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CRYPTO MARKET: SANGO COIN’S BENEFITS ARE UNCONSTITUTIONAL
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* Data as of 22:45 PM WAT, August 30, 2022.
Money may buy you crypto, but it can’t buy you love—or citizenship—in the Central African Republic (CAR). Especially not with the sango coin.
The CAR’s Constitutional Court has declared that any purchase of citizenship, e-residency or land with its recently launched sango coin is unconstitutional.
ICYMI: In April 2022, CAR became the first African country to adopt crypto. A month later, the country launched its own cryptocurrency, the sango coin, which sold just 5% of its $21 million offerings on launch day.
One of the ways the CAR’s sango coin has been marketed is as “a gateway to the natural resources of the Central African Republic”, or at least that’s what President Faustin-Archange Toudéra believes.
Holding $60,000 worth of sango coin for 5 years would get buyers CAR citizenship; holding $6,000 worth of it gets buyers e-residency; and owning $10,000 gets buyers plots of land.
All this, according to the CAR Constitutional Court, is unconstitutional, as the CAR’s nationality has “no market value”.
MORE OF FLUTTERWAVE’S ACCOUNTS BLOCKED IN KENYA
Kenya is going hard on Flutterwave, and it’s not holding back.
Last week, a Kenyan court froze KES400.6 million ($3.3 million) in accounts belonging to Nigerian payment company, Flutterwave, over allegations of money laundering and card fraud.
The court granted the Asset Recovery Agency’s (ARA) application on August 25 to prevent Flutterwave from transferring or withdrawing the funds in three bank accounts, including two in UBA and one in Access Bank; and 19 Safaricom M-Pesa paybill numbers.
ICYMI: In July, Kenya’s Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) got a court order to freeze 56 bank accounts which seven companies had used to launder KES7 billion (~$59.2 million). Fifty-two of the bank accounts—holding KES7 billion—belonged to Flutterwave.
At the time, the ARA alleged that Flutterwave had no records of providing merchant services in Kenya. It also claimed that the fintech was operating a payment service platform without authorisation from the central bank of Kenya (CBK), a claim which the CBK itself confirmed.
The CBK went further to order Kenyan commercial banks, microfinance banks, and mortgage finance companies to immediately end their partnerships with fintech unicorns, Flutterwave.
What are the latest allegations on?
In this latest case, the ARA filings revealed that in one of Flutterwave’s UBA bank accounts, debits amounting to KES136 million included chargebacks, reversals, and refunds which indicated that they were being used for card fraud. The agency also said the conversion of dollars into shillings in that account, in a transaction worth KES231 million, pointed to “a scheme of layering and intermingling”.
The court froze funds worth KES400.6 million ($3.3 million) across three banks including UBA, Access Bank, and Safaricom M-Pesa.
Zoom out: Flutterwave is yet to respond to TechCabal on these fresh allegations. The ARA’s court order allows the Agency to freeze the bank accounts for 90 days while its case against Flutterwave will appear in court later in November.
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TREVOR NOAH RECREATES US INSURRECTION ON VOICEMAP
Trevor Noah is working with Cape Town-based startup VoiceMap to create an interactive, self-guided walking tour of the US Capitol building, where Trump’s supporters held an insurrection in January 2021. Guests who use VoiceMap while on a tour of the building will be able to listen to Trevor Noah’s satirical recount of the events that took place at that location.
What is VoiceMap?
VoiceMap is a map that can talk to you and tell you stories about your location. It is a publishing platform and mobile app that uses GPS to play audio automatically. With VoiceMap, tour guides can upload stories about different locations and offer location-aware audio tours for tourists. With it, tourists can guide themselves when they travel and listen to the history or stories related to the locations they visit.
What does this have to do with Trevor Noah?
Trevor Noah partnered with VoiceMap to give a guest recount of the events before, during, and after the storming of the US Capitol Building. The walking tour is titled “In the Footsteps of the Freedomsurrection.” Guests on the tour of the building can use VoiceMaps to trace the footsteps of protesting Trump supporters while listening to Trevor Noah’s satirical recount of the events before, during, and after the storming of the US Capitol building.
One of the highlights of the tour includes “The Battle of Little Muffin Top”, in which former US president, Donald Trump, single-handedly fought against his own secret service detail.
