Gigaba Wants Steinhoff & Auditors Investigated

Finance minister Malusi Gigaba has reacted with  “concern” to the recent revelations on Steinhoff International’s accounting irregularities. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) will be conducting an internal audit into the holdings company and is expected to report its findings to Gigaba. Gigaba said he had requested the Financial Services Board, Public Investment Corporation, and the Government Employees Pension Fund to provide him with a report on the extent of exposure for retirement funds. “The minister expects that this report will give assurances that the interests of the shareholders are protected, including their retirement and savings funds,” said Gigaba. Gigaba said he supported the FSB’s independent investigation into possible false and misleading reports in terms of section 81 of the Financial Markets Act, as well as any related abuses regarding Steinhoff.

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Moodys Downgrades Steinhoff

Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Steinhoff by four notches to B1, and placed the global retailer’s rating on review for further downgrade. The rating agency said in a statement late on Thursday that it had downgraded the issuer ratings of Steinhoff International Holdings and Steinhoff Investment Holdings, and the senior unsecured notes rating of Steinhoff Europe to B1 from Baa3.

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EOH Shares Tumble 34%

Software and technology company EOH plunged 34.7% on Thursday to close at R45. The free-fall came one day after investigators from the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) reportedly searched the home of Keith Keating, a director of three businesses owned by the group, over his involvement in corrupt government contracts. On Wednesday, Daily Maverick reported that Keating was implicated in alleged procurement irregularities in the South African Information and Technology Agency and South African Police Service (SAPS) amounting to about R6.1bn. EOH’s share price has fallen more than 73% over the past year, as questions arose over the way in which the group landed lucrative government contracts.

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General Electric To Shed 12000 Jobs

The US industrial group expects the “painful but necessary” job losses to help save $1bn next year as demand for fossil fuel power plants wanes. GE intends to cut 1,100 jobs from its UK power business, one-third of the firm’s Swiss workforce and one-sixth of German workers are likely to be hit. In October, GE slashed its profits guidance after posting a 5% fall in third-quarter earnings to $1.8bn, due to weak trading in its power and oil and gas businesses. GE Power is the company’s largest industrial business, employing more than 55,000 people worldwide.

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Bitcoin Soars Past $18000

The price of Bitcoin crashed through $19,000 today, just days after hitting $10,000, $12,000, and other psychological barriers, and then retreated to $18,000. Many cryptocurrency experts are predicting Bitcoin will hit $50,000 or even $100,000 as institutional investors continue to pile in.

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SA Egg Prices Rise 20%

Egg prices in South Africa are expected to increase by as much as 20% after an outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian flu in June forced farmers to cull egg laying birds, industry experts said on Thursday. The outbreak of avian flu prompted farmers to cull millions of birds and neighbouring countries including Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana to ban poultry imports from South Africa. Industry experts said in October commercial egg production had tumbled 17% and over 1 000 workers lost their jobs in the wake of the outbreak of avian flu. Prices are expected to increase between 15 and 20% from December to June 2018.

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Currencies: Bitcoin R243,000.Ether R6,351 . R/USD13.73 . R/GBP18.46 . R/EUR16.11

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R180 Bn Wiped Off JSE After Steinhoff Crash

Investors are shell-shocked after the market witnessed a stunning crash yesterday. Shares in the biggest retailer in Africa, Steinhoff, went into free-fall and fell by more than 61% as the JSE opened – plunging from R45.64 to around R17.50. The company fell even further during the day. This means that more than R130 billion was wiped off the company’s market capitalisation or value in one day. And R180 billion was wiped off all related companies combined.

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Christo Wiese Lost R28bn In A Day

Following Tuesday evening’s announcement that Steinhoff would not be publishing its financial results due to allegations of accounting fraud, South African billionaire and chairman of the company Christo Wiese has seen his net worth halved. Retail tycoon Wiese, who owns 23% of Steinhoff, was named as the fourth richest person in South Africa with a net worth $5.5 billion of according to a January 2017 report by Forbes. This amount was nearly halved on Tuesday as shares in the company dropped to R17.56, a loss of R28.09 or 61.53%, shortly after the JSE opened. According to Forbes’ real-time tracker, Wiese lost $2.1 billion (R28.3 billion) by 11:40AM on Wednesday. This equates to a loss of 54.2% of his total net worth since 5PM EST on Tuesday (midnight local time).

