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In This Issue
•ADOPTION: Lebanon is bankrupt and people are turning to crypto for everyday purchases
•SANCTIONS: Binance helps Iranian exchanges bypass sanctions, processes $8B in crypto
Latin America and The Caribbean
•BITCOIN: El Salvador refuses to disclose bitcoin records
•BUSINESS: Huobi is planning to relocate to the Caribbean, joining FTX and other crypto companies
•EDUCATION: Nigeria’s federal government to train 30,000 people on blockchain technology
•ADOPTION: South African grocery chain adds more stores to accept bitcoin payments
•RUSSIAN WAR IN UKRAINE: Sanctions against Russia upheld by Singapore
•PARTNERSHIP: Hungary and Thailand plan to work together to introduce blockchain in their financial markets
ADOPTION: Lebanon is bankrupt and people are turning to crypto for everyday purchases (28 minute read)
Lebanon is ripe for crypto adoption. With inflation over 162%, currency restrictions, and a local currency that has lost more than 95% of its value since August 2019, the Lebanese people have lost faith in their monetary system and have turned to crypto. Some are mining digital currencies as their primary source of income, many businesses prefer to accept USDT over the Lebanese Lira, and a network of Telegram channels and over-the-counter traders have cropped up, resembling to the centuries-old hawala system, to swap USDT for dollars in order to buy groceries and other everyday goods. People no longer trust the banks and, despite the volatility of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, many are storing their wealth in cryptocurrencies.
SANCTIONS: Binance helps Iranian exchanges bypass sanctions, processes $8B in crypto (12 minute read)
Binance has processed almost $8B in crypto from Iranian exchanges since 2018 and the majority of the funds flowed between Binance and Iran’s largest crypto exchange, Nobitex according to Chainalysis. Three-quarters of the funds were processed with Tron, a token that Nobitex encouraged clients to use to conceal their identities and avoid sanctions. Binance is at risk of violating both primary and secondary US government sanctions on Iran that are designed to prevent US and non-US firms respectively from doing business with sanctioned entities or helping Iranians evade the American trade embargo.
Want more Asia news?
•Stablecoin issuers Circle and Paxos gain approvals in Singapore
•JPMorgan Pulls Off First Live Trade on Public Blockchain
•DBS bank says it tested DeFi protocols for forex, securities
•Chinese central bank exec says digital yuan will offer ‘controllable anonymity’
•Singapore’s Ubin+ to explore wholesale CBDC for cross border payments
Latin America and The Caribbean
BITCOIN: El Salvador refuses to disclose bitcoin records (2 minute read)
El Salvador’s Anti-Corruption Legal Advisory Center (ALAC) has said that El Salvador’s development bank, BANDESAL, refuses to provide information on the government’s bitcoin buys. BANDESAL, the agency in charge of managing funds used by the Salvadoran government for its bitcoin projects, said it cannot reveal the “confidential” information. While citizens are kept in the dark about the country’s public investments in Bitcoin, the only information available is the President’s personal bitcoin buys that he tweets about, totaling $107mm.
BUSINESS: Huobi is planning to relocate to the Caribbean, joining FTX and other crypto companies (2 minute read)
With warm weather, beautiful beaches, and a friendly regulatory environment, the Caribbean looks be the next business hub for crypto businesses. Joining other crypto firms such as FTX, registered in the Bahamas, and Binance, registered in the Cayman Islands, Huobi Global, founded in China and currently headquartered in the Seychelles, is planning to move its headquarters to the Caribbean as regulators around the world crack down on the industry. Justin Sun, who was appointed to Huobi’s board in October, mentioned that places like Dominica, Panama, and the Bahamas are the frontrunners for Huobi to relocate.
Want more Latin America & Caribbean news?
