZA Finance, formerly called BitPesa, is a provider of cross-border payment solutions for businesses with a presence in ten African countries.
Based on a valuation of $32 billion, FTX has emerged as one of the leading crypto exchanges globally, and its expansion drive continues to gain steam.
For instance, FTX recently announced plans to open a regional headquarters in Dubai following the approval of its virtual-asset license.
The exchange’s CEO Sam Bankman-Fried acknowledged that FTX Europe, a branch operating in Europe and the Middle East, would offer “complex crypto-derivatives products with centralized counterparty clearing to the institutional market.
FTX Europe was established earlier this month, becoming the second affiliate of the crypto exchange after FTX US, which was launched in May 2019.
The company continues to expand its business worldwide. In February, FTX acquired Japanese digital assets brokerage firm, Liquid Group, to bolster its global presence, Blockchain.News reported.
“The balance of risks and benefits of central bank digital currency will vary from one economy to another.”
The bank acknowledged some of the benefits rendered by a CBDC, including minimizing cross-border payment costs and offering financial inclusion to those limited by technological knowledge or infrastructure.
Once to roll out the plan, CBDC is expected to drive the financial inclusion of at least 1.7 billion people left out of the banking system.
On the other hand, the CBK cautioned about potential risks triggered by CBDCs. That could be included hindering the effectiveness of the monetary policy by opening doors to money laundering and constraining commercial banks.
For a CBDC to work, the bank noted that regional cooperation could shorten the payment cycle by eliminating the multi-layered banking structure.
Similarly, sentiments were recently echoed by the Bank of Japan (BOJ) governor that joining hands with Europe and the United States was crucial in the issuance of a central bank digital currency. Meanwhile, Tanzania is already setting the ball rolling in the East African region because its CBDC rollout is in high gear.
CBDCs are digital assets backed by central banks and pegged to a real-world asset meaning that they represent a claim against the bank just the way banknotes work. Moreover, central banks will have full control of CBDC supply.
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has published a discussion paper on its central bank digital currency (CBDC), seeking public input on the potential benefits and risks and regulatory issues of introducing a CBDC in Kenya.
In a statement, the CBK has highlighted that using a CBDC might improve cross-border payments by making them more efficient and less expensive. The regulator says that CDBC solutions can flatten the multi-layered correspondent banking structure and shorten payment chains in a discussion paper exploring the future use of a digital currency:
“A key opportunity where CBK sees potential value is the use of CBDC in facilitating cross-border transactions, while it is difficult to quantify the benefits, CBDCs may have the potential to lead to efficiency gains by flattening the multi-layered correspondent banking structure and shortening the payment chains.”
The watchdog has given Kenyans until May 20 to submit their comments on the paper that examines the dangers and possibilities of CBDC, which has already been implemented in several nations worldwide, including Nigeria. The CBK will gather comments on the issue for 100 days through an online form.
Press release: Issuance of Discussion Paper on Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) for Public Comments. The Discussion Paper examines the applicability of a potential Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in Kenya. pic.twitter.com/8vdcQNz7cG
— Central Bank of Kenya (@CBKKenya) February 10, 2022
CBDCs, according to CBK, may protect the public from the danger of new types of private money by providing safer and more trustworthy payment services than newly created forms of privately issued money, such as stablecoins. Nonetheless, it stated that CBDCs represent a risk for cyberattacks and various security issues, including data privacy concerns.
The Kenyan government has yet to decide whether to implement CBDC. The latest discussion paper is meant to jumpstart a debate and provide a foundation for further study.
Kenya has joined an exclusive cadre of nations that are either studying or have already started CBDC development. According to the Atlantic Council, as of June 2019, 91 countries are currently involved in sovereign digital currency research, with just 14 having advanced to the pilot stage. According to the information, nine nations have implemented a CBDC.
Related:Nigerian president to unveil eNaira central bank digital currency
China is currently the most advanced country operating a CBDC trial, dubbed the digital yuan, and the mobile application has already been downloaded over 20 million times since Jan. 4. As reported by Cointelegraph, Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman revealed the launch of a digital rupee by 2022–23 to boost economic development.
The Bitcoin remittance business is blowing up all over the world. South African financial websitemoneywebbrings us the report directly from the oldest continent. The conditions that led to El Salvador making Bitcoin legal tender are present all over Africa. The people are unbanked but everybody has mobile phones. Plus, the diaspora is huge and sends money home constantly while big companies rob them blind with high fees.
Related Reading | Is Largely Unbanked Africa Primed for Bitcoin Adoption?
“The African continent has many opportunities for widespread Bitcoin adoption. One of those opportunities is remittance fueled by Africa’s growing ~mobile~ population. There are over 30 million Africans living outside their countries of origin. Since 2012, the African Union considers the African diaspora the sixth Africa’s region.”
