Two entrepreneurs have turned to the blockchain to build a platform that will enable businesses to curb child labour, environmental devastation, and the financing of armed conflict in their supply chain processes.
Dorae Inc. is running a pilot of a blockchain solution for the coltan and cobalt provenance under the tagline “the blockchain for raw materials”. The blockchain solution is Ethereum-based and will track the journey of a mineral from its source to the end user. The company aims to make companies more responsible with its global supply chain tracking solution that can be used for anything such as smartphones to electric cars.
Referring to their solution as one that is expected to “revolutionise the global market for these materials”, Dorae has kicked off its first pilot in DR Congo with the backing of the country’s president, Joseph Kabila. The pilot project is currently tracking cobalt and coltan from three mines in the DRC. The two minerals are used in items such as laptops, phones and electric vehicles. If the pilot becomes successful in the utilisation of blockchain technology to the secure transmission of mining supply chain data, it will help to eliminate the child labour cloud that has been hanging over the DRC’s cobalt and coltan mining industry. The Central African country, which is a hotspot for mineral mining, has been plagued by armed conflict coupled with a poor record of human rights issues including child labour.
Application of Blockchain Technology
The blockchain solution is expected to help by making it possible for all involved parties to record information about the origin, transit and processing of the raw materials into finished goods. All the stakeholders involved – companies, consumers and financiers – will have insight regarding the origin of the material and its full journey.
Speaking to Global Trade Review, Dorae’s Co-founder, Aba Schubert said, “The highest value of blockchain is addressing the disconnect in the information that’s needed in one end of the supply chain and the information that exists at the other end. That’s why we decided to start our project in DR Congo because there is information on the ground that end-users need, particularly US manufacturers who have actual regulatory requirements to conduct diligence on their supply chains, but it gets lost along the way.”
Partnerships with Governments and Businesses
Santos Silva, Dorae’s other co-founder, stated that the company needs to work with governments as a way of them standing out from their competitors. The two co-founders believe their platform could benefit different governments by giving them a tool that they can use to manage the information collected from their mines while empowering them to fight child labour and tax evasion issues.
Schubert went on to add: “We do not work against governments, we do not work independently from them, we work with them. Instead of just running our business on a private basis, we went and showed them our project, to get their blessing.” This was witnessed when the DRC’s president, Joseph Kabila met with Dorae in person and gave his approval.
Although the blockchain-based solution by Dorae could potentially curb human rights abuses, environmental exploitation, as well as regional conflict, the company’s founders, are tackling the issue from a business-focused viewpoint as companies associated with such issues could experience huge legal, financial and reputational repercussions.
Schubert went on to say: “We are not an NGO, we are not going in scolding people and telling them they should not do business this way or that. We are saying ‘here is a way you can do it and be economically compensated for the effort that that involves, and this is a system to get that information from A to B’.”
The end goal is to have firms rewarded by the end-consumer for maintaining proper standards. This is one of the key reasons that Dorae expects to get support from different companies in the supply chain industries as each has “an incentive to preserve that information”. The company is expected to target all supply chain stakeholders from both small to large-scale miners, processors and distributors as well as large international companies like Apple and Tesla.
How the Solution Will Work
According to Schubert, anyone can be onboarded to the platform as long as they have “good quality information”. Each material will have its own tailored dataset that will detail the information regarding the place of origin, amount and the state of material, time and location of the transaction, transaction individuals and the satisfaction of legal requirements. All data will be gathered and verified through partnerships with certification organisations, government inspectors, and NGOs.
Schubert said: “Our system takes the information, aggregates it at point of origin, loads it to blockchain. When a unit of material moves from the mine to the initial distributor, that sale is logged, and then when that distributor sells it to a processor, that sale is logged too. What the processor actually does to the material, that information gets logged, and so you get this immutable chain of information that is there as a pre-packed audit trail for the end-user.”
Lack of due diligence by supply chain companies is what commentators and academics have argued has contributed to the de facto embargo of minerals from the DRC leading to a weak economy. By making use of the blockchain, the platform will make it easier and cheaper for companies to prove their supply chains are responsible.
Schubert concluded by saying “financiers don’t want to get associated with it if there is some liability attached to it, and with this system, they can know that what they are financing is actually green mine-sourced.” While trade financiers are not their main focus at the moment, they will also be eventually added to the platform at some point in the near future.
Doare’s next milestone will be to increase the number of mines and raw materials and expand to additional countries. The startup is already in talks with specific countries in Africa and South America.
Women in Blockchain: An Interview with Blockchain Association of Kenya’s Roselyn Gicira-Mwangi
On June 22, 2019, the Blockchain Association of Kenya (BAK) elected a new chairperson during its AGM. Bitcoin Africa talked to the newly elected chairperson, Roselyn Gicira-Mwangi, to understand what the association has accomplished so far, what she plans to achieve as chairperson, and about women in blockchain.
