Yesterday, the world’s largest crypto exchange platform Binance announced that it had started the process of acquiring the third largest crypto exchange platform, FTX.
Why? Well, let’s just say Binance checkmated FTX. Here’s a summary of what went wrong down.
In 2019, Binance invested in then-new crypto exchange platform, FTX. By 2022, FTX had grown to become notable in the crypto space, and Binance sold its stake in FTX, taking $2.1 billion of the buyout in FTT—FTX’s native token.
Now in 2022, FTX has become Binance’s direct competitor.
Last Sunday, Binance founder, Changpeng Zhao, threatened to sell his firm’s $2 billion stake in FTT because they’d heard some “revelations”. Other holders of FTT panicked and sold their FTT tokens, and the price of FTT dropped by 14% within the first day. In fact, over $451 million worth of withdrawals was made from FTX while Binance saw over $411 million inflow within the same period.
Basically, everyone was afraid that Binance’s FTT dump could bring FTX crashing down, taking their money with it.
FTX founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, tried to reassure traders, but no one bought what he was selling…literally. CEO of Alameda—another company founded by Bankman-Fried—also tried to reassure the public, even offering to buy Binance’s $2 billion FTT tokens, but that didn’t work either.
A day after, yesterday, FTX founder announced that the firm had come to a “strategic transaction” with Binance, but Binance founder set the record straight, stating that Binance had started acquiring FTX.
That’s it. That’s everything you need to know.
TWITTER AFRICA EMPLOYEES GET NO SEVERANCE
Last week, a week after eccentric billionaire Elon Musk completed his Twitter takeover, the social media company laid off a significant chunk of its 7,500 workforce.
On Friday, TechCabal was able to confirm that the layoffs hit the Twitter Africa team in Ghana. While we could not confirm the number of Twitter employees on the continent that were let go, a source said the number could be as high as half of the team.
Now, CNN has reiterated that “almost all” of the Twitter Africa team were let go in the same week the team resumed in-office work at Twitter’s new physical office in Ghana.
While affected staff in the US, Ireland, the UK got personalised and signed emails, the Twitter Africa staff got template emails that didn’t even mention their names.
“The company is reorganising its operations as a result of a need to reduce costs. It is with regret that we’re writing to inform you that your employment is terminating as a result of this exercise,” read the email sent by the director of people services at the company’s Dublin office in Ireland.
The email also failed to mention if the Twitter Africa staff would receive severance like their counterparts. Twitter CEO and owner Elon Musk had previously tweeted that “all” employees affected by the payroll would be offered three months of severance, “…which is 50% more than what is legally required.” Across the US, Ireland and India, affected staff will receive severance payments until January 2023.
So far, the Africa team has been exempt from this.
The emails received by team members stated that their last date of employment would be December 4, 2022. The email made no mention of compensation or severance payments.
Zoom out: CNN confirms that Ghanaian lawyers are considering legal action against Twitter for violating Ghanaian labour laws. If they move ahead with it, the Africa team will join teams in the US and Ireland where employees have filed class action suits against Musk’s regime at Twitter.
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The South African Court of Appeal has dismissed an earlier judgement by the Western Cape High Court, which ordered that the developers building Amazon’s African headquarters stop construction on the River Club Project.
The earlier judgement was dismissed on the grounds that the applicants “failed to establish a prima facie right, as they could not demonstrate that the right to heritage is at risk of suffering any harm, let alone irreparable harm, which is a jurisdictional requirement for an interim interdict”.
ICYMI: The Observatory Civic Association (OCA) and Tauriq Jenkins, who represented the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council (GKKITC), filed a lawsuit, arguing that the project’s proposed site was of great historical significance to the First Nations’ people. Jenkins argued that the site’s redevelopment would endanger their heritage and the ecology of the Liesbeek and Black River confluences and the area around them.
Earlier in March, the High Court ruled that building on the proposed site should stop immediately, as the economic, infrastructural, and public benefits can never override the fundamental rights of the First Nations peoples.
Upon appeal, however, the superior court ruled that the development might enhance the land’s resources, having regard to the degraded state of the site when the authorisations were granted.
The court further found that the growth the development offered the First Nations groups, the promotion of the site’s heritage value, and the opportunities for the unemployed in the province far outweighed the “unarticulated harms” in the case. In addition, the judgement granted a recission application launched by the elders and members of the GKKITC against the previous decision and orders.
Zoom Out: The Court of Appeal’s ruling is very encouraging because the proposed development would support 19,000 indirect jobs in addition to 6,000 direct jobs. Additionally, the project will provide affordable housing, secure green spaces and gardens, significant improvements to the area’s roads and other infrastructure, and extensive repair of the area’s contaminated and degraded waterways.
