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Bitcoin Slumps Below $23,000 In Crypto Crash

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Bitcoin tumbled Monday to an 18-month low under $23,000 in a broad cryptocurrency crash, as investors shunned risky assets in the face of a vicious global markets selloff, just seven months after the virtual unit surged to a record high.

The world’s most popular crypto asset also took a heavy knock from news that crypto lending platform Celsius Network paused withdrawals, citing volatile conditions.

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Losses accelerated as major exchange Binance temporarily suspended bitcoin withdrawals but advised customers to use other networks.

World stock markets have plunged since Friday when data showed US inflation at a fresh four-decade high.

That heightened global recession fears and sent investors fleeing risky cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether — and embracing traditional safe assets such as the dollar.

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READ ALSO: Why Nigeria May Not Adopt Bitcoin As Legal Tender

Severe bruising’
Bitcoin and ether are continuing to get a severe bruising in the ring,” said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter.

“They are prime victims of the flight away from risky assets as investors fret about spiralling consumer prices around the world.”

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The digital currency dived more than 16 percent to hit $22,603 in afternoon London deals, striking a level last seen in December 2020.

Bitcoin has now tanked by 66 percent since striking a record peak $68,991.85 last November.

Investors sought safety Monday with the US central bank seen likely to aggressively ramp up borrowing costs further to combat runaway inflation.

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Bitcoin’s decline worsened after the news from Celsius Network.

“Today we are announcing that Celsius is pausing all withdrawals, swap, and transfers between accounts,” the platform said in a statement.

Celsius made the move “due to extreme market conditions”, it added.

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The total value of customer deposits had already shrunk by more than half to under $12 billion in May compared with the end of last year.

Market sinks under $1.0 trillion
The global crypto market is now worth less than $1.0 trillion, data aggregator CoinGecko revealed Monday.

That is down from a level of more than $3 trillion at its peak seven months ago, when the market rode a wave of massive investor demand amid growing acceptance from large financial institutions.

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In a sign of the growing importance of cryptocurrencies, two countries, El Salvador and the Central African Republic, have taken the gamble of adopting bitcoin as legal tender — despite strong criticism from international financial institutions.

READ ALSO: CBN Fines Three Banks N800m Over Crypto Transactions

Inflation ‘too hot to handle’
In recent years, the crypto sector benefitted from a vast infusion of cash due to easy money policies from the world’s biggest central banks.

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However, rampant inflation has sparked tighter monetary policy across the globe, helping to send the industry crashing.

The worry is that inflation is becoming too hot to handle by central banks who will be forced to douse economies with jets of freezing water, in the form of much steeper interest rate rises, to get it under control,” added Streeter.

With the era of cheap money coming rapidly to an end, traders are becoming much more risk averse and turning their backs on crypto assets.”

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Register With Us, Grow Your Business, Edo Govt Tells Business Owners

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Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have been urged to register with the appropriate Edo State agencies in order to get the requisite government assistance to grow.

The Acting Governor of Edo, Comrade Philip Shaibu, made the call on Thursday in Benin during a stakeholders meeting between the MSMEs and the state Ministry of Physical Planning, Urban and Regional Development.

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The meeting was convened in partnership with the German Agency for the Cooperation (GIZ), which is working to ensure an enabling environment for the MSMEs.

The business owners, the acting Edo chief said would need to register with the state Ministry of Trade and Investment, so as to receive necessary attention.

“As Government, we will use the banks; we will also use our facilities to grow your businesses because we have discovered we need you to function.

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“We need you to stand; until you stand, our economy will be shaking and we don’t want our economy in Edo to be shaking.

“We want to grow our GDP. Our target is not 28 per cent contribution to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product), our target is to have MSMEs accounting for at least 65 per cent,” he said.

Shaibu described MSMEs as a critical stakeholder that was responsible for 79 employment in the state.

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READ ALSO: Institute Launches Volunteer Mediation Scheme In Edo

Earlier in her address, Ms Blessing Ajimoti, Edo Coordinator for the GIZ-SEDIN programme, urged the MSME owners to leverage of the opportunity to ask questions about the Benin Masterplan.

She said her agency’s partnership with Edo ministry was in fulfilment of its objectives.

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One of these, she said was to improve the employment and income situation of MSMEs through access to finance and business service.

She also said that GIZ SEDIN programme also aimed to strengthening entrepreneurial and managerial skills, and addressing key barriers in the business environment and investment climate.

 

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E-Naira, Others May Drop Remitting Cost To Nigeria, Others —IMF

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The International Monetary Fund has disclosed that central bank digital currencies could drop the cost of sending and receiving the money to Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan African countries.

