Apollo’s incursion into Zimbabwe

Apollo Fintech is expected to help launch a resource backed cryptocurrency for Zimbabwe, a country plagued with fiat currency troubles.

According to Apollo Fintech’s various twitter handles, it had entered into an agreement with Zimbabwe’s largest financial services group, CBZ Holdings to develop and implement 3 of the tech firm’s national solutions for the southern African country.

According to Apollo Currency’s twitter feed, Zimbabwe’s CBZ had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Apollo Fintech.

Premature celebrations?

The news immediately generated excitement within Zimbabwe’s small but vibrant crypto community while the value of APL—the fintech company’s crypto token— also reacted to the news by rising by approximately 20% following the ‘breaking news’.

Interestingly however, CBZ is has not formally acknowledged this and efforts to get a comment from the company’s officials have so far yielded little almost three weeks later (at the time of writing.)

Furthermore, as the news began filtering through, the rumours at CBZ suggested Apollo’s Steve McCullah might have jumped the gun.

A key individual within CBZ Holdings could neither confirm nor deny if indeed an MOU had been signed while another official only commended alert journalists for bringing this (Apollo’s announcement) to the company’s attention and that the group would take things from there. Both individuals refused to be identified at this moment in time.

This lack of clarity about this potentially game changing solution has some crypto enthusiasts worried and matters are not being helped by Apollo’s past reputation.

Allegations of pump and dump

In the past, Apollo Fintech has had to bat away numerous accusations that it is running a crypto scam. Steve McCullah, Apollo’s co-founder has been accused of operating a pump and dump crypto scheme on the African continent.

In general, pump and dump is illegal in countries like the United States and in many other regulated markets. However, since the cryptocurrency market remains largely unregulated, it means this practice can go unpunished. Critics argue that McCullah might be targeting Africa deliberately because he is aware that just a handful of few countries there have the means to expose him.

Furthermore, opponents also cite the botched expedition into the DRC as one episode that exposes McCullah as a con artist.

In Zimbabwe, critics have questioned the approach used by Apollo where McCullah makes big announcements via twitter while nothing is officially announced by the Zimbabwean side. This approach seems to contrary to the usual way of doing things in Harare.

It is almost a Zimbabwean custom, in both the public and private sector, to use lavish and elaborate ceremonies when announcing MOUs or major milestones. In fact, anything that comes with positive media coverage is never delegated to a faceless social media point person.

Furthermore, announcing everything on Twitter is never taken seriously especially when nothing is seen happening ultimately.

Zimbabwe silence

A few weeks prior to the Apollo/CBZ MOU announcement, the crypto and non-crypto community had been given another dose of similar good news. Apparently, an agreement between the Zimbabwean government and an initially unnamed fintech firm was imminent.

The news had coincided with the changed approach towards cryptocurrencies and fintechs by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ). A few days later Apollo acknowledged—via twitter—that it was the fintech firm in question.

Using the same modus operandi, Apollo has previously announced that it had signed an MOU with the Lesotho government and plans were afoot to sign similar agreements with a host of African countries.

Apollo’s APL token ranks at number 289 while its market capitalization is just under $10 million (at the time of writing) according coinmarketcap.com. The fintech company has have vigorously defended itself and even suggested that allegations that it’s operating a pump and dump scheme could be part of a smear campaign by a jealous competitor.

We do hope this is an opening for crypto into the country as will be a monumentous achievement, especially if ALL the claims made are verified. If not, well, it could cause more set backs for the industry in Zimbabwe.

Either way, until we have confirmation of facts, we will leave you to decide.