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Bitcoin Soars Past R14000

Bitcoin climbed as much as 7.9% on Thursday as it surged above $14 000, extending this month’s advance to more than 40%. The price of the cryptocurrency touched $14 399.99, a new record, according to Bloomberg pricing

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Mugabe’s Missing $15 Billion Saga

Zimbabwean opposition parties have welcomed a call by Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa for all persons who under Mugabe’s rule, externalised money to return the said monies within three months. Mnangagwa has set the amnesty deadline line to February for the return the ill-gotten wealth with the promise prosecution post deadline. Former Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe previously revealed that the country had “lost” an amount of USD $15 billion in diamond mining revenue. The missing money is believed to have been externalised and squandered by government officials with the aid of dodgy investors.

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New Regulation Structures For Financial Services Sector

At present, South African insurers, pension funds, collective investment schemes and other financial services providers are regulated by the Financial Services Board (FSB), whereas banks are regulated by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). Each institution is required to comply with its own industry-specific legislation. The current Financial Services Board (FSB) will be transformed into the FSCA – responsible for regulating how firms conduct their business, design and price their products and treat their customers. While the Prudential Authority will regulate financial institutions’ solvency and liquidity.

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Tshwane Asks Treasury For Help

Tshwane city manager Moeketsi Mosola has approached National Treasury to help draft a financial recovery plan that might see it restructuring income and expenditure in its current approved budget. Tshwane’s creditors amount to R6.9 billion and include service providers such as Eskom, Rand Water and many small businesses that are normally dependent on timeous receipt of the payment for the services rendered.

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Currencies: R223,400 . Ether R5,922 . R/USD13.54 . R/GBP18.07 . R/EUR15.97

Mandela Funeral Fraud Report Expected Today

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela announced in 2016 that her office was investigating allegations of maladministration, corruption and misuse of public funds relating to the procurement of service providers for the former statesman’s memorial services and funeral. Various Eastern Cape municipalities allegedly spent nearly R65m without following proper procurement procedures. A report in May 2016 revealed that R22m was used for T-shirts, food and transport. The full report is set to be released today.

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FIFA Struggling For World Cup Sponsors

Teams from 32 countries learned Friday who they will play at the soccer showcase, but with just six months until kick off, FIFA is struggling to find companies that are willing to spend millions of dollars on ads and logo placement. Brands have been scared off by the 2015 corruption scandal that ensnared top FIFA officials, including former general secretary Joseph “Sepp” Blatter. Political controversies involving Russia, sanctioned in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea and accused of meddling in the U.S. presidential election, haven’t helped.

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Eskom Says Loadshedding Is Unlikely

On Thursday investigative news outfit AmaBhungane reported Eskom may be forced into nationwide electricity cuts after a coal mine linked to the Gupta family threatened to halt supply. Eskom has been at the heart of allegations of illegal contracts and undue influence in awarding tenders to the Gupta family, friends of South African President Jacob Zuma. Spokesman Khulu Phasiwe confirmed Eskom had held an emergency meeting last Friday to determine whether strategic coal stockpiles at Hendrina and other stations were sufficient after Tegeta Exploration and Resources threatened to halt supply to Hendrina.

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Gauteng To Build Five Mega Cities

Gauteng is currently undergoing massive infrastructure development with over a R100 billion being invested in more than 800,000 houses within 30 residential developments, across five designated development corridors. According to the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements’ (GDHS), these developments form part of a new mandate to shift away from sporadic and uncoordinated developments to purposely planned and developed “Mega Cities” that are completely self-sufficient in providing for the housing, economic and social needs of the community.

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Germany Offering Migrants Money To GO Back Home

Germany wants to support rejected asylum-seekers who voluntarily move back to their home countries with a one-time payment of 3,000 euros ($3,570). The Interior Ministry says those who qualify can apply by a Feb. 28 deadline and they would get the money once they return home. Migrants who agree to go back even before their asylum request is rejected have already been offered 1,200 euros per adult and 600 euros per child under a different program for almost a year. They are now eligible to apply for both programs.

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AdvTech Fraud Drops Share Price

Private education group ADvTECH’s share price dropped by 7.06% on the JSE after the group said on Friday it had uncovered incidents of fraud in the schools division. ADvTECH shares closed 3.99% lower on the JSE at the end of the day at R15.65. The group said that the fraud was perpetrated by a financial manager in the schools division head office and took place over a period of three years, beginning in 2015.

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MTN Launches Data Saver Option

MTN has launched a simple way for subscribers to block out-of-bundle (OOB) data usage, with its new “Out of Bundle Barring” service. Out of Bundle Barring is available to users via the USSD menu, by dialing *141*0# and selecting the relevent option.

