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Wits University Is The First African Partner On The IBM Q Network

IBM
IBM. JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock.com

IBM today announced the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University) as the first African partner on the IBM Q Network.

Wits University will also be the gateway for academics across South Africa and to the 15 universities who are part of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA).

Quantum computing promises to be able to solve certain problems – such as chemical simulations and types of optimization – that will forever be beyond the practical reach of classical machines. IBM first made quantum computers available to the public in May 2016 through its IBM Q Experience quantum cloud service and has doubled the power of its quantum computers annually since 2017.

“This is the latest outcome of the joint partnership between IBM Research and Wits, which started in 2016 when IBM opened its second lab in Africa in Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Johannesburg,” said Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, Wits Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Postgraduate Affairs.

“To expand the IBM Q Network to include Wits will drive innovation in frontier-technologies and benefit African-based researchers, academics and students who now have access to decades of quantum computing capabilities at the click of a button.”

IBM established the IBM Q Network, a community of Fortune 500 companies, startups, academic institutions and research labs working with IBM to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications for business and science.

IBM Q Network
IBM Q Network

Researchers at Wits will investigate the use of quantum computing and machine learning in the fields of cosmology and molecular biology with a specific focus on HIV drug discovery.

The teams will also jointly study quantum teleportation, a field pioneered by IBM Fellow Charles Bennett.

“For Africa to remain competitive for the coming decades we must get the next generation of students quantum ready,” said Dr. Solomon Assefa, Vice President, Emerging Market Solutions and Director, IBM Research – Africa.

IBM’s recently unveiled IBM Q System One, is the world’s first integrated universal approximate quantum computing system designed for scientific and commercial use.

IBM’s most advanced universal quantum computing systems available through the IBM Q Experience platform.

More than 10 million experiments have run on the IBM Q Experience and users have published over 160 third-party research papers. Also, developers can work with  Qiskit, a full-stack, open-source quantum software development kit, to create and run quantum computing programs.

To further increase skills development, IBM Q is hosting an invite-only Qiskit Camp in South Africa this December for 200 quantum researchers and computer scientists where they will learn in an immersive environment and receive hands-on training.

SA’s HAVAÍC invests Into Kenyan Virtual Postbox Startup

Red post office box.
Red post office box. simonox / Shutterstock.com

Cape Town-based firm HAVAÍC announced on Tuesday that it has concluded a pre-Series A first round of funding for an undisclosed amount with Taz Technologies Inc (trading as MPost).

MPost has commenced it’s Series A equity fundraise, targeting a minimum of $2 million.  It already has serious interest and commitments from various international investors. HAVAÍC has secured the rights to advance a significant share of this round.

Developed by Kenyan founders Abdulaziz (Aziz) Omar and Twahir Mohamed, MPost is an innovative, simple and affordable solution that utilizes consumers’ mobile phone numbers to create internationally accepted postal addresses, virtual Post Office (PO) boxes and generate real-time cell phone notifications for its customers.

Founded in 2016, MPost has successfully rolled out its system in Kenya as part of a joint venture with the Kenyan government’s postal services, Posta, and is soon to be live in Uganda.

Looking at only the COMESA countries, MPost is addressing a potential target market of 150-200 million customers; and with the international patent and UPU approval, will be looking further afield to other similar jurisdictions.

“We are excited that Havaic is investing in MPost. As a seasoned investment and advisory firm, Havaic will undoubtedly bolster MPost’s growth and impact in the region. This is a vote of confidence in our product and indeed our vision as a company,” said Aziz Omar, MPost’s CEO.

MPost is another successful Startupbootcamp Africa (SBC Africa) alumnus and was introduced to HAVAÍC through the collaborative partnership with SBC Africa

“After spending time with Aziz and Twahir in Nairobi and seeing the solution in action, it’s clear that this is not just a technology and commercial product,” HAVAÍC’s Rob Heath, the partner responsible for pan-African and international business, said.

