Today, Ripple announced a partnership with the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), the North African country’s largest bank.
Through Ripple’s global payments network RippleNet, NBE has connected with the UAE-based financial service provider LuLu International Exchange – part of the LuLu Financial Group – to process cross-border payments from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Egypt.
Egypt with high remittance of $24 billion in 2020 makes it one of the top five remittance recipients globally after India, China, Mexico and the Philippines.
Remittances are vital for the countries that receive them and these funds play a significant role in a country’s gross domestic product. Money sent home to family and friends helps to pay for a multitude of necessities – ranging from education to food, to purchasing their own home or starting their own business.
However, the inherent friction in the current global payments infrastructure causes cross-border remittances to be costly and slow. Through this partnership, NBE and LuLu Exchange look to elevate the cross-border remittance experience into Egypt to be cheaper, quicker and more reliable.
Hesham Elsafty, Group Head for Financial Institutions and International Financial Services at NBE said, “Egypt ranks amongst the top five countries worldwide in terms of remittances received from its overseas expatriate communities. Given the important role remittances play in the Egyptian economy, the National Bank of Egypt is continuously aiming to develop and enhance the infrastructure which pertains to this line of business.
”NBE’s partnership with Ripple will help to improve overall efficiency by enabling NBE to establish new alliances across wider markets with reduced cost and quicker integration time. We are very excited to announce our new partnership with Ripple and Lulu which we believe will contribute to a further acceleration of the Egypt-UAE remittances corridor”.
“Our partnership with Ripple and NBE reaffirms our commitment to enhancing the payments ecosystem of the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region through meaningful collaboration and suitable adoption of technology,” said Adeeb Ahamed, Managing Director of LuLu Financial Group. “By unlocking the full potential of the UAE-Egypt corridor, the partnership will help deliver a reliable, seamless and accessible cross-border payments solution for the Egyptian community and businesses in the UAE.”
“The ability to send and receive money quickly, reliably and inexpensively today plays a larger role than ever before,” said Navin Gupta, Managing Director of South Asia and MENA. “Ripple is proud to partner with NBE and LuLu Exchange to bolster the MENA region’s financial infrastructure and provide a frictionless cross-border payments experience for the Egyptian community.”
RippleNet leverages blockchain technology to help partners across a global network accelerate their business performance and scale. It delivers a superior end-customer experience, simplified network partnering, liquidity management solutions, lines of credit, and state-of-the-art infrastructure that enables real-time payments.
Bitcoin ‘Whales Are Re-Entering As Risk Appetite Returns’, Says Stack Funds Research
On Wednesday, Lennard Neo, Head Of Research at Stack Funds, a Singapore-based crypto-focused fund management company, explained why they believe that “Bitcoin is very close to the bottom.”
His comments about Bitcoin were delivered in a research note (titled: “Strong support observed as Bitcoins get scooped up at $30,000”), which was published yesterday.
The research analyst wrote:
“We have observed a meltdown in long liquidations (7D MA) over the past few weeks. This coupled with the Leverage ratio (grey line) falling to a 2-year low after dipping below that of March 2020 levels, provides evidence that traders are more cautious in taking positions.
“Inflows for Bitcoin have skewed to spot accumulation as opposed to speculation, as investors match their expectations towards a longer-term horizon – signaling less propensity to sell.
“In the face of the recent sell-off, we also see significant support levels around the $30,000 handle, with substantial bids coming in to fill up the offers. The strength comes on the back of Microstrategy accumulating more Bitcoins, and we have noticed that Whales are also re-entering the market as risk appetite returns. Short squeeze hunters have also begun waning away in the near term as markets continue to establish ground on a consolidation phase.“
Canaan Begins Its Own Bitcoin Mining Operations in Kazakhstan
Bitcoin mining machines manufacturer Canaan has started mining bitcoin in Kazakhstan, following the crackdown on bitcoin mining in China.
