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Three Nigerians Spearhead Jack Dorsey’s Africa Bitcoin Fund

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On February 12, 2021, Twitter co-founder and then CEO Jack Dorsey announced that he would be collaborating with American rapper and Tidal Chief Shawn Carter, popularly known as Jay-Z to launch a new Bitcoin fund which would be focused on funding the cryptocurrency’s development in Africa & India. Dorsey has now announced the members of the fund’s trust board, three Nigerians and one South African.

Dorsey tweeted the news and shared a link for 3 board members to begin the operation.

Dorsey entered the partnership with Jay Z in a bid to empower Bitcoin in Africa and in India. When announced, it was also said that the fund would be a blind irrevocable trust. This means that neither Jay Z nor Dorsey would have a say in the operations of the fund, but would select members of the trust board to handle the entire operation.

The announcement of the fund would naturally mean that Nigeria would be excluded from any outright cryptocurrency dealings, seeing as the Central Bank of Nigeria had issued a circular banning all bank transactions including cryptocurrencies a week before the announcement was made.

The announcement also came at a time when the Indian government announced that it would ban cryptocurrencies after it gave investors a time frame to retract their holdings. It then coincided with Bitcoin recording the highest which it had ever recorded at the time, sitting at $47,450.

The former Twitter CEO announced the members of the board on Wednesday, after applications had been open since February. Although the initial tweet mentioned that three members were needed on the board, four members have been selected to spearhead operations.

In the statement released on Dorsey’s Twitter page, it was mentioned that the eventual board members were selected from a pool of about 7,000 applicants. Of the four chosen, three were Nigerian and the other was from South Africa.

The three Nigerians are: Abubakar Nur Khalil, a core bitcoin contributor who has received $50k in bitcoin from the Human Rights Foundation over his work on Bitcoin wallet software; Obi Nwosu, co-founder of Coinfloor, a seed-level cryptocurrency startup; and Ojoma Ochai, Managing Partner at CcHUBCreative (Co-Creation Hub), a tech innovation workspace.

The South African is Carla Kirk-Cohen, a software engineer at Lightning Labs and a former employee of Luno, South African crypto exchange and wallet firm.

The announcement of the three Nigerians on the board comes as no surprise, because back in June 2021, Dorsey touted the Nigerian people as future leaders of Bitcoin in spite of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s ban on cryptocurrency trading. The ban affected both fintech companies and traditional banks.

Nigerians have found ways to go around this ban, continuing to trade cryptocurrencies. It is similar to how Nigerians found a way around the Twitter ban, using VPN to access the social network regardless of the Nigerian Government’s Twitter ban.

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Bitcoin, Other Cryptocurrencies Rebound on Thursday

Bitcoin, the world’s most dominant cryptocurrency, appreciated by 4.53% in the last 24 hours to take its gains to 12.64% in the last 7 days.

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The cryptocurrency space came alive in the last 24 hours to extend its gains for the week despite growing global uncertainties amid recession fears.

Bitcoin, the world’s most dominant cryptocurrency, appreciated by 4.53% in the last 24 hours to take its gains to 12.64% in the last 7 days.

In the last 7 days, Eth, the token of the Ethereum protocol, has gained 21.36% from about $1000 a coin it traded a week ago to $1,235.67 on Thursday.

Similarly, BNB extended its gains to $242.45, an increase of 1.40% in 24 hours and 14.33% in the last 7 days to underscore a possible shift in the financial markets towards cryptocurrency, especially with global assets, both traditional haven assets like gold and even risk assets like stocks, commodities, etc, trading at a record-low.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies crashed after Luna stablecoin plunged from over $40 billion market value or $90 a coin to about $800,000 in market value or $0.00004 a coin. The huge decline and the speed in which it happens, three days, sent a shocking wave to the investment world and alerted people to the danger of investing in an unproven and regulated space like cryptocurrency.

However, seasoned traders have said it is not unique and newbies would have to learn that in cryptocurrency investing, there are bearish and bullish seasons. This, they attributed to the Bitcoin Halving, a process in which Bitcoin reward for miners is halved after every 210,000 blocks or four years.

Still, experts like Changpeng Zhao, the Chief Executive Officer of Binance and the richest cryptocurrency investor alive, had called on people to only invest in cryptocurrency projects with real-world use cases.

Popularly known as CZ and estimated by Bloomberg to have a net worth of $96 billion, had repeatedly said the cryptocurrency space is here to stay and encourages inventors and innovators to focus on solving real-life problems.

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The Media Hasn’t Been Entirely Fair to Bukele’s Bitcoin Gambit

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Most members of the media have considered the negative components of President Nayib Bukele’s Bitcoin Gambit in El Salvador. It is true that the value of Bitcoin has tumbled since the president first bet big on the cryptocurrency. It is true that the IMF and lenders look at the country’s economic policy with extreme distrust, and agencies have dropped the country’s credit rating. It is true that the country has over a billion dollars in debt payments due over the next twelve months. If you look at how things have played out this far, you could say that it hasn’t quite gone as Bukele has hoped. In fact, many have said that.