“MPost makes a real impact on people’s daily lives and as an investor, it’s rewarding when we can tie these two elements together. That being said, this is a great example of African problems producing global solutions – one of the cornerstones of our investment thesis at HAVAÍC.”

AI-Enhanced Journalism Offers A Glimpse Of The Future 

Robots won’t hold the pens just yet
Robots won’t hold the pens just yet, but they can help people do the work. Paul Fleet/Shutterstock.com

by Nicholas Diakopoulos

Much as robots have transformed entire swaths of the manufacturing economy, artificial intelligence and automation are now changing information work, letting humans offload cognitive labor to computers. In journalism, for instance, data mining systems alert reporters to potential news stories, while newsbots offer new ways for audiences to explore information. Automated writing systems generate financial, sports and elections coverage.

A common question as these intelligent technologies infiltrate various industries is how work and labor will be affected. In this case, who – or what – will do journalism in this AI-enhanced and automated world, and how will they do it?

The evidence I’ve assembled in my new book “Automating the New: How Algorithms are Rewriting the Media” suggests that the future of AI-enabled journalism will still have plenty of people around. However, the jobs, roles and tasks of those people will evolve and look a bit different. Human work will be hybridized – blended together with algorithms – to suit AI’s capabilities and accommodate its limitations.

Augmenting, not substituting

Some estimates suggest that current levels of AI technology could automate only about 15% of a reporter’s job and 9% of an editor’s job. Humans still have an edge over non-Hollywood AI in several key areas that are essential to journalism, including complex communication, expert thinking, adaptability and creativity.

Reporting, listening, responding and pushing back, negotiating with sources, and then having the creativity to put it together – AI can do none of these indispensable journalistic tasks. It can often augment human work, though, to help people work faster or with improved quality. And it can create new opportunities for deepening news coverage and making it more personalized for an individual reader or viewer.

Newsroom work has always adapted to waves of new technology, including photography, telephones, computers – or even just the copy machine. Journalists will adapt to work with AI, too. As a technology, it is already and will continue to change newswork, often complementing but rarely substituting for a trained journalist.

New work

I’ve found that more often than not, AI technologies appear to actually be creating new types of work in journalism.

Take for instance the Associated Press, which in 2017 introduced the use of computer vision AI techniques to label the thousands of news photos it handles every day. The system can tag photos with information about what or who is in an image, its photographic style, and whether an image is depicting graphic violence.

The system gives photo editors more time to think about what they should publish and frees them from spending lots of time just labeling what they have. But developing it took a ton of work, both editorial and technical: Editors had to figure out what to tag and whether the algorithms were up to the task, then develop new test data sets to evaluate performance. When all that was done, they still had to supervise the system, manually approving the suggested tags for each image to ensure high accuracy.

Stuart Myles, the AP executive who oversees the project, told me it took about 36 person-months of work, spread over a couple of years and more than a dozen editorial, technical and administrative staff. About a third of the work, he told me, involved journalistic expertise and judgment that is especially hard to automate. While some of the human supervision may be reduced in the future, he thinks that people will still need to do ongoing editorial work as the system evolves and expands.

Semi-automated content production

In the United Kingdom, the RADAR project semi-automatically pumps out around 8,000 localized news articles per month. The system relies on a stable of six journalists who find government data sets tabulated by geographic area, identify interesting and newsworthy angles, and then develop those ideas into data-driven templates. The templates encode how to automatically tailor bits of the text to the geographic locations identified in the data. For instance, a story could talk about aging populations across Britain, and show readers in Luton how their community is changing, with different localized statistics for Bristol. The stories then go out by wire service to local media who choose which to publish.

The approach marries journalists and automation into an effective and productive process. The journalists use their expertise and communication skills to lay out options for storylines the data might follow. They also talk to sources to gather national context, and write the template. The automation then acts as a production assistant, adapting the text for different locations.

