Little awareness and inadequate infrastructure have been put to light as a challenge that sees Africa lag behind in the use of blockchain for its social welfare.
In the yearly event dubbed the “Workshop”, Africa was highlighted as a place that lags behind in new “blockchain” technologies.
Organized by Klab, a local ICT company, the “Workshop” brought together about 200 developers and aspiring developers to discuss new technologies for ‘problems solving’. This year’s edition had “blockchain” as the main topic for discussion.
A blockchain has been defined as a peer-to-peer network consulting of blocks of time-stamped transactions that are encrypted through a cryptographic hash that makes it possible for only the owner of the data can see it.
Transactions that occur between on the network don’t have to through any intermediary like banks.
Blockchain technology has been said as “disruptive” because “once embedded in certain industries, can eliminate the need for intermediaries, like banks, health insurance providers, even governments and many more.”
In discussions between panelists in the conference held at Kigali Serena Hotels, this Monday, May 7, slow adaptation and the little awareness have been highlighted as the main challenges facing blockchain in Africa.
Stone Atwine, the founder of Eversend, the Kenyan blockchain, said that “blockachain are used by a small number of people in Africa and that regulators also have delayed to understand what it is all about.”
Celestin Rwabukumba, the CEO of Rwanda Stock Exchange, said that ” regulators [governments] have not yet understood the blockchain.”
“There is still the confusion about them in adoption. But businesses come first and then comes regulation,” he said.
An idea that blockchain may see the disappearance of banks in the coming future was raised. “Banks do something good like current accounts and money transfers but blockchain can do it 10 times better,” said Stone Atwine. “Blockchain can make banks obsolete in the coming 20 or 30 years, and they will be a game changer.”
IT experts believe also that infrastructure in Africa is a challenge to blockchains and cryptocurrency.
Tunde Ladipo is the head of Stellar, a non profit blockchain from San Francisco. He says that blockchains are advantageous as they use multi-currency as they are built in exchange platform that enables the exchange of any currency, asset or token.
Another advantage of the blockchains is the speed of money transfers as these transactions are confirmed in in three to five seconds.
Ladipo highlighted that the chryptography lags behind in Africa due to inadequate infrastructure as “600 million Africans live without electricity, with 70% of Africans having no access to internet while 66% of phones in Africa are not smart.”