Blockchain group raises concerns on crypto shutdown in Nigeria

March 5, 2024
5 min read
Crypto and money
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Victoria from Techpoint here,

Here's what I've got for you today:

  • Blockchain group raises concerns on crypto shutdown in Nigeria
  • US firm reduces stake in Safaricom
  • Canal+ has 24 business days to buy MultiChoice

Blockchain group raises concerns on crypto shutdown in Nigeria

An image with the Nigerian naira and USDT on a scale with the CBN headquarters in the background.

The Blockchain Industry Coordinating Committee of Nigeria (BICCoN) is sounding the alarm about the Nigerian government's recent crackdown on crypto platforms.

The intercommunity working group is concerned that these actions will drive cryptocurrency and other virtual asset activities into the shadows.

Stressing the need for responsible regulation, the committee is urging the government to handle the regulation of virtual assets in Nigeria with care.

BICCoN made it clear that proper rules and enforcement are critical to managing any risks associated with virtual asset service providers (VASPs) while keeping the financial system stable.

The committee wasn’t too happy about the recent shutdown of crypto websites in Nigeria. While it understands that rules are needed to protect the financial system, slamming the brakes overnight on websites doesn't exactly help build trust in the country's financial setup.

BICCoN is worried that going all out could just push crypto deals into shady corners where it's hard to keep an eye on things. Instead, it seeks a fair set of rules that ensure the transparency and accountability of the cryptocurrency industry while also keeping Nigeria's financial system stable.

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US firm reduces stake in Safaricom

safaricom logo
Source: RegTech Africa

FMR LLC, a US-based investment firm, has reduced its stake in Safaricom due to dividend repatriation delays and a drop in the company's valuation, which is now KSh 600 billion.

Since September 2022, when it peaked at 921.1 million shares, Fidelity Institutional Asset Management, the trading name of FMR LLC, has reduced its ownership by roughly two-thirds, now owning only about 314 million shares.

For context, in December of the same year, the company sold 92.5 million Safaricom shares, which accounted for 61.3% of all shares traded during that period.

Safaricom's shares saw a significant drop as a result of a large sell-off, causing the company's stock price to decline from KSh 29.82 on September 5, 2022, to KSh 13.30 by the close of trading on Friday, March 1, 2024.

The telco’s value on the Nairobi Securities Exchange fell by 55%, from Sh1.19 trillion to Sh532.9 billion.

The company attributed this decline to challenges in accessing dollars from the Kenyan market and receiving dividends.

Concerns have been raised about FMR's potential full exit from Safaricom stock due to its ongoing share sales. Other investors, including Harding Loevner LP, Nikko Asset Management Americas, and Wellington Management, have also reduced their stakes.

In December, FactSet Research Systems reported that Wellington and Nikko sold a combined total of 48.17 million shares.

 Canal+ has 24 business days to buy MultiChoice

MultiChoice's building

I've got an update on the Canal+-MultiChoice story. Yeah, I know it's been quite the rollercoaster with all these updates!

Boy, the Sema-Meta drama from 2023? Talk about nonstop twists and turns. This Canal+-MultiChoice situation gives off a similar vibe, doesn’t it?

Anyhoo, here's the latest on Canal+ and MultiChoice: The French media company got an additional 25 business days to make a mandatory offer to buy the South African payTV company.

As directed by the South African Takeover Regulation Panel, the DStv owner informed its shareholders of this yesterday and stated that Canal+ has until April 8 to submit the offer.

But how did we get here? On February 1, Canal+ said it wanted to buy all the shares it doesn’t own in MultiChoice for a whopping R31.7 billion ($1.6 billion.? MultiChoice wasn't feeling it; it said the offer was too low.

However, on February 6, the South African Panel expressed dissatisfaction with Canal+ and MultiChoice for openly discussing the takeover.

Consequently, Canal+ said it’s cool with the Panel's decision and will follow it. It even received an exemption from following the usual timing rules.

In case you missed it

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  • The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) is looking for an editor to support the Arthur F. Burns Fellowship. Apply here.
  • Application for the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) Class of 2025 is now open. Check out the one-year, fully sponsored, graduate-level programme in tech entrepreneurship here before March 18, 2023.
  • Do you live in Nigeria and work with a local or foreign company? Whether it's remotely, on-site, hybrid, full-time, part-time or as a freelancer, @TheIntelpoint is trying to understand the Nigerian workspace: how you work, and toxicity in the workspace among others. Please, fill out the questionnaire here.
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Have a lovely Tuesday!

Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.

She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.

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