By Lacie-Mae Durham Posted on 19 August, 20200 Comments The expression of support could signal a change in the country’s treatment of the nascent industry Colombia has struggled to accept cryptocurrencies into the country The Ministry of Information Technology and Communications (MinTIC) in Colombia has released its landmark draft for a guide to demonstrate ways … A number of Cubans are resorting to cryptocurrencies to curb inflation and the country’s first P2P exchange Qbita launched in April. COTI Price Chart | Market Capitalization | COTI to USD Calculator | COTI ROI Calculator | News | Description | Team | Related Events | Community | Similar coins to COTI COTI The global surge of interest in bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies extends into the Gulf and southeast Asia.
The expression of support could signal a change in the country’s treatment of the nascent industry
The Ministry of Information Technology and Communications (MinTIC) in Colombia has released its landmark draft for a guide to demonstrate ways the public sector can adopt blockchain technology, as well as integrate crypto payment-related matters.
The draft, entitled the Guide For The Use And Implementation of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT/Blockchain) In The Public Sector, lays down the advantages and the disadvantages of using DLT in projects related to public entities.
The MinTIC also highlighted that the country appears to be “lagging behind” in the adoption of blockchain technology. The Ministry pointed out the disparity between the progress achieved by Colombia versus China, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, the US and countries in the European Union.
The guide, which was drafted by organisations such as ViveLab Bogota, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá City Hall, and the National, proposed 10 solutions the country could work on.
The list includes the following sectors:
Solutions for these specific sectors would be geared towards removing the involvement of third parties within the security infrastructure and replacing them with blockchain technology. It is hoped that this would increase transparency and confidence with regards to data management.
The MinTIC has also devoted a section in the guide to cryptocurrencies, where the Ministry refers to Bitcoin’s whitepaper: Bitcoin: A Peer to Peer Electronic Cash System, first published in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto. The guide quoted that the solutions stated are meant to “ensure the consumers’ protection who invest in cryptocurrencies”.
The Colombian Government has made several attempts to regulate the local crypto environment; however, they appear to be struggling with its implementation. Some attribute difficulties in regulation to disdain for the digital assets, particularly within the Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia (SFC).
In 2018, the SFC released a series of notices that warned citizens about the risks of trading in cryptocurrencies. This announcement alarmed banks around the country, and accounts linked to cryptocurrencies were swiftly closed. It also crippled the capacity for cryptocurrency startup, Buda.com, to fully launch.
In 2016, a Colombian crypto exchange named Colbitex set up and shut down in less than a week, claiming that authorities had prevented them from operating.
Author: By Lacie-Mae Durham
Food and Cash Shortages Push Cubans Toward Permissionless Cryptocurrencies | Economics Bitcoin News
The Nation of Cuba is dealing with a national food crisis, as Venezuela has stopped offering aid to the small island nation. Moreover, the coronavirus outbreak has caused a shortage of cash couriers called “mules” and everyday items are becoming scarcer. Amid the crisis, a number of Cubans are resorting to leveraging cryptocurrencies like bitcoin to curb inflationary pressure, and the country’s first peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange Qbita launched last April.
The Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged the Cuban economy just like it has throughout the globe. However, Cuba has been hit much harder because of the country’s socialist regime. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean region and the state adheres to Communism and central planning. This gives the government an authoritarian position over the entire Cuban work force and the country’s means of production.
Leadership is quite tricky in Cuba, as Miguel Díaz-Canel is the President of the nation, but the people follow the rule of Raúl Castro’s guidelines. Raúl Castro is the official first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, and to this day, the first secretary is the most powerful leader in Cuba.
The country’s dealings with the coronavirus outbreak caused the island significant hardship and just recently, Venezuela has stopped offering the country assistance. The Venezuelan government used to be a lifeline for Cubans when it came to financial assistance.
The lack of help from Venezuela invoked the Communist Party to tell all Cuban residents to grow as much food as they can in order to survive. “Cuba can and must develop its program of municipal self-sustainability definitively and with urgency, in the face of the obsessive and tightened U.S. blockade and the food crisis COVID-19 will leave,” José Ramón Machado Ventura, deputy leader of the Cuban Communist Party, recently told the media.
