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Buying Bitcoin: The risks and how to overcome them

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Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency. Although decentralised and fairly accessible to most investors and traders, there are some inherent risks associated with digital currencies. These need to be addressed in order that people can devise the proper risk mitigation strategies in case they wish to buy bitcoin and hold the crypto asset as an investment or trade it.

1. Crypto scams

Newcomers in the crypto space are usually the primary targets for both low and high level bad actors operating in the shadows. These are typically individuals or entities that exploit people through various communication channels including social media platforms such as Facebook, Telegram, YouTube, WhatsApp and Twitter or via emails. They will generally sell captivating stories about how they have made astronomical gains through trading or investing in bitcoin. They would then solicit unsuspecting victims, proselytise, offer them their so-called ‘expertise’ and promise to provide lucrative profits.

Other scammers convince people to join pyramid schemes. Both generally use jargon like ‘cloud mining’ or ‘algorithmic trading’ to confuse targets into thinking that they know some secrets that could also make the targets large sums of money. Other major threats come in the form of rogue exchanges which pose as legitimate platforms but are in fact bucket shops for illicit activities.

How to avoid the risk: The ultimate way to avoid these scammers is to buy bitcoin from trusted and secure cryptocurrency exchanges like Remitano. Remitano uses a secure escrow system to ensure that the seller sends your bitcoin before they receive your payment since bitcoin transactions are irreversible.

If you must buy BTC via a peer-to-peer exchange using social media, then make sure you verify the legitimacy of the parties with which you transact. There are some paid social media groups that apparently use an escrow system to monitor transactions between buyers and sellers but this means of buying bitcoin is generally not recommended.

2. Market volatility

Bitcoin is currently one of the most volatile assets in existence. Its volatility is an intrinsic risk that traders dread. The price of bitcoin could swing up or down by as much as over 20% within an hour. When prices drop suddenly and sharply, most novice traders or investors sell-off in a panic and most do so at a loss.

Bitcoin’s price movements like most traded assets is greatly affected by market news. For instance if a reputable investor or esteemed entity invests in bitcoin, what typically follows is price appreciation. And when there is news about a crypto exchange hack for instance, people panic sell and the price of bitcoin plummets.

How to avoid the risk: To prevent unnecessary losses after your bitcoin purchase, either establish buy and sell targets and stick to them so that you don’t react to every piece of news or get swayed by market sentiment. You can also dollar-cost average or if in South Africa, Rand-cost average. This means that you make your purchases consistently to a set schedule, irrespective of the price. This is generally good for those looking to invest long-term since the logic behind the strategy is that the average purchase price over time will work out to be better than trying to perfectly time the market. Let’s say you want to buy 1 BTC, you can buy it in increments of 10 i.e. buy 0.1 BTC at different intervals.

Volatility is a risk but day traders take advantage of the volatility to make profits. Day traders try to read the market and predict the price movements of bitcoin, opening and closing trades within a day.

3. Cybertheft

Bitcoin trading is powered by blockchain technology and the internet. The fact that it depends on the internet makes it susceptible to cyber attacks. One of the serious risks is that your wallet can be hacked. If your wallet gets hacked, you might not be able to retrieve the stolen bitcoin. There have been different reports about huge amounts of bitcoin lost to cyber theft. Exchanges are also susceptible to hacking, so if your wallet is hosted on such an exchange, your funds can be at risk.

It is also important for crypto market participants to ensure that they don’t misplace the private keys or seed phrases to their crypto wallets.

How to avoid the risk: To ensure your funds’ safety, ensure you trade on a reliable and trusted platform such as Remitano and open a private wallet address. Offline wallets are the most secure private wallets out there, so ensure you get one. You should also activate the two-factor authentication and encryption on your crypto wallet. Having a multi-signature feature and wallet backup will also help you secure your crypto assets.

4. Government regulation

Although the South African government is yet to regulate the use or trading of cryptocurrencies, it may still decide to impose a ban on bitcoin transactions at any time. The Nigerian government recently stated that it will be placing a ban on cryptocurrency transactions. Even though it is unlikely cryptocurrencies will be outlawed, there’s still a risk to consider.