Since it was registered in 2017 as a non-profit, the Blockchain Association of Kenya (BAK) has played a big role in catalysing the largest Kenyan community and network of people working in the blockchain space. According to Gicira-Mwangi, this is one of the achievements that is the “foundation and catalyst of everything that is happening regarding blockchain in Kenya and East Africa.”
BAK has been an inspiration and role model to other blockchain communities and networks in Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda. Furthermore, the association has grown its non-profit brand through the commitment and help of its community and network.
Through the guidance of a two-year strategic plan, BAK is currently working on several projects to promote blockchain awareness, adoption, and to expand the blockchain community.
“We are creating linkages with strategic partners to roll-out educational programmes for the public. The programmes will span from simple understanding and application of blockchain technology to actual courses for developers. We are also positioning the BAK as a platform to highlight all our partners’ activities to make it easy to plug into events whenever is convenient for them,” Roselyn said. “To get there, first we are working to get representatives in the different regions of the country to enable seamless representation for all Kenyans. This will lead up to a Blockchain summit at the end of the year hosted in one of these regions,” Gicira-Mwangi told BitcoinAfrica.io.
The association is reassessing its constitution and charter as it strives to grow its leadership, advisory, and board structure. A membership recruitment process for institutions, corporations, and individuals will follow this reassessment.
To support blockchain adoption, BAK has established working group forums to extract feedback and suggestions on how emerging technologies such as blockchain can drive development in the country at both levels of government.
Women in Blockchain
More than 50 percent of the people that reach out to BAK for a wide range of reasons are women, Gicira-Mwangi stated. As a woman in the blockchain industry, she believes that the diversity of players in any sector is crucial.
“My personal experience with Kenyan women is that they are keeping up with changes in technology and are keen to get a grasp on the future technological advancements and its impact on their lives. Women are also great networkers because they talk to each other about trends and events. Every other day, I get more women who want to be taken through Blockchain, its implications, and benefits,” she added.
Currently, women in Kenya are holding a wide array of positions in blockchain companies. They are trading and investing in cryptocurrencies, and increasing blockchain awareness to the people within their circles.
In anticipation of the rising demand for blockchain developers in the coming years, Roselyn plans to lead BAK in promoting the training of professionals in this line of work. Furthermore, collaborating with other regional blockchain organisations is another item on her to-do list during her term. Such partnerships could be used to promote blockchain awareness, increase blockchain innovation, and implement blockchain projects.
Gicira-Mwangi is passionate about emerging technologies and formerly worked as a programme officer at UN Women East and the Horn of Africa for eight years. Besides heading BAK, she is the director of Azuri Blockchain Consultants, a firm that connects investors with blockchain startups.
Blockchain Game Gods Unchained Secures New Game Director and Introduces Debit Card Payments
Blockchain card game Gods Unchained has added Magic: The Gathering Arena Game Director Chris Clay to its team and introduced debit card payments. These two decisions aim to drive the game closer to mainstream appeal.
Experience and Achievements
Clay’s experience of more than 20 years in design and game development will be valuable to his new position as game director at Gods Unchained. His task entails prioritising visual designs, new features, and supporting community experience.
In his previous role at MTG Arena, Clay brought on-board three million active players and more than one billion games were played. According to a report by Dot Esports, MTGA – a digital collectible free-to-play card game published by Wizards of the Coast – grossed around $225 million.
Currently, Gods Unchained is the top-selling blockchain game of the year and with Clay’s help, the game could reach greater heights and attract traditional players.
“I believe blockchain represents a new frontier for game developers. Digital asset ownership on the blockchain lets developers support games and their communities in ways we have never seen before in electronic gaming. […] Blockchain is not just for digital currency; it is laying the foundation for a whole new digital economy,” Clay explained.
As an Ethereum-based esports game, Gods Unchained has been allowing its community to purchase booster packs using ether. Users now have an alternative payments option of debit cards. This move could help the game to reach a wider audience by appealing to traditional players.
“To date, blockchain games have provided a niche group of individuals a fun and experimental game ecosystem of NFTs. But now is the time for mainstream adoption. We need these games to show value, and we do not want ‘blockchain’ to sit as just another buzzword. Gods Unchained will become a game that any person can play, regardless of their blockchain familiarity. And the fun of the game will not be predicated on the underlying tech,” stated Gods Unchained co-founder Robbie Ferguson.
In a press release, Gods Unchained announced the rebranding of Fuel Games to Immutable. Immutable is the creator behind Gods Unchained.
If you are into blockchain gaming, check out our guide to the best blockchain games in 2019.
Kenya’s Blockchain Taskforce Releases DLT Implementation Strategy for Kenya
Kenya’s Blockchain and AI Taskforce released its first report to the public since the ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru launched the body in 2018. The report depicts an implementation strategy for the adoption of these two emerging technologies that will steer Kenya to the fourth industrial revolution.
The report, titled Emerging Technologies for Kenya: Exploration & Analysis, has stipulated an implementation strategy based on blockchain technology and AI that will solve challenges such as financial exclusion, corruption, high public debt, inefficient public service delivery, food insecurity, and high transaction costs.
