Dubai Is the World’s Second Most Prepared City for Cryptocurrency
According to a recent study by Recap, a crypto tax software and portfolio tracking company, London is the top bitcoin hub worldwide as a result of its outstanding financial structure, while Dubai is a close second.
To be put in a competition with some of the most exciting metropolises makes coming to the top worthwhile. In the list of 20 cities, Dubai managed to outrun New York, Singapore, Los Angeles, Zug, Hong Kong, Paris, Vancouver, Bangkok, Lisbon, and a few more.
Thanks to Dubai’s forward-thinking attitude towards blockchain and cryptocurrency, the city has implemented a variety of regulations to allow cryptocurrency exchanges to operate within its boundaries.
This has enabled it to become the leading hub for cryptocurrency in the Middle East, offering a multitude of related opportunities such as informative seminars, conferences, and even Crypto online casinos. It is no surprise that a city known for its advanced technology, rapid growth, and cutting-edge infrastructure has become a major leader in the cryptocurrency industry.
What Makes Dubai a Crypto-Ready City?
The Recap team chose 200 cities across the globe and conducted an in-depth study of their cryptocurrency policies and other determining details. To ascertain whether the world’s most populous cities are crypto-prepared, the Recap study took into account eight critical factors. They include:
- Quality of life index
- Cryptocurrency-specific events
- People involved in the industry
- Businesses using cryptocurrencies
- Number of virtual currency
- Bank machines
- Tax rate
- Ownership in each region
Dubai has a very high index of quality of life and has adopted a zero per cent tax on cryptocurrencies which was one of the key factors that placed it as the second most crypto-ready city in the world. But there are other aspects that will continue to develop the city’s cryptocurrency infrastructure.
Dubai’s Vibrant Cryptocurrency Market
The general tech-savvy population, the thriving start-up scene, and the government’s progressive stance are some of the reasons why Dubai reached such a high score. With numerous regulatory initiatives aimed at cryptocurrency promotion and influencing the usage of blockchain technology in different sectors, Dubai has made significant progress.
The EmCash system has also been on the go for several years, thanks to the city’s economy department collaboration with the U.K.-based Object Tech Group, Ltd. and one of its subsidiaries, Emcredit Limited. The alliance brought under the aegis of the Dubai Economy Accelerators led to the creation of this brand-new “encrypted digital currency.”, significantly enhancing the bitcoin ecosystem.
Amongst the development of emCash currency and wallets in recent years, Dubai also founded the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (Vara). This body is in charge of issuing permits while trying to regulate the sector on Dubai’s mainland and in the other free zone territories.
What adds even more to this tech-savvy attitude toward a crypto lifestyle is the enthusiasm for bitcoin of Dubai’s population. According to a recent YouGov questionnaire, two-thirds of UAE adults were found to be interested in cryptocurrencies. This new devotion to crypto-culture is vividly seen nowadays due to a vast range of possibilities for Dubai residents. Namely, 772 crypto-based companies are at your disposal if you are among the bitcoin optimists who are looking for a new job in this field. Additionally, many significant cryptocurrency businesses have already established their presence in this region, such as crypto.com, Bybit, Binance, and Deribit, while others intend to do so in the near future.
This crypto-culture in Dubai is also seen in numerous other cryptocurrency events and conferences, from rooftop parties to seminars and courses held by local and/or visiting professional teams. Some of them are more casually organized in private social interactions, while others are simply networking meetups. For instance, the EcoX blockchain networking is one of the most popular events in Dubai, taking place at the Conrad Hotel in a speakeasy-style lounge.
In just a few decades, a small fishing town has miraculously transformed itself into one of the richest cities in the world. And if that wasn’t enough, Dubai has now been ranked by Recap, as the second most crypto-ready city, as a result of its forward-thinking approach to technology and innovation.
But Dubai’s rapid development has no sign of stopping. Thanks to its developing blockchain ecosystem and welcoming regulatory environment, the integration of EmCash currency and wallets, and the fast growth of crypto-based companies, Dubai entered into the major leagues worldwide.
