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Kenyan Fintech Player: ‘Banking the Unbanked’ Is the Most Important Use Case for Digital Currencies in Africa

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Kenyan Fintech Player: ‘Banking the Unbanked’ Is the Most Important Use Case for Digital Currencies in Africa

The year 2020 may well go down as the year when blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, in particular, gained mainstream recognition. The restrictions on movement, as well as the widespread fear of catching a virus, forced many to look for alternative ways of making payments or sending remittances. This search for an alternative inevitably led many to crypto. Although the use of such alternatives to fiat cash continues to grow, many of the intended beneficiaries in places like Africa are still unable to use such digital currencies.

Kenya’s Kotani Pay Addresses Lack of Crypto Access

The lack of smartphones, misinformation about cryptocurrencies, and poor net connectivity are some of the main reasons why the number of digital currency users is not growing as some crypto proponents would have wanted. As a consequence, some players in this space are now working hard to find solutions to help those that presently cannot use digital currencies.

One such player is Kotani Pay, a Kenya-based fintech start-up that is focused on providing a reliable blockchain on-ramp and off-ramp service for users in Africa. Bitcoin.com News recently reached to the start-up’s CMO, Brian Kimotho, to learn more about Kotani’s offering. Below are Kimotho’s written responses to questions sent via WhatsApp.

Bitcoin.com News (BCN): When was Kotani Pay established and why?

Brain Kimotho (BK): Kotani Pay was established in 2020. We built Kotani Pay after realizing for a very long time that the people who were set out to benefit the most from the promise of Blockchain and Web3 technologies had no way of interacting with the services offered. Most of these users don’t have smartphones or an internet connection. They only have feature phones. The most they can do is communicate via texting or making phone calls. Kotani Pay is built with this in mind. To access the service one simply needs to dial the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) code. Once dialed, the user is presented with a simple menu where they can make their preferred selection — send money, withdraw…

BCN: You are currently involved in efforts to provide the so-called universal basic income (UBI) to refugees. Can you tell our readers what motivated your company to become involved in this?

BK: Serving the refugees in collaboration with Impact Market, Refugee Integration Organisation and Mission Possible 2030 was in line with our goal of making Web3 technologies accessible to the last mile. In Africa for example, the total number of mobile phone users stands at 700M. Out of these 700 million users, only 260 million have internet-enabled smartphones. Kotani Pay, through projects such as the UBI for refugees, is able to realize its goals for empowering the remaining 440 million people who are using feature phones.

BCN: How many refugees are now benefiting from this UBI initiative?

BK: 2000 with an additional 4000 in the pipeline.

BCN: On your website, you tout Kotani Pay as “Africa’s most reliable blockchain on-ramp and off-ramp service.” In exactly how many countries do you provide this service?

BK: The Kotani Pay USSD service is powered by the Kotani Application Programming Interface (API). With this API, businesses can integrate their processes to our off-ramp service to serve mobile phone (smartphone and feature phone) users in Africa.

BCN: From your perspective, what would you say is the most important use case for digital currencies in Africa?

BK: Banking the unbanked.

BCN: You provide an on-ramp and off-ramp service on a continent where most countries have either banned or imposed some form of restrictions on digital currencies. How are you managing to provide this service and still not violate regulations in countries where you operate?

BK: We are fully compliant with the Payments Services Act and banking regulations in Kenya. We work via banking APIs regulated by the Central Bank of Kenya for user AML/KYC due diligence. Beyond that, we provide the service leveraging stablecoins on the Celo network pegged to the value of the dollar and euro. The stablecoins are backed by other verifiable assets making them less volatile to price fluctuations.

BCN: Countries like Ghana and Nigeria are proceeding with plans to launch central bank digital currencies (CBDC) while many other countries plan to do the same in the near future. In your opinion, are CBDCs something that the crypto industry should be afraid of?

BK: No, CBDCs are not something we should be afraid of. The CBDC use case goes to show the possibilities of what Web3 and Blockchain have to offer. CBDCs present several benefits including low barriers to entry for users, lower cost of minting money as well as low cost of cross-border and interbank transactions.

What are your thoughts on this interview? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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Bitcoin (BTC) Drops Below $60,000 But Correction Could Be Short-Lived

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Bitcoin (BTC) Drops Below $60,000 But Correction Could Be Short-Lived

Bitcoin (BTC) is likely in the middle of a short-term correction that has taken it below $60,000. Following this correction, a rebound in price is likely. 

BTC decreased considerably on Oct 26 and created a bearish engulfing candlestick.  This is a type of bearish candlestick in which the entire upward movement from the previous day is negated with an equal or larger drop the next day.

The main support area is found between $52,400 and $53,350. This range is made up of a short (white) and a long-term (black) Fib retracement level and a horizontal support area. There is also a minor support level at $56,550, created by only the short-term Fib level. 

Technical indicators support the continuation of the decrease.

The MACD, which is created by short and long-term moving averages (MA) is falling. Currently, the MACD is still positive, indicating that the short-term trend is moving faster than the long-term trend. However, it’s decreasing, signaling that the MA is decelerating.

The RSI, which is a momentum indicator is also decreasing. It’s above 50, signaling that momentum is still bullish, but the decreasing RSI indicates that momentum is also losing strength.

BTC gets rejected

The six-hour chart shows that BTC is moving underneath a descending resistance line since the Oct 20 all-time high price. 