RADAR journalists use a tool called Arria Studio, which offers a glimpse of what writing automated content looks like in practice. It’s really just a more complex interface for word processing. The author writes fragments of text controlled by data-driven if-then-else rules. For instance, in an earthquake report you might want a different adjective to talk about a quake that is magnitude 8 than one that is magnitude 3. So you’d have a rule like, IF magnitude > 7 THEN text = “strong earthquake,” ELSE IF magnitude < 4 THEN text = “minor earthquake.” Tools like Arria also contain linguistic functionality to automatically conjugate verbs or decline nouns, making it easier to work with bits of text that need to change based on data.

The Arria Studio user interface showing the composition of a personalized story about gun violence.
Nicholas Diakopoulos screenshot of Arria Studio, CC BY-ND

Authoring interfaces like Arria allow people to do what they’re good at: logically structuring compelling storylines and crafting creative, nonrepetitive text. But they also require some new ways of thinking about writing. For instance, template writers need to approach a story with an understanding of what the available data could say – to imagine how the data could give rise to different angles and stories, and delineate the logic to drive those variations.

Supervision, management or what journalists might call “editing” of automated content systems are also increasingly occupying people in the newsroom. Maintaining quality and accuracy is of the utmost concern in journalism.

RADAR has developed a three-stage quality assurance process. First, a journalist will read a sample of all of the articles produced. Then another journalist traces claims in the story back to their original data source. As a third check, an editor will go through the logic of the template to try to spot any errors or omissions. It’s almost like the work a team of software engineers might do in debugging a script – and it’s all work humans must do, to ensure the automation is doing its job accurately.

Developing human resources

Initiatives like those at the Associated Press and at RADAR demonstrate that AI and automation are far from destroying jobs in journalism. They’re creating new work – as well as changing existing jobs. The journalists of tomorrow will need to be trained to design, update, tweak, validate, correct, supervise and generally maintain these systems. Many may need skills for working with data and formal logical thinking to act on that data. Fluency with the basics of computer programming wouldn’t hurt either.

As these new jobs evolve, it will be important to ensure they’re good jobs – that people don’t just become cogs in a much larger machine process. Managers and designers of this new hybrid labor will need to consider the human concerns of autonomy, effectiveness and usability. But I’m optimistic that focusing on the human experience in these systems will allow journalists to flourish, and society to reap the rewards of speed, breadth of coverage and increased quality that AI and automation can offer.The Conversation

Nicholas Diakopoulos, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, Northwestern University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Tips For Trading EUR/ZAR Currency Pair

EURZAR forex currency
EURZAR forex currency pair vector illustration. Lubo Ivanko / Shutterstock.com

With some currencies showing high growth, there are foreign currency pairs that grow alongside them as investment instruments. The forex market is now filled with pairs with relatively high volatility and plenty of opportunities to bank profits, and one of those pairs is EUR/ZAR.

EUR/ZAR pits the growing economy of South Africa with the more mature fundamentals of Europe. With every pip valued at around $0.7 per lot, there is a lot of room for risk-taking and a more aggressive investment strategy.

So, is EUR/ZAR a good pair to trade? The answer to this question is yes, and we have just the tips to get you started in this article.

Get Busy at Trading Times

Here’s the first thing you need to understand about EUR/ZAR: it is traded the most in the European market. This means you can enjoy maximum market movement and seize more opportunities during London’s trading hours.

There are plenty of opportunities. On a busy day, you can expect to see EUR/ZAR swinging from around 16.9000 to close to 17.0000, a movement of 100 pips either way. Since each pip is valued at a modest amount, you can aim for higher target profits with every trade.

Use the Right Risk Management Strategies

You cannot use the same set of trading rules and tactics you use with EUR/USD when trading EUR/ZAR. The latter offers more flexibility when it comes to risk management, mainly because you are not risking a lot with every market movement.

