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| March 19, 2019

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China lowers growth target and cuts taxes as economy slows

March 5, 2019 |

China lowered its goal for economic growth and announced a major tax cut, as policymakers seek to pull off a gradual deceleration while grappling with a debt legacy and the trade standoff with the U.S.

The gross domestic product growth target released Tuesday morning in Premier Li Keqiang’s annual…


L.A. Times – Business

Uber Sales Growth Slows Further as IPO Nears

February 16, 2019 |

Uber Technologies, as it steers toward a planned IPO later this year, reported its slowest sales growth since the company began disclosing detailed financials two years ago.
WSJ.com: US Business

Uber keeps burning through money and its sales growth slows as it prepares for IPO

February 15, 2019 |

Uber Technologies Inc., the ride-hailing giant that’s preparing for an initial public offering this year, released its fourth-quarter financial results Friday, showing slowing revenue growth and persistent losses.

For full-year 2018, those losses were down 15% compared with the year before, but…


L.A. Times – Business

High Cost Slows Down Bitcoin ATM Growth in Africa

February 15, 2019 |

High Cost, Lack of Human Feel Slows Down Bitcoin ATM Growth in Africa

There are more than 4,000 bitcoin automated teller machines (ATMs) in the world, but only just about 10 (or 0.2 percent) of these are in Africa. In a continent widely touted as the next big growth region for cryptocurrency, could it be that the story of Africa’s growth isn’t as real as many “Africa rising” headlines have suggested?

Also read: Nasdaq Stock Exchange to Start Offering BTC and ETH Indices

Bitcoin ATM Penetration and Use Weak in Africa

It is little surprise that the bulk of bitcoin teller machines in Africa are found in South Africa, the continent’s most sophisticated economy. About five fiat-to-crypto ATMs are dotted around in the cities of Capetown, Johannesburg, Nelspruit and Pretoria. Altogether, the machines can dispense up to one million rand (about $ 71,000) combined each day, even though identity verification is required for crypto purchases exceeding 5,000 rand ($ 350).

High Cost Slows Down Bitcoin ATM Growth in Africa

In Uganda, the Kampala Post Office hosts one machine, the country’s only, which is operated by local blockchain company Kipya Bit2big. Another bitcoin ATM can be found in Nairobi, Kenya at the Kenrail Towers, and surprisingly, in impoverished Djibouti at Appart Hôtel Moulk in the capital city.

Operators of the Djibouti machine, Group DOS, are reportedly planning to introduce two more ATMs in the tiny east African country this year, one at an airport and another at a shopping mall. A two-way bitcoin ATM in Zimbabwe owned by Golix has since become a white elephant after the government banned cryptocurrencies through the back door last April.

In total, there is about nine bitcoin teller machines throughout Africa, a continent of 1.2 billion people from 54 countries. Even more surprising though is the absence of bitcoin ATMs in Nigeria, the continent’s biggest economy by GDP and Africa’s largest cryptocurrency market.

Often, the general assumption is that bitcoin ATMs, which are sometimes called BATMs, will help drive crypto adoption. However, given the slow rate of penetration of such equipment on the continent, perhaps the question to ask is whether Africans use the existing machines at all? There is no straight answer to the question, but the general trend indicates some remote use, hindered largely by legacy trust issues with the old, rigged financial order. And how the mobile money revolution has reduced even the most mundane traditional banking services to something of an amusement.

‘Africans Prefer Face-To-Face Interactions’

High Cost Slows Down Bitcoin ATM Growth in Africa

Suleiman Murunga, founder and chief executive officer of Coinpesa, one of Uganda’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, illustrated both the cultural and economic barriers to progress. “Africans prefer face-to-face interactions and that is why mobile money agents are more popular than bank ATMs,” Murunga told news.Bitcoin.com, in an interview.

“Peer-to-peer trades offer more than just access to BTC, they tap into our sense of community and provide a source of information – things that an ATM can’t provide. In addition, bitcoin ATMs are expensive and the volumes currently do not justify the cost,” he added.

