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Mauritius Aims To Become ‘Ethereum Island’

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Mauritius ethereum island

The island nation of Mauritius is set to partner with New York-based Ethereum startup ConsenSys to create a blockchain technology hub called the ‘Ethereum Island.’ This will assist blockchain innovators and entrepreneurs develop their ideas and serve as a gateway to African and Asian markets. The country aims to boost its local economy and establish itself as a serious player when it comes to blockchain technology.

Blockchain Hub of the Indian Ocean

Located 700 miles off the Madagascar coast, Mauritius is widely recognised as an offshore financial hub. The nation is looking to become a centre for some of the brightest tech minds and organisations from Silicon Valley and other innovation hubs. This new ‘Silicon Corridor’ will be aided by Mauritius’ ability to adopt new technologies and tools quicker due to its small size and flexible regulatory climate.

James Duchenne, a managing partner at Sutton Stone in an interview for Business Magazine, touched on the opportunity blockchain technology presents to the island nation. He says,

“I think we’re living at a time of significant technological change that presents opportunities for Mauritius and its people. Some examples of new technologies are virtual reality, 3D printing, augmented reality and chief amongst them, the blockchain, which has already started to, and will affect, virtually every industry. With the right framework and timing, Mauritius has the ability to provide the landscape for its workforce to acquire the knowledge required to boost its economy as a world-class, innovation-driven destination.”

Executing the Plan

The collaboration will see ConsenSys present and create the basis of a blockchain ecosystem with a process for digital registration and verification, and a decentralized information system. This way entrepreneurs, developers and regulators can develop new services and applications on the blockchain, ensuring its continuity. For the plan to work the company may have to develop a local talent pool for the new ecosystem. One human capital tactic they can adopt is a Mauritian ConsenSys Academy, similar to the Dubai version launched in May 2017.

The new venture will have a number of benefits for Mauritius including employment opportunities and economic prosperity. “We are working to take our economy to another level, and these kinds of technologies are very important in our strategy,” the head of technology, innovation and services at the Board of Investment Mauritius, Atma Narasiah said.

Mauritius has a well-established finance, information, and communication technology sector, together with good infrastructure and quality education, making it an excellent destination for investors and entrepreneurs in the blockchain space. Furthermore, the island nation plans to roll out free Wi-Fi and connect every residence to fibre optic connections, in a bid to woo technology investors.

Regulatory waiver

The nation also issued an open invitation for innovators in 2016 to participate in its Regulatory Sandbox License. This license enables companies in the financial, medical and communication fields to operate freely despite the lack of a formal licensing or legislative framework.

Also, this month, the ConsenSys team met with the Bank of Mauritius, the Nations Board of Investment and other public and private sector officials to discuss their shared vision of making the ‘Ethereum island’ a reality.

“Blockchain is one of these technologies we want to drive. We see a window of opportunity here to be able to leapfrog others,” Narasiah added.

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Akon to Launch Cryptocurrency Akoin to Build “Real-Life Wakanda”

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Akoin
By U.S. Embassy Nairobi [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Senegal-born singer and philanthropist Akon is set to launch a cryptocurrency called Akoin. The cryptocurrency will be available for sale in two weeks.

“I think that blockchain and crypto could be the saviour for Africa in many ways because it brings the power back to the people and brings the security back into the currency system and also allows the people to utilise it in ways where they can advance themselves and not allow government to do those things that are keeping them down,” he said during a panel discussion at Cannes Lion 2018.

The singer has powered 18 countries in Africa using solar energy through his project Akon Lighting Africa. The project has impacted African communities through the creation of jobs and the installation of 100,000 street lamps, 200,000 household electric systems, and 1,000 solar micro-generators.

Akoin will be the foundation of the Akoin Ecosystem, a universal project that offers real-life platforms and opportunities for youth entrepreneurs by enabling them to purchase, spend, and hold cryptocurrency.

Akon’s Crypto Wakanda

According to Akoin’s website, the cryptocurrency will also be used in an entirely new way when consumers visit the real-life Wakanda of Akon Crypto City.

The city will be constructed on 2,000 acres of land gifted to him by the Senegalese President. The city will be a blend of “leading Smart City planning designs with a blank canvas for cryptonising our daily human and business exchanges, with the goal of inventing a radical new way of existence.”

When asked technical questions about blockchain technology, Akon said:

“I come with the concepts and let the geeks figure it out.”

Akon has joined the list of celebrities embracing cryptocurrencies and the blockchain such as Lionel Messi and Ashton Kutcher.

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South African Ekasi Bucks Plans To Launch “World’s First Crypto-Mall and On-Demand Taxi Service for Townships”

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Image by Ekasi Bucks

Ekasi Bucks, a South African-based blockchain startup, is planning to launch what the company calls “the world’s first crypto-mall and on-demand transport service for townships” in Soweto, Soshanguve, and Mabopane.

This launch by Ekasi Bucks comes several months after the startup tried to raise R50 million through an initial coin offering (ICO) that was meant to finance a rewards programme that is blockchain-based for township residents who shop from specific township businesses. However, the ICO was only able to raise R500,000, falling short of their R50 million target. As a result, a large percentage of the money was given back to investors.

