Connect with us

Blockchain Technology

Bitcoin Africa’s 2018 Cryptocurrency Outlook

Published

on

2018 Cryptocurrency Outlook

2017 has been an incredible year for cryptocurrencies. In 2017, we witnessed the price of bitcoin rallying from $1,000 to over $20,000 as the digital currency has finally gone mainstream as an investment. We also witnessed a massive boom in initial coin offerings, which have raised billions of dollars for new blockchain projects. In the past twelve months, we have also witnessed a massive jump in bitcoin adoption across Africa fuelled by increased global and local media coverage of the digital currency and the desire to make money with cryptocurrencies.

In this 2018 Cryptocurrency Outlook, we will discuss what the future will likely bring for digital currencies and blockchain technology in Africa in the coming year.

More Altcoin Investing

Bitcoin investing has boomed on the continent as LocalBitcoins trading volumes for countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa show. WhatsApp and Telegram groups have also become popular means of facilitating local bitcoin trade in countries where local exchanges are lacking. More and more Africans have been investing in bitcoin in the hope you generate a strong investment income and those who invested earlier this year were rewarded.

In 2018, there will likely be an increase in altcoin trading as bitcoin investors are now looking to diversify their portfolio and to invest in coins that have the potential to become the next bitcoin.

Leading African exchanges such ICE3X, Luno, and Golix have added altcoins such as litecoin and ether to meet the newfound demand for bitcoin alternatives. This trend will very likely continue in the coming year.

African ICOs

In 2017, hundreds of initial coin offerings were launched globally. However, only a small handful was launched in Africa and none of them managed to receive much attention nor raise a substantial amount of funds.

In 2018, we will see more local blockchain projects venture down the route of launching a token sale to fund their operations. Local entrepreneurs will have learned from the successes and failures of ICOs in the past year to launch successful token sales, which could result in the successful funding of truly value-adding African blockchain projects.

More Public Sector Blockchain Projects

In Kenya, there are already several public sector blockchain projects underway. From government bond issuance and electronic motor vehicle identification to healthcare data management, there are several blockchain trials happening in the East African nation while in Sierra Leone, there is a blockchain-powered ‘smart country’ project underway.

In 2018, we will likely see more blockchain adoption in the public sector across Africa. Areas such as land ownership, identity management, academic record keeping, and the electoral process are ripe for disruption by bitcoin’s underlying technology.

Tax Authorities Will Want Their Piece of the Bitcoin Pie

In light of the incredible increase in the value of cryptocurrencies, the tax authorities around the world have now woken up to the fact that they can be collecting capital gains tax on cryptocurrency investment income. This will also become the case in African countries with larger bitcoin communities.

In South Africa, the SARS has already announced that it plans to track digital currency trades to ensure that South Africans are appropriately taxing their crypto assets investment income. Tax authorities in other countries will likely follow suit in the coming year.

More Conferences and Meetups

2017 has seen an unprecedented amount of bitcoin meetups and blockchain conferences on African soil. Large conferences were held in South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria and regular meetups have occurred across the continent to encourage people to learn more about bitcoin and blockchain technology. Blockchain technology and its potential for Africa have even been discussed at a UN conference in Ethiopia.

In 2018, there will likely be more conferences and meetups as Africa’s interest in digital currencies, as well as blockchain technology, is growing.

Innovative Blockchain Solutions for Local Challenges

The year 2018 will likely also see more innovative blockchain solutions from local startups that address local challenges. From more local bitcoin exchanges that enable users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using local currency to bespoke blockchain solutions such as the ChamaPesa app, more local startups are expected to develop value-adding blockchain-based solutions for Africa.

Continue Reading

Blockchain Technology

AI and Blockchain-Powered Project CareAi Could Improve Healthcare in Africa

Published

on

CareAi

CareAi is a project of the Joint Research Centre from the European Commission that has the potential to improve healthcare services in Africa through the use of artificial intelligence and blockchain technology.

The open-source solution provides intelligent and anonymous healthcare and can diagnose diseases like typhoid fever, malaria, and tuberculosis within seconds through the use of AI. The aim of the project is to reach out to undocumented migrants, ethnic minorities, and populations secluded from healthcare systems. The anonymous nature of CareAi also allows patients such as migrants to receive a diagnosis without worrying about deportation.

How It Works

CareAi is a machine featuring a finger prick and a lab-on-a-chip technology initiated by a Harvard University chemistry professor called George Whitesides.

To receive a diagnosis, a patient will have their finger pricked and the blood sample is deposited on the chip, put in the machine, and anonymised. Once this is done, CareAi’s AI-powered health assistant analyses the sample by referencing it to a wide range of medical and diagnosing data and then displays the results on a screen and provides a printout for the same.

The results come with actions that the user should take such as getting a prescription from partner chemists or seeing a participating NGO doctor that provides anonymous treatment and who can claim back payment for services rendered.

Additionally, CareAi correlates medical data with records of academic data and journals anonymously. The anonymised data is securely stored on the blockchain while smart contracts manage the rights, permission, and access to the stored health data.

Organisations use a distributed app to access the data through smart contracts. For instance, if a government wants to access the stored data for policy purposes, it has to buy tokens called CareAi Points. These tokens are then used to pay the participating healthcare NGOs and for machine maintenance.

According to a Medium article by Lucas Lorenzo, these points can propel “economic interactions in the form of a valued currency, locally and at scale; exchanging economic value and intelligent healthcare feedback for anonymised data.”

