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  • Binkabi Commodity Monday #9 | (View online) in your own language

Crypto for the unbanked?

Commodity Monday, 5 November

Binance signs up 40,000 crypto traders in its first week in Uganda 
Coindesk

Binance Uganda signed up 40,000 users in the first week since its launch in October. The early results suggest a strong appetite among unbanked Ugandans for purchasing bitcoin or ether, the two coins the new Binance unit currently lists.

According to a paper by Stanford University researchers, 74 percent of Ugandan households are unbanked. Binance’s CFO Wei Zhou commented:

They (users) just have to have money within the mobile payment system. They don’t have to have bank accounts.”

Aside from the local focus, the effort differs from Binance’s global trading platform in two other ways. While Binance only offers trading of cryptos for other cryptos, its new unit in Uganda is partnering with a local mobile payments provider that will convert fiat to crypto or vice versa. Further, the prospective Ugandan users are still undergoing the know-your-customer (KYC) onboarding process, verifying their government-issued IDs. 

 “Uganda is our pivot to reach out to other African markets,” said Zhou. Binance is looking to expand to either Kenya, Nigeria, or South Africa in 2019. 

DBS, Agrocorp set up blockchain platfrom enabling real-time updates on commodity trade 

The Straits Times

Singapore’s DBS Bank, commodity trading company Agrocorp International and blockchain provider Distributed Ledger Technologies joined force to set up a new blockchain platform streamline commodity trading process. 

Agrocorp’s head of business development Vishal Vijay said the practice has been for parties in the supply chain to wait for physical documents to be generated and passed from one party to another before a transfer of ownership of goods occurs. It typically takes five to 10 days for such documents to be ready and presented to a counter-party to verify that the goods have indeed changed hands.

With the platform, farmers can access commodity prices and register a sale. These sales and purchase agreements are stored digitally on the same system. Upon certain “trigger events”, such as confirmation that goods have been shipped, the system prompts DBS Bank to take action, which includes releasing payment to a farmer. Parties along the supply chain can upload and view related documents on the platform, and their trading partners will need to validate changes to contractual terms before any trade can be made. The transactions can be in any currency.

For a start, the electronic platform connects about 4,500 farmers in Australia to global end-customers such as supermarkets and restaurants. It is expected to expand its reach beyond Australia over the next year or so to other origin markets such as Canada, Myanmar, Ivory Coast and Ukraine.

HSBC, StanChart, others launch HK blockchain trade finance platform 

Reuters

A new blockchain-based trade finance platform, developed by HSBC, Standard Chartered and 10 other banks, was launched in Hong Kong on Wednesday to boost efficiency in the multi-trillion-dollar funding of international trade.

HSBC said on Wednesday the platform, eTrade Connect, had allowed the Asia-focused British lender to reduce the time it takes to approve trade loan applications to four hours, compared with the usual one-and-a-half days.

Blockchain has transformed a cumbersome, complex process into a simpler but more secure and efficient way of conducting trade,” said Pricerite Chairman Bankee Kwan in a statement issued by HSBC.

Origin of chocolate shifts 1,400 miles and 1,500 

The Guardian

Where do chocolate come from? Well depending on who you ask… For some it is from Switzerland or Belgium, for others it is from West Africa like Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, the current biggest producer of Cocoa (key ingredient in chocolate). However, according the latest research published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, first cocao was used 5500 years ago in Mesoamerica and Central America.

The discovery of traces of cacao in fancy containers, some of which were funeral offerings found in tombs, means it might have been an important part of feasting and ritual behaviour,” the researcher Blake said. 

It means even in these distant times it was a special use of this delicious beverage, and maybe even ceremonial beverage, that drew people’s attention to it and perhaps sparked its movement throughout the rest of the Americas,” he said.