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Currencies: Bitcoin R170,013 . Ether R6,942 . R/USD13.78 . R/GBP18.51 . R/EUR16.35

 

Koko Claims Eskom Bosses Were Bribed

Suspended Eskom executive Matshela Koko on Thursday accused some of his colleagues of taking bribes from suppliers and said that they had started leaking damning allegations against him in retaliation when he dealt with corruption. The allegations against him, said Koko, started surfacing when he dealt with corruption on becoming interim CEO. For instance, France Hlakudi, the former Kusile power station project manager, was paid a R61m bribe, Koko said. He produced a document that showed another R400,000 was paid to Hlakudi Interpretation and Translation — owned by Hlakudi — by Tubular Construction Projects on the day that Eskom’s tender committee approved a tender for Tubular. The money was transferred into Hlakudi Interpretation and Translation’s bank account in 2015, said Koko.

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Gigaba Says Ignore Economic Gloom

Speaking in the National Assembly on Thursday during a debate on the Medium Term Budget Policy statement he delivered last month‚ the Finance Minister chose to look on the bright side of life. “South Africans should brush aside the message of despondency and doom. Even at our bleakest moments we must not drown ourselves in our own message of doom and gloom. The difficult decisions are being taken now‚ but our economy will turn around. A brighter day beckons.” he said.

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Taxman Going After US Bitcoin Traders

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has won a US court case which will force Coinbase to disclose customer information. Coinbase must now share the data of users who have bought, sold, sent, or received over $20,000 through their accounts in a single year, between 2013 and 2015. This is estimated to be 14,355 individuals.

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Firstrand To Drop State Capture Implicate Companies

Outgoing FirstRand chairman and cofounder of the group Laurie Dippenaar expressed extreme disappointment on Thursday with “the number of large corporations that have been complicit” in state capture, saying that some would lose FirstRand’s business. Commenting on state capture, he said: “I’ve been bitterly disappointed. We have expressed our disdain and disappointment [to these companies] and some of them will not get business from FirstRand again.

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NPA Panel Convened For Zuma Corruption Charges

Controversial KwaZulu-Natal director of public prosecutions Moipone Noko will lead the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) team that considers President Jacob Zuma’s representations on corruption charges. NPA boss Shaun Abrahams gave Zuma until Thursday to argue why he should not be charged after the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a high court judgment that the 2009 decision to drop charges had been irrational. The president is facing 783 counts of fraud, corruption, racketeering, money laundering and tax evasion.

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Guptas Hijacked Lesotho Mine

In August 2014 Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane appointed Atul Gupta as an “economic investment envoy”. Thabane said ANC president Jacob Zuma had introduced him to the Gupta family and he had enlisted them “to help scout for investment” for the country. Now new evidence is emerging that the main “investment” the Guptas were touting – apart from in Thabane himself – was their takeover of a Lesotho diamond mine.

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PWC Does First Major Commercial Bitcoin Transaction

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), one of the world’s largest accounting firms, has accepted its first ever bitcoin payment for its advisory services. PwC in Hong Kong revealed it is working with a number of startups involved in bitcoin and the wider cryptocurrency industry, prompting the firm to accept the world’s most widely-known cryptocurrency. Notably, PwC also confirmed its advent into advising clients about crypto funds and investments, cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings –  a radical new form of fundraising powered by cryptocurrencies.

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Currencies: Bitcoin R156,949 . Ether R6,934 . R/USD13.73 . R/GBP18.54 . R/EUR16.36

Military Coup In Zimbabwe

Soldiers deployed across the Zimbabwe capital Harare and seized the state broadcaster on Wednesday after 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu (PF) party accused the head of the military of treason, prompting frenzied speculation of a coup. Since then, the army has taken control of the national broadcaster, arrested senior politicians and those in Mugabe’s inner circle and former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa has returned to the country.

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Eskom Employees Reveal Lynn Browne Lies

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown came under scathing attack on Tuesday from an Eskom GM, who accused her of being incompetent, a liar and captured by the Guptas.

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Water Departments R30Million Bonuses

Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane has admitted that her department paid out R30-million worth of bonuses to its employees‚ despite the department being found wanting in the management of its financial books. In a reply to a written question from Democratic Alliance MP Anchen Dreyer‚ Mokonyane said 1.5% of the total provision for salaries was allocated towards performance reviews. She said 1‚959 officials between salary levels 1 and 12 got the bulk of the R30-million in performance bonuses. Two officials in salary levels 13 and 14 got a bonus of R58‚092.82 and R69‚069.60 respectively.