The Washington-based lender stated that Sub-Saharan Africa is the most expensive region to send and receive money, with the average cost pegged at a little under eight per cent of the transfer amount. It added that CBDCs could cheapen the process by shortening payment chains and creating competition among service providers.

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In its ‘More African Central Banks Are Exploring Digital Currencies,’ report published on its blog, the IMF said, “They can also facilitate cross-border transfers and payments.

“Sub-Saharan Africa is the most expensive region to send and receive money, with an average cost of just under eight per cent of the transfer amount. CBDCs could make sending remittances easier, faster, and cheaper by shortening payment chains and creating more competition among service providers.

“Faster clearance of cross-border payments would help boost trade within the region and with the rest of the world.”

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According to the fund body, several sub-Saharan African central banks are exploring/piloting digital currencies following Nigeria’s October’s launch of the eNaira. It said CBDCs are digital versions of cash that are more secure and less volatile than crypto assets because they are backed and regulated by central banks.

READ ALSO: E-Naira: CBN Assures Effective Technology To Check Hackers, Fraudsters

The South African Reserve Bank is experimenting with a wholesale CBDC, which can only be used by financial institutions for interbank transfers, as part of the second phase of its Project Khokha. The country is also participating in a cross-border pilot with the central banks of Australia, Malaysia and Singapore.

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It stated that the Bank of Ghana was testing the e-Cedis while the South African Reserve Bank is experimenting with a wholesale CBDC as part of the second phase of its project Khokha and participating in a cross-border pilot with the central banks of Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

It said while countries have different motives for issuing CBDCs, it has some potential important benefits for the region.

The IMF further said, “The first is promoting financial inclusion. CBDCs could bring financial services to people who previously didn’t have bank accounts, especially if designed for offline use.

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“In remote areas without internet access, digital transactions can be made at little or no cost using simple feature phones. CBDCs can be used to distribute targeted welfare payments, especially during sudden crises such as a pandemic or natural disaster.”

It added that while several risks and challenges needed to be considered before issuing a CBDC, governments must improve access to digital infrastructures such as a phone or internet connectivity.

The IMF stated that central banks will need to develop the expertise and technical capacity to manage the risks to data privacy and to financial integrity, which will require countries to strengthen their national identification systems so that know-your-customer requirements are more easily enforced.

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It said, “There is also a risk that citizens pull too much money out of banks to purchase CBDCs, affecting banks’ ability to lend. This is especially a problem for countries with unstable financial systems.

“Central banks will also need to consider how CBDCs affect the private industry for digital payment services, which has made important strides in promoting financial inclusion through mobile money.”

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Bread Producers Threaten Strike Over Bakery Materials’ Price Hike

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Bread Producers Threaten Strike Over Bakery Materials’ Price Hike

Bread producers and caterers on Friday threatened to withdraw their services nationwide due to the unprecedented increase in bakery materials and the neglect of the Federal Government to this matter.

In a communiqué issued by their national body – Association of Master Bakers and Caterer of Nigeria, they stated that the cost of flour, sugar and other materials used in bakery business had skyrocketed beyond the reach of many bakers.

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In the communiqué, which was issued after the National Executive Council meeting of the association in Abuja, and made available to our correspondent on Friday, the bakers stated that they would down tools from July 13, 2022.

They also revealed that efforts to get government’s intervention in the matter had been unsuccessful, as there had been no positive response from the concerned ministries, departments and agencies of government.

The communiqué, signed by the association’s executives, led by its National President, Mansur Umar, stated that the council reviewed the “neglect of the Federal Government in addressing the challenges facing our sector as captured in our letters acknowledged by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Federal Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria and unproductive intervention of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

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“Increase in prices of bakery materials especially flour and sugar having reached unprecedented levels, for example, flour is now between N25,000 and N27,500, so also other ingredients.

READ ALSO: Starvation Looms As Baking Industry Moves To Shut Down Over High Cost Of Production

“The National Wheat Cultivation Committee already constituted is yet to be inaugurated after over one year. NAFDAC, SON, NESREA have turned the bakers into money making machine by charging our members outrageous levies even at this very challenging moment.

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“Consequently, the NEC in session resolved that all zones, state, Local Governments and units of our association should commence full mobilisation of our members nationwide to embark on withdrawal of services starting from Wednesday July 13, 2022 for an initial period of two weeks.”

The, however, noted that its “members should await further directives.”

This came as it was gathered that the hike in bakery materials was what led to the recent increase in the cost of bread and other items produced from flour.

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