Conclusion

Buying bitcoin is a straightforward process but also risky when you don’t understand the basics. Volatility is a major concern for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies and new market entrants ought to be extra vigilant. Security and regulatory issues are some of the other risks associated with bitcoin investing and trading. Therefore you need to seek a better understanding of how the crypto market works and the various risks involved. The rule of thumb when it comes to investing in general is – only invest what you are willing to lose. The same applies when you decide to buy bitcoin.

Article & Image source: Heath Muchena

 

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Waxed: Revolutionising Africa’s Transport Industry

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Waxd Group CEO, Anthony Stewart (Image & Article: Waxd)

An estimated 70% of Africa’s urban population live in informal settlement housing. They rely on privately-owned minibus taxis and public bus transport systems to travel to work, send their children to school, and live out their day-to-day lives. The need for digital payment and cashless fare collection solutions – that provide a secure and seamless way for people to access the routes they use every single day – is critical.

Digital payment systems for the transport industry will remove the need for physical tickets and cash payments, and speed up transactions and transport times. With public transport spending accounting for up to 10% of consumer income in Africa, the implications for the transport industry are vast. South Africa alone has over 200,000 minibus taxis transporting more than 15 million commuters daily.

The Waxd story started when Waxd patented a method for processing app payments through EFT rails, cutting merchant fees from 2-3.5% to 0.4%. Although the idea was good, it needed the co-operation of the banks. This was not very forthcoming as the solution would cost the banks in transaction revenues. After months of frustration, Waxd decided to look at areas of innovation where the banks had failed.

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Waxd provides an accessible payment solution that enables public transport drivers to accept different payment methods from passengers, including biometric and prepaid cards which can be recharged by commuters to pay for their rides. Transport operators, owners and drivers can also track their revenue in real-time and manage their fleet with improved efficiency and transparency.

An informal, unregulated transport industry leads to many challenges being faced by all stakeholders. A digital payment system leads to a simpler, safer payment solution for all – from commuters and drivers, to owners and government.

The Africa transport revolution is happening at a rapid rate, and Waxd is at the forefront of developments – committed to providing technologically-advanced payment solutions and to enabling financial inclusion for everyone.

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Press Release

The State of AI in Africa: 2022 Report

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The State of AI in Africa Report launch was held on the 14th June at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Pretoria, South Africa and co-hosted by the World Economic Forum Centre for the 4IR South Africa and City of Tshwane. This 32-page report will appeal to analysts, enterprises, channel managers, governments, VCs or investors, NGOs, Embassies, trade missions and regional promotion agencies who are seeking deeper insights about the dynamics of this rapidly growing frontier tech market.

A key finding was just how cross cutting this technology is, with South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Kenya dominating this sector and AI impacting at least 120+ separate market segments across Africa. Privately owned SMMEs or Micro businesses make up 75% of this sector, 40% of which were founded in the last 5 years, showing the importance nation states need to place on supporting their local tech ecosystems.

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It’s also attracting serious capital, with Tunisian AI start-up InstaDeep receiving $100m USD Series A funding earlier in 2022.  The global AI market is also projected to grow from $387 Bn USD in 2022 to $1,394 Bn by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 20%. Bradshaw concluded, “It’s a positive sign that this technology and the growing regional AI start-up ecosystems can win big across Africa if these trends continue.”

A copy of the report can be obtained online here.

The AI Media Group is a South African based industry analysis, publishing & business events consultancy specializing in the 4IR or smart tech sector in Africa. They are curators of AI Expo Africa, the continent’s largest B2B/B2G Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) trade show and publishers of Synapse, the first quarterly trade magazine charting Africa’s 4IR innovation journey. The group also runs AI TV which hosts discussions on trends in AI and 4IR technologies with local, regional and global thought leaders.

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Digital Asset Marketplace in a Web3 Economy with Chains CEO

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The digital asset landscape has been evolving over the past decade since blockchain technology made it possible to exchange value digitally. This was not previously possible before the launch of the Bitcoin network by Satoshi Nakamoto due to the double-spend problem.