The co-founder and president of Ekasi Bucks, Lucky Kgwadi, told Ventureburn in an interview that “the startup had intended to use much of the R50-million to buy land and pay for the initial building of a physical mall — but after the failed ICO the company has now opted to therefore go digital”.

The Online Crypto-Mall

The digital crypto-mall will enable township businesses to sell their products via an online portal and in exchange, they will receive the Ekasi Bucks token.

Ekasi Bucks

The past six weeks have seen Ekasi Bucks run campaigns to create awareness and recruit vendors to the crypto-mall with 800 township entrepreneurs having so far submitted their applications to sell products such as clothing or food from local restaurants that will be delivered.

“We are trying to allow residents to shop from their own townships and to shop from their own home,” said Kgwadi. The co-founder of Ekasi Bucks believes that given an opportunity, township residents will easily buy from their local retailers. According to him: “It’s not a matter of products and markups — people just don’t know where to find the product.”

On-Demand Taxis for Townships

The operations of the on-demand taxi services will be similar to that of Uber or Taxify. However, instead of customers paying with credit cards or cash, they will make payments using Ekasi Bucks. To start, Ekasi Bucks plans to source for their token users from their already existing rewards programme that they have been managing since 2016. The programme is active across South Africa and has more than 20,000 card users and 4,000 merchants.

The startup has received 20 applications for its on-demand taxi service from drivers after running several Facebook ads for the said service. The initial batch of the vetted drivers will become the first pilot for the on-demand taxi service, said Kgwadi. He went on to say that for each token transacted, Ekasi Bucks will charge a ten percent commission to the drivers, which makes their rates significantly lower compared to the fee charges that Uber (15 percent to 20 percent) and Taxify (30 percent) debit from their drivers. In addition, the startup has partnered with Lion of Africa to provide white labelled life cover insurance to its drivers who will be part of the on-demand taxi service.

Kgwadi hopes that Ekasi Bucks’ new offering will appeal to more people and pick up considering that the startup was not so lucky last year in its ICO.

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Six Tips to Make Your Airdrop a Success

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Make Your Airdrop a Success

Airdrops are becoming increasingly frequent and are a common trend in the crypto space. With thousands of tokens currently in existence and a constant stream of more in development, the number of scam airdrops is also on the rise, therefore distinguishing between legitimate and fake airdrops is a big issue for potential airdrop participants.

With the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook data privacy scandal still fresh in people’s minds, there is a heightened awareness around disclosing personal information and data protection — meaning existing mechanics such as Google forms (which require the input of personal details) may discourage potential involvement. Google form airdrops also require significant time and manpower to cross-reference Telegram users with registrants.

Enter the progressive airdrop: by enabling live syncing between platforms, this new kind of technology allows companies to bring more value to their communities, as well as monitor participant engagement.

So what can companies do to ensure a smooth and successful airdrop?

1. Use Telegram

By conducting everything in one place such as messaging app Telegram, it makes life easier for your users who won’t have to struggle with referral links, switching between multiple apps, or losing friends to drawn-out processes.

Instead of copying and pasting, the progressive airdrop model (like the one qiibee uses) will automatically detect when you add a new member to your Telegram group.

Having everything and everyone on Telegram also helps to build your community and encourages conversation starters.

2. Live sync across platforms

By implementing technology that enables live syncing between platforms, this back-end development can help resolve logistical issues, thus eliminating any scope for human error during the process and creating a more seamless system — bringing added value to both your users and your Telegram group.

3. Make it as user-friendly as possible

Consumers know the value of their data, and with ethics and regulation under the spotlight recently, it’s important to take the privacy of your participants into consideration. Airdrop registration should be a simple task with minimal input needed.

While existing mechanics like Google forms require the input of personal details, this can be off-putting to some people and discourages potential involvement. To encourage more involvement, keep things on a need-to-know basis.

4. Reward engagement

Unique to the progressive airdrop model, participants are provided with the opportunity to access more tokens through engagement. Giving control to participants and acknowledging their interactions and milestones is invaluable in building trust.

Recognising achievements with a badge system or leaderboard can motivate participants to be more active in your community channels. This forms a mutually beneficial relationship and further builds loyalty.

5. Monitor spam

Managing community channels such as Telegram during the airdrop process often means dealing with increased volumes of spam and trolling. This can be detrimental to your credibility and have a negative impact on engaged participants contributing to the conversation. Using anti-spam and anti-abuse policies in conjunction with sentiment detecting and text recognition technology are simple ways of maintaining high-quality discussions.

6. Utilise social media

Integrating follow features into your airdrop mechanic invites participants to continue the conversation across different channels. Spreading the word on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube about a system like the progressive airdrop not only helps to reach new audiences but bolsters your own message on social media.

qiibee’s tiered achievement system-based airdrop will allow users to earn more QBX the more they participate, with 5,928,750 (or US$ 420,000) of QBX tokens up for grabs from this Monday, 21st May. For more information, visit airdrop.qiibee.com

This article was contributed by Gabriele Giancola, co-founder and CEO of blockchain-powered loyalty ecosystem qiibee

*Disclaimer: Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company, product or service. Bitcoin Africa Ltd. is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any loss or damage caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, product or service mentioned in this guest post.*

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