Binance Opens Fiat-To-Crypto Exchange in Uganda

Binance Opens Its First Fiat-To-Crypto Exchange in Uganda

Exchanges

On Oct. 15, Binance announced the launch of its fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchange in Uganda. The world’s biggest digital currency exchange said users in the East African country are now able to complete full account verification starting immediately. Deposits and withdrawals of the local fiat currency, the Ugandan shilling, start on Wednesday.

Also read: Bitcoin After Death: The Perils of Sharing One’s Fortune

Exchange to Initially Support Trades Between Ugandan Shilling and BTC, ETH Only

“We are extremely proud to officially launch our first fiat-crypto exchange in Uganda,” said Wei Zhou, chief financial officer at Binance, in a press statement. “We have been diligently preparing for this exchange with our local partners since our team first visited Uganda in April 2018.”

Zhou also stated that: “This is only the first step in our efforts to use blockchain technology to support sustainable economic development in Africa, and we look forward to bringing more innovations to the region.”

The exchange will initially support trading of the local shilling unit with bitcoin core (BTC) and ethereum (ETH), Binance said. More trading pairs are to be added in the coming months, it detailed, adding that “users are exempt from trading fees during the first month.” The Ugandan subsidiary is capable of processing 1.4 million transactions per second, with 24-hour client support.

Binance is the world’s biggest digital currency exchange, with 24-hour volume of about $1.97 billion worth of BTC alone, according to data from Coinmarketcap.  The company has revealed plans to open fiat-capable exchanges in Liechtenstein, Malta and Singapore. Until now, the exchange had been optimized for crypto-to-crypto trades only.

In Uganda, cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption and development continue to see growth. That’s despite warnings by the Bank of Uganda against the use of unregulated currencies in the form of bitcoin and other digital coins. The country of 44 million people is home to various blockchain conferences, associations and communities, with support at Cabinet level.

African Investors Welcome Binance’s Ugandan Presence

Investors in Africa have cheered Binance’s move into Uganda. “This is great news!” Michael Kimani, a leading Kenyan crypto proponent, tweeted.

“(It) will spark a race across African countries on setting up [a] favorable environment for cryptocurrency trading against African currencies. Muhimu (vital) for cross border trade, intra-African trade, online payments, remittances, trading, investing…” he wrote.

Binance Opens Its First Fiat-To-Crypto Exchange in Uganda

Binance’s presence in the East African nation is expected to boost financial inclusion in a country where only 33 percent of citizens use registered financial accounts. But this is a place where bitcoin looks likely to flourish unhindered. Some shops and restaurants in Kampala – Uganda’s capital – now accept bitcoin as a means of payment.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has spoken positively about blockchain technology – but not cryptocurrencies. He told the Africa Blockchain conference organised by the Blockchain Association of Uganda in Kampala in May of the need “to look for a new technology of enabling things to move faster and new systems that go with it.”

His central bank governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile had apparently spoken to the contrary in an earlier address to the same conference. Mutebile accused blockchain technology of lacking the necessary support to sustain a currency. But Ugandans, mostly professionals, have taken a particular liking to virtual money, bitcoin especially.

What do you think about Binance’s move into Uganda? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Tether Pulled $300 Million in Cryptocurrency out of Circulation Last Week

tether USD cryptocurrency stablecoin
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Tether LLC, the issuer of the eponymous USD-backed cryptocurrency tether (USDT), pulled $300 million worth of the “stablecoin” out of circulation last week, just days before the token lost its dollar peg.

Blockchain data from Omni, the second-layer protocol that operates on the Bitcoin blockchain and serves as the infrastructure for the tether token, reveals that cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex sent 300 million USDT to the Tether treasury address last week through two separate transactions.

tetherSource: Omni Explorer

The first, executed on Oct. 9, returned 100 million USDT to Tether. Just five days later, on Oct. 14, Bitfinex — which reportedly shares a management team with Tether — sent another 200 million tokens to the treasury address. Previously, on Oct. 3, Bitfinex had returned 10 million USDT to the treasury, which has not issued any new tokens since Sept. 21.

According to Tether’s “Transparency” report, the company has been authorized to issue another $486 million worth of USDT but has not yet done so. That number correlates with the more than 486 million USDT that are currently sitting in the company’s Omni wallet.

Tether market capSource: tether.to

At present, USDT has an outstanding market cap of 2.5 billion tokens, down from an all-time high of nearly 2.9 billion. Despite purportedly being pegged to the U.S. dollar at a 1:1 ratio, the cryptocurrency’s market cap has declined even further, to a present value of about $2.4 billion, representing a $100 million discount to the alleged value of its outstanding balance.

tether price market capSource: CoinMarketCap

That’s because, as CCN reported, USDT’s dollar peg evaporated last night, dropping the token’s value as low as $0.92 (and lower on some exchanges), though it has since recovered to about $0.96.

