Akon took on Zoom to show off its new technology; Binance discovered Venezuela; and China launched its digital yuan.
The world may still be in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, but this week in crypto, things have almost come to a halt. Akon announced its expansion into East Africa, Libra was “turning around” its business model, Binance was opening up to P2P trading in Venezuela, and China’s digital yuan was springing into action.
Akon wants all of Africa to use its cryptocurrency
Akon, the world-famous rapper, has turned his hands into crypto and built an empire. His latest project, the cryptocurrency Akoin, will power a city in Kenya, he announced at the Blockdown 2022 virtual blockchain conference.
Akoin will be the exclusive cryptocurrency of the medical and technology city in Mwale. This is the second city to be powered by Akoin, after Akon City, the rappers metropolis in Senegal.
Akon’s ambition is for all of Africa to be run on cryptocurrency, which he says will become a bank for the unbanked, as well as make transactions cheaper and safer.
Also Read: How to Make Money During Lockdown Through Cryptocurrencies
MMTC, however, appears to be a city to pander to the rich. A complex of 35,000 hospitals, several resorts, and a 36-hole golf course. It is marketed as the “Hamptons of New York in Kenya,” according to a 2018 promotional video illustrating the vision of its creator, Julius Mwale.
Smartphone penetration in Kenya is around 21%, according to Newzoo’s 2018 Global Mobile Market Report, and Senegal is 19%, according to its 2015 edition. Only some Akoin transactions can be processed even though they are called “dumbphones”.
It seems that all of Africa will have to wait — at least for now. But it doesn’t matter: Akon told me that, “it’s not so much about what’s going on now, because I know once Akoin takes effect, and we’ll move it in the area we’re moving… it’s going to grow really fast. “
From there, the sky is the limit: “We expect the Akoin platform to run exclusively for about 70% of Africa,” Mwale said. Hopefully soon, as the $10 billion Akon City project is now 85% complete, he said.
Binance opens P2P crypto trading in Venezuela
The world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance, has opened up peer-to-peer trading in Venezuela, the latest in its bid to win over Latin America. Now, its users can buy and sell crypto with the bolivar, Venezuela’s national fiat currency.
Also Read: Is Binance Chain the Ethereum Killer?
Venezuela’s national currency is now so weak that last week someone realized that $10 could be traded for 1 million bolivars or 1 million bells, the in-game currency of the new Animal Crossing. (Binancians must be screaming: when will Binance list $BELLS?)
But Venezuela is deep in the crypto game – Animal Crossing fans should play catch up. The country even has its own cryptocurrency, the Petro.
And Venezuela has the highest peer-to-peer digital currency trading volume in America, surpassing even the United States on P2P platforms. The most widely used P2P trading platform today is LocalBitcoins, where Venezuelans are moving more than 500 BTC every week, according to data from Coin.Dance.
Libra Facebook tactics change
The social media site Facebook has taken advice from regulators… and a completely redesigned Libra, the controversial upcoming cryptocurrency, will be released in the second half of 2022.
Libra is no longer a digital currency whose value is pegged to a basket of fiat currencies. Now, Libra will provide individual stablecoins for fiat currencies, such as the dollar, pound, and euro. It will still mint its Libra coin, but its value will now be backed by its basket of stablecoins. The smart contract will keep the stake.
There will now be more anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist protocols, to follow the latest recommendations issued by the Financial Action Task Force, the world’s international standard setter for anti-money laundering regulations.
Also Read: Facebook Libra Redesigned: A New System and Cryptocurrency to Comply with Regulations
This replaces the “originally planned transition to a permissionless form of government to an open and competitive, market-driven network,” Libra co-creator and co-founder David Marcus tweeted. Now, Libra will be able to impose sanctions on the coin, per a request from law enforcement.
Facebook also distanced itself from the project. Less than 10% of its funding now comes from Facebook, Marcus tweeted. Many other Libra Association members, including eBay, Vodafone, PayPal, Visa, and Stripe, have left the project. It remains to be seen if they will return to the all-new, all-singing, all-dancing Libra.
Chinese digital yuan will be broadcast in May
China’s long-awaited digital currency, known as DC/EP, will go live in May for civil servants. It is expected to work more like fiat money than cryptocurrency: the value is stable, and the central bank will be able to monitor every transaction. In the trial, it will replace half of the transportation allowance of civil servants in the city of Suzhou.
Also Read: Bank Of China Says Digital Yuan Will Not Lead To Inflation
Four state-owned banks will issue payments, reports local news outlet China Star Market: Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and China Construction Bank. Banks must issue all staff with digital wallets, reports China Star Market.
The digital yuan, which the People’s Bank of China has developed since 2014, is now in public beta in four pilot regions, Decrypt reported on Tuesday. “As we understand it, the DC/EP project has reached its next stage of testing,” Matthew Graham, CEO of Sino Global Capital, told Decrypt at the time. “Specifically, the test was with the Agricultural Bank of China, and we were told in four pilot regions”: Shenzhen, Xiongan, Chengdu, and Suzhou, he said.
“First impressions are that the app looks slick, it’s pro work in the sense of Silicon Valley technology,” said Graham. But when Silicon Valley thwarted efforts to patch the coronavirus pandemic with technology, was that really a compliment?