In addition to the possible food crisis, Cubans have been seeing a shortage of “mules.” “Mules,” otherwise known as “Mulas,” are not delivering much-needed goods and cash to Cubans.
There’s an estimated 50,000 Cubans who consider themselves Mules, and they travel all around the world to bring cash and certain products. Mules account for close to half of the cash remittances in Cuba as well. Since Covid-19, however, Mules are now scarcer than the products and cash, as the outbreak has pretty much halted the Mule supply chain.
In order to curb the economic turmoil, a number of Cubans are resorting to bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies. For instance, there are traders on the platform Localbitcoins stemming from Havana and Holguín.
A trader from San José de las Lajas sells bitcoin cash (BCH) with “no limits” for Western Union payments on the peer-to-peer exchange Local.Bitcoin.com. Further, a number of reports over the last two years show that a number of Cubans have been seeking out cryptocurrency solutions.
In September 2019, Reuters reported on Cuban residents “skirting U.S. sanctions by flocking to cryptocurrency, in order to shop online and send funds.” There is also a popular Telegram channel with thousands of Cubans called “Cubacripto,” where citizens gather to trade or discuss digital assets.
On April 23, 2020, Italian-Cuban entrepreneur, Mario Mazzola launched the country’s first peer-to-peer Bitcoin (BTC) exchange qbita.org. Mazzola has detailed that Cubans find the platform Localbitcoin’s Know Your Customer (KYC) rules too strict, and Paxful geo-blocks citizens from Cuba. Last April, Mazzola discussed the qbita launch with Decrypt.co columnist Jose Antonio Lanz.
“I think that in the future we’re going to see fewer people coming to crypto just to make some easy money,” Mazzola explained during the interview. “We’re going to see more people using Bitcoin for its true purpose: the freedom to move money and to have total control of your funds.”
Do you think cryptocurrencies like bitcoin can help with remittances and shortages? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
BCH, Bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash BCH, BTC, Cash Shortage, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Cryptocurrency, cuba, Cubans, economics, José Ramón Machado Ventura, LocalBitcoins, Mario Mazzola, Miguel Díaz-Canel, Mulas, Mules, Paxful, Qbita, Qbita.org, Raúl Castro, Venezuela
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.
Author: Economics by Jamie Redman
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Cryptocurrency traders use old gold in drive to draw Islamic investors
In Dubai’s decades-old Gold Souk, customers from around the world haggle over bangles and necklaces. Elsewhere in the emirate, the region’s top centre for gold trade, bullion is playing a new role in financial engineering.
A local start-up company founded last year, OneGram is issuing a gold-backed cryptocurrency — part of efforts to convince Muslims that investing in cryptocurrencies complies with their faith. The global surge of interest in bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies extends into the Gulf and southeast Asia, the main centres of Islamic finance.
But because they are products of financial engineering and objects of speculation, cryptocurrencies sit uneasily with Islam. Sharia principles, in addition to banning interest payments, emphasise real economic activity based on physical assets and frown on pure monetary speculation.
That has triggered debate among Islamic scholars over whether cryptocurrencies are religiously permissible. Cryptocurrency companies are seeking to sway the debate by launching instruments based on physical assets and certified as valid by Islamic advisors. Each OneGram cryptocurrency unit is backed by at least a gram of physical gold stored in a vault. The idea is to limit speculation. “Gold was among the first forms of money in Islamic societies so this is appropriate,” said Ibrahim Mohammed, the Briton who founded the firm with other investors last year.
“We are trying to prove rules and regulations of sharia are fully compatible with digital blockchain technology.”
Tens of millions of dollars worth of the currency has been issued so far. About 60 per cent of the planned number of coins remains to be sold; OneGram hopes to issue them all before listing them on exchanges around end-May. OneGram obtained a ruling that its cryptocurrency conforms with Islamic principles from Dubai-based Al Maali Consulting. It is one of dozens of advisory firms around the world that offer their opinion on whether financial instruments meet sharia standards.