On one hand, “countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya” want to regulate bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. On the other, “According to the World Bank Global Findex, 60% of the population” in the continent are unbanked. The recipe is there. And Bitcoin remittances might be the use case to bring mass adoption to Africa.
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Remittance Revolution, Factor 1. Mobile Wallets
Not only is the mobile population growing, but the whole continent also has ample experience with other forms of “mobile money.” It’s a concept already entrenched in the culture:
“Africa is the global leader in mobile money usage. Sub-Saharan Africa has the fastest growing mobile money industry in the world. The region will continue to see substantial growth in the number of people owning mobile phones. Mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa are projected to reach 623 million by 2025, half of the continent’s population. The figure will be even higher because of mobile phone sharing culture.”
From there to using Bitcoin, the most efficient money network in the world, it’s just a step. The road is clear.
Factor 2. Government Policies
Inadvertently, governments all over the African continent are pushing Bitcoin adoption with their restrictive policies. For example
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“In 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria suspendedinternational mobile money transfersto Nigeria. The suspension came after the banking regulator allowed US dollar payouts for international remittances in the country.” And that “means that only Nigerians with a bank account will be able to receive money from abroad. Not all international money transfer services to Nigeria support cash payout.”
Everyone underestimates the rate of #Bitcoin adoption in Nigeria, it will be a major religion soon.
— Bernard ‘berlin’ Parah ⚡️ (@bernard_parah) February 5, 2022
What have the Nigerians done? Turn to Bitcoin remittances, of course.
“In Zimbabwe, several restrictive monetary policies have led to the growing interest and use of bitcoin for remittances. First, the government banned all foreign currencies such as the US dollar, Euro, South Africa rand, and others. The government also placed restrictions on mobile money services, as well as daily withdrawal limits because of severe fiat currency shortages. To bypass these restrictive policies by the central bank, a growing number of Zimbabweans prefer bitcoin remittances to fiat money.”
Remittance Revolution, Factor 3. Weak Currency
This factor wasn’t present in El Salvador, which is a dollarized country. However, in Africa, there are several “countries that experience double-digit inflation such as Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.” For example:
“The Guinean franc is one of the world’s weakest currencies as we launch into 2022. In 2020/21, the Zambian kwacha and Zimbabwe’s dollar were one of the worst performing currencies in the world. The Nigerian naira has lost more than 50% of its value since 2015. The Central Bank of Nigeria devalued the naira thrice in 2019. In May 2021, the central bank devalued the naira by 7.6%.”
What have the Nigerians done? Adopt Bitcoin remittances. What will the other countries do? Adopt Bitcoin remittances, also.
Who said Kenyans don’t own #Bitcoin..
Kenya Ranks 2nd in Africa in P2P settlement, overtaking South Africa 🌍.#cryptocurrencyKE 🇰🇪#africarising 🖤 pic.twitter.com/fg8Ivj3mQA
— CRYPTOCURRENCY KENYA 🇰🇪 (@CryptoHubKE) February 8, 2022
Factor 4. Transfer Fees And Speed
The remittance fees were a prominent factor in the El Salvador story. And in Africa, the story repeats itself:
“A study by the World Bank shows that transfer fees to Sub-Saharan Africa, the poorest region in the world, arethe highestin the entire world. The cost of sending $200 to Sub-Saharan Africa towards the end of 2020 was 8.2% on average. Sending money within Africa is even more expensive.”
What will the whole Sub-Saharan Africa do?
I could wait another 25 years for the ANC to do good on their promises to fix some of historical injustice in South Africa, or I can take control of my own life and buy #bitcoin now.
— Tensai Bankai⚡️ (@tensaibankai) February 8, 2022
Remittance Revolution, Factor 5. Education
This is a positive one, for a change. According to BTrust’s Abubakar Nur Khalil, ina recent article for Bitcoin Magazine:
“Africa is home to more than a thousand indigenous languages, with non-English speaking countries. The majority of Bitcoin material available is in the English language, which means we must also engage in translation efforts to unlock knowledge for millions of non-English speakers on the continent, both on the developer and user front.
Currently, there are efforts around Africa to translate Bitcoin material into different languages such as Amharic, Arabic and Wolof byKal Kassa,Arabic_HODLandFodé Diop, respectively, with ongoing work on others.”
Related Reading | South African Man Loses $900,000 Worth Of Bitcoin After Accidentally Deleting Keys
And we also have to mentionExonumia, who is “creating open source African language translations for Bitcoin literature through community.” And, of course,the BTrust. The organization created and financed by Jay-Z and Jack Dorsey is on a mission to promote Bitcoin development in Africa and India. One of its board of directors members, Abubakar Nur Khalil, recently spoke to Bloomberg Technology about the initiative.
