Gold trader gets Dubai license to trade and store cryptocurrencies

A collection of Bitcoin (virtual currency) tokens. (AFP)
Updated 13 February 2018
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Gold trader gets Dubai license to trade and store cryptocurrencies

DUBAI: Gold trader Regal RA DMCC has become the first company in the Middle East to be awarded a license by the Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC) to trade in cryptocurrencies.
The license allows the company to store bitcoin, ethereum and other alternatives to the best-known digital currencies in a vault located in the headquarters of the commodities free zone, DMCC said in a statement on Tuesday.
The vault will have no connection to a network and physical devices are fully insured for the crypto-commodities market value against theft, hacking or natural disaster, it said. Crypto-commodities are those that trade in bitcoin.
Cybertheft is seen as a major risk for bitcoin trading, highlighted by last month’s heist of about $530 million from a Tokyo-based exchange, a theft rivalling Mt. Gox’s as one of the biggest for digital currency.
There have been increasingly loud warnings around the world about the dangers of investing in cryptocurrencies, which remain largely unregulated.
However, Regal RA DMCC’s announcement came as the regulator of Abu Dhabi’s international financial center said this week it could create rules for exchanges handling virtual currencies, in a sign that authorities in the UAE may allow trade in cryptocurrencies to develop.
Regal RA DMCC is a subsidiary of Regal Assets, an alternative asset firm which has offices in the United States, Canada and the UAE.
Dubai is a major hub for gold trading, thanks to its proximity to the world’s largest gold consumer, India.
“At the heart of DMCC’s long term strategic growth plan is the use of technology and innovation to disrupt and connect new markets, industries and customers,” said Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman, DMCC.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, many regulators are wary of cryptocurrencies. The Saudi Arabian central bank has advised people not to trade bitcoin, and last week, Qatar’s central bank told banks not to deal in any way with cryptocurrencies.


Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

Updated 20 October 2018
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Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

  • Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change
  • Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983

BAGUINEDA: When rice farmers started producing yields nine times larger than normal in the Malian desert near the famed town of Timbuktu a decade ago, a passerby could have mistaken the crop for another desert mirage.
Rather, it was the result of an engineering feat that has left experts in this impoverished nation in awe — but one that has yet to spread widely through Mali’s farming community.
“We must redouble efforts to get political leaders on board,” said Djiguiba Kouyaté, a coordinator in Mali for German development agency GIZ.
With hunger a constant menace, Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change.

 

Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983. It involves planting fewer seeds of traditional rice varieties and taking care of them following a strict regime.
Seedlings are transplanted at a very young age and spaced widely. Soil is enriched with organic matter, and must be kept moist, though the system uses less water than traditional rice farming.
Up to 20 million farmers now use SRI in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast, said Norman Uphoff, of the SRI International Network and Resources Center at Cornell University in the US.
But, despite its success, the technique has been embraced with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Uphoff said that is because it competes with the improved hybrid and inbred rice varieties that agricultural corporations sell.
For Faliry Boly, who heads a rice-growing association, the prospect of rice becoming a “white gold” for Mali should spur on authorities and farmers to adopt rice intensification.
The method could increase yields while also offering a more environmentally-friendly alternative, including by replacing chemical fertilizers with organic ones, he said.
He also pointed out that rice intensification naturally lends itself to Mali’s largely arid climate.

FACTOID

Up to 20 million farmers now use rice intensification in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast.