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Kenyan group launches ‘Nurucoin’ digital currency as traders ignore CBK warnings

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Nurucoin founder and CEO Isaac Muthui on February 1, 2018. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

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Summary

  • The new cryptocurrency, dubbed Nurucoin, has been developed by the owners of e-commerce platform BlazeBay, itself a subsidiary of Churchblaze Christian Association, which runs a number of technology and social networking platforms.

A new locally developed digital currency has hit the market targeting investors who participate in e-commerce, even as questions remain over the safety of the virtual coins that have taken Kenyans by storm.

The new cryptocurrency, dubbed Nurucoin, has been developed by the owners of e-commerce platform BlazeBay, itself a subsidiary of Churchblaze Christian Association, which runs a number of technology and social networking platforms.

The Nurucoin offering, which comes at a time when thousands of Kenyans have their eyes trained on virtual currencies as an avenue to quick cash, is currently at a pre-sale stage which opened on Tuesday initially targeting high-net worth individuals before rolling out to the public mid this month.

The coin is set to sell at 10 US cents (Sh10), for new buyers, with the developers offering discount to entice early takers.

“If you buy it during the crowd sale from February 15 you will get it at 10 US cents per token, or about Sh10,” Nurucoin chief executive Isaac Muthui said on Thursday.

“Those buying during the pre-sale that began on Tuesday, and which is targeting joint ventures and high-net worth investors, have to buy tokens worth a minimum of $5,000 (Sh510,000) but they get a 40 per cent discount giving them a token at about six US cents.”

Nurucoin’s developers are riding on the coin sale to crowdfund for the development of their blockchain system that will target local firms looking for an e-ledger platform.

READ: Kenyans gamble millions in high risk Bitcoin trading craze

Virtual currencies remain a controversial subject, with the Central Bank of Kenya classifying them as a bubble and a Ponzi scheme, and warning Kenyans not to expect regulatory help should their gamble on these cryptocurrencies go wrong.

The developers of Nurucoin do not have the Capital Markets Authority’s approval to raise funds from the public.

The official caution by CBK has largely been unheeded though, with Kenyans emerging among the most voracious buyers of digital currencies across the globe holding bitcoins valued at about Sh163 billion.

Last month, an Isle of Man based cryptocurrency exchange known as CoinDirect.com went live in Kenya, targeting local traders by offering a platform to convert their tokens into Kenya shillings for up to 25 different cryptocurrencies.