Canaan said its AvalonMiner units are already in operation in Kazakhstan. When asked how many units and of which model has been deployed, a Canaan spokesperson declined to comment on specifics but said “a first batch of small-scale mining machines” have been deployed to start with.
Canaan foresees “a gradual ramp-up to full operational functionality over time,” the spokesperson added. The company has partnered with local mining companies in Kazakhstan for the initiative, they said.
China-based Canaan has been preparing to launch a crypto mining business in Kazakhstan for some time now. Earlier this month, the Nasdaq-listed company opened its first overseas after-sales service center in Kazakhstan as its global sales continue to increase.
Kazakhstan appears to be growing in popularity for bitcoin mining after China moved to shut down local bitcoin mining farms last month. Kazakhstan is close to China and has one of the cheapest electricity rates in the world.
Earlier this week, China-based BIT Mining, formerly known as 500.com, also shipped some of its bitcoin mining equipment to Kazakhstan. The company is set to send more machines to the country next month.
Andreessen Horowitz Officially Launches New $2.2B Crypto Venture Fund
Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) — prominent venture capital fund led by Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen — announced Thursday the close of its third crypto venture fund, a $2.2 billion fund that the firm says is the largest of its kind.
The new “Crypto Fund III” will be co-led by Chris Dixon and Katie Haun.
“The largest crypto fund ever raised to date, Crypto Fund III is a validating moment for the ecosystem and another sign that crypto becoming an ever more mainstream part of our financial infrastructure,” the firm said in a press release.
Rumors of Andreessen Horowitz (also known as a16z) raising a mega-fund have appeared in various reports in recent months. The Financial Times reported in April that the California-based investment firm would be raising $1 billion for a crypto fund. In late May, tech blogger Eric Newcomer wrote that the firm was raising $2 billion.
A source familiar with the raise now told The Block that interest came mostly from limited partners in the firm’s previous crypto funds, which have seen large returns. a16z netted more than $440 million from selling Coinbase stock soon after the exchange made its public markets debut on Nasdaq, according to CoinDesk.
a16z’s mandate in crypto has been broad, ranging from decentralized finance (DeFi) to bitcoin applications to so-called Web 3, or a decentralized version of the internet. The firm’s portfolio includes Dapper Labs, Celo, Uniswap, and Near.
“This fund allows us to find the next generation of visionary crypto founders, and invest in the most exciting areas of crypto,” Dixon and Haun wrote in a blog post. “We invest in all stages, from early seed-stage projects to fully developed later-stage networks.”
In addition to securing more than $2 billion to invest in crypto, a16z’s crypto business has been hiring aggressively. It has made a number of key hires including Anthony Albanese, who joined the firm last year from the New York Stock Exchange. Albanese is now being promoted to chief operating officer of a16z crypto.
The firm also hired Bill Hinman, a former director at the Securities and Exchange Commission, who once said ether (ETH) is not a security, and Rachael Horowitz, a veteran Silicon Vally communications strategist who previously was the top communicator at Coinbase, also recently joined. Horowitz has also held positions at Twitter, Google, and Facebook.
Additional new hires include policymaker Tomicah Tilleman, who is joining the firm as global head of policy after serving as a senior advisor to President Joe Biden.
“As with any new computing movement, crypto has endured a variety of challenges and misconceptions,” Dixon and Haun said. “That’s why we are also bringing together heavy-hitters across several functions to help translate “crypto” to the mainstream.”
The announcement of Crypto Fund III follows a flurry of recent activity in crypto venture investing. Despite the slump in coin prices, investors have been raising large sums of cash to pour into new crypto startups.
Framework Ventures recently announced a $100 million new fund to invest in DeFi. Blockchain Capital, meanwhile, recently announced a new $300 million fund with backing from tech giants PayPal and Visa.
Data from The Block shows investors poured more than $8.8 billion into startups during 2021, compared with 3.07 billion in all of 2020.
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