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Senior Eskom Boss Resigns Over State Corruption Allegations

France Hlakudi, a senior manager at the centre of allegations of corruption at Eskom’s Kusile power station in Mpumalanga, has resigned with immediate effect, Eskom confirmed yesterday. Eskom said Hlakudi resigned on Monday, leaving the troubled power utility under a cloud. His resignation could have far reaching implications for suspended executive Matshela Koko’s ongoing disciplinary process as he is one of the witnesses the power utility has lined up. As a former employee, he has no obligation to participate in the hearings.

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SA Debt Soars

National Treasury had no trouble selling a record amount of debt at its weekly fixed-rate auction on Tuesday. The sale attracted bids of R10.9bn for the R3.3bn of notes of four maturities, with clearing yields on all four bonds jumping. Securities maturing in 2044 were the most popular, with demand of four times the amount on offer. The clearing yield of 10.405%, however, was 46 basis points higher than when the notes were last sold on October 17.

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Application To have SA Express Liquidated Withdrawn

The threat of state-owned airline SA Express being liquidated has been removed as the complainant‚ Solenta Aviation‚ has withdrawn its application for liquidation. Instead SA Express and Solenta have agreed to deal with their dispute by means of arbitration. Solenta brought the application in the Gauteng High Court in June with SA Express giving notice that it would oppose it. The application arose from the non-payment by SAExpress of monies allegedly owed to Solenta.

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Currencies : Bitcoin R106,772 . Rand/USD 14.38 . Rand/GBP 18.89 . Rand/EUR 16.99

 

Free Education Plan Blocked by Treasury

President Jacob Zuma’s budget-busting plan for free higher education set off a flurry of panic among senior government officials this week‚ even prompting threats by a senior National Treasury official to resign should the proposal go ahead‚ the Sunday Times reports. It said the president had planned to announce the R40-billion free education plan on Tuesday last week ‚ but held off amid warnings from officials that such a move would plunge South Africa into an economic crisis.

Source: https://goo.gl/UXbFgg

Bitcoin Rollercoaster Erases $38bn Off Market

Bitcoin plunged as the cancellation of a technology upgrade prompted some users to switch out of the cryptocurrency, spooking speculators who had profited from a more than 800% surge this year. The cryptocurrency has dropped 9.5% since late Friday, extending its slide from last week’s record to as much as 29%, according to data compiled by Coinmarketcap.com and Bloomberg. Bitcoin cash, a rival that split from the original bitcoin in August, has jumped nearly 40% since Friday.

Source: https://goo.gl/1NuCxX

Eskom Cash Dries Up

Eskom’s latest report to its shareholder representative, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, showed that the state utility’s liquidity is fast drying up, as it struggles to raise funds in an unsympathetic market. In the report, Eskom tells Brown that its governance issues are having a negative impact on financial sustainability and the utility’s ability to keep going. Several key Eskom executives, including suspended chief financial officer Anoj Singh, ex-Eskom boss Brian Molefe and suspended executive Matshela Koko are being investigated for their role in state capture at the state utility, while parliament has heard shocking revelations of how looting took place at Eskom with the assistance of key executives.

Source: https://goo.gl/HhxHcp

Nigeria Rejects Moody’s Downgrade

Nigeria has rejected the downgrading of Nigeria from a B1 stable to a B2 stable rating by Moody’s Investors Service Research. In a statement, the Nigerian authorities said the downgrade was not a true reflection of the current state of the country’s economy, which government said has improved. “The attention of the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Debt Management Office (DMO) has been drawn to today’s announcement of the decision by Moody’s to downgrade Nigeria from a B1 stable to a B2 stable rating. “While we respect the right of Moody’s to make this decision, we strongly disagree with the premise and must address some of the conclusions upon which the decision rests,” the statement said.

Source: https://goo.gl/Rqg8L9

Uber Loses Employee Rights Case In Britian

Uber on Friday lost a landmark case in Britain that would give drivers the right to paid holidays and the national minimum wage, lawyers representing the claimants said. The London employment tribunal rejected Uber’s appeal against an October 2016 ruling in a case that is being closely watched for the wider implications for Britain’s booming “gig economy”.