More recently, the line rejected the price on Oct 25 (red icon), initiating the current downward move. The rejection also coincided with the $63,650 resistance area.

As long as the descending line remains unbroken, the short-term trend is considered bearish.

Wave count

The short-term wave count shows that BTC is likely in an A-B-C correction, which is potentially contained inside a parallel channel. For a long-term wave count analysis, click here.

Currently, BTC is in the C wave, which is the final portion of the correction and after which a rebound in price is likely.

There is considerable support near $56,500 and a drop to those levels would give waves A:C an exact 1:1 ratio. Furthermore, it would coincide with the support line of the channel. In addition to this, the area coincides with the short-term Fib support outlined in the first section. 

For BeInCrypto’s previous Bitcoin (BTC) analysis, click here.

Disclaimer

All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk.

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Bitcoin drops $1K in five minutes in fresh dip below $60K

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Bitcoin drops $1K in five minutes in fresh dip below $60K

Ethereum slips below $4,000 as an anticipated correction suddenly takes hold of crypto markets.

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Bitcoin drops K in five minutes in fresh dip below K

Bitcoin (BTC) fell sharply on Oct. 27 as $60,000 finally gave way to two-week lows.

BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingView

Bitcoin bites into major buy wal

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView showed BTC/USD nearing $58,000 at the time of writing, hitting its lowest since Oct. 15.

The move follows multiple retests of $60,000, with Bitcoin now taking liquidity in a large support wall with $57,000 as its base.

Analysts, as Cointelegraph reported, were already prepared, with some data suggesting a deeper dive to a low as $50,000 would still preserve the overall bull trend.

#Bitcoin couldn’t break through $63.6K and tests the other side of the range.

Might be dropping another time if $61.6K can’t break and then I’m looking at $58K next. pic.twitter.com/HIsvhE5ZlZ

— Michaël van de Poppe (@CryptoMichNL) October 27, 2021

Commenting on the situation meanwhile, Charles Edwards, CEO of investment firm Capriole, blamed leveraged traders for sparking the volatility.

“Basically Bitcoin looks incredible here on most metrics, but leverage traders have gone out of control,” he argued.

“We won’t get sustainable price rises until that changes.”

Data showed $500 million being liquidated in a single hour across cryptocurrency.

Altcoins lose big on trend reversal

Ether (ETH) led a bleed from altcoins Wednesday, falling below its hard-won $4,000 support line.

ETH/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingView

Related: Expanding ecosystem and $1.86B futures open interest back Solana’s $250 target

Several of the top ten cryptocurrencies by market cap saw daily losses of over 15%, including Dogecoin (DOGE) and Solana (SOL).

Shiba Inu (SHIB) was still largely in the green, up 23% on the day despite the market turnaround and continuing a wild month.

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Redditors cheer as GameStop assembles team of NFT experts

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Redditors cheer as GameStop assembles team of NFT experts

“Future creators won’t just build games but also the components, characters, and equipment. Blockchains will power the commerce underneath,” Gamestop’s Head of Web3 Gaming job listing reads.

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Redditors cheer as GameStop assembles team of NFT experts

GameStop (GME) is assembling a team of blockchain and NFT experts to work on the firm’s upcoming NFT platform.

The firm’s GME stock is a cult favorite amongst retail traders as a result of the r/wallstreetbets and Robinhood saga earlier this year. On Reddit the r/Superstonk community boasts 659,000 members, and is dedicated to hosting business and stock discussions related to GME.

A post about GameStop’s job listings yesterday has received more than 10,000 upvotes at the time of writing, with many members posting bullish sentiments over GameStop’s latest move.

GameStop quietly unveiled a bare-bones website for its NFT marketplace in May. The site currently features a Nintendo Gameboy-style gaming console with an Ethereum logo, along with a message calling out for recruits to work on the platform.

Since then the firm has held its cards close to its chest, however on Oct. 25 it listed a total of eight jobs for crypto-friendly candidates, including three roles for NFT experienced software engineers, three jobs for product marketers and with two roles focused on Web3 based gaming.

One of the listings for the Head of Web3 Gaming job says that GameStop is looking for someone with experience with “Ethereum, NFTs and blockchain-based gaming platforms.” The firm has also hinted that there are some plans related to the Metaverse in the works.

“GameStop is looking for a unique individual who can help accelerate the future of gaming and commerce. In this future, games are the places to go, and play is driven by the things you bring. Future creators won’t just build games but also the components, characters, and equipment. Blockchains will power the commerce underneath,” the job listing reads.

Web3, billions in revenue, NFTs, Ethereum Layer 2. probably nothing. $GME pic.twitter.com/s3PiaqtWQl

— Chris SilvΞstro (@vestro) October 26, 2021

Related: Reddit may be preparing to launch its own NFT platform

Members of the r/Superstonk community were singing the firm’s praises yesterday, with “Triaspia2” calling it one of the “best job listings” they had seen, while pledging to buy more GME as it was a “bullish signal.”

Redditor “Donnybiceps” was equally bullish, noting that:

“NFTs are the future and people who haven’t gotten on board the GME train while knowing all these clues then you should be blaming yourself for not thinking this through.”

GME has had a volatile performance in October, going as low as $166 before bouncing to around $187 and subsequently crashing down again. However, according to data from Tradingview, the price of GME has still gained 2.8% this month to sit at $178 at the time of writing. The year-to-date gain for GME is a whopping 844%.

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