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Bitfxt raises N5.45 billion from UK firm

Bitfxt, a Nigerian cryptocurrency startup, has raised N5.45 billion from Payitup clearinghouse Ltd, a UK firm.

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Bitfxt raises N5.45 billion from UK firm, plans a product that clash with CBN

Bitfxt, a Nigerian cryptocurrency startup, has raised N5.45 billion from Payitup clearinghouse Ltd. The amount, which was raised in a Series A funding round, is expected to help the company compete better with rivals like Quidat and Paychant.

Answering the big Bitcoin question - buy, sell or hold?

The investment round has shown that the United Kingdom’s (UK) firm sees the Nigerian bitcoin market as revenue potential. Bitfxt intends to disburse the funds into infrastructure and the creation of more products for its customers and prospective ones.

While commenting on the future plans of Bitfxt, the Chief Executive Officer of the startup, Franklin Peters said, “Over the next couple of months, we will be working on infrastructural expansion and launching of some jaw-dropping products that will benefit Nigerians and Africans at large.”

The agreement also includes an extension of a $125 million Revolving Margin Facility for its traders to take maximum advantage of their position for higher gains. The company offers cryptocurrency solutions for users of Ethereum and Bitcoin.

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(READ MORE: CBN’s forex intervention is counter-productive – Manufacturers )

Stumbling blocks in Bitfxt way: The bitcoin market in Nigeria is gradually growing but it is being challenged by financial and investment regulators, as well as lawmakers in Nigeria. There have been warnings by these institutions that cryptocurrency is not a legal tender in Nigeria.

In 2018, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as well as the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) were all directed by the Senate to enlighten Nigerians on the risks involved in trading with Bitcoins but this report shows the enlightenment campaign has done little or nothing to dissuade Nigerians. Bitcoin is described as a volatile currency because it is operated mostly without regulations in place, thereby, creating loopholes for users to be defrauded.

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The growth is also being hampered by trust issues among Nigerians who are used to the use of Naira to trade. Aside from the low confidence, Nigerians have in the use of digital currency or cryptocurrency, Bitfxt has a rising competition to contend with as the bitcoin market continues to usher in new entrants. Already, the market is home to Quidat, Paychant, Bitmama, and crypto hub, amongst many others.

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(READ MORE: AfDB, Asian Bank, others worsen poor nations’ debt problem – World Bank)

Despite the challenges, there’s a market in Nigeria for bitcoin operators, a new report from the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria shows. The use of Bitcoin is rising in Nigeria despite the warnings, as 41% of new users in bitcoins were reportedly from Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa.

The use of bitcoins has continued to grow worldwide irrespective of the dangers of insecurity of funds and scams. But not recognising Bitcoin as a currency for trade hasn’t stopped Nigerians, as customer behaviour gradually changes. The growth recorded among users in Nigeria is a pointer that the use of Bitcoin can’t be stopped, however, the CBN can curtail the activities of Bitcoin operators by regulating the cryptocurrency market.

Bitcoin users rise in Nigeria despite Senate, CBN campaign against it 

A pile of bitcoins

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Potential clash with CBN: Bitfxt, which has a payments and wallet solution called Boundlesspay, explained that the product allows people to save, borrow and trade in cryptocurrency, intends to offer a product that allows its users to receive payment in US dollars, an action the CBN frowns at and warns against in order to protect the Naira.

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In a recent report by Nairametrics, the CBN lamented the rates international money transfers are done in foreign currencies by Nigerians, saying it is detrimental to naira. The CBN said it has a spending policy that guides its currency because of the effect of spending foreign currency in Nigeria has on the value of the naira

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Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]

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Corporate deals

DEAL: Heirs Holdings acquires 45% of OML 17 from Shell, Total and Eni

Heirs Holdings has acquired 45% of OML 17 from Shell Nigeria as part of its expansion into the oil and gas industry.

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UBA’s Tony Elumelu, Wizkid

Heirs Holdings has expanded its Oil and Gas portfolio, as it acquired 45% of OML 17 from Shell Nigeria.

The company acquired related assets, through TNOG Oil and Gas Limited (a related company of Heirs Holdings and Transcorp), from the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Total E&P Nigeria Limited and ENI.

This was disclosed by the company in a statement issued on Friday and seen by Nairametrics.

According to the statement, TNOG Oil and Gas Limited will have sole operatorship of the asset in a transaction that is one of the largest oil and gas financings in Africa in over a decade.

  • “With a financing component of US$1.1 billion, provided by a consortium of global and regional banks and investors. OML 17 has a current production capacity of 27,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and according to our estimates, 2P reserves of 1.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent, with an additional 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent resources of further exploration potential. The investment demonstrates a further important advance in the execution of Heirs Holdings’ integrated energy strategy and the Group’s commitment to Africa’s development, through long term investments that create economic prosperity and social wealth.”

What they are saying

In the statement, Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Tony Elumelu, said:

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  • “We have a very clear vision: creating Africa’s first integrated energy multinational, a global quality business, uniquely focused on Africa and Africa’s energy needs. The acquisition of such a high-quality asset, with significant potential for further growth, is a strong statement of our confidence in Nigeria, the Nigerian oil and gas sector and a tribute to the extremely high-quality management team that we have assembled.
  • “As a Nigerian and more particularly an indigene of the Niger Delta region, I understand well our responsibilities that come with stewardship of the asset, our engagement with communities and the strategic importance of the oil and gas sector in Nigeria. We see significant benefits from integrating our production with our ability to power Nigeria, through Transcorp, and deliver value across the energy value chain.”