But, let’s be pragmatic. Estimates show that the country has spent $374 on the Bitcoin gambit, in totality. A $50 million unrealized loss on Bitcoin holdings, in a country with a $29 billion economy, is less than a half percent of the national budget. But that unrealized loss is unrealized for a reason. President Bukele is doubling down on Bitcoin. He’s even bought the dip. He understands that this drawback is due to macroeconomic conditions, not the least of which being staggering inflation due to massive pandemic-related spending packages. Then, there’s an unpredictable war in Eastern Europe, not to mention the ongoing supply chain issues, still lingering from Covid shutdowns.

Those things have rained hellfire onto the digital assets space, but so, too, have they affected the traditional markets. The Dow Jones lost 1100 points in a single day of trading last month. Bukele knows that Bitcoin will bounce back. His investment in Bitcoin is one which is long-term. That said, he’s up for re-election in 2024 and continues to boast high approval ratings, thanks, in part, to his tough-on-crime stances.

The truth is that the economy in El Salvador has long been plagued by unfavorable conditions. The country has long paid a premium for its debt. In the country’s most recent credit downgrade, Fitch maligned the country’s “uncertain access to multilateral funding and external market financing given high borrowing costs,” in addition to its “limited scope for additional local market financing.”

But, let’s consider that. El Salvador has long had precious few major opportunities. Through the Bukele’s Bitcoin Gambit, the country has re-emerged on the global scene. While the move to Bitcoin was aimed at bringing the majority unbanked population into the modern financial scene, that takes time and consumer education. What the country has seen, immediately, is external interest. That, in and of itself, is significant, considering that, not long ago, El Salvador was more dangerous than Afghanistan.

Gambit — a term that many may only be familiar with from the recent Netflix hit, The Queen’s Gambit. But the definition, in part, says: an “opening remark, typically one entailing a degree of risk, that is calculated to gain an advantage.” Bukele put his country on the map again. Sure, there are real risks. Significant risks. It may well be the final nail in the country’s bid for a billion-plus dollar loan from the IMF. However, he has propelled El Salvador into the spotlight, creating a culture of innovation which is tech friendly and forward focused. Unfortunately, Bukele’s gambit launched right before a massive downturn in the markets, driven by investor fear. However, the cause doesn’t matter. Whether Bukele will be regarded as a forward-thinking leader is entirely dependent on Bitcoin’s turnaround.

There’s little doubt that Bitcoin will, indeed, turn around. But, timing is everything. Until then, there’s much to be said for the tourism boost that the tiny Central American country has received. Tourism is up 30% since Bitcoin became legal tender. The administration has planned a Bitcoin City, complete with mining powered by a volcano. Granted, the project is on hold due to market conditions, but El Salvador has a number of irons in the fire that they didn’t have three years ago.

In their cryptocurrency wallet rollout, only 20% of users continued to use the wallet after they spent their $30 in Bitcoin given to them by the government, but many argue that was due in large part to a poor user experience within the wallet. There’s a great deal that the country must work on, even within the master Bitcoin plan. Beyond it, it must find a way to begin to balance their budgets and continue to lower crime rates. However, if Bitcoin bounces back, and if the country can bring in significant external investments, many may look back at this gambit in a positive light. There are many opportunities to exploit, once the market begins to correct. In addition to the tourism angle and the mining apparatus, if the country continues to work on its economic fundamentals and infrastructure, it could see interest as a jurisdiction which is friendly to fintech and other cutting-edge innovations.

Sure, there’s a lot of risk here. And President Bukele has suffered the consequences of pretty poor timing. However, the gambit isn’t over until his political shelf-life wears out. And, right now, it doesn’t appear that will be in the near-term.

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80,000 Bitcoin Owners Lost Millionaire Status In 2022 Crypto Crash

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Data from BitInfoCharts revealed that a total of 108,886 Bitcoin (BTC) addresses owned over $1 million worth of bitcoin during its all-time high of  $68,789.63 on November 10, 2021. However, following the bearish market trend in the crypto space over 80,000 BTC addresses have lost their millionaire status with bitcoin hovering around $19,000.

The report revealed that only 26,284 BTC addresses hold over $1 million worth of bitcoin, this implies that the downward trend in the crypto market has significantly reduced the number of bitcoin millionaires by more than 75 percent in the last nine months.

The crypto bearish trend also saw the number of whales with more than $10 million worth of bitcoin decline from 10,587 BTC Addresses to 4,342 BTC Addresses.

Despite the decline in the net worth of former BTC millionaires, the bear market has seen more than 13,000 new “wholecoiners” — a wallet that contains one or more BTC — added to the market, bringing the total number of wholecoiners to just over 860,000. This significant spike in the number of whole coiners would suggest that retail investors are accumulating large amounts of BTC while prices tank.

Adding further credibility to the retail accumulation narrative, more than 250,000 addresses have added 0.1 BTC, or $2,000 or more to their holdings over the past 20 days, according to data from Glassnode.

Bitcoin and the rest of the digital asset market have been negatively impacted by a number of different issues, including increased regulatory scrutiny, sustained geopolitical unrest, rising inflation and interest rate hikes.

Due to the increasing uncertainty around the stability of global markets, commentators seem to agree that the price of risk assets like Bitcoin could continue to suffer over a longer time frame.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading at $19,143.45 down 4.74 percent in the last 24 trading hours.

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