Meet one of the board members of Jay-Z’s and Jack Dorsey’s blind Bitcoin trust: Recursive Capital CEO Abubakar Nur Khalil in Nigeria. He tells @sonalibasak how he envisions web3 in Africa https://t.co/IdyBB7wTvb pic.twitter.com/eFKEga4Nbg
— Bloomberg Technology (@technology) February 4, 2022
Conclusions And The Market
There are negative factors that affect Bitcoin positively, like high fees, weak currencies, and worse government policies. And there are positive ones, like high mobile adoption and available education. The mix might form a perfect storm for Bitcoin adoption in Africa. And the Bitcoin remittances revolution is leading the way.
BTC price chart for 02/10/2022 on Bitstamp| Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
After a recent surge of sorts, Bitcoin has been trading horizontally for the last few days.
Featured Image by James Wiseman on Unsplash | Charts by TradingView
Brenda Gentry, a former USAA mortgage underwriter from Texas, believes that the cryptocurrency ecosystem offers a fighting chance to overcome the generational curse of poverty.
Gentry, a.k.a. MsCryptoMom, left her decade-long job as a banker to pursue a full-time crypto career as her initial investments from early 2020 confirmed the “unprecedented opportunities offered by crypto.” She currently runs Gentry Media Productions, a firm that advises decentralized finance (DeFi) and nonfungible token (NFT) projects — generating up to 20 ether (ETH) each month, nearly $50,000 at the time of writing.
Speaking to Cointelegraph, Gentry recollected the moment she first bought crypto:
“It was early 2020 during the lockdown. I bought Bitcoin, Ethereum and Link on Coinbase. When I started, I almost gave up multiple times. I just want to help others have a more streamlined way to get into crypto.”
With this early investment, Gentry also dedicated her time to learning about DeFi, which eventually led her to invest in altcoins. Acknowledging the big learning curve into crypto, the entrepreneur provides educational content through her website, adding:
“I’m also hosting seminars to educate the general public about navigating in this space and things to look out for when searching for good NFT projects or DeFi tokens, and also how to quickly detect scams or rug pulls.”
Gentry’s younger daughter and business partner Imani told Cointelegraph about the rising interest in crypto within her friend circle. She said:
“A trend that was interesting for me to watch was people following trends — every one making their own projects & 10k collections because they saw the outcome.”
What may come as a surprise to many, Gentry did not have a Plan B, but only the moral support of her family, before committing to restart her career as the new owner of Bundlesbets, a DeFi platform dedicated to sports betting. “My husband and daughters encouraged me to pursue my dreams full time and I’m happy I did,” she added.
“I don’t want anyone to be left behind.” Giving back to the community, Gentry intends to help accelerate breaking down the generational curses of poverty around the world. This year, she plans to visit her home country Kenya and equip her nonprofit organization Educate a Child “with knowledge about this new asset class and the opportunities that blockchain technology affords.”
For people wanting to follow suit, Gentry advises researching this space first before jumping in. According to her, one must understand the bad side of crypto to avoid getting scammed, a concern most relevant for new investors:
“When it comes to investing in crypto, the opportunity to gain financial freedom is well worth the cost to watch a few educational crypto YouTube videos or read a book on this topic.”
The 19-year-old Imani believes that crypto will be the future reality. Addressing the younger generation, she concluded:
“Take time to learn and get involved in the space, and even teach your parents, siblings and others, as blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are disruptive technologies that will require a major paradigm shift in the way we currently think about centralized finance and fiat money.”
Related:An Indonesian 22-year-old makes $1M by selling NFT selfies on OpenSea
Sultan Gustaf Al Ghozali, an Indonesian college student, reportedly made a million dollars by selling NFT versions of his selfies on the OpenSea NFT marketplace.
Uploading my photo into nft lolhttps://t.co/E3Q4sBmN26#NFT #opensea pic.twitter.com/rD51rdcpzp
— Ghozali_Ghozalu (@Ghozali_Ghozalu) January 10, 2022
As Cointelegraph reported, some of Ghozali’s selfie NFTs sold for 0.9 ETH, worth roughly $3,000. Ghozali’s collection subsequently reached a total trade volume of 317 ETH, equivalent to more than $1 million.
A groundbreaking five-year study into whether crypto token incentives can improve health outcomes for patients with HIV/AIDS will be launched in Kenya by the end of the year.
On Nov 1, the blockchain-powered healthcare ecosystem Immunify.Life and the Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) announced they had secured the approval needed from an ethics committee and the national commission to launch the study.
Together they will conduct a five-year study on HIV/AIDS starting before the end of 2021 in the Kakamega County region of Kenya, before extending throughout the rest of the country.