The President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Transcorp, Owen Omogiafo, explained that the deal further demonstrates the company’s integrated energy strategy and its determination to power Africa.

  • “Heirs Holdings was advised by Standard Chartered Plc, as Global Coordinator, and United Capital Plc, with a syndicate of lending institutions including Afreximbank, ABSA, Africa Finance Corporation, Union Bank of Nigeria, Hybrid Capital, and global asset management firm, Amundi. The deal also involves Schlumberger as a technical partner, as well as the trading arm of Shell as an off-taker.
  • “Heirs Holdings has created one of Africa’s largest, indigenous owned, oil and gas businesses, headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria and led by a board and management team with significant regional and global experience in production, exploration, and value creation in the resources sector.”

What you should know

  • Two years ago, Nairametrics reported that Elumelu’s Heir may acquire Shell, as the Royal Dutch Shell Plc was reportedly considering the possibility of selling its two oil mining licenses in the oil-rich Niger-Delta.
  • According to reports, Heirs Holding Ltd was already raising funds to acquire the two oil mining licenses 11 and 17 valued at $2 billion. The assets include a natural gas-fired power plant which will be managed by Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc.
  • Transnational Corporation Plc in its Half year results for the period ended 31 June 2018, recorded a 44.8% increase in revenue from its Power segment of operation from N27.97 billion in half-year 2017 to N46.08 billion half-year 2018. The largest of its five revenue segments.
  • According to the report, the decision to sell off these assets is triggered by the continued unrest in the oil-rich region and age long accusation of environmental pollution levelled against the Dutch oil firm.
  • Shell has over the years faced stiff opposition in operating within the Niger-Delta region, with several reports of pipeline vandalism and youth restiveness in the region. This situation has left the oil company with undeveloped oil and gas reserves.

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Economy & Politics

Okonjo-Iweala speaks on Twitter’s suspension of Donald Trump

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has given her opinion on Twitter’s suspension of US President, Donald Trump.

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Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, World Bank, Davos, World Economic Forum, WTO accepts nomination of Okonjo-Iweala as DG despite opposition from Egypt,WTO:  Happy to be in final rounds of DG Campaign- Okonjo Iweala

Twitter board member and candidate for the DG of the WTO, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said Twitter has rules under which it operates and CEO Jack Dorsey’s statement contains all that needs to be known concerning the suspension of US President, Donald Trump from its platform.

Okonjo-Iweala disclosed this in an interview with Arise TV on Friday evening.

  • “Twitter tries to help the public conversation in the world and gives people a means to engage on important issues,” she said.

On the decision to censor Donald Trump

She said the Board agreed as a team to have one voice on the decision to suspend Donald Trump from the service and that CEO Jack Dorsey gave all that needed to be known.

Okonjo-Iweala stated;

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  • “Being on the Twitter board, I have to respect our rules for communications on what is happening. I have to be very honest that we as a board agreed that we have a team that will deal with this, to make sure that we have one voice. But, I can tell you that if you want to know why the decisions were taken, please look at the statement by the CEO, Jack Dorsey, I think it tells you all you want to know.
  • “Twitter is an organization that has rules under which it operates, and if you read what it puts out, you will see that things are being implemented according to the rules.

On welcoming rules and regulations for the social media giant

Okonjo-Iweala said;

  • “Let’s wait and see, I don’t want to pre-judge or comment on anything. I don’t want to go beyond what I am willing to say, but let’s wait and see. These are very difficult times in the world. We all saw what happened in the United States. We have to be very careful. We would see what the future would be for the tech companies.”

Flash back:

  • Nairametrics reported that social media network, Twitter, permanently suspended U.S President, Donald Trump, citing the risk of further incitement of violence.
  • Jack Dorsey, the CEO and founder of Twitter, said that the decision to ban Donald Trump from the social network was the right decision, but one that sets a dangerous precedent.

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Appointments

Joe Biden appoints Nigerian-born Funmi Olorunnipa Badejo as Counsel

Nigerian-American, Funmi Olorunnipa Badejo has been appointed as a member of the office of the White House Counsel.

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U.S President-elect, Joe Biden, announced the appointment of Nigerian-American Funmi Olorunnipa Badejo as a member of the office of the White House Counsel, to serve as an Associate Counsel.

He announced it this week in a statement seen on his transition website.

A part of the statement reads:

  • “The Counsels are experienced and accomplished individuals, have a wide range of knowledge from various fields and will be ready to get to work on day one.”

What you should know about Funmi Badejo

  • Funmi Olorunnipa Badejo, before the announcement, was General Counsel of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, chaired by House Majority Whip, James E. Clyburn.
  • Other government roles she has served include serving as Counsel for Policy to the Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Ethics Counsel at the White House Counsel’s Office, and Attorney Advisor at the Administrative Conference of the United States during the Obama-Biden administration.
  • She started her career as an associate with the law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP and was also a Legal Counsel at Palantir Technologies Inc.
  • She is a graduate of Political Science from the University of Florida, with a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Harvard University and holds a Law Doctorate from the University of California School of Law.
  • She becomes the 3rd Nigerian American to be appointed under the Biden Government.

Biden’s transition committee said the new Counsels would work under the direction of White House Counsel, Dana Remus, and “help restore faith in the rule of law and the accountability of government institutions.”

In case you missed it

  • Nairametrics reported last month that United States President-elect, Joe Biden, selected a Nigerian-born attorney, Adewale Adeyemo, as the Deputy Treasury Secretary.
  • Osaremen Okolo, 26, was also appointed as COVID Policy Advisor and a member of the COVID-19 Response Team.

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