Crypto Africa Roundup: Dash in Nigeria, Peer-to-Peer Trades Growing in Africa

YouHash

In our Crypto Africa Roundup, YouHash take a look at some recent developments on the fast-growing crypto continent.

Dash Nigeria Grows Merchant Base Whilst Increasing Integrations With Exchanges

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Dash Nigeria continues to expand its network and reported adding two additional merchants who have committed to both accepting Dash as payment whilst also offering clients a discount for paying using the cryptocurrency.

 The merchants are Cryptostorez, a local company that markets cryptocurrency related products, and Qualymart, who use an online platform to sell fashion accessories and watches.

 Notwithstanding the tough year for cryptocurrencies in terms of values, there is no doubt that there is continued growth in merchant adoption around the world.  And nowhere is this more prevalent that in Africa where a large percentage of the population is outside of the formal banking system.

According to Dash News reports that there are now in excess of 4,600 Dash merchants globally.

Paxful Reports Over 17,000 Daily Peer-to-Peer Trades in Africa


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 Cryptocurrency adoption continues to grow on the continent that possibly has the most to gain from digital store and exchange, and this is evidenced in the 17,000 peer-to-peer trades undertaken in Africa using the Paxful platform, CCN reports.

The majority of these trades take place using iTunes and Amazon gift cards with aggregate trade in 2018 coming in at $300-million and $165-million respectively.  Bank transfers lagged behind at less than $50-million, or at less than 10% overall.

Paxful has invested heavily in corporate social responsibility in Africa through its #BuiltWithBitcoin campaign and to date they have built two schools in Rwanda as well as having provided scholarships to Afghan refugees.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to Partner with Doc.Com to Introduce Blockchain-Based Medical Health Services

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UNODC plans to partner with doc.com, a blockchain based telehealth business that claims to have impacted over 200,000 lives by allowing clients to talk directly to a doctor or a psychologist for free, 24 hours per day.  This is accomplished through users ‘tokenizing’ their personal data, and effectively selling it in return for access to services.

The company operates in 20 countries and makes use of an ERC20-compatible token known as MTC, which is traded on numerous exchanges.

In terms of the United Nations partnership, doc.com has committed to be up and running in the Eastern African market by the end of June, 2019.

University of Michigan to Increase its Investment in Million Dollar Crypto Fund

Omar Faridi

The prestigious University of Michigan’s financial endowment fund has joined a growing number of institutional investors that have made substantial investments in the nascent digital asset market.

Similar to how many other new investors gain exposure to the cryptoasset market, the University of Michigan’s crypto-related endowment is backed by giant venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz. Although not as large as Yale’s $25.4 billion endowment (another top-ranked university fund that invested in Andreessen Horowitz’s $300 million crypto fund), University of Michigan’s $11.9 billion endowment consists of thousands of individual contributions.

Andreessen Horowitz Manages Crypto Separately From Other Investments

Proceeds earned from the multi-billion dollar endowment are used to pay for various university-related expenses such as grants and scholarships, professorships, and other educational initiatives. As mentioned in an “item for information” document posted on University of Michigan’s official website (on February 21st), the higher education institution’s endowment will increase its investment in a cryptocurrency venture fund.

In June 2018, the University of Michigan had invested $3 million in a crypto network fund called CNK Fund I, L.P.. This fund focuses on “technology companies across the spectrum of seed, venture, and growth stage opportunities.” Moreover, Andreessen Horowitz (or a16z) reportedly decided to allocate a significant portion of its investments to a cryptocurrency-focused fund because the VC firm believes digital assets have “become an important area of innovation and entrepreneurship that warrants focused attention.”

As explained in University of Michigan’s document: 

As opportunities related to cryptonetworks transition from being undefined to becoming more visible and sharply defined, the need for a separate thematic fund may recede.

US Pension Funds Participate In $40 Million Crypto Fund 

However, the announcement noted that the current regulatory framework for cryptocurrency-related projects is “potentially more cumbersome” than the more traditional types of IT investment funds. At present, the crypto space is categorized as a “distinct type of technology” by developers, funding sources, and businesses, the University of Michigan’s notice stated. This is why Andreessen Horowitz is managing its crypto-related investments through a separate fund (for now).

On February 12th, Morgan Creek Digital Assets announced that it had managed to secure $40 million for a new VC fund focused on crypto and blockchain-related initiatives. For the first time, several notable American public sector pensions participated in Morgan Creek’s Blockchain Opportunities Fund. They included funds invested by the FairFax County, Virginia Police Officer’s Retirement System, and the Employees’ Retirement System for government employees.