Google has now taken a cheeky dig at the usefulness of cryptocurrencies. In a recent advertisement for its call screening service, the search engine giant mocked cryptocurrency’s high electricity consumption even going ahead to say that “it is not real money.” Starting June, Google banned all cryptocurrency related ads only to relax the rules later to allow select regulated exchange desks to advertise in the US and Japan. The latest video ad is perhaps trying to send a subtle message by advertising cryptocurrencies in its own content? Recently an industry player Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, indicated that the days of explosive growth in the blockchain industry have likely come and gone now the average person is aware of its existence. “The blockchain space is getting to
Of the 690 million registered mobile-money accounts worldwide, 50% are in Africa. In Zimbabwe and Somalia, for example, both countries that have experienced decades of economic isolation and political unrest, mobile money is ubiquitous and central to economic activity. Writes Aubrey Hruby The big picture: While Apple Pay and other mobile-money platforms have been slow to grow in the U.S., with only 20%–30% of iPhone users enabling Apple Pay, a cashless economy has taken hold in unexpected places. In Africa, a continent all too often mislabeled as relatively undeveloped, major innovations are taking root and scaling quickly. The numbers: McKinsey estimates that 1 in 10 African adults actively use mobile money, compared to roughly 1 in 40 South Asians. Although Kenya paved the way
Uber was the pioneer taxi hailing app in Africa, but that seems to be changing, the Estonian company Taxify is taking the fight for market share in Africa with Uber to places where Uber isn’t. Much of Taxify’s expansion has been due to being bankrolled by its recent $175 million capital raise—a funding round which valued the company at more than $1 billion. Taxify’s backers include Daimler, the German car giant and Didi Chuxing. In South Africa, Taxify is in fierce competition with Uber in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth but has also expanded to Polokwane. It is set to also launch in East London later this month. In addition to Lagos and Abuja, the only two cities where Uber currently operates in Nigeria, Taxify has launched operations in Ibadan, Nigeria’s largest
Telkom T-Kash joins M-Pesa and Airtel Money in the interoperability initiative effective October 4th meaning subscribers will no longer struggle with having to cash the voucher within seven days. A joint statement issued by the three mobile operators states the initiative is a significant step towards a more integrated mobile money ecosystem and a boost to the financial inclusion agenda in Kenya. “With the advent of interoperability, customers can send and receive money from customers on a different network. The money received from a different network is directly added to the customer’s account balance the same way it would, had it been sent from the same network,” read the statement. Interoperability of the three services also presents customers with a cost advantage as the three pro
Venture Beat reports that Jumia, one of Nigeria’s largest online retailers has allegedly laid off 300 of its workers in Nigeria, which accounts for about 30% of its 1000-person workforce in Nigeria. This has raised concerns as to whether the end is near for the online retailer and what this could mean for the Rocket-funded e-commerce outfit. The major investor in Jumia, Rocket internet has a reputation for downsizing. In a similar event, Rocket Internet closed some of its offices in Turkey in 2012, firing 400 workers in the process. While a similar event may be playing out in Nigeria, Kaymu (another Rocket Internet portfolio company) closed its Zambia office. Citing “macroeconomic reasons,” the online shopping platform shut down its operations in Zambia at the beginning of the month.