Over the past few weeks we at KuBitX have been busy fine tuning our blockchain solutions while also working to raise some operational funding to help us go full blast with our marketing and scaling plans. The good news is that our efforts are finally paying off and you can rest assured we are taking this project further into the mainstream, where it needs to be. Remember KuBitX is all about adoption and inclusion?
In the past few months, we have also been working on how to ensure our supporters get the best value for their contributions. We understand one of the ways to do this is to bring more utility and relevance to our native exchange token (KBX – KubitCoin) and a number of business decisions have been made regarding the way forward especially when it comes to listing and getting it into the hands of more people both in crypto and the mainstream. We will talk more about KBX later but let us first discuss our issuance of Africa’s first usable stable coin.
Naira Stable Coin (NGNX)
Stable coins. We have all heard of them but they have either been associated with scandals or are typically merely used for trading against crypto pairs. We believe this amazing innovation of blockchain technology can be put to better use such as facilitating real life merchant payments, instant currency swaps and cross-border remittances. It is for this reason that we created NGNX, Africa’s first usable stable coin — a digital asset pegged 1:1 to the Nigerian Naira.
Why did we start off with NGNX? Nigeria boasts the highest population, highest youth population and highest mobile device penetration in all of Africa. It has the biggest economy and it’s teeming youth population are strong adopters of crypto — an evidence which can be seen in the volume of Bitcoin traded by Nigerians monthly. By creating this Naira pegged asset, we are not only helping more mainstream people to embrace certain applications of Blockchain tech, we are also facilitating further adoption of the technology and thus helping it mature better and faster in our own way. Our NGNX will be “swappable” in real time with other pegged tokens we plan to create once all the business and audit procedures are set in place.
Today, people who own NGNX can currently use it on KuBitX PROW to:
- Send XLM to their peers in any part of the globe
- Receive funds from their peers across the globe via XLM swap pathways. More pathways are being created starting with other countries in Africa.
- Pay for airtime, internet, entertainment, utility and other services for over 3000 merchants in Africa’s largest economy
- Fund their KuBitX Exchange account to exchange for other kinds of assets listed on the Exchange.
Fiat Payment Gateway Integration on Exchange
A major challenge crypto adopters in Africa and other emerging markets have is the difficulty in obtaining the top crypto (BTC, ETH, XLM etc) or the fact that they usually buy them at a premium, and often with steep transaction fees. Since we pride ourselves in helping adoption and fostering inclusion, we have decided to integrate a fiat payment gateway to the Exchange so that people can more easily invest in promising assets and projects they want without losing time and money due to the volatility in a high frequency trading environment. Our fiat gateway also ensures people can buy assets closer to the real price without having to pay the steep 2–3% fees being offered by the likes of MasterCard or Visa. It is another way of showing how much we care about how much we can give to our community and not merely what we can take from them.
Currency Conversion on KuBitX Exchange
For the sake of ease and convenience of portfolio management, we have added currency conversion to the settings so that our users can decide to see the prices of assets as well as their wallet balances in any of the currencies we have made available most notably the NGN, KES, ZAR, UGX, USD, GBP, RUB, EUR and CAD.
You may have noticed the reduction of the available trading pairs on the exchange, but you will have also noticed that the available pairs are coming alive. In the following weeks, we will be working to ensure there is more liquidity for the projects listed on the exchange. We do not believe in listing every project out there, we only want to list the most viable ones we can access. As our operations stabilise even further, we will be conducting community voting events as well as initial exchange offerings to bring on board high quality projects for our esteemed users.
Bonus referrals and Loyalty Discounts for payments using KBX
We believe in giving back, we cannot emphasize this enough. For this reason we will be giving back money to our users whenever they or their referrals pay for their bills on KuBitX PROW. When a referred person pays a bill, the referrer gets 5% of the transaction fees. A referrer is also eligible to earning 3% of the transaction fee of his/her downline’s first referral. People will always pay bills so we believe this is a good way for mainstream adopters of our KuBitX PROW to earn passive income.
In addition to the bonus referral payments, we have also negotiated discounted transaction fees for our users when they pay their bills on the PROW using our KBX tokens. This helps the user get a good deal as well as adding more utility to the token itself which benefits all owners.
Work is also ongoing to allow our esteemed community to be able to stake their KBX tokens for periodic rewards. More information will be provided on this at a future date.
One more thing (One Big Partnership)
We signed a huge deal to co-create something that can change the way funds/value is moved across Africa by people and especially mainstream businesses. We are super excited about this partnership and we believe it is positioning us further in an influential place within Africa and beyond as far as Blockchain innovations is concerned. We will share more details of this after the Easter break.
