The securities and exchange commission of Nigeria SEC has issued a statement on IBSmartify, the creator the Inksnation alleged blockchain based decentralized autonomous organization. The SEC in its statement advised the general public to beware of the illegal of the product and the company promoter(s).
In its statement, SEC said “The attention of the commission has been drawn to the activities of IBSmartify Nigerian, the promoters of a blockchain known as iBledger (Bcashcryptocurrency) and Inksnation. The general public advised that neither the promoters of iBsmartify Nigerian nor the illegal products they offer are registered or regulated by the Commission.
In view of the above, the general public is hereby WARNED that any person dealing with the said entity and others in the same business in any manner whatsoever, does so at his/her own risk.”
It will be recalled that some months ago, IBSmartify wrote an open letter to the EFCC claiming they will use the blockchain technology to eradicate poverty from Nigeria. Over the months, with that vision, the Inksnation has been seeing growth around the country with over 45,000 members on its telegram group.
In June 2020, crypto self regulatory body, Stakeholders in Blockchain Association of Nigeria – SiBAN issued a public statement calling out the activities of the promoters and operator of Inksnation.
Inksnation seeks to pay investors who put in money with the least being N1,000 as from August 12th. The least investors who join in with N1000 will be paid a monthly salary of N120,000 called iBsalary.
In the Mid of the month of June 2020, in an AMA organized by founder of LightBlocks with the founder of Inksnation, Inksnation founder known and called by those in his community as UDI (Universal Daddy Ink) make it clearly obvious that the product he was selling has no basic economic structure or a sound technical architecture to be called a blockchain after he was asked series of questions by some of the industry leaders in the Nigerian blockchain community.
In the AMA, UDI revealed the primary driver for the project. According to him, he claimed God spoke to him and asked if He eradicates poverty, will the people serve him? This religious attachment presents a unique and fascinating subject of discuss.
After the AMA, UDI published a vacancy for some unique positions which further defined the type of enterprise he is running. The vacancies are for the position of UI/UX designers, Legal Personnel, Web & App Core Developers, Blockchain Core Developers, Content Writers with Blockchain knowledge. The job required interested parties to relocate to Lagos, Nigeria.
With August 12 not far away into the future and the determined zeal of UDI and the thousands of followers of his vision, while the world watches and regulators take up the fence position, a potential volcanic eruption may be on the horizon.
FATF: Regulation will ultimately increase trust in Blockchain Technology, Acknowledge challenges in Regulations
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) believes that regulating cryptocurrency will ultimately increase trust in the blockchain technology.
According to the money laundering watchdog, this will instill confidence in the technology “as the backbone behind a robust and viable means to transfer value”.
This was noted in the Financial Action Task Force Supervisors Forum to discuss how to regulate crypto assets and virtual assets service providers (VASP).
The forum was held in France with 135 representatives from 50 delegations involved in crypto supervision in attendance.
The forum aim was “to promote more effective supervision by national authorities”. It examined three areas in the meeting where they laid emphasis on advantage of cooperation internationally because crypto assets are borderless.
Areas of Interest
One of the areas of interest focussed on during the forum was the lessons learned so far by countries who already have their regulatory framework for virtual assets and providers set up.
The Supervisor forum also discussed issues encountered when coming up with virtual assets service provider laws and regulations.
Attendees poured their knowledge and approaches in developing AML regulations for VASPs in their various regions and how they were implementing the FATF recommendations.
The third item of the discussion centered around the tools, skills, procedures and technology that are needed to effectively supervise VASPs.
FATF’s focus on crypto assets seeks to prevent financial crimes as well terrorist financing. Crypto assets as global products poses unique features that can be utilized to finance crimes globally.
Therefore, adopting its rules will “ensure transparency of virtual asset transactions and keep funds with links to crime and terrorism out of the cryptosphere.”
It has identified several areas that require further actions and had scheduled by mid, 2020 for its next session where it will discuss further.