PARATUS AND META TEAM UP FOR ZAMBIA FIBRE PROJECT
Paratus Zambia, a subsidiary of pan-African telco Paratus Group, and Meta are teaming up to build 900 km of open-access metro fibre networks in Zambia to improve high-quality connectivity in underserved communities.
According to ITNews Africa, the project, which will cover 10 cities and towns in the country, will create about 500 jobs for local communities. Paratus Zambia will own, build, and operate the network to provide wholesale services to mobile network operators and internet service providers.
The first phase of the project will bring fibre to six cities by January 2023, with an aim to complete the first 280 km by November and activate it by early January. The second phase will connect four towns before the end of 2023.
The bigger picture: High-density areas like low-income townships allow fibre rollout to be much more extensive and valuable for operators as more homes can be passed through per 100 m of fibre compared to low-density suburban areas, allowing providers to lower retail rates for connectivity.
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QUONA CAPITAL CLOSES ITS THIRD FUND AT $332 MILLION
Quona co-founders: Jonathan Whittle, Monica Brand Engel, and Ganesh Rengaswamy
Quona Capital, a venture capital (VC) firm focused on emerging markets, has closed its third fund at $332 million.
What this means for African fintechs is simple: a new fund to pitch for is in town!
Here, only fintechs are welcome
Quona may be ready to spend this money, but only fintechs are invited to the party.
The VC firm invests with stringent criteria that require the startups to have a fintech play, have achieved product-market fit (PMF), and exist in any of the emerging markets the fund operates in, including Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
The fintechs are also expected to have demonstrated significant traction, as Quona heavily invests in growth-stage companies.
Fintech meets impact investing
Perhaps, the most exciting thing about Quona’s investment thesis is its focus on impact investing. The VC will not give funds to just any fintech; they must be powering financial inclusion and improving the quality of life through their solutions.
According to its latest impact report, Quona claims that 80% of the 8.8 million SMEs its portfolio companies have served were previously underserved.
Quona has maintained its impact-fintech play in Africa, investing in startups like South Africa’s Yoco and Lulalend, Kenya’s Wasoko (formerly Sokowatch), Nigeria’s Cowrywise, and Zambia-based Zoona, which was acquired in 2020 by Mukuru.
Zoom Out: With its fintech focus, Quona is proving the possibility of impact investing in high-profit sectors like fintech, as opposed to the widely-accepted notion that impact investing is customised for low-profit-high-impact startups.
EVENT: #STARTUPSOUTH’S SEVENTH ANNUAL CONFERENCE
The largest startup conference in south-south/southeast Nigeria is back for another year.
The seventh edition of #StartupSouth, themed Remotely Global: Advancing Subnational Economies from Talents to Corporations, will take place at Novotel Hotels in Port Harcourt, Nigeria on November 10 and 11, 2022.
This year’s event will feature high-profile speakers including Funke Opeke, founder and CEO of MainOne, Tomi Davies, president of the African Business Angel Network, Dr Chimezie Amadi, commissioner for digital economy and e-governance in Imo State, and more.
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Applications are open for the UK Research and Innovation African Research Leaders’ Programme. Talented researchers in sub-Saharan Africa leading quality health research in the region can apply to get up to £750,000 in funding. Apply by December 1.
The Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme and the Institut Français de Recherche en Afrique of Nairobi are offering a three-month-long fellowship in France for postdoc researchers from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and Eastern Congo (Kivu) who have presented their thesis from 2017. Laureates will receive a monthly stipend of €1,600 at the start of each month. Apply by December 9.
If your startup or innovation is focused on climate-smart agriculture practices, apply to the THRIVE|Shell Climate-Smart Agriculture Challenge for a chance to win $100,000, a spot in a prestigious accelerator, publicity and more. Apply by December 11.
Telecel Group’s African Startup Initiative Program is now open for applications. The 10 selected startups will receive €15,000 in cash each and benefits valued at more than €500,000, including credits from AWS, Google Cloud Services, Hubspot, and more. Apply by November 11.
Applications are now open for Apple’s Entrepreneur Camp. The immersive virtual camp will give founders and developers from underrepresented communities mentorship, technical support and access to the alumni network. Apply by December 5.
Applications are open for the Association of Commonwealth Universities Emerging Career Conference Grants. There are about 25-40 grants available to emerging researchers and university teachers who need funding to attend virtual or physical conferences. Apply by November 28.
African Research Leaders 2023 is calling for funding applications from African medical researchers who have completed a PhD and need the support of £750,000 over the course of five years. Apply by December 1.