The government keeps devoting an endless proportion of its time to investing in smart city projects and bitcoin initiatives with the aim of making Dubai “the happiest city on Earth”. Once the highest score is reached, Dubai will finally become the leading crypto-ready metropolis in the world.
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Zenith Bank Proposes N2.90 Dividend After Impressive Growth in Gross Earnings
By Dipo Olowookere
The board of Zenith Bank Plc has proposed the payment of N2.90 per share as a final dividend for the 2022 accounting year, bringing the total cash reward to shareholders for the year to N3.20 per share after it earlier paid 30 Kobo as an interim dividend.
The tier-1 bank, in its audited financial statements for 2022 released to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited on Tuesday, announced the dividend payment amid an impressive double-digit growth of 24 per cent in gross earnings to N945.5 billion from the N765.6 billion reported in 2021 despite the persistent challenging macroeconomic environment and headwinds.
The financial results showed that the surge in gross earnings last year was driven by a 26 per cent year-on-year growth in interest income from N427.6 billion to N540.2 billion and a 23 per cent year-on-year growth in non-interest income from N309 billion to N381 billion.
Also, impairments increased in the year by 107 per cent to N124.2 billion from N59.9 billion, while interest expense rose by 63 per cent to N173.5 billion from N106.8 billion.
It was observed that the increase in impairments, which also resulted in an increase in the cost of risk to 3.3 per cent from 1.9 per cent, was attributed to the impact of Ghana’s sovereign debt restructuring programme. The growth in interest expense increased the cost of funds from 1.5 per cent in 2021 to 1.9 per cent in 2022 due to hikes in interest rates globally.
The continued elevated yield environment positively impacted the bank’s Net-Interest-Margin (NIM), which grew from 6.7 per cent to 7.2 per cent due to an effective repricing of interest-bearing assets.
Operating expenses grew by 17 per cent, though the inflation rate was at 21.91 per cent as of February 2023, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
In the year under consideration, the profit before tax recorded a marginal growth of 2 per cent to N284.7 billion from N280.4 billion due to an improvement in all the income lines.
A look at the balance sheet revealed that customer deposits increased last year by 39 per cent to N8.98 trillion from N6.47 trillion in the previous year. This growth in customer deposits came from all products and deposit segments (corporate and retail), thus consolidating the bank’s market leadership and indicating customers’ trust.
Total assets increased by 30 per cent from N9.45 trillion in 2021 to N12.29 trillion, mainly driven by growth in customer deposits. With the steady and continued recovery in economic activities, the Group prudently grew its gross loans by 20 per cent from N3.5 trillion in 2021 to N4.1 trillion in 2022, which increased the Non-Performing Loan (NPL) ratio modestly from 4.2 per cent to 4.3 per cent.
The capital adequacy ratio decreased from 21 per cent to 19 per cent, while the liquidity ratio improved from 71.2 per cent to 75 per cent, with both prudential ratios well above regulatory thresholds.
In 2023, Zenith Bank said it intends to expand its frontiers as it also reorganises into a holding company structure, adding new verticals to its businesses and growing in all its chosen markets, both locally and internationally.
In recognition of its track record of excellent performances, Zenith Bank was recognised as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital, for the 13th consecutive year, in the 2022 Top 1000 World Banks Ranking published by The Banker Magazine; Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020 and 2022; Best Bank in Nigeria, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria 2021 and 2022 in the World Finance Banking Awards; Best Corporate Governance Bank, Nigeria in the World Finance Corporate Governance Awards 2022; Best in Corporate Governance’ Financial Services’ Africa, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, by the Ethical Boardroom; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria and Best Innovation In Retail Banking, Nigeria in the International Banker 2022 Banking Awards.
Also, the bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021 and Retail Bank of the year for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022 at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.
Similarly, Zenith Bank was named Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020, Most Innovative Bank of the Year 2019 by Tribune Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2020 by Independent Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2021 by Champion Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2022 by New Telegraph Newspaper, and Most Responsible Organisation in Africa 2021 by SERAS Awards.