Yet one more thing (#BWCLagos19)
Women across Africa attended the maiden Blockchain Women Conference held in Lagos, Nigeria which was attended by the likes of Eric Annan (KuBitX CEO) and Reggie Middleton (Veritaseum CEO). At the event, KuBitX CEO pleaded with Africans to let go of a scarcity mentality and start collaborating to build strong and meaningful blockchain projects so that in the next few years, Africans can look at themselves as Blockchain solutions co-creators and not merely consumers as has been the typical trend with past major technology waves. When also puzzled about why KuBitX was giving so many top notch features out so cheaply, Eric Annan responded to say
“we are focused in bringing value to the entire continent, because Africans have been saddled with exorbitant charges, poor customer support including random unexplained closure of accounts by some platforms. We are more concerned about the people and the value we can bring them, hence we will continue to strive to make it easier for the continent to have easier access to useful and reputable digital assets in the coming months. We plan to do this with features such as card payment and direct bank deposit. This is only possible as a result of our commitment to strategic synergies and partnerships with the mainstream”
Thanks for your patience and support so far. Keep supporting us as we work to bring you value both in how we serve you as well as how we make KuBitX bigger and stronger. We have a few other things cooking which we would only be at liberty to share once all the background and paperwork has been completed. For now, the team will just keep doing what they know best — work, innovate, collaborate,deliver, improve, rinse and repeat.
Happy Easter Holidays
Digitalization in logistics – A user’s experience
Geraldine Mamburu, Founder & MD PDQ Logistics (Source: Geraldine Mamburu)
In some cultures, children are sometimes named after events that would have taken place close to or during their birth. Jokes around naming children Quarantine Buthelezi, Social-distance Moyo, or Pandemic Ndlovu, were circulating in 2020 and made for a good laugh, however, one couple in India took this a little too seriously and named their twin boy and girl, Corona and Covid.
Looking back, I do not recall ever coming across a proposal to name children after any of the variations around the word digital, after all, every second Point of View that was being released was around digitalization and digital transformation. It got me thinking, and realised that a lot of these terminologies are thrown about in the corporate space, but what does this actually mean to the end-user? How does the user interact, make use of, and appreciate digitalization?
Being in the logistics space has found me interacting with a lot more digital platforms over and above e-commerce, social media, and the all-so-dreaded-virtual-meeting platforms. My favourite most convenient app (which is currently the best thing ever since sliced bread in my books) has got to be Truck Fuel Net (TFN). TFN offers a cloud-based, real-time software management solution that helps me manage all my on-road refuelling and driver spend needs. Given that the bulk of operational costs in road freight is fuel, one must have their finger on the pulse and be on the constant lookout for the best price, over and above monitoring driver efficiency. The TFN Management system helps me decide, where, when, and how much the driver can refuel.
Sidebar – I’ve been driving a Ford Kuga 1.6 AWD for a few years (NB: No fire starter jokes allowed) and for such a small engine, that car can chow fuel – I’m talking 11 – 12km/100! I never used to fill up because it was painful watching all that money go down the drain. When I filled up the truck for the first-time round, let’s just say I needed to sit down because I felt a little dizzy.
Every day, we transport goods worth millions of Rands. It goes without saying that the safety and security of the driver, the goods we carry, as well as the trucks themselves, is of paramount importance. TFN’s solutions enable us to run a cashless operation. In the road freight sector, cargo, equipment, and increasingly drivers, are all targets for criminals and if we can take one incentive out of the equation, the better off we are.
Whilst on cashless operations, I would like to give SANRAL a standing ovation. Now, now, before your eyes roll all the way to the back of your head, let me just say that we might have qualms as “Gautengers” about how they went about the e-toll saga, but their app is such a lifesaver! With an e-tag fitted on the vehicle, I can manage my account quickly and securely. The app works in real-time, allowing me to be kept informed of my spend on vehicles. And lo and behold when I do forget to top up (because …you know …admin), I immediately get a notification the moment my funds are depleted, allowing me to top up immediately whilst the truck is still on route, contributing to a seamless operation. Well done SANRAL. Sometimes the government does get it right …sometimes.
The South African logistics sector contributes about 12% towards the GDP, according to Stellenbosch University and the World Bank. Of that percentage, approximately ¾ is attributed to road freight alone. With such modestly generous figures, it’s encouraging to see various organisations come up with digitally inspired solutions to cater to this industry.
This brings me to my most used platforms, Car Track and Tracker. I can only assume that before the advancement in technology, one must have had to have a great deal of faith, composure, and trust. Not to say that we no longer require these skills, but the ability to log onto these apps and be able to get real-time updates on the exact location of a customer’s goods in transit certainly prevents a blood vessel or two from popping (in the event that you cannot reach the driver.) As for Google Maps, it goes without saying, that this is the backbone of my interaction with these tracking platforms.
