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Binance Tests Its First Fiat-Crypto Exchange in Uganda, Zambia Warns

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read

There has been mixed news for African cryptocurrency enthusiasts so far this week – as Uganda welcomed news of the opening of exchange platform Binance, while Zambia’s central bank issued a firm warning against the risks of crypto trading.

Uganda flag. Source: iStock/Renato Arap

Binance Uganda launched its website on October 15, and in an official statement, claimed it was now accepting account applications, with a view to allowing deposits in shilling, as well as Bitcoin and Ethereum as of October 17. This is their first fiat cryptocurrency exchange and is being tested in the country with population of almost 45 million. The platform also launched Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as a Telegram channel.

Binance, one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, has been keen to establish operations in Uganda since at least April, and Changpeng Zhao, the founder and CEO of the company earlier this year met with Uganda’s crypto-keen president Yoweri Museveni. The government is also known to be keen on adopting blockchain technology to boost efficiency in the public sector.

Source: The World Bank

Meanwhile, in Zambia, a country with population of almost 18 million, the central bank late last week issued a statement warning that “cryptocurrencies are not legal tender” in the country, and that trading in tokens is unregulated and “performed at owners’ risk.”

And per media outlet Lusaka Times, the central bank has since teamed up with the country’s Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) to hit a cryptocurrency company named Heritage Coin Resources Limited with money laundering charges. The company describes itself as active in the “digital currency financing” and “cryptocurrency” sectors, but regulators claim it is not licensed to perform financial services. The move may set a precedent for further scrutiny of crypto-ventures in the country.

A DEC official stated, per the same media outlet, “[Heritage Coin] has been offering financial services and collecting deposits from members of the public.” The official claimed the company had also violated Zambian banking and financing laws.