Source: https://goo.gl/gU2VC3

Vodacom Hits 40 Million Subscribers For First Time

Vodacom has released its results for the six months ended 30 September 2017. The company said it gained 2.9 million local customers during the period, taking the network to 40 million South African subscribers for the first time. Vodacom said it defines a customer as a user using any service during the last three months. This includes customers paying a monthly fee.

Source: https://goo.gl/wJLjCD

Hlaudi Sues SABC For Pension

Former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng has filed another court application to force the SABC pension fund to pay him R8-million in pension benefits. Motsoeneng, through his attorneys Majavu Incorporated, filed an application in the South Gauteng High Court on Monday asking for an order to compel the public broadcaster’s pension fund to release the millions he is claiming.

Source: https://goo.gl/3wTzCw

Currencies : Bitcoin R99,205 – Rand/USD 14.41 – Rand/GBP 18.85 – Rand/EUR 16.77

 

 

 

 

S A Companies Implicated In Tax Leak

High-profile South Africans and local institutions including Shanduka, Glencore and Standard Bank are flagged in the biggest tax leak since the Panama Papers, which is set to cause ripples among many who have stashed their wealth in offshore tax havens.

This leak — dubbed the Paradise Papers — highlights damning cases of tax abuse and questionable practices involving multinational companies, politicians, celebrities, wealthy executives and royals. It includes previously hidden details of corporate registries from countries infamous for ensuring high levels of secrecy.

Source: https://goo.gl/J6niF3

Avian Flu Outbreak Affects KFC Sales

KFC is one of the hard hit retailers and their popular Zinger and Dunked wings have been temporarily out of stock at a number of outlets. KFC Africa spokesperson Thanisa Mkhwanasi said the wing shortages in some areas were a direct result of the outbreak of avian influenza. “KFC South Africa can confirm that KFC restaurants, together with the broader industry, are experiencing a shortage of wings in some areas due to the impact of the outbreak of avian influenza (AI) on bird availability.

Source: https://goo.gl/jUucjj

Suadi Arabia Arrests Princes And Officials In Anti-Corruption Drive

In just a few hours, security forces arrested princes, billionaires, ministers and former top officials as soon as King Salman announced a sweeping anti-corruption drive. Those detained included billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who was picked up at his desert camp outside Riyadh, according to a senior Saudi official. Before midnight, the suspects’ names were already being leaked to local media, first as initials and later in full.

The king also relieved Prince Miteb bin Abdullah from his post as head of the powerful National Guard. The decision removed one of the last senior royals to have survived a series of cabinet shuffles that promoted allies of his son.

Source: https://goo.gl/eqAe71

Eskom Manager Received R20m For Kusile Tender

An Eskom contract manager allegedly received R20 million as a bribe to ensure Tubular Construction Projects got a large tender at the Kusile project, stated the Rapport. According to the report, the money has been in the account of Hlakudi Translation and Interpretation CC since 2015. France Hlakudi, an Eskom contract manager for the Medupi and Kusile projects, is the only member of the closed corporation. He denies there are any irregularities.

Source: https://goo.gl/GP5DKH

Around 300 Take On Banks In Home Repossession Claim

A joinder application seeking permission for 70 new applicants to join a class action suit against the nation’s largest banks and home loan providers has been filed with the Constitutional Court. The application brings the number of people seeking to participate in the civil claim against the likes of Nedbank, Absa, FirstRand, Standard Bank, Changing Tides 12 – a trustee of the SA Home Loans Guarantee Trust – and Investec, to around 300.

This, after an application was filed by Advocate Douglas Shaw in August, to establish whether South Africa’s current law of sale in execution – whereby properties are sold at a public auction held by a Sheriff of the Court so as to recover home loan repayments that are in arrears – is constitutional.

Source: https://goo.gl/zv6nJx

A Simple Guide To Bitcoin Forks And Why They Happen

Right now people keep hearing about the pending fork scheduled for on or around the 16th of November. Because software forks and blockchain splits can be a confusing subject, we want to explain just what a fork is and what it means for all the network participants involved. If you are just getting involved in cryptocurrencies, and you’ve done a little research, you might have read about the great scaling debate and the topic of forks recently. Forks represent changes to the bitcoin protocol that make previous rules valid or invalid. Cryptocurrency forks are merely protocol upgrades, and there are two types of blockchain forks that bitcoin enthusiasts refer to

Source: https://goo.gl/wuF1go

Currencies: Bitcoin: R115,898 – Rand/USD 14.24 – Rand/GBP 18.56 – Rand/EUR 16.51