This, in turn, allows you to be more agile with how you approach the currency pair. You can incorporate averaging and hedging in a more flexible way, knowing that you will not get margin called should the market take longer to recover after a shift in direction.

Risk management also means limiting your trades with the currency pair you trade; Easy Markets make managing your risks easy. With a relatively limited starting capital, you have more options when it comes to the size of your positions. You can, for example, trade more than 10 lots with the right margin and leverage.

Check the Fundamentals

News and announcements on the South African economy are still very important. They tend to affect EUR/ZAR market movement in a substantial way, so you want to pay close attention to your charts before a big announcement.

Jumps are not extraordinary. However, seeing a pattern and understanding the general direction to which the market is moving isn’t that difficult at all. Add the fact that you are dealing with a very reasonable spread with most reputable brokers, and you have the perfect pair to explore.

That’s another important thing to keep in mind: explore! Unique pairs like EUR/ZAR are always fascinating to explore whether you are a seasoned trader or a beginner. Regardless of your starting bankroll and your investment goals, you will find trading EUR/ZAR to be very manageable and incredibly profitable.

Besides, you already have the top tips and tricks we covered in this article. All you have to do now is get started with your own positions in the market.

Top 5 Online Video Editor

Video edit project in a laptop screen at a cool wooden office. David MG / Shutterstock.com

Video continues to emerge as the leading form of communication; the same trend is evolving in the enterprise.

Video editing is the manipulation and arrangement of video shots. Video editing is used to structure and present all video information, including films and television shows, video advertisements, and video essays.

Looking for a more powerful movie-making tool that you can use? Take a look at our top 5 online tools to help edit your videos like a professional.


  1. Keepvid

KeepVid is an all-in-one online video solution platform which offers you a variety of online tools, including online video converter, online video editor, online video compressor, and more.

With more than 15 years’ dedication in the video field, KeepVid is now used by over 100 million users.

Keepvid.com is the best free online video Editor.  It is really an amazingly flexible online tool.

Check for more exciting details about this cool online video editor at keepvid.com

KeepVid dedicates itself to the video field and offers great online & offline video services to users all over the world.

How to edit video for YouTube

Step 1. Add Your Video

Add video file from your computer. You can either drag and drop the video file or click the Add Files button

Step 2. Accomplish Editing Work

Now you can take advantage of the editing feature to edit your video, such as trimming, cropping, and more.

Step 3. Apply Changes

When you finish editing the video, you can click the Start button at the bottom to apply all the changes.

Online converter image

How to Edit Video for Instagram

Step 1. Add Video from Computer

Go to this online Instagram video editor and add video by dragging and dropping, or clicking the Add Files button.

Step 2. Edit Video

Now you can edit the video online for Instagram with trimming, cropping, adjusting and more features.

Step 3. Apply Changes

When you finish the editing work, you can click the Start button to apply all the changes to your video.

How to Edit Videos

  1. Add Video

Add video to KeepVid Online Video Editor by dragging and dropping, or clicking the Add Files button.

  1. Edit Video

Now you can edit video with Trim, Crop, Adjust, Rotate, Flip and Convert functions easily.

  1. Apply Changes

Click the Start Now button to start applying the changes to your video.

Its KeepVid Studio offers multiple online video websites, desktop programs and mobile apps, including KeepVid.com, KeepVid.cc, KeepVid.info, KeepVid Video Converter, KeepVid Music Tag Editor, and KeepVid Android. KeepVid Studio is still developing more helpful online tools to give our fans easier ways to manage their video life.


  1. ClipChamp

Join 7 million video creators: Create beautiful videos in no time with its popular and much loved free video editor.

Whether you need to save time on uploads, save money on storage, or create an entire video from scratch – if it’s anything to do with video, then Clipchamp is the best place to start.

ClipChamp
ClipChamp

Clipchamp offers a free video editor, video compressor, video converter, webcam recorder and video collection API.

The free version of ClipChamp has a few limitations, but you can get premium packages starting at $14 per month.