Furthermore, the report will guide the government in attaining the Big Four Agenda, which encompasses affordable housing, food security, manufacturing, and healthcare.
The Chairman of the taskforce, Bitange Ndemo stated: “I am confident that this report will guide policymakers in their efforts to stimulate an efficient and resilient economy with respect to the digital transformational technologies, especially with the realisation of the Big Four Agenda.”
Some of the implementation strategies are as follows:
Digital Asset Framework
The Blockchain and AI Taskforce has proposed a digital asset framework that will guide companies wishing to list a cryptocurrency on an exchange. According to the report, the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) is looking into how to regulate initial coin offerings (ICOs) by using the authority’s legal framework and the forthcoming regulatory sandbox.
The digital asset framework is meant to help small and medium-sized enterprises that are unable to raise capital through IPOs to have the alternative of using token sales.
The taskforce had earlier announced its proposal for a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), which would facilitate financial inclusion and low-cost transactions.
With 90 percent of Kenyans already using mobile money, credit cards, and bank transfers to make transactions, adding a CBDC to the existing digital economy could be a seamless process.
To introduce a digital currency in Kenya, the taskforce acknowledges that the country first requires a regulatory sandbox and the tokenisation of government fiscal operations.
Another proposed strategy is the tokenisation of the economy which could help to solve unemployment issues. The unemployment rate in Kenya is one of the highest in the world and the taskforce envisions a platform where work is exchanged for tokens to tackle this issue. Service providers will use the platform to build a work marketplace, store data, and manage transactions.
The Ajira Program, an initiative created to enable more Kenyans to work online, will adopt this proposed strategy. Using the Ethereum platform, Ajira will offer inter-person and inter-service settlements and payments. The initial stage of creating the Ajira platform is ongoing. A flagship service called Ajira Machine Learning (AML) is currently running on this platform. The AI-based service links crowd workers to digital tasks.
AML offers human language interfaces in African languages and pays people for teaching the AI to translate these languages.
The Chairman of the blockchain taskforce, Bitange Ndemo, had mentioned in an interview with BitcoinAfrica.io the need to tokenise Kenya’s economy. In addition, he had observed the importance of helping Kenyans to understand this process.
Target Implementation Areas
Some of the target implementation areas for blockchain and AI include the Ministry of Lands, Huduma Centres where important documents are issued, and the Ministry of Transport.
In the Ministry of Lands, illegally duplicated title deeds are a common issue. With blockchain technology, the land titling process will become transparent and secure.
Moreover, the blockchain will enable Kenya to build an efficient public service delivery system where digitised documents are sharable between various government offices and where Kenyans can trace the payments they make for services.
The Ministry of Transport can build a public transport model based on a sharing economy. This model is then built on a blockchain to ensure that all relevant stakeholders in the transport sector are part-owners and that everyone benefits.
“The Organisation would determine which participants would form part of the networked nodes that would run the validation software as well as the consensus mechanism. Typically, the network of participating nodes would include stakeholders with specific roles and mandates within the ministry and across the transport sector,” the report reads.
The taskforce believes that the proposed strategies and solutions in this report will propel Kenya’s economic development. Additionally, the ICT CS Joe Mucheru illustrates his commitment to have the entire contents of the report executed and to gain the backing of all stakeholders in making these recommendations a reality.
Bet With Bitcoin
Places in Africa Where You Can Find a Bitcoin ATM
EcoHack Africa 2018 Aims to Build Blockchain-Based Green Economy Platform for Africa
Bitcoin Loophole – Another Crypto Scam to Avoid
5 Ways to Earn Free Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Top 5 Best Bitcoin Apps That Enable You To Earn Cryptocurrency
Quidax to use Ripple’s XRapid Product to Revolutionise Remittance and Payments
What is Particl and Why Should You Know About It? – An Interview with “Crypto Ramble”
The Top 5 African Countries That Are Embracing Bitcoin
7 African Blockchain Startups to Watch in 2019
Blockchain Game Gods Unchained Launches Beta Version
Press Releases12 months ago
Humaniq Doubles Number of Nations Where it Brings Global Unbanked Better Options
Altcoins1 year ago
Humaniq Global Challenge Winners Go To Kenya
Altcoins1 year ago
Humaniq Brings Financial Inclusion to Five More Countries in Africa
Press Releases1 year ago
Humaniq wants YOU for Hack.Summit (Blockchain)
Bitcoin2 years ago
Meet Africa’s Youngest Blockchain Entrepreneur: Token Media’s Elisha Owusu Akyaw
Bitcoin8 months ago
Places in Africa Where You Can Find a Bitcoin ATM
Bitcoin2 years ago
Kenyans Are Among Highest Bitcoin Holders Per Capita According to Citi Report
Altcoins2 years ago
5 Ways to Earn Passive Income with Cryptocurrencies