A few days after the initial tweet surfaced, Binance—head of public relations at Binance Africa, Dami Odufuwa—held a YouTube ask-me-anything (AMA) session where it announced that it had blocked over 200 accounts and shared the reasons why.
Accounts on Binance can be blocked for two reasons: uncompleted know-your-customer (KYC) registration and detection of fraudulent activities, which was referred to as “law enforcement agencies related issues”.
30% of the accounts were blocked due to fraud-related issues while the rest were blocked for uncompleted KYC registrations.
Side-bar: KYC means users have to provide some means of identification before they can access some products; their account can be blocked if they continue or try to access these products without completing their KYC.
Why and how Binance tracks fraud?
For the “whys”: last year, Binance was the subject of regulatory scrutiny from several nations including Turkey where it was recently fined $750,000, Pakistan where the company is the subject of an investigation into a $100 million scam, and even Nigeria where the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is clamping down on crypto trading.
Most of these countries are pushing for Binance to incorporate anti-money laundering (AML) systems—which track, trace, and monitor illicit crypto activities—into its product.
Binance now works with different regulators and law enforcement agencies globally to protect users and curb money laundering. In 2019, it entered into a partnership with Ciphertrace to enhance its AML compliance program. Any account trading stolen coins will be instantly flagged for either review or outright blocking.
Zoom out: Decentralisation and untraceability are features of crypto that users love and non-users fear but will AML systems assuage these fears for non-users or push users away?
THE 5 KENYAN STARTUPS IN NINJA’S ACCELERATOR
In January 2020, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) launched the Next INnovation with JApan (NINJA) project to support Kenyan startups with strategic partnerships, mentorship, and access to investment opportunities for enhanced business growth and continued social development in the country.
Project NINJA’s first cohort consisted of 5 startups including Amitruck, Cinch Markets, ZanaAfrica, Kwara—which recently raised $4 million in seed funding—and Sokowatch.
Last week, JICA announced the startups that made its second cohort.
First, there’s Shamba Pride, an agritech startup founded by Samuel Mugunti that helps agro-dealers transform rural informal distribution systems to modern retail trade.
Saada Tech, by Gerishon Mwaniki and Eugene Musebe, has a no-code plug & play tool called Flo that enables businesses to build USSD, WhatsApp, IVR, and programmable SMS solutions in minutes.
There’s also MyMovies.Africa, a startup founded by Trushna Patel and Mike Strano, that offers on-demand video service meant to promote local movie creators while tackling the issues of piracy and lack of theatres.
Josphat Mworia and Kevin Mutugi’s M-PAYA helps building owners and tenants monitor energy consumption through smart metering while John Gershenson’s Kijenzi democratises manufacturing through 3D printing hubs that address the lack of spare parts.
LEARN WITH PAYSTACK
In Ep. 6 of Artwork, learn how to convert leads to happy customers.
Yesterday, Bamboo, an investment platform that allows Nigerians buy and trade US stocks in real-time from their mobile phones or computers, announced the close of its $15 million Series A round.
The round was led by American venture capital firms Greycroft and Tiger Global. Motley Fool Ventures, Saison Capital, Chrysalis Capital, and Y-Combinator’s Michael Seibel also participated in the round.
Backstory: Launched in January 2020 by CEO Richmond Bassey and COO Yanmo Omorogbe, Bamboo has rapidly grown in popularity with retail investors, claiming over 300,000 accounts in Nigeria. Its users can access all equities available on the US stock exchanges, that is, the stocks of roughly 6,000 companies.
According to data cited by Bamboo, Africans account for over 16% of the world’s population, yet they own less than 1% of global wealth. Compared to developed markets such as the United States, investing in stocks is relatively new in Nigeria, and Africa at large. For instance, nearly 75% of Bamboo users have never traded stocks before.
To bridge this gap, the company has put effort into educating its users with resources like crash courses, investment boot camps and newsletters.
Last year, the company also launched Powered by Bamboo, its API solution that allows asset managers, fintech companies, and other financial institutions to plug into Bamboo’s API to provide their customers access to global securities.
Moving forward: With the new funding, Bamboo plans to further accelerate its growth, doubling down on unlocking new markets. Last year, it expressed interest in moving into Ghana—where it has a waitlist of 50,000—Kenya, and South Africa.
UK’S PROPOSED LAW MAY EVOKE PRIVACY ISSUES
There are about 30 million Facebook accounts belonging to people who have passed away. On other social media accounts like Twitter and Instagram, estimates are in the millions, same with email and cloud service providers like Gmail and Apple.
Most of these platforms have protocols on how relatives can access their deceased loved ones accounts. Apple has the legacy contact feature, Facebook and Instagram will delete or memoralise the account upon request and proof, and Twitter offers an option of deletion. All these options can only be evoked when strict protocols are followed—in some cases like Apple’s legacy feature, the deceased must have listed a contact before their death—but a proposed law in the UK wants to change that.
The Digital Devices (Access for Next of Kin) Bill proposes that the next of kin of a deceased person should be given access to digital archives without procedural requirements like going to court. This will include access to tangible products the deceased buys, and data like photos, messages, ebooks, and possibly, even crypto or NFT accounts.
According to Ian Paisley, the Parliament member who introduced the bill, the intention for the bill is to give comfort to the bereaved who can struggle to retrieve photos or other sentimental items from phones.
Privacy for everyone
Privacy experts are, however, worried about the ramifications of the bill.
“If you access the device, you can just imagine what other applications and private communications one can access. It’s completely, completely inappropriate,” an expert on digital legacies post-mortem, Elina Harbinja, said.
Paisley is of the view that most people would be happy with the provisions of the bill, as bereaved ones are often refused access to their loved ones’ data after death. Experts are opposed, stating that some people wouldn’t want that option and it shouldn’t be forced on them.
What do you think?
ACCESS CRYPTO WITH QUIDAX
Quidax is one of Africa’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges that allows anyone to access Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from anywhere in the world. With the new Quidax app, anyone can trade over 30+ cryptocurrencies, get market reports, easily withdraw funds in your local currency, and do so much more.
The Urban Innovative Challenge for Emerging Cities is now open to applications from entrepreneurs building real-world urbantech solutions. Early-stage startups and teams based in Lagos, Nairobi and Kigali can apply to get the opportunity to become Technology Pioneers at the World Economic Forum, and $25,000 worth of AWS credits. Build here.
The Digital Transport for Africa (DT4A) Innovation Challenge is now open to enterprises focused on improving and implementing sustainable mobility of the transport sector on the continent. Selected applicants will be awarded $30,000 to implement new initiatives. Race to the finish line.
The Hacklab Foundation Developer Survey is now open to anyone who wants to help provide an open database and actionable insights on developers in Ghana. Responses to the survey will be anonymised and responders will be eligible to receive GHs 500 ($80) and souvenirs from the Hacklab Foundation. Share with Hacklab.
RELIABLE PAYMENT SOLUTIONS WITH FINCRA
Fincra is a payment infrastructure that provides fintechs, online platforms, and global businesses with reliable payment solutions for quick collections and payouts in different currencies. You can gain access to Fincra’s payments platform or integrate their APIs for seamless payments processing.