The Possible Applications of CareAi in Africa

CareAiAlthough CareAi targets refugee camps in Europe, the technology could also make a positive impact on the African continent according to the founder of cloud-based health records platform Medcera, Ndubuisi Ekekwe. He believes:

“[…] Products like CareAi could become catalytic when they begin to penetrate into villages and cities across the continent. If AI systems could handle some of the minor healthcare issues, the available healthcare professionals could focus on the most difficult issues.”

Ekekwe also says AI systems, such as CareAi, can enhance drug prescriptions where the medical history of a person is entered into the system. This enables the AI system to confidently prescribe drugs and connect the patient to the right pharmacy.

However, he notes that although AI and blockchain technology could change the healthcare systems in Africa, nations must invest in other areas such as training more healthcare professionals and installing electricity and clean water in all healthcare facilities. He also believes that the challenge of inadequate data has to be solved for AI to have a future on the continent.

Continue Reading

Blockchain Technology

Kenya’s RideSafe to Receive $140,000 in Funding from Aeternity Starfleet Incubator

Published

on

RideSafe

Kenyan tech startup RideSafe is set to receive $140,000 in seed funding from the Aeternity Starfleet Incubator, which it partook in earlier this year.

In Kenya, one of the easiest ways to get around is through motorcycles known as “boda bodas.” This subsection of the transport industry has been largely unregulated, creating a myriad of risks for riders and commuters alike. It is, therefore, quite likely to find riders creating associations or small social groups for their collective interests and pooling their resources and support in order to secure solutions for financing, health, and insurance.

RideSafe is a startup that has stepped up to provide health solutions for riders in real-time in case of accidents. Many riders are exposed to hazardous conditions daily. Hence, there is a need for robust solutions to safeguard their wellbeing.

Æternity Starfleet Incubator

RideSafe

Image by RideSafeApp.com

Earlier this year, RideSafe participated in the Aeternity Starfleet Incubator, which is specially designed to empower startups that seek to leverage blockchain technologies. From an initial round of 60 participants, RideSafe qualified for the shortlist of 17 teams, among which Vite and Utu were the only other African startups to participate.

Asiimwe Benson, the CEO of RideSafe, revealed in an interview that he met the Aeternity team at the World Blockchain Summit in Nairobi in early 2018, where he got an opportunity to sign up for the incubator and funding. With the $140,000 prize, the CEO intends to expand operations to serve more riders nationally; ultimately targeting the masses. The funding will also be used to build capacity and secure technical support.

Nikola Stojanow, the CEO of Aeternity Ventures, remarked that the finalists of their training program demonstrated passion, dedication, and far-reaching potential through their ability to take counsel and fine-tune their business models and road maps for best practice.

The ten teams that made it through Aeternity’s incubator have paved the way for other teams and startups to learn and gain meaningful experience in sustainably innovating solutions based on blockchain technology.

Continue Reading

Blockchain Technology

Coinfirm Partners with KAD ICT Hub to Launch Africa Blockchain Lab in Nigeria

Published

on

Africa Blockchain Lab

London-based blockchain regtech company Coinfirm and Nigeria’s KAD ICT Hub have launched the Africa Blockchain Lab with the aim of taking up companies focused on creating blockchain-based services and products for African economies.

The new hub based in Kaduna, Nigeria is especially interested in companies that are focused on financial inclusion and has already accommodated one such startup called Kora.

Kora, founded in 2017 by Dickson Nsofor and Maomao Hu, is a blockchain-based infrastructure for an inclusive financial system. According to the Inclusive Growth Forum, “the Kora Network will provide access to identity, secure storage, money transfer, and marketplaces on a low cost, universal access platform accessible via SMS/USSD on feature phones, or with internet access via a mobile app, enabled by blockchain technology.”

CoinfirmCoinfirm’s co-founder and CMO Grant Blaisdell said in a press release: “A Silicon Valley out-of-the-box solution approach has generally not worked in regions such as Africa; it requires a ground-up, organic approach. Coinfirm has already successfully built leading blockchain solutions, the largest structured blockchain database and coverage, and the first blockchain lab for Central Europe. Now, working with KAD ICT Hub, who share our vision of bringing transformative, blockchain-based solutions to African markets, and who have the local knowledge and expertise, we are going to do the same in Africa.” He added:

“We want to work with and provide opportunities for African entrepreneurs working in one of the most exciting and disruptive fields today while bringing our own solutions like our AML/KYC Platform and AMLT Network.”

The KAD ICT Hub

Launched in 2017, the KAD ICT Hub based in Kaduna, Nigeria is an IT innovation hub that receives support from the Nigerian government.

Africa Blockchain LabCo-founder and chief executive of the KAD ICT Hub Yusuf Bashir said: “[…] The transformative potential of blockchain is enormous, and we are confident that, working with Coinfirm, we can provide the testbed and support for today’s leading African blockchain companies, giving them the opportunity to become global leaders. Here in Kaduna, Nigeria’s third-largest state in terms of population, and leading learning and innovation hub, we are extremely fortunate to have a governor who is not only supportive of what we are doing but had ensured we are backed by the Kaduna State Government.”

The hub has been working with Trudatum, Coinfirm’s blockchain-based data document verification platform, which Poland’s largest bank PKO Bank Polski has recently started to use. Additionally, Trudatum could be used in Nigeria to securely store documents in government institutions and universities.

Continue Reading

Popular Posts