Sell Pressure on Bellwether Stocks Softens NGX Index by 1.16%
By Dipo Olowookere
It was not a good day for equities on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited on Tuesday as profit-taking activities further deepened during the trading session, leading to a 1.16 per cent loss.
The bearish performance was triggered by the losses recorded by some bellwether stocks like Dangote Cement, Dangote Sugar, Fidson, and six other mid and low-cap shares.
The trading session saw investors rebalancing their portfolios, and at the close of business, Chams topped the losers’ chart after it dropped 8.00 per cent to sell at 23 Kobo. UAC Nigeria lost 5.76 per cent to finish at N9.00, Dangote Cement shrank by 4.17 per cent to N276.00, Fidson depreciated by 2.95 per cent to N9.55, and Prestige Assurance plunged by 2.44 per cent to 40 Kobo.
The gainers’ table had 16 members yesterday and was led by PZ Cussons, which grew by 9.62 per cent to N11.40. International Energy Insurance gained 9.24 per cent to sell for N1.30, Multiverse rose by 8.72 per cent to N3.24, FTN Cocoa added 7.69 per cent to its value to finish at 28 Kobo, and Regency Alliance chalked up 6.90 per cent to quote at 31 Kobo.
The price movement index analysis showed that investor sentiment was strong despite the setback, as the market breadth was positive.
Business Post reports that the loss reported by the stock exchange was due to the 2.18 per cent decline suffered by the industrial goods sector, as every other sector was bullish.
The consumer goods index appreciated by 1.50 per cent, the insurance counter improved by 0.46 per cent, the banking sector increased by 0.27 per cent, and the energy wing remained flat.
Data from the bourse revealed that the All-Share Index (ASI) was down by 626.14 points yesterday to 53,124.63 points from 53,750.77 points, and the market capitalisation decreased by N341 billion to N28.940 trillion from N29.281 trillion.
As for the activity chart, the trading volume surged by 101.09 per cent to 200.9 million shares from 100.9 million shares, while the trading value declined by 51.16 per cent to N2.1 billion from N4.3 billion, with the number of deals depreciating by 6.34 per cent to 3,071 deals from 3,279 deals.
The significant rise in the volume of transactions was due to buying interests in Transcorp, Fidelity Bank, Custodian Investment, Sterling Bank and GTCO, which sold 61.5 million units, 27.0 million units, 20.0 million units, 18.7 million units, and 11.7 million units, respectively.
Friesland, Geo-Fluids Spur NASD OTC Exchange to Appreciate 1.02%
By Adedapo Adesanya
The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange appreciated by 1.02 per cent on Tuesday, March 28, following the positive price movements in the stocks of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc and Geo-Fluids Plc.
Data from the NASD OTC exchange showed that the milk producer gained N5.00 during the session to sell at N81.00 per share compared with the previous day’s value of N76.00 per share, while Geo-Fluids Plc appreciated by 15 Kobo to quote at N1.95 per unit versus N1.80 per unit.
The gains recorded by the duo further raised the market capitalisation of the bourse yesterday by N10.4 billion to N1.03 trillion from the N1.02 trillion it closed in the preceding session.
Following the same trend, the session ended with the market index, NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI), growing by 7.52 points to 743.15 points from the 735.63 points recorded in the previous session.
It was observed that there was a surge in the volume of securities traded at the bourse during the session as investors exchanged 20.1 million units, 4,734.7 per cent higher than the 415,330 units traded in the preceding session.
The value of shares traded on Tuesday equally increased by 67.3 per cent to N44.5 million from N26.6 million, while the number of deals increased by 227.3 per cent to 36 deals from the 11 deals carried out on Monday.
Geo-Fluids Plc remained the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with 482.1 million units worth N544.1 million, UBN Property Plc stood in second place with 365.8 units valued at N309.5 million, while Industrial and General Insurance (IGI) Plc was in third place with 71.1 million units valued at N5.1 million.
However, VFD Group Plc was the most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis with 7.3 million units valued at N1.7 billion, trailed by Geo-Fluids Plc with 482.1 million units worth N544.1 million, and UBN Property Plc with 365.8 million units valued at N309.5 million.
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