South Africa launches the first cryptocurrency

6 months ago written by

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain technology is officially on South African soil after the country launched its first start-up called Project UBU. The project rolled out its ITO (Initial Token Offering) of their UBX token with a pre-sale in September 2017.

The public sale took off on 29 September 2017 and ran until 21st October 2017. After that, a contract sale was undertaken between 21st October 2017 and 15th November 2017.

What’s Project UBU?

Project UBU is part of the Universal Basic Income projects that aim to significantly reduce poverty levels in Africa through a decentralized distribution of digital currency to the poor. The project’s ambition is to develop an alternative, global and decentralized cryptocurrency that will help bring some economic freedom to millions of poor people around the world.

Project UBU is, therefore, a cryptocurrency system whose aim is to provide UBIs (Universal Basic Income) to the world’s poor population. The fundamental principle is to apply blockchain technology to unlock and freely distribute trapped and inefficient economic assets to every underprivileged person who chooses to receive them. These will be in the form of UBU tokens which can be used to buy goods and services. In addition to the people who see in cryptocurrencies a way to invest and earn money, many people see cryptocurrencies as a way to help the poor and change the world.

UBU core

UBU Core is the entity behind the UBU project. It was started in November 2016 before being officially constituted as an LLC in April 2017 by the laws of South Africa. The whole project will eventually be anchored on the Ethereum network.

UBU Core has three defined operating phases:

  • Minimum Viable Product – the initial period under which the project was developed, including the wallets and other apps. It ended in September 2017.
  • Phase1 – this is the current stage of the project that has run from the MVP release and will end in April 2018.
  • Phase 2 – this stage will commence in April 2018 and will include an 18 month operations period. In phase 2, the commercial release will be undertaken, and the project rolled out for mass adoption.

The Project UBU’s UBX is an ERC-20 crypto token built on the Ethereum network. The total number of UBX during the entire ITO was to be 13.3 million. The project’s whitepaper and roadmap indicate they target to reach at least 500 million people within a ten-year period. A total of 240 million UBX will be availed during that period. According to the project targets, most of the ‘citizens’ will be from Sub-Saharan Africa.

The leading team behind this project

The idea behind project UBU was worked on for three years. The project is backed by an experienced team that includes team leader Dudley Baylis, Bridge Capital; Douglas Reed, former CEO of Vox Telecom; Justin McCarthy, Tuluntulu CCO and Steven Sidley, former CTO of Anglo American and also Altech.

  • The UBU cryptocurrency so far

Project UBU is off the ramp and well into the implementation phase. What remains now is to see whether the team will be able to deliver on the promise such a novel idea. At a time when most of the cryptocurrencies are concerned about privacy market price, it is refreshing to have one that wants to improve economic statuses of the world’s poor. So what do we know about UBU so far?

  • The token sale took place in 2017 and was split into three phases: a pre-sale, the public sale and finally a contract sale.
  • The ITO ended on 15 November 2017. The UBX tokens bought by investors are currently held in a smart contract awaiting release to investors on April 30, 2018.
  • During the pre-sale phase of the ITO, investors were allowed to make deposits using either cryptocurrency or fiat currencies.

However, during the public sale and then the contract sale, investors could only access UBX by depositing either ETH or BTC. If you want to purchase the UBX tokens after commercial release, you would need to have access to a BTC or Ethereum wallet.

A Tale of two tokens: UBU and UBX

The UBUCore project has two tokens: UBU and UBX.  The main token is UBU, issued to all participating ‘citizens.’ This token is limited in total supply and dissipates over time to promote public spending of the UBUs and hence steadily lead to a growth in the network’s value.

To be eligible for the UBU token, a person must provide proof of identification to avoid instances of duplicate registrations. The verification will be in the form of a dual authentication using a valid ID/Passport and a verified ten digit mobile number.

The UBUs will be issued at a particular fixed rate to everybody who registers on the network. The UBU token gains value as it unlocks inefficient assets within the economic ecosystem. However, the UBX token will obtain value from the UBU token as well as form the whole project ecosystem.

UBX is the secondary token that was offered to investors during the Initial Token Offering. The UBX token is built upon the value of UBU and is used to allocate/deliver UBUs to the participating citizens. Apart from that, the UBX will be useful as a mechanism to fund and incentivize the functioning of the UBU ecosystem.

How does UBU work?

The UBU team has elaborate plans that will see the distribution of UBUs to over 500 million people around the world. This allocation will be done at no cost at all to the individuals who elect to join the project as citizens.  Furthermore, UBUs will be issued to two groups- the citizens and the UBU Sphere.

This is how the UBU team envisioned the issuance of the UBUs to the two groups:

  • Each citizen will receive 100 UBUs every day.
  • The Sphere will be allocated 11 UBUs daily per citizen.

Additionally, this is how the 11 UBUs allocated to the UBU Sphere will be shared out:

  • UBU core- 3 UBUs
  • UBU Recruit- 3 UBUs
  • UBU Transact- 3 UBUs
  • UBU Foundation- 2 UBUs

The allocation of UBUs will be done daily, per citizen.

Access to the UBU platform can be done through an e-wallet and related products suite that has a Citizen App, Vendor Portal, and a Smartphone app. To get insights into how the three work, I advise you read the crypto’s whitepaper. It is a well-written document that details everything about Project UBU.


Project UBU appears to be a great Universal Basic Income (UBI) idea that seeks to utilize the blockchain technology to change the lives of millions of people around the world. There are unlimited economic assets that can be unlocked to grant the world’s underprivileged an income in a decentralized and autonomous way. I believe this is one cryptocurrency the blockchain community should strive to ensure it succeeds. If you need to know more about South Africa’s first cryptocurrency, please download and read their Whitepaper.

Thank you for checking out this article. Make sure to visit our website regularly for more fresh updates of various crypto news. Until next time!

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