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Monday, 02 May 2022

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Good morning!

The highlight of happenings in the cryptoverse this week was when the Central African Republic announced through its presidency on Wednesday that it had adopted bitcoin as an official currency. Making CAR the first country in Africa and only the second in the world, after El Salvador to do so.

Read below the report and other crypto stories from throughout the week, carefully curated by Technext.
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Summary of the news

  • The Central African Republic adopts Bitcoin as legal tender
  • Bitcoin adoption in El Salvador struggles to gain traction - Survey
  • Bored Ape Yacht Club loses $2.7M NFT in Instagram hack
  • Binance blocks account linked to sanctioned Russian officials
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Central African Republic adopts Bitcoin as legal tender

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The Central African Republic has become the centre of hot buzz in the cryptosphere in recent days following reports of it adopting bitcoin similar to El Salvador.

The reports were confirmed on Wednesday by a statement from President Faustin Archange Touadera’s office, which indicated that he signed into law a bill that recognises bitcoin as legal tender alongside the CFA franc. The crypto bill had been introduced by Justin Gourna Zacko, the minister of the digital economy, and the minister of finance and budget, Calixte Nganongo.

The bold and groundbreaking move to establish a legal and regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies and make bitcoin legal tender “places the Central African Republic on the map of the world’s boldest and most visionary countries,” chief of staff - Obed Namsio stated.

African governments have taken a varied approach to regulate cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Nigeria's central bank barred local banks from working with cryptocurrencies last year before launching its own digital currency, the eNaira.

South African regulators have been exploring the potential regulation of cryptocurrencies and other blockchain technology, and Tanzania's central bank said last year it was working on a presidential directive to prepare for cryptocurrencies.
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Bitcoin adoption in El Salvador struggles to gain traction - Survey

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According to a recent study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), an American nonprofit research organisation, Bitcoin adoption has failed to take off in El Salvador.

In September 2021, El Salvador became the first country in the world to allow citizens to use Bitcoin in all transactions alongside the US dollar, but it seems that decision is shaping up to be a big failure.

According to the study, more than 60% of respondents ditched the government’s Chivo wallet after receiving the $30 incentive. The study found that 89% of Salvadorans had never received remittances using the app (only 3% of respondents used Bitcoin) and 99% of respondents have never paid taxes with Bitcoin.

Furthermore, El Salvador’s Central Bank statistics reveal that just 1.6% of remittances went through digital wallets in 2022. Most of the businesses that accept Bitcoin are big enterprises, according to data from 20% of companies.

On average, 5% of all transactions were in Bitcoin, and the majority of them got converted to dollars. Despite the controversial Bitcoin Law requiring mandatory acceptance, 80% of firms in El Salvador had yet to accept the most popular cryptocurrency as of April 2022.

Finally, despite the fact that almost all of them had access to a smartphone with an internet connection, only 60% of citizens downloaded Chivo. According to the study, most downloads occurred in September 2021, when El Salvador rolled out Bitcoin alongside the dollar, and few had downloaded Chivo on their phone by 2022.

The findings underscore the difficulties that cryptocurrencies must overcome in order to become widely accepted. Even after a major governmental campaign and under good conditions, the problems persist.
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Bored Ape Yacht Club loses $2.7m NFT in Instagram hack

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On Monday, a hacker got into Bored Ape Yacht Club’s official Instagram account, posted a malicious link that lured followers into sending over their NFTs and got away with a haul worth at least $2.7 million. Bored Ape Yacht Club issued warnings about the hack on its social media channels shortly after the attack occurred.

The link was labelled as a landing page to mint plots of land for the sought-after collection’s Otherside project. However, when the victims clicked the link and connected their wallets, they inadvertently agreed to send their NFTs to the hacker.

Etherscan data shows that the attacker stole 91 NFTs, including four Bored Apes worth over $420,000 apiece at current prices. They stole a further 10 NFTs from the Bored Ape-affiliated Mutant Ape Kennel Club and Bored Ape Kennel Club collections, a Deadfellaz NFT, and two CloneX NFTs.

Monday’s hack is the latest in a series of attacks targeting Bored Ape Yacht Club community members. A similar attack occurred earlier this month when a malicious actor hacked the project’s Discord server. In February, a phishing attacker posing as OpenSea stole over $3 million worth of NFTs, many of which were from the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection.
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Binance blocks account linked to sanctioned Russian officials

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Leading cryptocurrency trading firm, Binance, has closed numerous accounts linked to Russians, precisely relatives of senior Russian officials, as a result of a worldwide sanctions campaign against Russia for its actions against Ukraine.

According to a report by Bloomberg, some Binance users affected by the stringent measures include Elizabeta Peskova, daughter of President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, and Polina Kovaleva, the stepdaughter of Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

Binance, which noted that it blocked these accounts over the past two months, said it also placed a blanket ban on Kirill Malofeev, the son of Konstantin Malofeev, one of the business tycoons accused by the U.S. Treasury of financing Russia’s separatism in Crimea.

Chagri Poyraz, Binance’s Global Head of sanctions noted that even though it has blocked several users affiliated with sanctioned Russian officials over the past two months, it is still running checks to identify more of these users.

“What’s different is that our compliance screen operations are proactive, aiming to detect and deter financial crime risk before any regulatory or legal action towards these individuals or entities,” Poyraz said.

Meanwhile, Binance had earlier refused calls to block its Russia-based clients from using the trading platform, as it noted that implementing such stringent measures will only defeat the objective of cryptocurrencies, which focus on providing economic and financial freedom.

However, last week, Binance announced that it would limit its services to Russia following widespread European Union sanctions on the country.
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Other stories we are following

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Have a nice weekend!
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