There are a bunch of other digital platforms such as Linebooker that I am still to explore as the business continues to grow. However, it’s been interesting to know that before we start thinking self-driven trucks (think of that one scene from Terminator, were the machine is operating the truck…but I digress) and other seemingly complex technological advancements aimed at this industry, there are still digital channels that make the day to day operations in logistics that much easier.
What other digital platforms are you using or have you heard off that have made a world of a difference in the logistics space?
Article by: Geraldine Mamburu, Founder & MD PDQ Logistics
Three African-American Female Engineers Who Changed Our World
Image source: Pexels
The fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) produce innovation that drives us forward as a species. Despite the fact that women and people of color have often been at the forefront of new discoveries, their representation within the STEM fields is historically low.
As culture progresses in understanding toward the value of a diverse workforce, those seeking out the future leaders of STEM are reaching out to underrepresented populations – specifically, women and people of color. One such outreach is ‘Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day’, a global campaign established by the National Society of Professional Engineers.
The event, which takes place this February 25, is run by teachers, volunteers, and STEM professionals, and includes engaging engineering-based learning activities that encourage young women to develop problem solving skills and indulge their interest in science and engineering.
The road to their future success was paved by the intrepid women who came before them, including these three remarkable African-American female engineers:
- Kimberly Bryant: Seeking to create an inclusive technology learning space for young women of color, Ms. Bryant created the not-for-profit coding camp Black Girls Code. As of late 2019, the organization has 15 chapters, and Ms. Bryant has been recognized as a White House Champion of Change for Tech Inclusion as well as one of 2013’s 25 Most Influential African Americans in Technology.
- Dr. Patricia Bath: An early pioneer of laser surgery for cataract treatment, Dr. Bath was the first female member of the Jules Stein Eye Institute, the first female African-American surgeon at UCLA Medical Center, and the first female leader of a postgraduate ophthalmology training program.
- Alice Parker: A housewife from New Jersey, Mrs. Parker developed and filed a patent for a gas-powered central heating system inspired by cold coastal winters. Her filing came before both the Women’s Liberation Movement and the Civil Rights Movement, a remarkable achievement for an African-American woman during her time.
More stories of African-American female engineers and female leadership in engineering can be seen here:
To discover more about Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, visit NSPE online.
North Ladder Secures $5 Million Series A Financing Round To Accelerate Global Expansion
North Ladder Team (Source: Siddharth Sudhakar)
North Ladder (previously called BuyBack Bazaar), a UAE based secured trading platform for pre-owned luxury assets and electronics, today announced a $5 million Series A funding round led by regional venture capital firm BECO Capital. The new investment will help the company scale up its technology platform, enhance customer experience and pursue further geographic expansion.
The homegrown start-up also revealed that it will begin operating under the new brand name North Ladder effective immediately, representing the company’s strategy of charting new markets and supporting individuals across the globe in their endeavour to elevate their financial situation. The disruptive and innovative technology platform is the first of its kind, providing access to verified buyers of second-hand goods and instant cash. North Ladder currently enables users to sell electronics such as phones, laptops, tablets, and smart watches, as well as luxury assets including watches and cars, with a unique option of buying it back within a few months.
The Series A financing builds on an exceptional year for North Ladder which saw rapid growth of its clients, network of buyers and corporate partnerships. To date, the platform has witnessed over 15,000 transactions in the UAE, with over 85 different nationalities served while earning an impressive 4.9/5 customer satisfaction rating. In 2021, the start-up is looking to establish its presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States, with a focus on scaling the platform significantly in the next 18 to 24 months.
“North Ladder has demonstrated tremendous success with its unique model of helping customers access immediate funds against their assets. The provision of a seamless and trusted digital platform for the sale of pre-owned goods has immense socially transformative potential at a global scale. We are excited about partnering with them to take their services to the next level,” said Dany Farha, CEO & Managing Partner, BECO Capital.
The company recently appointed Sandeep Shetty, former Managing Director of the core ride hailing business at Careem, as Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer of North Ladder. Prior to Careem he also led the digital transformation program at Emirates NBD and has held leadership positions at McKinsey & Company and GE Capital across India, the United States and the Middle East. Sandeep joins the leadership team of co-founders Pishu Ganglani and Ricky Husaini who together bring years of prior global start-up, financial services, technology and operations experience.
“Our exciting partnership with the region’s leading investor BECO Capital gives us the opportunity to scale operations in the UAE and expand to other strategic markets, with the mission of meaningfully impacting people across all strata of society,” said Sandeep Shetty of North Ladder. “Our global auction brings professional buyers from around the world to compete and provide local customers with the best prices and no hidden surprises.”
Since its launch in 2018, North Ladder has been recognized as one of the “Top 5 innovative start-ups in the MENA region” by PayPal backed accelerator, Village Capital and awarded as an Innovator by Entrepreneur Middle East.