The first major project of this collaboration is a groundbreaking study in #HIV/#AIDS to investigate the effectiveness of incentives and paperless tracking systems on HIV treatment adherence and treatment outcomes in low socio-economic settings in Kenya.
— Immunify.Life (@ImmunifyLife) December 1, 2021
MMUST will use Immunify.Life’s blockchain technology to collect and analyze patient data to help improve the outcomes of HIV treatments. It will evaluate whether patients have better treatment outcomes if they are incentivized with token rewards for health-positive behaviors identified by project sponsors like NGOs and government institutions.
Immunify.Life CEO Guy Newing told Cointelegraph:
“The program we are testing will offer token incentives to encourage lapsed patients to present at the clinic for their treatment.”
Patients and doctors will be rewarded with Immunify.Life’s native ERC-20 IMM token. He added these could be offered for “completing a prescribed course of antibiotics for Tuberculosis,” and to incentivize, “HIV patient returning regularly to the clinic for their check-up and treatment.”
Newing said that health care workers will also be rewarded for positive behaviors such as “correctly filling out consultation records, ordering a certain number of tests for Tuberculosis, or completing medical education.”
Every patient who uses the platform is issued a nonfungible token (NFT) health ID that captures key medical data, like vaccination records. This data is then transferred to a digital registry to enable remote medical supervision and real-time data access for medical professionals.
The study’s sample size is 600 patients. Half will receive the token incentivization, and the other half will act as controls and will not receive token rewards. The patients will be monitored over six months and will receive active treatment and monitoring on a monthly basis.
The study will also track the efficacy of using paperless healthcare tracking systems in a low socio-economic area.
Newing said that, “Critical Medical data treatment data can be captured in real time, time stamped and secured; it can’t be hacked or changed.” The platform will initially use a second-layer solution on Ethereum using Polygon, with long-term plans to bridge to Cardano.
Aside from the token rewards provided by sponsors, patients will also financially benefit from the sale of anonymized medical data. Immunify.Life is currently conducting a private round for Strategic and Institutional investors before its initial DEX offering (IDO) which is planned for early 2022.
“Patients will be empowered to take control of their data and share in the financial rewards. The system is funded by fees charged to organizations who fund and deliver the healthcare.”
In addition to work in HIV in Kenya, Immunify.Life is applying its blockchain technology in two other therapeutic areas, COVID-19 & Opioid addiction.
Related:How Blockchain Will Revolutionize Healthcare
Kenya is home to around 1.5 million people with HIV according to the 2020 UNAIDS report. While 70% of these patients undergo treatment, there are present difficulties around tracking, access, program design, and data collection.
Many people diagnosed with HIV are unable to continue with treatment. In some areas, the number of ‘lapsed’ patients can reach up to 40%, according to Immunify.Life. This includes pregnant women, who can pass on the virus to their child during birth.
Akoin, the cryptocurrency project developed by Senegalese-American singer Akon, has achieved success in its initial pilot testing at western Kenya’s Mwale Medical Technology City, or MMTC, preparing for a national rollout in the near future.
The pilot, which began in November 2020, is expected to pave the way for $5 million worth of transactions per month at MMTC, according to a spokesperson for Mwale Medical Technology City. As Cointelegraph reported, the pilot stage allowed residents to pay and be paid using Akoin and have the transactions converted immediately into cell phone minutes or other forms of exchange.
Full implementation is expected to begin in September, and monthly transactions are projected to surge, possibly reaching $2 billion by 2022. By that time, Akoin will become the only platform for business transactions in the city.
Related:Akoin rolled out in $2B medical metropolis in Kenya
Akoin is a cryptocurrency designed to help entrepreneurs, business owners and social activists transact locally without many of the impediments that inflict emerging markets in Africa.
For full implementation to be successful, the Akoin project is targeting 5,000 workers within the first six months and 20,000 workers by the end of 2022. MMTC is scheduling a “major launch event for September” that will introduce Akoin for wider acceptance. The spokesperson explained:
“A major launch event scheduled for September will include the launch of a new hospital wing in MMTC and the activation of Akoin across 5,000 beds at the Hamptons Hospital and 30,000 transactions per month, utilizing Akoin’s Atomic Swap technology, Merchant Services and Akoin Credit and Debit Cards.”
The spokesperson further explained that, by the end of 2022, Akoin is expected to become the “second most popular payment platform after M-Pesa,” a mobile-phone-based money transfer and micro-financing service popular in Africa and other parts of the developing world.
Mwale Medical Technology City is described as a newly built city encompassing a state-of-the-art medical and technology complex. The pilot testing of Akoin was seen as a stepping stone for the cryptocurrency being adopted by the highly ambitious Akon City project in Senegal.
Related:AkoinNFT to sell historic DNA data art as NFT in collaboration with Oasis Network