Welcome to this week’s edition of the RoundUp. This week: Iran considers using cryptocurrency for car importation; SafeBoda takes on goods delivery; Amazon enters the Podcasts segment; Tonal raises $110m; Oracle strikes a Tiktok deal and so on.
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- The Islamic Republic of Iran is weighing the option of using cryptocurrency for the country’s car importation, following the severe effects of sanctions placed on it by the American government and a drop in earnings from crude oil sales. Iran’s main source of income is from oil revenues and since the outbreak of the corona virus, global production and demand dropped drastically. Link
Why this is important: If successfully executed, Iran may have found a way around the impact of these sanctions around its economy. The sanctioning countries and organisations now have to devise other policy tools to meet their objectives. If successful, adoption of cryptos should witness a relative surge especially by rogue governments and entities.
- The Nigerian Security and Exchange Commission has released a statement and guidelines on the status of digital assets/currencies. It clearly clarifies who will be coming under its regulatory net as ‘any person, (individual or corporate) whose activities involve any aspect of Blockchain-related and virtual digital asset services, must be registered by the Commission and as such, will be subject to the regulatory guidelines. Such services include, but are not limited to reception, transmission and execution of orders on behalf of other persons, dealers on own account, portfolio management, investment advice, custodian or nominee services.’ It went further to state ‘ issuers or sponsors (start-ups or existing corporations) of virtual digital assets shall be guided by the Commission’s regulation’. Link
Why this is Important: From the above, we can see an encompassing effort to regulate the entire valuechain of the cryptocurrency activities and players including advisors. For some time, users and advocates of these digital assets have chosen them as it their activities were off the reach of regulators. With this, we could see an outlook change on the use of these assets as a store of value and means of exchange.
For start-ups within the space, it’s now time for adequate consultation with colleagues in other regulated segments like Fintechs on the best means to engage the government. They’ll need to do a lot of clarifications while attempting to gain trust. Perhaps, with the searchlight beamed at them, it would increase adoption of these digital assets.
- Bike-hailing startup SafeBoda has gone into logistics and delivery vertical; with delivery charges going as low as N250. Link
Why this is Important: This is a sign towards SafeBoda becoming a Superapp with an array of services. With rides and delivery taking off, we would see more services added in few months. With this service available only on ‘cashless’ option, it cushions itself from the risks involved in Pay on Delivery. However, having gained users’ trust in Ibadan, selling this new service should not be a problem for it.
It is noteworthy that SafeBoda has crossed 250k rides in a relatively small market with schools closed due to the pandemic.
- Amazon Music has added podcasts to its service. With this, Amazon joins Spotify, Apple Podcast and other smaller players in a relatively new but potentially huge market. It will reportedly have shows for big names like DJ Khaled and Will Smith. Link
Why this is Important: A signal that podcasts is the next green field for engagement, entertainment and marketing. Despite being what would be considered a late entrant, Amazon has a competitive history. Coupled with a deep pocket and a willing customer base that has trusted it over the years, the seemingly wide Gap between it and Apple and Spotify podcasts can be bridged over a while.
The availability of Echo and other acquired tools and possibly Twitch should help solve distribution problem for it.
Recall that about two weeks ago, Amazon announced the launch of Halo, a fitness tracking device.
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