•CloudWalk is the first crypto company in Brazil to have a payment institution license (Portuguese)
•Digital Real will impact bank revenue, says study (Portuguese)
•Binance appoints a payment method expert as General Manager for Colombia, Central America and the Caribbean (Spanish)
•IRS: Number of CPFs that declared crypto triples, but traded volume drops 12% in one year (Portuguese)
•Another cryptocurrency broker closes operations in Brazil (Portuguese)
Education: Nigeria’s federal government to train 30,000 people on blockchain technology (1 minute read)
Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is offering a scholarship to trains 30,000 Nigerians on blockchain technology to “accelerate blockchain adoption in Nigeria and make Nigeria a global player in the blockchain industry,” according to the Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa. NITDA is collaborating with Domineum Blockchain Solutions as the implementing partner and BSV Blockchain Academy as the course content provider. The initiative will be a hybrid program, offering virtual and in-person meetups throughout the country to develop the career skillset for Nigerians.
ADOPTION: South African grocery chain adds more stores to accept bitcoin payments (2 minute read)
After a successful pilot to test bitcoin as a payment option in 10 stores, Pick n Pay, one of the largest grocery retailers in South Africa, is expanding the payment option to 29 stores and is planning to roll out the option to all stores in the coming months per the company. The grocery retailer has partnered with Electrum and CryptoConvert to let customers pay via the Bitcoin lightning network at checkout. In a statement, Pick n Pay said, “Increasingly cryptocurrency is being used by those under-served by traditional banking systems, or by those wanting to pay and exchange money in a cheaper and really convenient way. Many companies are responding to this by accepting Bitcoin.”
Want more Africa news?
•“Zimbabwe’s Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) Exploring a CBDC to Solve the Country’s Financial Woes”
•Nigeria’s Economic Crimes Commission Seizes Bitcoin Worth Over $91,000 from ‘Yahoo Boy’ Fraud Suspect
•Kenya’s Kotani Pay Among 10 Finalists in U.S Chamber of Commerce Innovation Competition for African Startups
•Crypto Cash-Out Obstacles and Solutions in East and Southern Africa
RUSSIAN WAR IN UKRAINE: Sanctions against Russia upheld by Singapore (1 minute read)
Crypto sanctions against Russia are being upheld by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) who is requiring local cryptocurrency exchanges to comply with financial sanctions against Russia after research found that pro-Russia groups have raised millions of dollars in crypto-based donations to support Russia’s war in Ukraine. The MAS said, “These measures apply to all financial institutions in Singapore, including digital payment token service providers (DPTSP) licensed to operate in Singapore.” The MAS did not disclose if it has received information about licensed exchanges being used to funnel crypto to pro-Russia groups, however, they did says that “DPTSP have to perform customer due diligence to identify and verify the identities of their customers and the customers’ beneficial owners, and screen their customers and their transacting counterparties” to avoid transactions with sanctioned banks and other prohibited activities.
PARTNERSHIP: Hungary and Thailand plan to work together to introduce blockchain in their financial markets (2 minute read)
Hungary’s Blockchain Coalition and the Thai Fintech Association have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support the implementation of blockchain technologies in their financial services sectors during the first “Thai-Hungarian Fintech Forum: Powering the Financial Revolution Together”. The Hungarian Ambassador to Thailand, Sándos Sipos, said, “It is not only our embassy but also Hungary that considers it is of the utmost importance to promote the latest fintech solutions and establish deep cooperation with our partners in this common endeavor”. Meanwhile, Chonladet Khemarattana, president of the Thai Fintech Association, commenting on the rapid growth in digital financial services such as e-commerce, mobile payments, and digital currency in Thailand, said, “The future collaboration with Hungarian companies will help Thailand to gain more experience. It will also help both countries to initiate new ideas or services in the future.”
Want more Eastern Europe news?
•Siluanov called digital currencies the future (Russian)
•Aksakov spoke about the plans of the authorities to allow the mining of any cryptocurrency (Russian)
•The Ministry of Digital Development may start using the MasterChain blockchain platform for public administration (Russian)
Thanks for reading and have a great week ahead!
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Written by Jon Lira. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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