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Three Nigerians Spearhead Jack Dorsey’s Africa Bitcoin Fund

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Jack Dorsey - Investors King

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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Stop Using Bitcoin as Legal Tender, IMF Tells El Salvador

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El Salvador’s Bitcoin Rollout = Investors king

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged El Salvador to drop Bitcoin, the world’s most dominant cryptocurrency, as a legal tender over rising concerns about “financial stability, financial integrity, and consumer protection.”

The Executive Board of the Fund said in a report released on Tuesday after it concluded the Article IV consultation with El Salvador.

The report said “Directors agreed on the importance of boosting financial inclusion and noted that digital means of payment—such as the Chivo e-wallet—could play this role.

“However, they emphasized the need for strict regulation and oversight of the new ecosystem of Chivo and Bitcoin. They stressed that there are large risks associated with the use of Bitcoin on financial stability, financial integrity, and consumer protection, as well as the associated fiscal contingent liabilities.

“They urged the authorities to narrow the scope of the Bitcoin law by removing Bitcoin’s legal tender status. Some Directors also expressed concern over the risks associated with issuing Bitcoin-backed bonds.”

The board, however, said while the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted a decade of growth, “El Salvador is rebounding quickly.” The economy contracted by 7.9% in 2020 and is projected to grow by about 10% in 2021 and 3.2% in 2022, the board said.

“Against this backdrop, public debt vulnerabilities emerged,” the board said. “Persistent fiscal deficits and high debt service are leading to large and increasing financing needs.”

El Salvador became the first country to accept bitcoin as legal tender in 2021 despite the uncertainty surrounding the unregulated coin and the entire crypto space. The government gave $30 in free bitcoins to citizens who signed up for its national digital wallet, known as “Chivo,” or “cool” in English, to deepen its adoption.

However, with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies falling with the United States plans to raise interest rates in 2022, the country and citizens that invested in the digital currency could be in trouble.

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Fintech CEO: Bitcoin Plunge Correlates to Stock Market Movement

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Friday’s WSJ headline on Bitcoin: “Bitcoin Price Falls to $38,000 in Tandem With Tech Selloff.” The statement that followed? “Digital currency hits its lowest level since August 2021, showing a tight correlation with moves in the stock market.” One fintech CEO comments on what’s happening with digital assets.

“We’re seeing Bitcoin, in particular, as well as some of the other digital assets, move in patterns that coexist with the stock market. The implications to that are far reaching. In particular, it is going to push regulators towards a permanent classification of digital assets, including stablecoins, something that has been up in the air for some time,” offered Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges.

“These regulatory dilemmas are keeping certain investors out — and keeping some investors that are in from increasing their positions. 2022 long promised to be the year that would see change in this arena, but as there is more and more evidence that digital assets are showing movements that mirror the market, it is even more enhanced,” said Gardner.

“Beyond regulatory issues dealing with classification, I think the bureaucrats are going to be pressured to take a hard look at custody, too. The providers currently servicing the digital assets segment just aren’t providing the intense security that the industry demands,” noted Gardner.

Fireblocks, which is among the best known custody providers, found itself embroiled in a lawsuit with StakeHound, which alleges the custody company lost roughly $70MM of Ethereum, after the key vanished. As a result, StakeHound could not access over 38,000 ETH.

“The rise of institutional investors really has blown the doors of the barn, and it made it clear that custody needs to be more than simply an afterthought. We need firms with a background in cybersecurity and financial technologies to take the lead here. Custody can’t be handled by startups with big investors and a complete lack of competency in safeguarding digital assets,” said Gardner.

Modulus is known throughout the financial technology segment as a leader in the development of ultra-high frequency trading systems and blockchain technologies. Modulus has provided its exchange solution to some of the industry’s most profitable digital asset exchanges, including a well-known multi-billion-dollar cryptocurrency exchange. Over the past twenty years, the company has built technology for the world’s most notable institutions, with a client list which includes NASA, NASDAQ, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Siemens, Shell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago.

“Over the past weeks, headlines continue to emerge about Bitcoin’s movement in relation to the market. As that continues to expand, there’s just going to be no question that now is the time to normalize the classification of cryptocurrencies,” noted Gardner.

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Merchant Use of Bitcoin As Payment Method Dropped by 27 Percent in 2021 – Bitpay

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Bitpay one of the leading crypto payment service provider reported a decline in Bitcoin’s dominance in crypto payment methods in 2021. According to Bitpay, merchant use of Bitcoin has dropped by 27 percent from 92 percent recorded in 2020 to about 65 percent in 2021.

Bitpay revealed that merchants are increasing the use of other cryptocurrencies to process their payments on its platform. Ethereum now accounted for 15 percent of the total transactions, stablecoins accounted for 13 percent while two leading meme coins, Dogecoin and Shiba Inu coin with Litecoin accounted for 3 percent of total transactions in 2021.

The decline in the use of Bitcoin was partly due to the rise and acceptance of stablecoins for cross-border payment, likewise, unlike bitcoin where the price is not stable, the value of stablecoins is steady irrespective of the market trend.

Despite the volatility in the crypto market in the last quarter of 2021, Bitcoin price rose by 57.64 percent from $29,374.15 it traded on 1st of January, 2021 to $46,306.45 it closed on 31st of December 2021. However, the volatility did not deter investors from holding on to the Bitcoin in their wallets.

BitPay founded in 2011, processes an average of 66,000 transactions per month and $1 billion in annual transactions with over 80 employees. Chief Executive Officer Stephen Pair said the company’s overall 2021 payment volumes rose 57 percent year over year.

Pair Said, “our business ebbs and flows to some degree with the price, when the price goes down, people tend to spend less, we have not experienced as much of a decline in volume with this recent pullback. It’s probably just a reflection of more and more companies that need to use this as a tool to conduct payments.

As merchants begin to accept crypto payments, more companies are also stepping in, indicating the growing adoption of crypto in the payment industry. Last week, Investors King reported that PayPal was planning to launch its own stablecoin called PayPal Coin.

Pair said, “PayPal getting into this space has been great for our business because it causes companies to start asking the question of should they accept crypto payments”.

Bitcoin is 37.87 percent down from its All-Time High of $68,789.63 traded on the 10th of November 2021. At press time Bitcoin is down by 1.25 percent trading at $42,566.12

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