Last week on 23rd and 24th May, the Blockchain Association of Uganda with support from the Government of Uganda hosted the Africa Blockchain Conference at the Kampala Serena Hotel. The conference was held under the theme “The role of Blockchain Technology in Africa’s transformation”.
The Africa Blockchain Conference aimed at spurring engagement from both the public and private sectors, by sharing understanding as to how it can be adopted and its impact.
I have curated all the stories I have had a chance to read as I missed out on the whole event below. But first, what is blockchain technology?
Blockchain technology is a distributed ledger platform that allows creation and management of decentralized systems and processes, which enhance efficiency and transparency of transactions across institutional or business operations. Blockchain Technology, is also described as the ‘technology of trust’ is disrupting and redefining traditional governance and business models across the world from the way information is created, managed and shared to the way products and services are delivered.
Assets such as cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are traded across the blockchain system. Bitcoin can be used to buy different stuff. For example, the online car importation firm, Be Forward, allows cryptocurrencies to buy cars. The beauty of the blockchain system is that it cuts out the middleman, thereby reducing costs, improving transparency, and ultimately improving earnings between buyers and sellers.
The Africa Blockchain Alliance, a non-profit organization with a mission to educate and network stakeholders in order to promote the development of the blockchain ecosystem in Africa, announced the addition of Blockchain Association of Uganda as one of its members. ABA participated at the African Blockchain Conference in Kampala, that was hosted by the Blockchain Association of Uganda. The other prominent National Blockchain Associations from across Africa in the Alliance include the Cryptography Development Institute of Nigeria (CDIN), Blockchain Association of Kenya (BAK) and Ghana Blockchain Society.
The Blockchain Association of Uganda is a non-profit Association, where passionate and talented professionals and experts put forth their skills and competencies to serve the needs of the blockchain ecosystem in Africa. It fosters knowledge sharing by connecting people and companies and organizing events and conferences with the same scope. Their mission is to make blockchain technology more accessible and comprehensible and are always looking for people; companies, partners, students who align with their mission and can help them build, innovate, grow beyond Africa.
Blockchain technology received mixed reactions in the 54 African countries at its inception. While most African countries are slowly warming up to blockchain technology, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana are taking the bull by the horns. Since last year, these countries have made tremendous milestones in the blockchain industry, with startups and blockchain awareness emerging in recent months.
President Museveni hit at Bank of Uganda Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile for being “dogmatic” and unwilling to adapt to new technology. This happened while the two were speaking during the Africa Blockchain Conference. Mutebile told the meeting that blockchain technology lacks the necessary prerequisites to work as a currency and that people who sell cryptocurrencies risk being burned when the bubble eventually bursts.
He cautioned that no cryptocurrency can match the legality of a national currency adding that the technology can only succeed in the presence of a legal provision to give a currency status to a crypto.
Museveni hit out at the governor for being “dogmatic”, saying there was a need to embrace technology advancement since it will enable quick service delivery. He then took the conference on a historical perspective on the evolution of money.
“What we’re talking about here is to look for a new technology of enabling things to move faster and new systems that go with it. Technology and systems. Of course, this is not new and, I would encourage the governor to be more inquisitive, not to be dogmatic. I congratulate him for reminding me about my S6 economics of 1966 – the role of money as a unit of account. To tell the value as a medium of exchange and as a store of value. As he knows, money itself changed up to 1930. Initially, money was only gold and silver.” Museveni said.
Given that Wright’s talk, which was titled “Bitcoin Cash: The Cryptocurrency & Blockchain for Africa at the Transform Africa Summit, which took place from May 7 to May 10 in Kigali. He explicitly mentioned neither cryptocurrency nor bitcoin cash in his speech, which made it quite possible that Wright chose to respond to the jab to the man who introduced him at the conference — CNBC Africa anchor Georgie Ndirangu — appeared to poke fun at Wright’s one-time claim that he created bitcoin, and Wright did not seem to take that prodding in good spirits.
IBM is back supporting a microfinance project using a Hyperledger blockchain to help administer small loans at low interest to food sellers in Kenya. A food-distribution logistics firm in Kenya called “Twiga” wanted to induct more food stall proprietors into their logistics network by offering those businesses the perk of micro-loan services to help food sellers access more product.
These days the term “Blockchain casinos” has gained immense popularity and if we take just the Blockchain technology into account, it can be safely said that this technology is being extensively applied not just in the online gambling industry but in various other sectors such as banking sector, the insurance people are also using it.