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Low Interest Loans for Food Sellers Courtesy of IBM

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IBM is helping small business owners in Kenya achieve their dreams by providing loans to them.  Food sellers in Kenya can now get loans at a very low interest rate through the support IBM is giving to a microfinance project using a Hyperledger blockchain. Bridget van Kralingen, the Senior Vice President in charge of Platforms & Blockchain at IBM explained the company’s  dream to make microfinance more available in the developing countries saying,  “Forty percent of the world’s population is unbanked,” she said. “The fastest way to get them out of poverty is to help them start a business.”
IBM is now supporting a micro finance project started by Twiga, a food-distribution logistics firm in Kenya with an aim to include more food stall proprietors into their logistics network. Twiga aimed to offer these businesses get more access to products by offering the food sellers micro-loan. Grant Brooke, co-founder of Twiga says, “Previously, we were focused on helping farmers distribute bananas, tomatoes, onions and potatoes to 2,600 kiosks across Kenya, but we soon realized that we could help them sell even more produce with access to working capital. It’s simple, if the food vendors can sell more, we can distribute more, growing both of our businesses.”Grant Brooke,  Co-Founder of Twiga
Also, IBM scientists would use the data and machine learning obtained from the food stall operators’ cell phones to establish credit ratings for them. Isaac Markus, a researcher working at IBM Research in Kenya explains, “Once the credit score is determined, we used a blockchain, based on the Hyperledger Fabric, to manage the entire lending process from application to receiving offers to accepting the terms to repayment.” The project will run on the Hyperledger private blockchain this means that lending will be transparent and efficient. Already, IBM has already  conducted an 8-week pilot of the project which was a success last year. From the pilot, 220 food kiosk proprietors were given loans of around $30 that enabled them to increase their order sizes by 30%. The interest rate was about 1 or 2% respectively and repayable within 4 days. The project will make loan taking faster and devoid of bulky paper work since it provides a mobile based solution. Loans could be requested for by SMS which would largely aid the illiterate population and those that are unbanked. Also, IBM has plans to expand the project before the end of the year to other small- and medium-sized businesses across Africa.
 
 
 
 

What do you think about the Loan project IBM is building with Twiga? Share your opinion with us in the comment section below.
Image credit: shutterstock

 

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I’m Speechless, Dominic Rume reacts to the InksNation Scheme 

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Dominic Rume, the Founder of Vorem, a digital asset firm has reacted to the Inksnation fraudulent scheme. He said I’m speechless. 

The Inksnation scheme started late last year when the leader, Omotade-Sparks published an open letter addressed to the EFCC saying it intends to use blockchain technology to solve the problem of poverty in Nigeria. 

The project which claimed to have created a cryptocurrency Pinkoin built on its own blockchain, the InksLedger – a blockchain and crypto token which has been noted to be nonexistent by local crypto experts.

The project promised outrageous monthly returns for investors. The price of its token, the Pinkoin is derived from the numbers of people that become what it describes as Living Nodes and as more people join and become Living Nodes, the value of each pinkcoin increases by the thousands of dollars. 

See also: InksNation Founder Omotade-Sparks (UDI), Officially Declared Wanted by EFCC

Mr. Dominic reacted to the InksNation issue on the CryptoTvplus Inside Blockchain program on Monday, 30th November. On the program, he also shared that money is emotional and when people lose money, it creates a bad ripple effect that could drive the technology backward (in terms of adoption and growth). 

Speaking on the EFCC effort in tackling cybercrimes involving cryptocurrency, Mr. Dominic said the agency needs professional support from the crypto industry to be able to handle these sort of criminal schemes. 

Watch the entire session here.

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SEC and Finance Ministry in Nigeria to collaborate to draft Crypto regulation

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The Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) together with the country’s Finance Ministry will put hands together to draft a proper regulation as regards purchase and usage of cryptocurrencies in the country. This is because there is no clear regulation yet as regards cryptocurrencies and its usage in the country.

The revelation of the collaboration was made in an event organized by MasterCard and the Economist Unit tagged ‘Fintech in Nigeria: State of Play’ held in Lagos on the 24th November, 2020. At the event, Armstrong Takang, a special adviser on ICT to the Minister of Finance noted that the government of Nigeria sees an opportunity in the blockchain and cryptocurrency and is trying to draft a regulatory document that will benefit all its stakeholders. He also mentioned that the collaboration between the two parties is owed to the cross-border payment usage of cryptocurrencies. Hence, the finance ministry will be working with the Nigerian customs as well as the ministry of Trade and Industry.

The mission of the drafted adoption framework is said to be “to drive the adoption of blockchain technology in government in a way that supports efficiency, transparency, and productivity”, according to a report of the event. 

The Securities and Exchange Commission only declared cryptocurrencies as securities around mid-September 2020 and listed trading of cryptocurrencies as an activity that is regulated by the rules of the commission. The release by the commission marked the first time the government had a stance on cryptocurrencies even though it was not a clear regulation yet. The government as well gave full legalization and recognition of cryptocurrencies.

Prior to the SEC’s release that cleared the air about the government’s stance on cryptocurrencies, there were rumors around the Nigerian cryptocurrency industry about local banks freezing accounts that had anything related to cryptocurrencies. The news of the legalization was a relief to the individuals in the space as cryptocurrencies were a means of making a living for a number of people in the hard economy.

Reaction to the disclosure by Takang

However, the President of the Blockchain Association in Nigeria, Paul Ezeafulukwe has reacted to the disclosure by Takang at the event. He said as reported by Beincrypto;

“With CBN being one of the key stakeholders in the proposed blockchain adoption strategy, I do not think that CBN will eventually introduce a policy or regulation that is not aligned with the principles and strategies in the proposed document. Besides, CBN, through its representative at the stakeholder engagement, indicated its readiness in principle to provide regulatory support.” 

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CNBC’S crammer says Bitcoin is a “great alternative” to Gold

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The popular host of the “Mad Money” show on CNBC, Jim Cramer has shown an intense support for bitcoin with the bullish comment he made about the digital asset recently. The show host was said to have been previously skeptical about Bitcoin as of late 2017 when the biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization (Bitcoin) witnessed a bull run and reached its all time high as well.

Crammer is also said to be known for picking on the stock markets and being bearish but joined the moving train when he became positive about the Tesla stock before the stock witnessed mind-blowing rallying from the first quarter in 2020. However, he made a change to his stance on Bitcoin by giving a supportive statement to the asset in a tweet. 

Anthony Pompliano, who is bullish on crypto, tried to convince the TV host (Crammer) yesterday, 25th November, 2020 to get familiar and involved in Bitcoin as reported. He listed a number of persons in CNBC who are not yet involved in cryptocurrency. Crammer made a revelation in a Podcast with Pompliano that he has discovered Bitcoin to be a hedge against inflation and an asset his kids would understand;

“I’m not a, you know, a paid spokesman for why I need gold or why I need crypto but I just need something that my kids will understand as a hedge to inflation, and they will never understand gold.”

Bitcoin; cause of fall in price of gold?

Pompliano stated that “Bitcoin is stealing the market share of gold”. Looking at the price of gold since Bitcoin rallied up to about $19,000+, it could be seen that gold has fallen significantly. Could it be that institutions and individuals are moving from gold to Bitcoin?

Also, since the recent rallying, attention of institutions has been shifted to Bitcoin. Giant companies like Paypal, Grayscale have injected substantial amounts into the asset and analysts suggest these companies could be the cause in the increase. But could they be the cause for the fall in the price of gold?

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