One of the importance of the blockchain is Decentralization, but how do blockchain stakeholders boycott real-life politics in the actualization of their goals?
For instance, the United States’ sanction on countries like Iran is causing many US-based companies to re-evaluate their release of goods and services to the Iranian market. These companies are forced to weigh their options carefully before picking a side, and so far, the many occurrences in this field have been detrimental to the financial inclusion of Iran into the cryptocurrency space.
The four recent ones are
Following ConsenSys ban of Iranian students, GItcoin remained more or less one of the only hopes for Iranians to get into the crypto space with a certificate, and when the campaign started to help Farsi-speaking students in March, it seemed like a dream come true.
On Gitcoin, the news came as a shock to all when its COO announced in December that it was marking all donations as inactive. The fundraiser was shifted to a European platform which is based in Barcelona, Spain. Giveth, the new platform for the fundraiser event has seen donations of up to $8,000 for volunteers that have roots in Iran.
Despite this, everyone still seems shocked that real-life politics still has a say in matters of decentralization and borderless policies. One of the shocked individuals was Sahar Rahbari, a course creator for Farsi-speaking people. In an interview with Coindesk, he expressed his displeasure at the policy and lamented why Iranians are always at the receiving end.
Another course contributor, this time from ConsenSys, explained that though the US companies’ fear is unwarranted, it is understandable. The rules concerning foreign sanctions remain unclear, and to avoid legal troubles, many US companies are outrightly keeping Persians as far away as possible.
While it would have been better to have more explicit details of how Gitcoin got to know about the grant and its probable breach of US laws, all we have been able to gather from the US quarters is that this is not in any way a discriminatory effort, as the representative spoken to explained that there are other Farsi-speaking communities on Gitcoin’s program, and none other have been flagged down.
The process of the Gitcoin grant is simple. Any grant called is first raised by its community into a specified Ethereum wallet with all transactions recorded on the Eth block explorer. The Gitcoin algorithm matches every Ethereum spent with the DAI stablecoin
The grant proposal for the Farsi-speaking people became inactive less than 12 hours after it was first drafted due to some suspicion from the Gitcoin team that the grant might have trespassed US laws. As a precautionary measure, the difficult decision had to be taken.
When asked about this report, the Gitcoin team explained that they received a call on December 7th about a new grant listed on their platform. The journalist, who called, preferring to remain anonymous, explained the US sanctions to Iran to the team and told them they might have just crossed a red line.
Because the terms of the sanctions were not clearly stated, the team was put in limbo. After contacting legal counsel, the team unanimously chose to shut down the campaign before it disrupts the entire network.
The Gitcoin team emphasized the need to make the funding process more decentralized and assured everyone they would make that happen, but pending the time that materializes, they have to err on the side of caution and follow US laws since they are a US-based company.
While many might want to berate Gitcoin for their choice, it is better to zoom out and look at the whole picture. Several months ago, the United States government jailed a citizen because he went to give a speech about blockchain technology and Web 3.0 in North Korea.
The man, Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith is the recipient of one of the scariest crime cases in the blockchain era.
His case shook the Ethereum community as no one expected the US government to be that strict. Even people that travelled with him without giving any speech now fear for their lives and safety. Gitcoin’s co-founder cited this case and asked everyone involved in Web 3.0 to move carefully, and lose some battles in order to win the war. According to him, it would not be really responsible to put their donors under the risk of OFAC.
While this news does not come good for the cryptocurrency market, the market is still optimistic about ETH2’s merger with the Ethereum mainnet. Stakers can earn passively through https://redot.com/eth2/
Twitter Integrates Flutterwave, Paga as Tipping Platforms
Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via email@example.com
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By Adedapo Adesanya
The micro-blogging platform, Twitter, has announced the addition of the pan-African payment solutions Barter by Flutterwave and Paga as additional payment providers to a feature on its platform called Tips.
Tips is a new way to monetise on Twitter and enables people on the service to send and receive funds as a token of appreciation.
Barter is a web and mobile app, from payments technology company by Flutterwave that lets users send and receive money from abroad instantly and safely at affordable rates.
Speaking on this development, Mr Olugbenga Agboola, Flutterwave Chief Executive Officer, explained that Tips feature created an avenue to reward a content creator as frequent as a Twitter user and creators.
“We are excited to be partnering with them to create a safe, fast and easy way to tip these amazing creators through Barter by Flutterwave.
“We have the reach and abilities to enable creators from Africa to receive tips from parts of the world. I will likely be one of the biggest users of Tips, and that’s because it’s an awesome feature that has huge potential for the creator economy in Africa,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Tayo Oviosu, the founder and CEO of Paga, said: “Our mission at Paga is to simplify payments for individuals and businesses.