Challenges to Implementation
According to the forum, there are challenges to the implementation of FATF by countries but the forum is beginning to develop a global knowledge base on what works in crypto assets supervision.
And it believes that “it will ultimately increase trust in blockchain technology as the backbone behind a robust and viable means to transfer value.”
Africa Must Regulate Cryptocurrencies To Attract Foreign Investment
Did you know that two-thirds of the adults in Africa are unbanked? Are you aware that this accounts for the second highest proportion in the world? Find our more and How blockchain can help!
It is not out of place to say that cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology can be the long-awaited savior of Africa’s economy and in turn- bring in Investments from all around the world. Blockchain has the powers to eliminate corruption, ensuring swift transactions and conducting free fare and credible elections. Still wondering how? Click to find out.
Quite frankly, the above-listed challenges facing the African economy are not the only peculiar cases that can be sought out by this brilliant invention. It is however still surprising how the regulatory bodies in the continent unanimously stand against this tested innovation.
While Most of these regulators might claim to be acting in the best interest of the members of her economy, others might even be of the opinion that this developing continent is not capable of handling new technology. But you will agree with me that technology has been received just well and it has never been the challenge- right from the times of mobile phones- recording over 77% increase in usage from the initial 3% in just over a decade. if you didn’t believe this first example, then allow me us the internet as another case where we as a continent handled innovation just fine- recording over 1000% rise in the same period of 10 years. the list is endless.
While government officials like Trump and the White house are scheduling meetings upon meetings with blockchain experts; while the Securities and Exchange Commission of advanced countries are paying close attention to integrating the technology using adequate regulatory policies, the ill-informed opinions of those in power in my dear black continent continue to flood the news in forms of sponsored posts directed particularly at destroying every possible glimpse of hope of a finding lasting solutions to the setbacks in this area of the world.
Let me shock you yet again with research by Ashlin Perumall (a senior associate at leading global law firm, Baker McKenzie’s Johannesburg office) published on the Daily Maverick. He found out that two-thirds of the adults in Africa are unbanked and this accounts for the second highest proportion in the world.
Furthermore, he stressed on the fact that remittances- being one of the major sources of revenue in the predominantly trade and e-commerce continent, the use of Blockchain technology cannot be played down on.
In what sounded like a lamentation, Ashlin noted how sad it was to actually see that not one of these regulators have made a move in the direction of advocating that regulatory policies be set for the Industry.
Sadly, Zambia one of the few countries currently leading the fight against cryptocurrencies and any technology of the sought is not hopeful of having a rethink in the nearest future.
Noticeably, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and a few other countries have not only welcomed the technology but are creating a breeding ground for start-ups within the tech sectors of their economies.
Also particularly in Nigeria, SiBAN– a local Blockchain Association has been doing a lot of work at building a self-regulatory framework for the highly underrated industry.
Nigeria leads the West African region, with the country’s central bank working on a white paper that could form the blueprint for crypto regulations in Africa. In South Africa, the central bank is working closely with blockchain and fintech startups to figure out the best way forward.
In his final words, Ashlin remarks:
There are many opportunities around the use of blockchain and cryptocurrency in Africa. However, it is clear that there are also substantial challenges. Considering the speed at which this technology is being embraced on the continent, there is great potential for African countries to develop regulations governing fintech use, with the intention of incentivizing foreign direct investment.
Wondering how the Blockchain technology can contribute to the betterment of our society? This is the Nigeria Use case:
EU Blockchain Group Launches With SWIFT- Onboards Ripple
A number of reputable firms and organizations some of which are SWIFT, Ripple and IBM have joined forces with a new blockchain association to promote adoption of the technology across the EU.
The International Association of Trusted Blockchain Application (INATBA) is the new group and which is an initiative of the European Commission launched yesterday Wednesday 3 April 2019 in Brussels, Belgium.
INATBA will operate as a “global, multi-stakeholder forum” particularly tasked at bringing together both developers and users of blockchain technology to promote mainstream adoption across multiple sectors.
