Just in case you missed it, Russia has placed a ban on crypto. During the weekend, President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning digital payments across the Eurasian nation.
According to the new law, residents of Russia are prohibited from using “digital securities and utility tokens” (or simply crypto) to pay for goods and services.
What does this mean for everyday crypto bros? It could contribute to the decline in crypto prices. As we’ve seen when China banned crypto, strict regulations often affect the market, and we may be seeing more red arrows in weeks to come.
CAIF RAISES $112 MILLION FOR AFRICAN STARTUPS
Pan-African fund Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund (CAIF) has raised $112 million (€110 million). The fund is a result of the partnership between Tunisia-based multi-asset investment platform Afrinvest and European-born venture capital firm Cathay Innovation. The fund finances early- to growth-stage startups in Africa.
Second time’s the charm
When CAIF first announced its fund in 2019, it targeted a $168 million raise for Series A to Series C investments but missed it. This time, CAIF adjusted its expectations to $102 million and exceeded its target.
The investors in this fund include Proparco, SIFEM, AfricaGrow, BIO, Europe Investment Bank, Triodos Investment Management FMO, DFIs, multinational corporations and HNIs across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
Startups the fund has invested in so far
CAIF finances companies in fintech, mobility, digital content, agritech, health tech, AI and edtech sectors. The selected startups that are in the growth stage will receive investments ranging from $1–10 million. Up to $1 million will be invested in seed-stage startups,
So far, it has invested in African startups like 54gene, OZÉ, Migo, GOMYCODE, Aerobotics, and WhereIsMyTransport. It has also invested in non-African startups that operate in the continent, some of which are PalmPay, KaiOS, Boomplay, and ride-hailing startup Heetch.
Its portfolio companies have serviced almost 150 million users, and it plans to double down on that impact with the new investments it will further make.
When asked about how CAIF will be investing during this economic downturn, co-head of CAIF, Yassine Oussaifi, pointed to the continuing success of the companies in its portfolio. He said that the fund is motivated by good metrics and continued growth so they will invest confidently in innovative startups they believe in.
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AMAZON SUES OVER 10,000 FACEBOOK ADMINS FOR FAKE REVIEWS
People sell lies for a living, and it’s not just politicians. Global retailer Amazon is taking a few of such people to court. It filed a lawsuit against the administrators of over 10,000 Facebook groups who pay buyers to post lies as reviews about products sold on its marketplace.
Ten thousand groups?
Yes, you heard read right. Ten thousand groups. One of the groups identified in the lawsuit is “Amazon Product Review”, which had more than 43,000 members. There are more groups on Facebook and other social media platforms. The cumulative number of fake reviewers runs into millions.
The lying game
Product review wasn’t always this “trick-show”. Amazon used to allow buyers to give product reviews whether they were paid to do so or not. However, due to the significant number of sponsored reviews verifed to be false, the company now allows only vetted members of its review programme Vine to give paid reviews. However, paid reviews continued in the shadows and grew into an elaborate lying game.
Popular online stores, Amazon, eBay, Google app store, and others have been in a long brawl with fake reviewers. Amazon has said that it has technologies that flag these fake reviews. It said it stopped over 200 million suspected fake reviews before they were seen by customers in 2020. It also asserted that it takes proactive legal action against bad actors such as this lawsuit
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has emphasised that it’s working with Amazon and will continue to work across the industry to curtail spam and fake reviews.
Amazon’s investigations show that groups of fake reviewers are hiding from Facebook’s detection tools by swapping letters in words or replacing them with symbols during conversations. For example, “R*fnd Aftr R*vew” (refund after review).
Well, let’s see how many of them can continue to escape the letters of the law.
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AFYAREKOD IS PUTTING KENYANS’ MEDICAL DATA ON THE BLOCKCHAIN
Over the last decade, blockchain technology has continued to gain significant adoption in Africa. Existing tech startups are upgrading their processes to leverage the benefits of blockchain, and today we’re sharing AfyaRekod’s progress!
AfyaRekod, a healthtech startup based in Kenya, has launched a blockchain-based platform that enables hospitals and other stakeholders to retrieve patients’ health data and medical history, all in real time. If adopted, what this technology means for the average Kenyan is an unrestricted access to personal health records every time, everywhere.
Per this research, poor health information systems have characterised the healthcare system of African countries and have contributed to a major challenge in nurturing a continent of healthy people.
However, health tech companies in Africa are daring to change that narrative, one startup at a time.
Earlier this year, Nigeria’s Medsaf shared with TechCabal its plans to ensure that all the medications in its robust marketplace are loaded into a blockchain database, enabling users of such medications to gain insights and track the movement of the meds from manufacturers to consumers.
Bigger Picture: Despite cryptocurrency’s shiny position as the most adopted blockchain technology in Africa, the rise of blockchain adoption by other startups is something to be enthusiastic about, especially as such advances can greatly change the narrative of technology adoption and living conditions in Africa. We are rooting for them!
IN OTHER NEWS FROM TECHCABAL
Have an iPhone or Android with only one SIM card slot? Well, embedded SIMs (eSIMs) can double your options.
inq., a pan-African computing solutions provider currently present in 9 African countries, has announced an agreement with Sweden-based Enea AB to licence the company’s edge intellectual property (IP) Enea Edge through a perpetual development licence.
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The GrowUp Incubator Programme is now open to applications from social business entrepreneurs who are providing sustainable solutions to tourism and mobility issues. Entrepreneurs in Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Burundi can apply for the chance to get 6-months training, networking opportunities, and support. Apply by August 28.
Snapchat’s Snap 523 Accelerator Programme is now open to applications from black content creators. Twenty-five selected creators will receive $10,000 per month for 12 months and a Google Pixel 7 Pro. Apply by August 12.
The Future Rural Africa’s Female Researchers Grant 2022 is now open to applications to female African researchers who want to gain more visibility and expand their network. Up to €5,000 ($5,300) will be awarded to select participants. Apply by July 31.