Africa and the Middle East
Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country.

South Africa
LUNO Agrees With New South African Crypto Regulations: A positive response has been shown by LUNO (crypto platform based in South Africa), towards proposed crypto regulations by the South African government. A consultation paper summarized these new regulations proposed by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

It was reported by media that SARB was looking to regulate the crypto sector. In the said paper, SARB has highlighted the benefits and risks of utilizing blockchain technology. Moreover, recommendations for dealing with digital assets are presented as well.

Blockchain Guidelines Mentioned by Apple in Conflict Minerals Report to SEC: In a report submitted to the US Security Exchange Commission (SEC), Apple maintained that as a part of Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), it is working to formulate blockchain guidelines. Recently, the company had announced that it will obtain Cobalt directly from Congo-based mines, which raised concerned regarding human rights abuses.

However, Apple announced that it is ready to go beyond minimum requirements in order to provide protection to the people in its supply chain. Under RMI, 360 companies including Apple, are now looking to integrate blockchain to make sure that human rights are not violated during mineral sourcing.

Financial Structure in Iran Is Evolving With Blockchain Integration: In order to lay the groundwork for a new token ecosystem, the Iranian government is aiming at collaboration with blockchain startups. Recently at Tehran’s Electronic Banking and Payments conference, the central bank of Iran announced that it is looking to launch a comprehensive cryptocurrency program.

Moreover, to provide a suitable environment for the launch of the first native Iranian cryptocurrency, private banks have decided to fund a startup.

In addition, it was reported that Kuknos protocol gained the support of Informatics Services Corporation (ISC), which is the central bank’s technology arm.

Four Iranian Banks Looking to Launch Gold-Backed Cryptocurrency: A cryptocurrency which is backed by gold has been developed in Iran, claimed four Iranian banks. This native cryptocurrency is named PayMon. The banks maintained that the main objective of developing digital currency is to tokenize their reserves.

However, the central bank of Iran maintained that cryptocurrencies are still illegal in Iran. Nevertheless, the bank is positive regarding the future of digital assets. The central bank announced that it has decided to support blockchain technology. In the future, crypto-related initial coin offerings, mining, and exchanges will be legalized and regulated.

Finablr and Ripple Agree to Provide Remittance Services to Thailand: Foreign exchange company based in UAE, Finablr has decided to join hands with Ripple in a joint project which will offer cross-border remittances to Thailand. Finablr’s main brands, UAE Exchange and Unimoni, will lead the project. On the other hand, Finablr will sign a contract with one of Thailand’s largest banks; Siam Commercial Bank.

Moreover, the company aims to expand the service to other countries. The Middle East hosts a large number of workers from countries like Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. Foreign remittances are the backbone of the economy of these countries. According to the World Bank, remittances from UAE to South Asia grew 13.5% in the previous year.

Whitepaper Does Not Confer Any Legal Binding, Say Lawyers for Israeli Crypto Entrepreneur: In response to a lawsuit, Moshe Hogeg’s (Israeli crypto entrepreneur) lawyers have maintained that he has not violated any law. In a news, reported by the Times of Israel, the attorney stated that a whitepaper is of descriptive nature only and should not be considered as binding.

The said lawsuit was filed by a Chinese investor Mr. Hu. According to Hu’s claim, he believes that out of $34 million which were raised for STX token, only $5 million were used for its development. He accused Hogeg of utilizing the rest of the funds for investments in other initial coin offerings. However, Hogeg has denied any wrongdoings.

24 Suspects Arrested for Involvement in Crypto Firm Hacking, Reports Local Media: In the wake of a 13 million Turkish lira (USD 2.47 million) hack, 24 suspects have been arrested by Turkish police, reported Daily Sabah on 12 February 2019. However, the name of Istanbul-based crypto firm has not been revealed.

The stolen money was transferred directly from the hacked accounts to accounts on other exchanges, noted the city police’s Cybercrime Department. Reportedly, the money was stolen in various digital currencies such as Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH) and Bitcoin (BTC). Moreover, the police found out that suspects were using PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), an online multiplayer battle game, for communication.