Tether has long been a controversial asset within cryptocurrency circles, but this controversy has intensified in recent days amid reports that Bitfinex and Tether are once again struggling to find a consistent banking partner. Bitfinex confirmed to CCN that fiat deposits are currently paused but has said that the situation should normalize within a few days.

Meanwhile, traders are increasingly opting to use other stablecoins, as new offerings from heavyweights such as Gemini, Circle, and Paxos are gradually chipping away at tether’s stranglehold on that multi-billion dollar market.

Following their respective listings, those tokens — Gemini Dollar (GUSD), USD Coin (USDC), and Paxos Standard (PAX) — quickly began to trade at a slight premium to USDT, suggesting that traders were more confident in their USD backing, or at least that they believed these new tokens could more easily be redeemed for the underlying assets.

Those premiums have widened on Monday, in tandem with USDT’s vanishing fiat peg. As of the time of writing, GUSD, USDC, and PAX were trading at premiums of roughly 9.8 percent, 8 percent, and 9.5 percent against their USDT trading pairs on various exchanges.

Featured Image from Shutterstock

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30 Crypto ATMs Launching in India — Unocoin Unveils Solution to RBI Banking Ban

30 Crypto ATMs Launching in India — Unocoin Unveils Solution to RBI Banking Ban

Exchanges

A major crypto exchange in India, Unocoin, has officially announced the launch of its crypto ATMs. CEO Sathvik Vishwanath told news.Bitcoin.com that, initially, the company plans to deploy 30 machines in three Indian cities. “These ATMs help people to cash in and cash out which was not possible before” due to the crypto banking ban imposed by the country’s central bank.

Also read: RBI Argues Supreme Court Should Not Interfere With Its Crypto Decision

30 Crypto ATMs in 3 Cities

30 Crypto ATMs Launching in India — Unocoin Unveils Solution to RBI Banking BanUnocoin has officially announced the launch of its cryptocurrency automated teller machines (ATMs). Last week, the exchange confirmed the existence of the project after someone spotted one of the machines and posted a picture of it on social media.

Sathvik Vishwanath, Unocoin’s CEO, revealed to news.Bitcoin.com on Sunday:

The first ATM will be operational in Bangalore tomorrow…In the first phase we plan to deploy 30 machines…The first one is in Bangalore followed by Mumbai and New Delhi in the upcoming week.

30 Crypto ATMs Launching in India — Unocoin Unveils Solution to RBI Banking BanUnocoin’s ATM. Photo credit: Twitter.

The company explained that all customers of Unocoin and its crypto-to-crypto trading platform, Unodax, can deposit and withdraw rupees using the ATMs. “Users are subject to some limits on deposits and withdrawals per transaction and per day subject to cash handling restrictions in India,” the exchange clarified. The minimum amount for deposits and withdrawals is 1,000 rupees (~$13.57) and must be in multiples of 500 rupees.

Vishwanath emphasized, “all coins on Unocoin and Unodax can be bought using the money deposited through ATM machines. We presently have 30 coins that can be bought.”

Established in 2013, the Bangalore-based crypto exchange now has 120 full-time employees. The exchange claims that it has processed transactions worth more than 2 billion rupees for over 1.3 million customers.

Solution to RBI Crypto Banking Ban

30 Crypto ATMs Launching in India — Unocoin Unveils Solution to RBI Banking BanIndia’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), issued a circular in April banning financial institutions under its control from providing services to crypto businesses. The ban went into effect in July and all crypto exchanges in India subsequently lost their ability to provide rupee deposit and withdrawal services. Unocoin announced the suspension of its fiat support on July 13. The company has been looking for new mechanisms to allow its users to deposit and withdraw rupees ever since.

Vishwanath clarified to news.Bitcoin.com that “the ATMs deployed by us do not need any banking partnerships. These are stand-alone machines that can accept and dispense cash,” elaborating:

These ATMs help people to cash in and cash out which was not possible before due to RBI restriction on banks to not provide bank accounts. The gap is now completely filled by these ATMs except that physical access is required to deposit and withdraw money.

How to Deposit and Withdraw INR Using Unocoin ATMs

In its Sunday announcement, Unocoin detailed how users can deposit and withdraw rupees using its ATMs.

30 Crypto ATMs Launching in India — Unocoin Unveils Solution to RBI Banking BanTo deposit INR, a user needs to “enter his user ID and the OTP [one-time password] that he just received as SMS on his registered mobile number,” the company explained. After confirming account details and depositing funds into the machine, the user’s account will be updated and funds credited for use on both Unocoin and Unodax.

To withdraw INR, “users have to make a request by visiting Unocoin.com or through Unocoin mobile app where he would specify [the] desired amount for withdrawal.” A 12-digit reference number from Unocoin will then be sent to the user to enter into the ATM, along with the OTP sent to the user’s registered mobile number.

What do you think of Unocoin launching 30 crypto ATMs in three Indian cities? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter, and Unocoin.


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