3.     Magisto

Magisto
Magisto

The only end-to-end video marketing powered by A.I.

Magisto makes it easy and fun to turn your digital videos and photos into movies that look and feel like living experiences.

Magisto’s Emotion Sense Technology uses patented story detection to automatically analyze and edit the raw footage into movies optimized for emotional impact.

Whether you’re an individual sharing your life’s experiences or a business sharing your professional narrative, simply capture the moments that move you, Magisto turns them into moving stories.

Magisto has 80 million users across iOS, Android, PC and Web www.magisto.com. It’s not magic, it’s Magisto.


4.     Powtoon

Powtoon Brings Video to Microsoft PowerPoint and Office 365
Powtoon Brings Video to Microsoft PowerPoint and Office 365

Powtoon is one of the most user-friendly and most intuitive animation software.

With Powtoon, anyone – even if you don’t know a pixel from a proxy server – can create engaging, animated videos with a professional look and feel.

In just six short years, over 65 million Powtoons have been created for use in business presentations, product launches, digital and broadcast ads, explainer videos, education materials for the classroom, and much more.

Powtoon adds a spark of awesomeness to everyday communications, turning content into substance people really want to watch and engage with.


5.     WeVideo

WeVideo empowers people to share their stories, their way, through video-the most powerful medium of modern communication.

Its online video editing platform aims to democratizes the creation of incredible video stories, using the power of the Cloud to ensure that cost, complexity, and technology are never barriers.

WeVideo
WeVideo

WeVideo makes it possible for friends and families, teachers and students, and businesses small and large to create incredible videos that inspire, motivate, and form indelible memories.

Naspers Unit PayU Buys Turkish Digital Payments Provider Iyzico

Fintech.
Fintech. Wright Studio / Shutterstock.com

PayU, a unit of Naspers, announced today the acquisition of Iyzico – a digital payment services provider and one of the most hotly tipped FinTech start-ups in Turkey – for $165 million.

The acquisition, which adds to the over $500 million PayU deployed across FinTech investments and M&A, is a further step in the company’s mission to become the leading payments provider in high growth markets and the world’s leading FinTech investor.

The acquisition will allow PayU to consolidate its position as a leader in the payments space and accelerate scale and efficiency in Turkey, where there is a huge growth opportunity for ecommerce and online payments.

Founded in 2013, iyzico provides secure payments to over 300 marketplaces (with over 400,000 personal sellers of different sizes) as well as 30,000 online merchants which are using its checkout solution. Amazon, Nike, H&M and Zara are among the brands which have chosen iyzico as a trusted partner in Turkey.

Complementing PayU’s own digital offering, the deal will allow PayU to not only strengthen its presence in Turkey and accelerate its SMB business with iyzico’s automated solutions but facilitate building an “online bridge” between Turkey and CEE countries and Africa to encourage more cross-border trade in local currencies in the region.

“PayU has acquired iyzico in a landmark move to deliver on our mission of local consolidation and becoming the number one payments provider in every high growth market we operate in,” Laurent le Moal, CEO of PayU, said.

“We are delighted to welcome founders Barbaros, Tahsin and the wider iyzico team to PayU as we integrate this high growth business in a key step on our journey to becoming the world’s number one FinTech investor.”

The deal has been made against a backdrop of a positive outlook for the Turkish market in terms of ecommerce, online payments, bank-led digital payments and a sizeable SMB opportunity.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval, the deal is expected to close in the next few months.

Finding a Compatible Housemate: The First 10 Things to Consider

shared home
Finding a Compatible Housemate: The First 10 Things to Conside

by Sarah Oswald

Intrigued by homesharing but wondering how to find a housemate you can trust, get along with and perhaps even become friends?

The truth is, as with any relationship, the definition of a good housemate is entirely subjective and very personal. That means the number one thing to look for in a housemate is alignment. Whatever your personal preferences and perspective, look for someone who is aligned with most or all of them—especially with those that are most important to you.