Satire aside, with VoiceMap, tour guides can retire. Storytellers and tour guides can publish their tour audio on the VoiceMap platform, set the price of their tour, and earn royalties on every download.
KENYA POWER LIMITS TOKEN PURCHASE TO M-PESA ONLY
Three is a crowd, Kenya Power says.
The Kenyan power distribution company has announced that it will stop accepting bill payments or power tokens purchased from third-party apps from September 1, 2022. Kenya Power wants to maintain its financial relationships with its customers only through authorised channels—M-Pesa, a USSD code *977#, and a select few banks.
Were there unauthorised channels?
It depends on who you are asking. The official channel for buying Kenya Power tokens is M-Pesa. On the M-Pesa platform, however, a significant percentage of clients report delayed transactions and exorbitant transaction costs. So other payment platforms and agents began offering the same service with little to zero charges, and at better speeds.
The Mwangaza app, Pesapal, Cellulant’s Tingg, and the Rejareja app are some examples of payment services on which customers generate Kenya Power tokens at no transaction cost. With Kenya Power’s recent announcement, they will have to power down those services and let M-Pesa and the selected banks handle it.
Can they handle it?
We will have to watch and see. The M-Pesa payment channel has had several downtimes, but the payment service provider might have had time to work on its flaws before this announcement was made.
The authorised channel for prepaid customers to pay Kenya Power is M-PESA Paybill 888880. Postpaid customers may use the same channel as postpaid customers or pay through any of the 14 authorised banks. Customers making new connections will have to make payment via M-PESA Paybill 888899 or PostBank. Customers can also pay their bills via USSD code *977#.
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KENYA TAKES CAR PLATES DIGITAL
Kenya’s newest favourite word might just be “digital”. The country recently set a record as the first in Africa to add digital skills to the national curriculum for kids.
Now, it wants all the cars on its soil to have digital number plates.
What’s a digital number plate?
Digital number plates refer to vehicle plates that are built with advanced technology that allows for digital monitoring. They typically contain a microchip that stores information about the vehicle, such as the vehicle’s ownership, insurance, taxation, and real-time location, thereby enabling a swift retrieval of such information anytime necessary.
Why is this priority for Kenya?
It’s all a part of Kenya’s effort to ensure compliance with its Traffic Act of 2016. The Act has a clause requiring security agencies to trace vehicles in case they are suspected of having been part of a crime.
It has taken Kenya six years to realise that doing this without being able to track the cars electronically is mission impossible, so they’re going digital.
Zoom out: Car thefts are a big deal in Kenya. Shocking as it may seem, Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, was once a victim of car theft. One of the armoured BMWs in his convoy was hijacked at gunpoint and quickly shipped to Uganda for sale. Perhaps, by this move, Kenyatta is using his last days as president to lay the foundation for car security in the country. A legacy statement, maybe?
IN OTHER NEWS FROM TECHCABAL
Google phases out Google Duo, integrates features into Google Meet.
PR for African startups: how to effectively manage crisis communication.
Six security tips to avoid crypto fraud.
- Enterscale has launched the Technology Investment Programme (TIP) to help founders improve their funding narrative and business model. Fintech, logistics and other ventures addressing challenges in healthcare, agriculture, education, and the creator & SME economies should apply to get access to a network of potential partners and management advisors. Check it out.
- Netflix has extended its Netflix Creative Equity Scholarship Fund (CESF) to film and television students in the West and Central Africa region. Applications are now open for students to apply to study at institutions in Nigeria, Ghana, Benin and Gabon. Apply by September 4.
- The UN’s Youth Climate Innovation Lab is calling all young innovators in MENA that are creating climate technology solutions to join a 3-day launchpad. Winners from the launchpad will participate in the 6–8 week Climate Innovation Academy Programme, and the top 3 teams will receive a cash prize as well as the chance to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) happening in Egypt this November 2022. Apply by September 4.
- Applications are now open for Meta’s AR/VR Africa Metathon. XR developers, programmers, UI/UX designers, artists, animators, storytellers, and professionals resident in Africa can sign up to get curated learning resources from XR experts who will provide mentorship, and facilitate masterclasses and workshops. Apply here.
What else is happening in tech?
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Written by – Timi Odueso, Ngozi Chukwu & Caleb Nnamani
Edited by – Kelechi Njoku
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