A crypto exchange is effectively a marketplace where people buy and sell cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. The first well-known example of such a platform was Mt Gox which appeared in 2010, created by Jed McCaleb who is also co-founder and the Chief Technology Officer of Stellar – a payment network blockchain ecosystem focused on enabling low-cost cross-border transactions. The exchange imploded when it got hacked for hundreds of thousands of bitcoins and following that, many other exchanges started popping up, promising better security and liquidity.

The industry has evolved since then. Now there are hundreds of crypto exchanges – centralised and decentralised, custodial and non-custodial, from peer-to-peer marketplaces such as Paxful to order-book based exchanges such as Binance. These digital asset marketplaces also offer different services from spot to futures trading, savings products, NFT marketplaces and so much more.

Chains.com hopes to become one of the new market leaders by introducing a comprehensive offering that amalgamates all the different crypto products and services into an all-in-one platform. In this interview, Anderson Mccutcheon, CEO of Chains.com gives insights into the future of crypto marketplaces. Excerpts below:

 

BAO: How would you best describe Chains?

Anderson: Chains is a MetaFi platform, aimed at the next generation of web3 users. A single account, connected to multiple products, that are connected to multiple blockchains. Our goal is to cater to users that want to utilise cryptocurrency and NFT products, without having to learn the underlying technology.

BAO: There are already many crypto projects offering launchpads, exchanges and marketplaces. Why does space need a platform like Chains?

Anderson: For the same reason the world needs an Apple and a Samsung. A Ferrari and a Lamborghini. Variety and competition breed excellence and better results for users. We see what happens in markets where few players dominate – innovation slows down and users get locked into mediocre products.

BAO: Is Chains an open-source project and are you building on or integrating with any public blockchains?

Anderson: We are integrating with multiple blockchains that are open to various degrees. We natively support ETH, Polygon, BSC and TRON, with our generation-1 products. We will definitely be introducing more support for more blockchains and products in the immediate future.

BAO: What are the components of the Chains blockchain ecosystem? Can you share some key insights into your technology stack?

Anderson: Chains is not a technology company. Just like Coinbase isn’t. We are a product company that uses hundreds of technologies at any given time. We are part of the Amazon Activate program and our centralised services are mostly AWS-powered.

BAO: Are you looking to bring NFTs to your ecosystem in the future? In what ways will NFTs be used within your ecosystem?

Anderson: NFTs are an integral part of our ecosystem. We are conducting one of the biggest NFT allocations in the world with the Deep Space Society GEN-0 drop. 1 million NFTs allocated on Polygon.

BAO: What is a CHA token and can you describe its utility or tokenomics?

Anderson: It’s a utility token that is the backbone of our product ecosystem. Not using CHA and using Chains would mean paying more fees, not having access to certain stages of token sales and advanced marketplace features. 

BAO: When can people expect the token sale?

Anderson: We are currently in the pre-sale phase, an opportunity that hasn’t presented itself in years where those who believe in the project can buy into a blue-chip ICO. It’s been a long time since a CeFi/MetaFi platform has conducted a token sale in this way for early adopters.

BAO: Is the sale subject to any regulatory oversight and will you be accepting accredited investors?

Anderson: Yes. We have successfully completed SEC 506c compliance, meaning we are not only compliant, but we can market openly to accredited investors from the US.

BAO: Currently you have one of the most popular whitelists in the entire crypto space, what do you think makes a good crypto project?

Anderson: A strong team, a financial model that has been tested and proven to be working, a multi-year roadmap and a track record of delivering.

BAO: What is vCHA and how can people earn or acquire some?

Anderson: vCHA is a non-currency issued to our early adopters. You can accumulate it by registering, filling out your profile and inviting others to the platform. vCHA is converted into a permanent discount on the platform (which includes the upcoming CHA token sale) , which is the equivalent of staking $5000.

BAO: What can the community expect next from your roadmap?

Anderson: Launchpad comes first. Our goal is to showcase our ability to deliver world class products that can serve hundreds of thousands of users. Prism, our Analytics product, will also be launching this year, and will set a new standard for what a portfolio and asset tracking system should look like. 

 

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