Start by asking yourself some straightforward questions and really mull over which issues are must-haves, which ones are nice-to-haves and which ones are deal-breakers. Our handy list of ten initial considerations can help.

Top Ten Considerations for Homesharing Compatibility

The Basics

1. Am I comfortable with a housemate of any gender?

2. What about age — would I prefer a peer, someone older or someone younger? Does it matter?

3. Am I willing to live with a family/multiple housemates, or an individual only?

4. What financial arrangement am I looking for with a housemate?

5. Would I want my housemate to provide any around-the-house help? This might include help with home maintenance or yard work, driving to doctor appointments, etc.

6. What do I want out of my personal relationship with my housemate? Would I prefer a strictly-business kind of relationship or more friendship/companionship?

Personal Habits

7. What are my expectations around smoking, drinking and/or drug use in and around the home?

8. What are my pet peeves and personal quirks that could affect a housemate?

Daily Schedule

9. How might my work or volunteer schedule affect a housemate? What about a housemate’s job or volunteer hours? You may not be willing, for example, to share space with someone who works the night shift and comes in late at night.

10. What are your sleep schedule and habits? How do you feel about a housemate’s sleep schedule and habits? Let’s say you’re a night owl and like to stay up past midnight. A housemate who’s an early bird might be a poor fit for you.

Silvernest’s roommate matching technology makes the whole process of finding a compatible housemate a lot easier. Simply create a profile and answer a few questions about yourself, your property and what you’re looking for in a housemate. The Silvernest software uses the answers you provide to match you with compatible potential housemates in your area. You’ll be able to see how closely you match with each candidate—up to one hundred percent!

To learn more, check out our video, How Do I Ensure I Find a Compatible Roommate? And check back in for part two in this series, Finding a Compatible Housemate: Relationships and Household Realities.

A Rand Backed Cryptocurrency In The Form Of A Stablecoin

Seshree Govender,
Seshree Govender, a Senior Associate at Webber Wentzel

by Seshree Govender

Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, have become well known for their volatile value. In contrast to this, “stablecoins” are cryptocurrencies that have been specifically designed to have a stable value.

Stablecoins are crypto assets which are backed by the value of a ‘stable’ asset, or a basket of assets.

As the value of the backing asset will not necessarily be subject to the same fluctuating circumstances applicable to the value of cryptocurrencies, pegging a stablecoin to an asset can stabilise the value and inherent purchasing power of the stablecoin cryptocurrency so that it may be used as a viable and economic medium of exchange as opposed to a speculative asset.

While stablecoins can be stabilised by various types of backing assets, the most widely recognised is fiat currency. Such stablecoins are backed on a 1:1 ratio with a particular fiat currency value (e.g. the Rand). Fiat-backed stablecoins are thus, able to operate as a form of digital cash that is issued and circulated through a decentralised economy and payment system.

Introducing the Rand-backed stablecoin

A Rand-backed stablecoin would be a cryptocurrency with a stable value and purchasing power equal to that of the Rand.

In order for a Rand-backed stablecoin to operate as an effective and sound medium of exchange, the issuing/ minting and the redemption/ burning of the Rand-backed stablecoin must be carefully administered.

The issuing/ minting of a Rand-backed stablecoin should only occur upon the issuer receiving a fiat Rand to back the coin’s value. The stablecoins in circulation at any given time must be backed on a 1:1 value basis with the fiat Rands received and held in trust by the issuer.

Once an issued Rand-backed stablecoin is presented by the bearer to the issuer for redemption of the fiat Rand value backing the coin, the issuer must give effect to the redemption and burn the stablecoin(s) redeemed by removing it from circulation.

A Rand-backed stablecoin can be issued on a decentralised payment network comprising of the relevant merchants and consumers that will utilise the stablecoin as a method of payment; the stablecoin service providers; and the issuer, all of whom will serve as the verifiers and authenticators of stablecoin based transactions.

