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Will Bitcoin Be Big in Uganda?

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SOURCE: Pixabay

Bitcoin is the buzzword of the year. Though, if we properly look into it, bitcoin has been the buzzword for some time – at least since its inception in 2009. The associated blockchain technology may have been relegated to the lips of those in the technology industry or those looking to invest but, as the tide of the cryptocurrency has ebbed and flowed, it has entered the lexicon of the general public. Bitcoin, for those unaware, is a form of cryptocurrency utilising blockchain technology that doesn’t rely on a central bank system and, therefore, argues that it is safer, quicker, and more cost-effective than standard currency. But what does it have to do with Uganda?

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Bitcoin in Uganda

A recent warning from the Bank of Uganda into the possible dangers of bitcoin in Uganda will only make the cryptocurrency gather more adopters, according to Katherine Atuhairi of Uganda Bitcoin Network. She predicts a spike in interest of the blockchain technology, which sets itself as a potential rival to the Bank of Uganda. She also suggests that Silver Kayongo, an East African Banking and Legal Consultant, is correct in stating that, with 77% of Ugandans without a bank account, moving away from the Bank of Uganda could damage fintech ambitions. Some would even argue that standard banking in Uganda can be just as damaging, as with the possible closure in 2016 of the Barclays Bank of Uganda. Yet, bitcoin and cryptocurrency are treated with more wariness than standard banking, despite sharing some of the same possible limitations.

Bitcoin Adopters in Uganda

But, despite warnings and the fluctuation of the market, including the price drop in December 2017, enthusiasts are not deterred. Indeed, some claim to even enjoy the excitement that comes with the volatility, which could see their bitcoin stock rise and fall on a dime. Bitcoin mainly entices those with no employment, who hope to cash in on the boom much like the dot-com boom of the late 1990s. Others are professionals hoping to create an extra cash flow, likely at little risk to them. Indeed, bitcoin does look promising to those with an interest in technology, finance, or risk. In Kampala, many people dedicate their time to informing others as to the blessing that bitcoin may bring. Richard M Bagorogo is one, who claims the holidays he is able to take and the money he is able to give to his father are down to bitcoin and his early adoption. But is Bagorogo’s work helping others to adopt the technology?

Where Else is Bitcoin Used?

Bitcoin may be unknown to many traditionalists in Uganda but it is fairly prolific in its uses elsewhere online. For example, Japan made bitcoin legal tender, where bitcoin trade accounts for around half of the global trade volume. The Kenya-based BitPesa allows cash to be transferred throughout Africa, along with the many different currencies in the 54 countries – and utilises bitcoin to do so. Moreover, as metioned by Betway Casino, Expedia and Microsoft, two huge global online brands, both offer payment for certain services in the form of the cryptocurrency. Plus, Overstock, was the first online retailer to offer bitcoin payment options back in 2014. The company, which sells big-ticket items at cheaper prices due to overstocking, was a pioneer in the cryptocurrency field. Bitcoin was even utilised to crowdfund for bitcoin housing platform BitRent.

SOURCE: Pixabay

How to Get Involved in Bitcoin in Uganda

Bagorogo suggests people invest in mining pools of bitcoin. That is, the blockchain technology is derived from ‘mining’ it online, where the ownership of each chain is tracked and computational power is utilised to discover new chains that make up the cryptocurrency. Some, however, are sceptical due to the lack of middleman management – and, therefore, the lack of regulation and protection that central lending offers. Others compare bitcoin to other new technologies that were dismissed initially, yet proved to be successful later on.

What Else is Blockchain Technology Used For?

The blockchain technology which bitcoin is derived from also has other uses, which may help warm people up to the idea of cryptocurrency. CryptoKitties uses the unique markers of the blockchain technology to create individual digital cats – each one 100% exclusive. The cats have a trade value and different attributes, which can be swapped with other collectors. They can also breed and create other unique cats with their own attributes. The trade ability and the unique chain technology both go far to showcase how bitcoin works and the safety present in its functionality. If nothing else, the blockchain cats may just show people that bitcoin isn’t as bad as people make out.

Overall, bitcoin still represents a positive and exciting move forwards in how finance is conducted, especially in Uganda. While there are those in favour of the changes that bitcoin can make to how things are done and how people can be benefited, there are also plenty of detractors who err on the side of caution when it comes to the uptake of new technology. Others cite the energy usage – one bitcoin transactions uses the same energy as boiling 30,000 kettles. Ultimately, as the uptake of the cryptocurrency grows in the world, more people will come around to the idea – or, conversely, if the technology proves to be a flash in the pan fad, then those critical of the tech will be able to tell people how they were right.

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Movit contributes Ugx 80 Million to the Irene Gleeson Charity Walk

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Movit Products Limited (MPL) has handed over a cheque of 80 Million Shillings to the Irene Gleeson Foundation as a contribution towards the upcoming Irene Gleeson Charity walk. This year’s contribution goes to the construction of the Irene Gleeson Community Library and Youth Training Resource Centre.

For over 4 years, Movit has contributed towards improving education conditions for millions of pupils in Northern Uganda and is still committed to supporting this cause, to ensure that the dream of Maama Irene Gleeson lives on.

