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BitX rebrands as Luno

BitX rebrands as Luno

As Nigeria's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) likens schemes like OneCoin and Swiscoin to Bitcoin in its warning to locals considering investing, one of Africa's top Bitcoin exchanges has leveraged the rise in Bitcoin price and increased trading volumes in South Africa and Nigeria to rebrand as a global platform.

SEC wants Nigerians "to exercise extreme caution with regard to digital (cryptocurrencies) as a vehicle of investments".

While the government agency's note of caution could be considered appropriate, its pairing Bitcoin as a technology with schemes that are controlled by some individuals could confuse a populace seeking correct information about this new phenomenon.

With presence in South Africa and Nigeria, BitX announced its rebrand to Luno which in Esperanto means moon - a popular term in the Bitcoin community to describe the direction the price of the digital currency is headed - to introduce additional features including instant global buying of Bitcoin using a credit card and European market entry.

In his comment on MMM Nigeria's recent announcement that it will resume its operation with the introduction of a Mavro-Bitcoin option, Business Development head, Werner van Rooyen, shares what makes Bitcoin distinct from other virtual currencies.

"MMM is a decades-old ponzi scheme. We warn our customers against these types of scams and how to identify them. I don't have any information on "MMM's Bitcoin" but the important thing about Bitcoin is that it is interoperable. There are a lot of scammers that pretend to create new virtual currencies and assign an arbitrary value to them. This is the same as giving someone a rock and say "hey, this is worth $1000". Unless you can take it and exchange it elsewhere for that amount, well, you're just holding a rock. Bitcoin is accepted at merchants all around the world and it can be exchanged for local currency on various international Bitcoin platforms (including Luno)."

Bitcoin is a very volatile currency that can move up and down quite rapidly in a short term which may not work for everyone, van Rooyen adds, every person have to decide what their risk-reward appetite is.

Based on trends for 2017, van Rooyen believes Bitcoin adoption will increase in Africa as it becomes more mainstream, that more merchants will accept it as infrastructure and distribution improves amid more favourable media and regulatory coverage, and there will be increased institutional participation.

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