This decentralised payment network will be built on a distributed ledger that will serve as an immutable record of the circulation of the Rand-backed stablecoins, the collective coin value and/ or stablecoin transactions.

Is this deposit-taking?

Setting aside the cryptocurrency debate as to whether a fiat-backed stablecoin is a true cryptocurrency where the custodian of the fiat reserves and issuance of the coins itself are centralised, a more pertinent legal question to be asked is whether the issuing/ minting and redemption/ burning of a Rand-backed stablecoin can be regarded as deposit-taking which is the business of bank.

A “deposit” is defined in the Banks Act as an amount of money paid by one person (the depositor) to another on the condition that the value of such money will be repaid by the latter person to the depositor, on the demand.  As the act of deposit-taking is the business of the bank, this raises the question as to whether the issuer of a Rand-backed stablecoin may only be a registered bank under the Banks Act.

Is this e-money?

In a position paper published by the South African Reserve Bank in 2009, “e-money” has been defined as “monetary value represented by a claim on the issuer. This money is stored electronically and issued on receipt of funds, is generally accepted as a means of payment by persons other…

The definition of e-money aligns quite closely to the economic operation of a Rand-backed stablecoin. As such, the introduction of a Rand-backed stablecoin, within the current South African payments environment, may be regarded as e-money taking the form of a cryptocurrency.

Importantly, while e-money currently flows through the established South African payments clearing and settlement system, a stablecoin version of e-money would not necessarily do the same and would instead utilise a decentralised payment network for clearing and settlement.

Is this legal tender?

Bitcoin crypto currency
Bitcoin crypto currency South Africa flag Binary code Golden Coin of Bitcoin. Alexey Struyskiy / Shutterstock.com

In asking the deposit-taking and e-money questions pertaining to the introduction of a Rand-backed stablecoin, it’ noteworthy that the concept of “money” or “monetary value” is an inherent requirement to both the meaning of a “deposit” and the “e-money” payment instrument.

Essentially, before asking whether only banks can issue Rand-backed stablecoins or whether stablecoins can perform the same payment function as that of e-money, one must first ask whether a Rand-backed stablecoin will be regarded as legal tender.

In terms of the ‘Consultation Paper on Policy Proposals for Crypto Assets‘ issued by the Intergovernmental FinTech Working Group in 2019, the regulatory working group has taken the view that crypto assets would not be regarded as legal tender. Based on the manner in which the regulatory working group has defined a crypto asset in the policy paper, a stablecoin would fall directly within the ambit of a crypto asset despite being backed by fiat currency.

As such, on the current stance taken by the regulator, a Rand-backed stablecoin will not be regarded as legal tender despite serving the same purpose as that of e-money, (albeit moving through a different payment system). Arguably the issuer of Rand-backed stablecoin will not need to be a bank as the issuance of a coin may not necessarily be regarded as deposit-taking.

Furthermore, Rand-backed stablecoins will not necessarily be required to move through the established South African clearing and settlement payments system as it is not a recognised payment instrument such as e-money.

Minding the gap

Enabling the issuing and circulation of a Rand-backed stablecoin may open an interesting avenue of innovation in the South African payments industry by providing a decentralised means of issuing monetary value and clearing and settlement payments using such stablecoins.

The introduction of a Rand-backed stablecoin may be able to achieve financial inclusion in the payments industry through its nature as a decentralised value and payment system. However, it will only be able to achieve such innovation if such stablecoins can be regarded as legal tender.

As South Africa is currently transitioning from a traditional and financially exclusive payment regulatory regime to a more innovative and inclusive regime, the introduction of a Rand-backed stablecoin, which is not regarded as legal tender as yet, may bring with it systemic risk and potential detriment to the payments industry if done without sufficient regulatory consideration and supervision.