“Through this partnership with Twitter, via Tips, we can create an effective way for creators to get paid into their Paga accounts, directly from Twitter.“As an avid Twitter user, I’m thrilled about this partnership. Creators are a key demographic we are building for at Paga, and this partnership allows us to enable them to effectively monetize their work.
“We are really excited about solving payments in the most innovative ways, especially with companies such as Twitter,” Mr Oviosu said.
Twitter started experimenting Tips feature with a small group of people on the platform, including journalists, creators, and more in May 2021.
Since its inception, Tips has become available on iOS and Android, and to everyone who is 18+ on Twitter, including in Nigeria and across the continent.
Twitter users could get step-by-step instructions on how to enable your Tips feature and how to send tips on the platform’s help centre as well as general tipping policy.
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Innovative fintech and payment startups across Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa have been invited to the Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) 2022.
The global platform will give participants the opportunity to showcase their products and innovations to a wider audience and also get a chance to win $45,000 in prize money.
Winners of the competition will be awarded monetary prizes and the opportunity to partner with a global, trusted brand like Visa.
This year’s program has expanded to include startups that are using cryptocurrency and Visa Direct, a payment solution that can help businesses move money to billions of endpoints worldwide via card and account rails, in innovative ways.
Finalists from across the world that are driving economic growth will converge in Qatar this November for the VEI finals.
“Fintechs and other payments innovators are transforming the way consumers and businesses make payments, making it easier for more people to access the money they need when they need it – and the pandemic has seen this become more critical than ever,” said Kemi Okusanya, Vice President, Visa West Africa.
“Competing on a global stage alongside some of the most prestigious startups in the world and, more importantly, being able to receive that global exposure and support from a trusted brand like Visa was an exceptional achievement for PAYZE,” said Giorgi Tsurtsumia, co-founder and co-CEO of PAYZE as well as 2021 VEI CEMEA Winner.
PAYZE is an e-commerce-oriented fintech that enables businesses across CIS countries to accept payments from around the world through a single integration. With the support of Visa’s network and a cash prize of $25,000, the PAYZE team is busy fulfilling their vision, having processed more than 250,000 transactions across 2021.
The competition also saw Karachi-based fintech, Safepay, win the CEMEA Audience Favorite award and $10,000 in prize money. Safepay specializes in secure payment processing for e-commerce stores and helps merchants increase checkout conversions, expedite receivables, and streamline sales by allowing their customers to pay online.
The VEI network includes 8,500 startups from around the world, which continues to grow every year. Since its launch in 2015, the program has helped startups from over 100 countries collectively raise more than $2.5 billion in funding, addressing one of the biggest challenges faced by early-stage entrepreneurs.
Every year, the scope of VEI is expanded to engage with unique startups and solve unique problems in the world of payments.
This year, the program will have a clear focus on Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (CEMEA), a region with tremendous opportunity for fintechs that are developing innovative products and solutions aimed at supporting the community. The latest edition of VEI sees two new editions in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as well as the global finale in Qatar in November 2022.
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Customers with newly activated smartphones with Airtel SIM cards will be instantly rewarded with double the value of the data bundle purchased (between N500 and N5000) for a 3-month period, the leading telecommunications services provider has promised.
Airtel Nigeria said the new value offering is consistent with its positioning as the smartphone network in the country.
Under the new plan dubbed Red Data Plan, a customer who inserts his/her Airtel SIM in a newly purchased smartphone and opts for a 3GB data plan will instantly be rewarded with a 6GB data plan.
Customers are only required to send Get as an SMS to 141 to activate the Airtel Red Data Plan, which has been conceived to empower and offer more Nigerians opportunities to connect with the people, platforms and ideas that will help them become more productive as well empower them to pursue and achieve their dreams.
According to the Chief Commercial Officer of Airtel Nigeria, Mr Godfrey Efeurhobo, the company is committed to deepening mobile Internet penetration as well as bridging the digital divide across the country in line with the objectives of the federal government.
“Airtel Nigeria is committed to its transforming lives agenda – one of the ambitions of the agenda is to promote digital inclusion and create opportunities that will help more Nigerians to dial into the digital universe.
“Without a doubt, the Red Plan will serve as a springboard to help more telecommunications consumers access mobile broadband regardless of their location and income status,” he said.
The Red Data Plan offers new smartphone users on the Airtel network double the value of data bundles purchased for a 3 month period, upon latching on the network for the first time.
To enjoy the Red Plan, a customer is expected to insert his/her SIM into the SIM SLOT of a Smartphone (SIM 1 is preferred); recharge his/her Line with the requisite Airtime; SMS “GET TO 141” on his/her phone; buy the data bundle of his/her choice and Get Double the DATA.
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