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Cameroonian crypto and savings platform Ejara raises $8M, led by Anthemis and Dragonfly

Ejara , a Cameroonian fintech offering an investment app that allows users to buy crypto and save through decentralized wallets, has raised $8 million in Series A investment.  London-based venture capital firm Anthemis co-led the growth round alongside crypto-focused fund Dragonfly Capital. Anthemis is a follow-on investor in Ejara, having also led the fintech’s $2 million seed round announced last October.  Participating VC firms in this new financing include other follow-on investors Mercy Corps Ventures, Coinshares Ventures and Lateral Capital–and new investors such as Circle Ventures, Moonstake, Emurgo, Hashkey Group and BPI France. Jason Yanowitz, co-founder of Blockwoks is one of the angels in the round.  Ejara wants to “democratize access to investment and savings products across the region, using blockchain technology.” While its recently launched savings product where it tokenizes government bonds is one of the ways it uses blockchain, so is its crypto product which was piv

UK expands Online Safety Bill to criminalize encouraging self harm

The UK government has said it will further expand the scope of online safety legislation by criminalizing the encouragement of self-harm — in a bid to tackle what it describes as “tragic and avoidable deaths caused by people seeing self-harm content online”. The latest amendment to the controversial but populist Online Safety Bill will mean in-scope platforms will be required to remove content that deliberately encourages somebody to physically injure themselves — or else risk penalties under the legislation. Individuals posting such content online could also face prosecution under the new offence of encouraging self harm and the secretary of state for digital said the government wants to target “abhorrent trolls encouraging the young and vulnerable to self-harm”. The government said the maximum penalties will be set out in due course. It is already illegal to encourage or assist suicide, online or offline, in the UK so the creation of the new offence is intended to bring self harm

WhatsApp rolls out a feature that makes it easier to message yourself

WhatsApp has started rolling out a feature to let you chat with yourself. Sending messages to your own account can be a way to keep a piece of information easily accessible, right next to your other WhatsApp conversations. Called ‘Message Yourself’, the feature lets users send notes, reminders and shopping lists to themselves on WhatsApp. On Monday, the Meta-owned instant messaging app announced the rollout of the new messaging feature that will reach all its Android and iPhone users in the coming weeks. It was initially tested with some beta testers, WhatsApp beta tracker WABetaInfo reported in late October. The company has confirmed to TechCrunch that the feature has begun rolling out globally. Users will see their contact at the top of the contacts list on WhatsApp when they create a new chat. Tapping that contact will take them to the chat screen they can use to send messages to themselves. Although the native feature to message yourself is new on WhatsApp, some users have al

Great Wall of porn obscures China protest news on Twitter

Search any major Chinese city on Twitter, and you will see a cascade of spam tweets showing porn, escort services, and gambling content that are published every few seconds, making it impossible to get any legitimate results. There has been a “significant uptick” in these tweets over the last three days, according to a China-focused data analyst . The surge in such bot content coincides with an unprecedented wave of protests that have swept across major Chinese cities and universities over the weekend. The demonstrations are largely a result of China’s zero-tolerance approach toward COVID-19, a rare show of defiance amongst the people. The country’s stringent COVID restrictions have led to prolonged lockdowns across the country, obstructing life, business, and manufacturing activities. Protests erupted last week at Apple’s biggest iPhone factory in China as workers were roiled by delayed bonuses and concerns over COVID spread. Discussion of the new nationwide protests is strictly

Amazon shutting down wholesale distribution in third business exit in India

Amazon is shutting down its wholesale distribution business in India, the latest in a series of retreats for the retailer in the key overseas market where it has deployed over $7 billion in the past decade. The American e-commerce giant said Monday that it is discontinuing Amazon Distribution, its wholesale e-commerce website available in small neighborhood stores in Bengaluru, Mysore and Hubli. “We don’t take these decisions lightly. We are discontinuing this programme in a phased manner to take care of current customers and partners,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. Amazon Distribution was designed to help kiranas, the neighborhood stores in India, pharmacies and department stores secure inventory from the e-commerce giant. “We offer a wide range of products at competitive prices and the convenience of next day delivery at your door-step. As a member, you can purchase thousands of items for resale at any time of the day at competitive prices and in bulk quantities, pa

TipTip uses a hyperlocal strategy to help Southeast Asian creators monetize

There are a lot of talented people, like chefs and musicians, in Southeast Asia who can earn money through their work online, says TipTip founder Albert Lucius. But many of them don’t have the social media clout to attract advertisers. TipTip wants to help them build up followers in their communities using an offline/online strategy, and monetize by selling content instead of relying on advertising algorithms. The Indonesian-based startup announced today it has raised $13 million in Series A funding, just eight months after its $10 million Series A in March . The latest round was led by East Ventures, with participation from returning investors Vertex, SMDV and B.I.G. Ventures. TipTip founded in October 2021 by Albert Lucius, whose previous startup Kudo was acquired by Grab in 2017 . It serves as a marketplace for creators to connect with fans, and monetize content like videos and documents by selling them to their followers, or hosting live video sessions. The platform launched in

Lawyers see crypto regulation coming in 2023 because industry needs to rebuild trust

Despite an uneven year in the crypto markets, many market participants are unperturbed about the long-term health of the sector and say that legal frameworks in 2023 could restore trust in the industry.  “Crypto will recover,” Katherine Dowling, general counsel member at Bitwise Asset Management, said to TechCrunch. “This is not the death of crypto.” Given the belief by many that crypto remains here to stay, it’s worth looking ahead. Crypto denizens certainly are — after the FTX collapse, questions circulated concerning crypto’s future and what regulators would do next. “There’s no impetus for regulators to reduce their level of enforcement activity and recent events are likely to embolden them.” Mayer Brown's Joe Castelluccio But disappointment in what FTX’s implosion represents is very hard to overstate, Yesha Yadav, professor of law and director of diversity, equity and community at Vanderbilt University, told TechCrunch. “The level of disillusionment and disappointment an

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