In Malaysia, HelloGold launched an initial offer of its gold-backed cryptocurrency in October, receiving approval from Islamic scholars at Kuala Lumpur-based Amanie Advisors. Manuel Ho, HelloGold’s chief marketing officer, said its coin was Islamic as transactions occurred within a defined period, making them less volatile and addressing the issue of the ambiguity of pricing. Among other experiments, United Arab Emirates-based Halal Chain conducted an initial coin offer in December which is linked to data on Islamically permissible goods.
Only around 20 to 30 per cent of banking in the Gulf and southeast Asia follows Islamic principles; many Muslims use conventional finance if it offers higher returns or more convenience. But the issue of religious permissibility is influential and could determine whether Islamic funds and institutions, which are formally committed to sharia principles, deal in cryptocurrencies.
“One of the biggest difficulties is that there is so much to talk about, and so little certainty in the way crypto will be playing out,” said Ziyaad Mahomed of HSBC Amanah in Malaysia. He chairs its sharia committee, which oversees Islamic transactions.
National sharia authorities have not ruled on whether cryptocurrencies are permissible, and while several global bodies recommend standards for Islamic finance, none has the authority to impose them. Many governments seem ambivalent, worried about the potential for instability but unwilling to lose the chance of benefiting from new technology.
The Saudi Arabian and UAE central banks warned their citizens about the risks of trading bitcoin but have not imposed outright bans.That leaves Islamic investors to choose between sometimes conflicting judgements by scholars at advisory firms, financial companies and academic institutions.
One of the earliest rulings came in 2014, when California-based academic Monzer Kahf, a prominent author of Islamic finance textbooks, deemed bitcoin a legitimate medium of exchange, though vulnerable to manipulation. Since then, Islamic jurists in South Africa have ruled in favour of cryptocurrencies, arguing they have become socially acceptable and commonly used, said Mahomed.
In October, however, the Durban-based Darul Ihsan Centre refrained from endorsing them, citing concern over potential pyramid schemes. Some scholars in Turkey, India and Britain have labelled them impermissible; Egypt’s Grand Mufti declared in January they should not be traded.
Complicating the debate is the fact that there are hundreds of digital coins or tokens, each with unique features related to distribution, mining and trading, said Farrukh Habib, research officer at Malaysia-based International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance.
“They are also very different in terms of their underlying commodities, projects or businesses, so it’s not appropriate to have a blanket sharia ruling for all,” said Habib. He is involved in a project to categorise cryptocurrencies based on sharia-compliance criteria.
“Most of the existing sharia rulings either deal with the only bitcoin or include all types of cryptocurrencies, disregarding their peculiarities.”
Another problem is that many sharia scholars have trouble understanding the complexities of digital currencies, said Harris Irfan, managing director at Cordoba Capital in London.
“I would caution against accepting any fatwas from community scholars on the subject of fiqh al-mu’amalat, the jurisprudence of transactions, which is a highly complex area of sharia.”
Irfan chairs the UK Islamic Fintech Panel, a think tank which is drafting guidelines for accreditation of sharia-compliant fintech products including cryptocurrencies. Mahomed said some degree of consensus had emerged globally that cryptocurrencies were a form of wealth, or mail — one step towards acceptance. But scholars have yet to rule conclusively on whether cryptocurrencies are in fact currencies. This is important for Islamic tax payments called zakat, and for inheritances.
“Overall, more evidence is needed to reach a consensus, at least until higher bodies pronounce themselves on the issue, such as the Islamic Fiqh Academy,” Mahomed said, referring to an influential Jeddah-based institution.
Abdulqahir Qamar, director of the Fatwa Department at the Fiqh Academy, told Reuters that the academy had not issued any resolutions on cryptocurrencies but was planning to discuss the subject during one of its official sessions this year. While there is no firm timeframe, the academy will also seek to organise seminars with scholars on the matter, he said.
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