The tool that can help Africans build the next Facebook, Google • Techpoint Africa


Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and a number of major African markets have witnessed an increase in the growth of cryptocurrency. A number of crypto platforms offering unique social services facilitate this process.

During the round table “Secure digital currencies for the future of Africa”, at Techpoint Build 2020, Yele Badamosi, CEO of Bundle Africa; Hanu Fejiro Agboje, CEO of Patricia; Eric Annan of KuBitX; and Marius Reitz, Managing Director for Africa, Luno, gave a nuanced overview of the generalization of crypto.

As we discovered in previous research, the predominant use of crypto has been primarily for speculative purchases. Buyers have used formal and informal P2P exchanges to buy and hold cryptocurrencies against future cases of inflation and devaluation. Few people cared about using it as legal tender to purchase items.

According to Badamosi, the rise of crypto platforms offering social payments has been a big factor in attracting many people to the crypto space and building trust in digital assets.

Agbodje explained that in terms of different use cases, there has always been a gap. With new innovations in the crypto space, people can now buy airtime, pay bills, and make other daily payments with crypto.

Annan insisted that beyond speculation, Africans could use Blockchain as a tool to create tailor-made solutions in different sectors and countries in Africa.

“The Internet didn’t create Facebook or WhatsApp, it didn’t create e-commerce; people used the Internet as a tool to create them. Blockchain is one of those tools that can be used to create solutions in industries such as payments, travel, and education, ”he said.

Annan believes that for this to happen, Blockchain needs to be viewed holistically – beyond the bull races, trading, or ICOs that dominate current practices.

Blockchain and advances in payment infrastructures

Photo credit: majjed2008 Flickr via Compfight cc

So far, there has been a lot of talk about the possibilities of Blockchain technology, but the infrastructure in Africa has not been sufficiently developed compared to the rest of the world.

As our editor, Titilola Oludimu, wrote two years ago, Blockchain can make a huge contribution to the Nigerian economy. Some of the ways it can do this are in the areas of budget tracking, financial inclusion, access to credit facilities, free and fair elections, and a unified database.

5 areas where the Nigerian economy can benefit from blockchain technology

Today, such Blockchain-based innovations have not been sufficiently developed despite the obvious need in most African countries.

So far, the financial space seems to have made the most progress. In a discussion on Community by Techpoint, the main answers to the different Blockchain use cases seemed to be in the area of ​​payment infrastructure development.

This is where Annan first spoke about the KBX wallet, a platform that allows users to tokenize their fiat currency (Naira, Cedi, Kenyan shilling, etc.). At Techpoint Build 2020, he explained that with the KBX, people can travel from Nigeria to Ghana without having to buy foreign currency.

“Imagine the naira on steroids able to seamlessly exchange it with Ghanaian Cedis painlessly,” he said.

Fliqpay is another platform trying to develop cross border payments using Blockchain technology.

Although bitcoin can be easily sent worldwide, the level of trust in bitcoin is still relatively low and few merchants accept it as a payment method. Therefore, fiat money remains relevant.

Hanu also highlighted this relevance by predicting that stablecoins (token currencies) will become more relevant as people begin to hedge their funds against volatility in the forex market.

He revealed that Patricia had developed a card that can be used to withdraw money in Naira at ATMs and could be used to spend bitcoins in malls.

Luno’s Reitz believes there should be some form of partnership with traditional banking institutions to bring cryptocurrencies closer to fiat currency acceptance levels.

What about other sectors?

Besides payments, innovations in other sectors do not seem to be as massively developed. There are more innovations to be seen in health, agriculture, education, travel and tourism.

There also remain structural challenges on the part of the government, as noted above.

It is encouraging to see that a few startups are making exciting strides in some of these areas.

Chekkit offers product verification and anti-counterfeiting solutions. And last week he announced he was testing his technology in Afghanistan. According to its CEO, Dare Odumade, discussions are still ongoing with the Nigerian government.

The Nigerian platform Jamborrow recently closed a $ 400,000 funding round. In a move that should include access to credit, among other benefits of financial inclusion, Jamborrow says it wants to reach the unbanked and under-banked Nigerian population.

Badamosi revealed that Bundle is currently working on providing access to credit, but he did not reveal many details on the proposed plan.

Payments could unlock more potential

As other industries continue to develop, it feels like once brilliant payment innovations are made, other industries will operate seamlessly using Blockchain technology.

As Annan revealed, having platforms that facilitate cross-border payments could be of immense value to a sector like travel and tourism in Africa. The gap that exists between 54 African countries, with 54 different jurisdictions and 54 different currencies could be bridged.

Although African governments are currently working on the revolutionary African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), there are still more conversations to be had about its viability given the history of decision-making in Africa.

According to Annan, food chains and agricultural supplies could also be symbolized to help supply chains and improve the overall production made from agricultural products in Africa.

The internet existed long before the arrival of tech giants like Google and Facebook, and more and more innovations are emerging every day. Along the same lines, it is safe to say that there could be other innovations, especially those tailor-made for Africa, that remain to be seen.

You can continue the conversation on Community powered by Techpoint Africa.

Writer, narrator, technical, business and political analyst. There is always something new to know.


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