The recent auditing concerns surrounding the US Dollar-backed “Tether” stablecoin and its fiat currency reserves illustrates the potential risk that can arise in the instance where the custodian of the fiat currency reserves and issuer of the fiat-backed stablecoin are not institutions subject to regulatory oversight.

Intercept IP Wants To Compete In SA’s Insurance Telematics Market

Telematics Automotive Connectivity
Telematics Automotive Connectivity Vehicle Technology Speedometer. iQoncept / Shutterstock.com

UK-based autonomous and driverless vehicles specialist Intercept IP announced on Tuesday its new plans to enter the South African usage-based insurance telematics market through a collaboration with Digicall.

Digicall is to be the official distributor and reseller of Intercept IP’s technology in the Southern African region, following an agreement between the two parties.

South Africa is one of the world’s leading markets in insurance telematics and stolen vehicle recovery. Millions of devices have been deployed over the last 20 years, but the key market players are now looking to enhance the performance of their technology and the services they offer, providing the ideal conditions for Intercept IP’s proposition.

The two companies will together provide access to Intercept IP’s unique enabling technologies – including hardware, middleware, platform and professional services – to insurance, fleet and telematics service providers.

“We’ve spent the last 18 months designing and developing the next generation in telematics devices and building a middleware and platform offering that enables our clients to become market leaders,” Christian Galle, CEO of Intercept IP says.

“The collaboration with Digicall is, therefore, a huge milestone for Intercept IP, allowing us to take this technology to a new market in South Africa, and we’re delighted to be embarking upon this journey together.”

Digicall, a group of companies that operates in South Africa, Australia and the United Kingdom, provides technology-enabled outsourced business processes to corporates and assistance to their customers, by connecting to a network of experts, trusted service providers and employees who are in the financial services, insurance, consumer and telecoms industries.

“As a strong and recognised player in the insurance and associated markets, our desire has always been to bring extra value to our customers, and the many new services and solutions this association provides will help us to do just that,” Ruben Moggee, CEO of Digicall says.

“It’s been a fantastic journey so far with Intercept IP and we’re already receiving lots of positive feedback from our clients.”

Avon Nominated As Finalist For Coveted Sunday Times Generation Next Award

Avon

Avon the multinational beauty and cosmetics icon has been selected as one of the finalists in the prestigious Sunday Times Generation Next Awards which will take place on Thursday, 13 June.

The nomination for the much-coveted award is a testament to the growing appeal of Avon products among the Generation Alpha, the tech-savvy young children of millennials, who are emerging as marketing’s power players, decision makers and very powerful influencers.

Now in its 15th year, the Sunday Times Generation Next Youth survey, in association with leading youth market specialists, HDI Youth Marketeers, polls more than twelve thousand youths from around the country, across more than seventy categories, and is considered the leading barometer of what South Africa’s kids, teens and young adults find on-trend and aspirational.

“We are pleased that the young and young adults have given our products the thumbs up. Being nominated as the finalists in this prestigious competition is a vote of confidence for our brand and vindicates the hard work that Avon has done to develop quality products that resonate with its customers and continues to win the hearts and minds of the millennials, the Y and Z-generation,” says Momin Hukamdad, Executive Director of Commercial Marketing at Avon Justine.

Avon
Avon

Amongst the most popular products in the Avon colour portfolio this year are the Avon True Perfectly Matte lipsticks, the Ultra Volume mascara and Avon Glow Pearls.

Hukamdad advises that the new Avon True Ultra Matte Foundation, New Avon True Ultra Matte Nude Lipsticks and New Avon True Glow Drops are the three top must-have products this winter.

By being nominated as one of the finalists, Avon joins an elite club of global powerhouse brands such as Nike, Adidas and Samsung, who were also voted as uber brands last year.

Avon has been voted the coolest make-up brand for the past seven consecutive years.

The Sunday Times Generation Next survey gives marketers an insight into how the youth perceive and attribute value to brands in a highly competitive market.