Receiving the cheque, Irene Gleeson Foundation Executive Director, John Paul Kiffasi applauded MPL for their continued support towards this charity walk and other initiatives spearheaded by the foundation. He further called upon the people of northern Uganda and Uganda to come in large numbers to support the Irene Gleeson Charity walk 2018 and thus together celebrate and commemorate the exemplary life of an extraordinary person mama Irene
Gleeson.

The Irene Gleeson Charity walk is the biggest annual celebration in Kitgum and it will be held on the 22 nd of July this year at Booma grounds in Kitgum district. The charity walk is conducted in memory of Mama Irene Gleeson who left Austria and came to Uganda in 1992, specifically to northern Uganda which was considered among the most volatile parts of the world. Irene worked tirelessly to the betterment of education conditions in this part of the country through building schools, hospitals, rehabilitation homes among others till her passing in 2013.

Handing over Movit’s contribution, Bruce Mpamizo the Director Business Growth, Movit Products Limited guaranteed the company`s commitment towards supporting the Irene Gleeson Charity walk and all other Irene Gleeson Foundation initiatives. “It is our responsibility as an organization to support activities and initiatives that elevate education and health conditions in Uganda. We give not because we have a lot but because we care about the wellbeing of the communities in which we operate”, he said.

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Kidnap, Trespass And Unauthorised Access Into MTN Data Centre.

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On Monday, 2 July 2018, at around 5pm, two employees of Huawei Uganda (a contractor of MTN Uganda) were kidnapped from MTN Towers, Hannington Road by heavily armed men in civilian clothing who claimed to be Internal Security Organisation (ISO) agents. The kidnapped individuals were illegally detained in an un-gazetted area and later forced to grant unauthorised physical access to the MTN Uganda’s Data Centre at Mutundwe.

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At the Data Centre, there were several attempts by the intruders, to log into MTN Uganda’s servers over a period of two hours. The efforts were unsuccessful because of MTN Uganda’s robust information security systems and no data was accessed or compromised by the intruders. These incidents were captured on our CCTV cameras and the footage has been shared with the police.

The incident was reported to the Minister of Security and the Chief of Military Intelligence. The intruders subsequently withdrew from the Data Centre around midnight.

 

MTN (U) formally reported the matter to the Uganda Communication Commission. MTN Uganda also opened a case at CID Headquarters- Kibuli under reference number GEF 727/2018.

 

MTN (U) takes this criminal incident seriously and is working with the government of Uganda to establish the identity and motive of the perpetrators and bring them to account.

 

Contrary to various print and social media reports, MTN Uganda is not aware of any investigation into alleged breach of national security involving it or tax evasion on its part.

 

MTN (U) is committed to collaborating with the Uganda Police and other security agencies as they investigate this incident.

– Issued by Chairman, MTN Uganda.

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Muni Girls Secondary School crowned 2018 National Schools Champions

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Stanbic's Patrick Mweheire hands over grand prize to Muni Girls who were overall winners.

Stanbic bank’s Patrick Mweheire hands over grand prize to Muni Girls who were overall winners.

Muni Girls’ Secondary School from Arua in Northern Uganda has emerged victorious in the third edition of the Stanbic National Schools Championship, following a highly competitive finale held in Kampala at Africana Hotel.

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The four regional finalists who made it to the grand finale included: Muni Girls’ Secondary School, Mengo Senior School, Nakanyonyi Senior Secondary School and Bweranyangi Girls’ Senior Secondary School. The finalists were tasked to create businesses, present their business plans and explain the sustainability of their business.

While commenting on this year’s competition, Stanbic Bank’s Chief Executive, Patrick Mweheire said, “Stanbic Bank believes that investing in education is a critical vehicle to fostering development in the country. This has been a fantastic competition and the entire programme has shown us the budding entrepreneurship potential in the country. Uganda has over the recent past been hailed as the World’s most entrepreneurial country. However, according to recent studies by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), almost 10% of Ugandans started a business in 2015 yet a fifth of individuals aged 18-64 also discontinued a business in the same year and most business don’t last more than their third year. Young entrepreneurs in particular have generally low growth expectations while few innovate or vary product lines. The National Schools Championships project under this year’s theme, ‘empowering the job creators of tomorrow’ was meant to stretch students to think outside the box beyond just job hunting after school. We can confidently say that after these five months, the students understand the importance of being innovative to create jobs.”

6,000 students from 60 schools across the country took part in this year’s Stanbic National Schools Competition including both Government and private Schools. Students were taken through different stages in the competition including class room tests, oral quizzes, Essay competition, debate competition and finally a business skilling competition all set around financial literacy, life skills, logic, business and entrepreneurship.

The key note speaker, the NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba said, “According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), unemployment rate in Uganda increased to 2.1% in 2017 from 2% in 2016. The rate has averaged 2.38% from 1991 until 2017, reaching an all-time high of 3.5% in 2002 and a record low of 0.94% in 1991. In addition, every year, over 400,000 young people graduate from tertiary institutions and join the hunt for jobs in a labour market that does not have much to offer. It is therefore imperative that we change strategy and work towards skilling young people so they are not fully dependent on employment but can be able to start sustainable businesses. This will go a long way not only in empowering them but also in growing our economy.”

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