Among its goals are to set up a framework to encourage public and private sector collaborations, dialogue with regulators and policymakers and “Legal predictability” as well as ensure “integrity and transparency” in blockchain infrastructures. the group is also tasked with developing guidelines and specifications for blockchain and distributed ledger-based applications.
Members of the groups include banks such as Barclays and BBVA, consultancy firm Accenture and French beauty product giant L’Oreal. Some number of Blockchain startups such as Ethereum development studio ConsenSys AG, crypto mining firm Bitfury, Enterprise blockchain firm R3, cryptocurrency hardware wallet maker Ledger and cryptocurrency protocol developer IOTA.
EU Blockchain Group Launches With SWIFT- Onboards Ripple
According to Carlos Kuchkovsky, the formation of the group had been long overdue. He also added that the association could have an important role to play in terms of developing blockchain best practices and standards and also avoiding fragmentation on a European level.
The launch of INATBA saw several European commission officials speak- including the Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society- Mariya Gabriel who was the keynote speaker. Also, the occasion featured panel sessions with discussions of topics like; “Blockchain Potentials”. Among other great news reaching us is the joint declaration of support from members from different blockchains.
It is only laudable to note that the European Commission had launched several initiatives to promote the adoption of blockchain technology. Just recently, it had constituted the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP) with the support and backing of 22 other member countries to support the delivery of cross-border digital public services based around the Technology.
The Commission also set up the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum, with ConsenSys as its member, in February.
Image by: cryptodaily.co.uk
SiBAN, Nigeria’s Blockchain Association, prepares to launch KYC/AML campaigns
Following the resolution of the Caretaker Committee of Stakeholders in Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria (SiBAN) at a recent meeting, the Vice Chairperson (Policy & Regulations) has released its subcommittee’s 3 Action Steps. The 3 Action Steps are as follows:
1. Introduction of SiBAN to Law Enforcement Agencies and Regulators:
Introduce SiBAN to law enforcement agencies such as EFCC and the Nigeria Police about the establishment and objectives of SiBAN towards forging a healthy and collaborative relationship with them, thus protecting our members against illegal arrests and victimization. SiBAN will also be formally introduced to regulators such as CBN, SEC, and NDIC;
2. Introduction of ‘Register Your Business’ Campaign:
A number of platforms in the Blockchain and cryptocurrency space in the country are either not registered at all or not registered in Nigeria. To boost credibility in the space and reduce the rate at which scammers are appearing and disappearing in the space, we will campaign that Nigerian business in the space must register their businesses and also publish their RC numbers or BN numbers on their websites and publications as the case may be. Foreign firms that operate in Nigeria will be encouraged to also register in Nigeria;
3. Introduction of KYC/AML Campaign:
Advocate, prepare, and propose policies for Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance for adoption by registered members of SiBAN who own or operate Blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses in Nigeria as minimum requirement towards improving consumer protection, boosting security, and supporting laws, public policies, and regulations. We will design a KYC/AML icon or emblem that platforms who adopt our KYC/AML policies or similar policies will have the right to place on their platforms.
In the words of Senator Ihenyen, the Vice Chairman (Policy & Regulations), “At policy and regulations level, we are very concerned about the need to boost the credibility of Blockchain and cryptocurrency platforms operating in the space. This will help improve consumer protection and investor confidence. As a body of stakeholders, our approach is a self-regulatory approach which we hope we help us sanize the space while also exploring collaborations with regulators. We believe that Blockchain and cryptocurrency present massive opportunity for economic growth. But we can’t make that happen if we fail to leverage on the technology at this nascent stage.”
The 3 Action Steps have been adopted by SiBAN and the Committee on Policy and Regulations are currently working on implementation.
Last month, SiBAN’s Committee on Projects had made an inquiry into the operations of two cryptocurrency platforms in the country and made interventions that raised hope that the Nigerian Blockchain and cryptocurrency space can be safer, better, and bigger.
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