Each BATM costs roughly $ 12,000. Not many exchange operators or businesses in Africa are willing to make such an investment. That’s also partly because the number of people interested in BTC is low, and the learning curve that one would have to go through is long and expensive, according to William Chui, a former executive at Zimbabwe’s struggling digital asset exchange Golix. He said:

People in Africa, who’ve become accustomed to using mobile money and the convenience that it brings, see an ATM in a physical location as a nuisance, as it overrides the convenience that mobile money brings to the table.

Investment Slows Down as Crypto Bear Market Bites

For African economies looking for something to cheer them up, the current crypto bear market will have the opposite effect. Companies and investors alike are cutting back on their exposure to cryptocurrencies. There’s already the uncertainty of regulation in most African countries that’s got everyone on tenterhooks.

High Cost Slows Down Bitcoin ATM Growth in Africa

In Nairobi, our contact indicated that a few people still patronize the Kenrail Towers BATM, which uses rates from three different crypto exchange websites. But high transaction fees, sometimes of as high as 8 to 14 percent in parts of Africa, have also been a major drawback to the growth of the bitcoin teller machine on the continent.

Even then, Chui remains cautiously optimistic. “The bitcoin ATM makes it easier for people to access and builds trust somewhat, with the buyer knowing a physical location where they can get or sell their BTC. On its own, however, the ATM won’t educate the market, because they’re limited in number and would need to be in very strategic points in order to be noticed.”

In the same way that consumers insert a card into a traditional ATM, the bitcoin cash machine allows users to insert fiat money, which is converted to the volume of BTC that they want to buy. The machine then sends the bitcoin straight to the customer’s wallet. The bitcoin ATM is currently operational in about 80 countries all around the world. With more than 2,600 machines, the U.S. hosts the greatest number of such machines followed by Canada, Austria and the U.K.

What do you think about bitcoin ATMs’ use in Africa? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Golix.


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The post High Cost Slows Down Bitcoin ATM Growth in Africa appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

As the housing market slows, builders are offering buyer discounts

January 11, 2019 |

As the housing market has downshifted, more builders are offering sweeteners to close the deal.

Companies large and small are paying closing costs, buying down mortgage rates and trimming square footage to offer a cheaper abode. Some are countering the high cost of a mortgage with a more direct…


L.A. Times – Business

Uber sales growth slows as quarterly loss surges to $1.1 billion

November 15, 2018 |

Uber’s sales growth is dramatically slowing even as the ride-hailing company is spending more to fuel global growth, particularly in its food-delivery business.

Revenue growth reached only 38% in the third quarter, not even half of what it was six months earlier, when the company was negotiating…


L.A. Times – Business

Foreign Buying of Chinese Bonds Slows as Yuan Falls

November 13, 2018 |

A weaker currency and a narrowing premium over U.S. interest rates have dented global investors’ enthusiasm for China’s roughly $ 12 trillion bond market.
WSJ.com: What’s News Asia

China’s economic growth slows to its lowest pace since early 2009

October 20, 2018 |

China’s economy is growing at the slowest pace since the depths of the financial crisis in early 2009, according to newly released official data that heightens pressure on the leaders in Beijing navigating a trade dispute with the United States.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics said Friday…


L.A. Times – Business

Stocks climb as inflation slows; tech shares rebound

September 13, 2018 |

U.S. stocks were climbing Thursday after the Labor Department said inflation slowed a bit in August. Technology companies such as Apple and Microsoft made some of the largest gains after a recent bout of uncertainty, and chip maker Qualcomm jumped after it announced it was proceeding with a big…


L.A. Times – Business

Wells Fargo is cutting 600-plus mortgage jobs as that business slows

August 27, 2018 |

Wells Fargo & Co. is cutting 638 mortgage employees, including 190 in California, as the nation’s largest home lender contends with a slowdown in the business.

“After carefully evaluating market conditions and consumer needs, we are reducing to better align with current volumes,” Wells Fargo spokesman…


L.A. Times – Business