June 06, 2021 / 08:30PM / By FintechNGR / Header Image Credit: DarcMatter Resource Center
The cryptocurrency space in Africa is one to watch, as an increasing number of Africans are getting involved in trading or holding one form of token or the other as seen with Binance reporting over 2000% surge in P2P users as well as 386.93% increase in volumes on its platform from the continent. Nigerian exchanges are also jumping on the token trend with Bundle recently launching its native token, BXD, and Quidax, raising over $3m in the public sale of its token, QDX.
From the regulatory and government perspective, the Senate Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre is looking at assessing options for the development of a comprehensive regulatory framework for cryptocurrency and digital assets, especially as regards blockchain and digital asset technology opportunities to promote Australian investment and jobs.
On the African plain also, the South African Reserve Bank, SARB, is set to commence CBDC feasibility study for a general-purpose retail central bank digital currency, CBDC, as a digital legal tender that would be complementary to cash. This feasibility study which is to include practical experimentation across technological platforms, policy & regulation, security and risk management is expected to be concluded in 2022.
In the U.S, its Treasury Department has announced move to put new measures in place for monitoring how money, including digital currencies, move around. In light of this, it would be demanding IRS reporting for cryptocurrency transactions above $10k for both individuals and businesses, as well as requiring exchanges to report requisite information on "gross inflows and outflows".
Funding Rounds, Valuations & IPOs
In Nigeria, API fintech, Mono has closed $2 million seed to power the Internet economy with non-financial data while African based fintech, oPay, is reportedly raising $400M which will bring it to over $1.5B valuation. The seed round for Mono was jointly raised by Kuda's co-founder, Babs Ogundeyi, and other VCs and although oPay's previous investment rounds have come from Sequoia Capital, SoftBank and a few others, this current raise is undisclosed.
On the global scene, Solidus Labs has raised $20 million in a Series A round which it intends to spend on expansion as it sees increasing demand from incumbent and traditional financial system for its digital asset risk surveillance technology.
SoftBank has invested $250 million in Zeta on a Series C round bringing the tech start-up which provides a mult-stack platform alternative to legacy software at banks, to unicorn status. In another news also, SoftBank alongside Temasek has participated in the $1.1 billion direct share issue, Sweden tech start-up, Sinch, recently raised. This would see SoftBank taking 0.7 million shares after making a $690m stake last year December in the customer engagement API start-up.
Another top financial institution, Mastercard has joined a $25 million funding round in Australian payments-as-a-service fintech mx51. The Australian PaaS technology is used by banks and acquirers in providing a white-label platform for merchants that competes with the likes of Stripe, Tyro and Square.
Indian food delivery giant Zomato has recently filed for $1.1 billion IPO. The start-up which previously acquired Uber Eats, Uber's local food delivery business in 2020, has been tagged India's biggest IPO this year according to Dealogic, and it is worth monitoring as well as the e-commerce and logistics space in the Asian country.
Acquisitions, Partnerships & Expansion
Safaricom is reportedly in talks with Amazon to integrate its mobile money business, M-Pesa on the retail giant e-commerce platform. Prior now, Safaricom already works with Amazon in powering its cloud sales out of Nairobi, in addition to partnerships with Alibaba and Paypal.
In recent times, it also won an Ethiopian telecommunications operating license which was awarded to the consortium it led alongside Japan's Sumitomo. This could be part of its massive partnership drive, and most likely the need to increase declined profits due to Kenya's central bank digital payment charges restrictions according to Fintech Futures.
Credits: CNN, TechpointAfrica, Tech Crunch, Finextra
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