Bitcoin Africa had the opportunity to sit down with EOS Nairobi’s Daniel Kimotho, George Mosomi, and Felix Macharia for an exclusive interview to discuss the projects they are currently working on and their vision for EOS in Africa.
Daniel Kimotho, EOS Nairobi’s Community Lead, has a background as a business and web developer (BBIT), and he has co-founded the First Nexus Company that aims to provide solutions for companies embracing emerging technologies for their businesses.
Felix Macharia is the Head of Operations, having his background in entrepreneurship and scientific research. He and Daniel are both co-founders at First Nexus, and both are researchers affiliated with the Institute for Blockchain Studies, based in New York.
George Mosomi is EOS Nairobi’s Chief Technology Officer. His background is in strategic consultancy. He is the co-founder of Capitally Blockchain, a firm that consults with companies on adopting blockchain technology.
Why Did You Decide to Launch an EOS Community Instead of, say, an Ethereum, Waves, or IOTA Community?
We found that EOS would offer greater support for decentralised applications, which could be built to enhance business and commerce through such applications. Each of these mentioned platforms has ushered in a new frontier of technology that was the best advantage in its time, and we believe that EOS is the most appropriate tech for our community currently.
What Projects Are You Currently Working on?
There are four projects; addressing health, traffic fine management, art, and enumeration.
The project on health aims to incentivise holistic living by awarding the Health Wealth token for goals attained by community members. The founder of this initiative is Jason Kunga, who founded the “Back to Nature” movement.
Joshua Nyaga has proposed a solution to incentivise efficient traffic offence management. The DApp will connect the traffic, legal system and motorists such that an offending motorist upon determination of the offence will be able to log in, accept the charge as legally prescribed, and pay a fine, out of which a 20 percent commission will go to the reporting traffic officer. This is set to promote safe driving, reduce corruption and increase efficiency in traffic offence management.
Amos Mburu proposed an art project to provide a secure platform for artists to earn directly from their clients, while significantly reducing the risk of piracy through smart contracts that create digital signatures for the art pieces, thereby ensuring each artist earns rightfully from their work.
Amos Mburu has proposed a project that seeks to leverage blockchain and graphene technology to afford effective mechanisms to identify, capture pertinent data, and enumerate people as per their geographic areas. Normal census mechanisms can be affected by bias, harsh terrain and adverse weather conditions in certain regions. If, however, other mechanisms, such as mobile proliferation are leveraged, it is possible to reach more people accurately.
What is Your Plan for EOS Nairobi?
The EOS Nairobi community is set to grow steadily through its educational and incubator program whose main aim is to build capacity and develop skills among software developers, entrepreneurs, and people who are ready to take advantage of blockchain technology for business development. The demand for such skill is already quite high across various sectors, so EOS Nairobi will aim to bridge that gap.
This incubator initiative is being facilitated in partnership with Techno Brain and Strathmore University, as the partnerships in that initiative are vital in creating an enabling ecosystem for businesses leveraging blockchain technology.
As more companies and businesses seek alternative means of financing, such as digital tokens, as seen in the last year with billions of dollars raised in initial coin offerings (ICOs) or token generation events (TGE), it is evident that there is need to ensure proper mechanisms and standards are put in place to ensure that these businesses deliver sustainable value, otherwise, there is risk of businesses collapse post ICOs and monetary loss.
EOS Nairobi plans to develop a framework in partnership with other organisations to consult, guide and benchmark best practice for businesses seeking to raise funds for operations and scaling through token generation events. Two such projects are underway.
What Role Can EOS Play for Africa?
EOS, as an open source technology platform, is a powerful decentralised infrastructure. Its core vision is to secure life, liberty and property. Among its core principles is the value of community, and one of Africa’s unique strengths is that of community. In any African country, one cannot miss a sense of community. You are, therefore, likely to find people innovating solutions based largely on community needs. Furthermore, questions on property ownership and inheritance are quite sensitive in Africa. EOS can play a significant role in propelling technological innovation for Africa’s communities to secure life, economic liberty, and property ownership.
Moreover, EOS can open up the next frontier of social enterprise initiatives, as it would be easy to track results and impact quite efficiently. EOS offers a high transaction rate per second, 10-100,000/sec; easy-to-use interfaces for people, no transaction fees and it provides for scalability to support all those transactions on the network. EOS has the potential to spark a multiplier effect for development, social transformation and social impact in Africa.
As these innovations come up and their impact is assessed over time, it is likely that Africa’s developmental potential will be significantly opened up for generations to come, because as it begins with the youth and first adopters, it will be unstoppable.
What Are Your Thoughts on EOS for the Future?
EOS as a project is set to launch the next frontier of technological development globally. Much in the same way that with improvement in internet accessibility and upgrades from 2G to 4G and now 5G, we were able to see the evolution of technology from email, to search engines, to mobile applications and now IoT being applied to multiple industries seeking to improve communication, security, manufacturing output, efficiency, leisure and other goals, we will see progressive evolution of innovation and initiatives for commercial and social impact.
EOS will be a gateway for innovation, increasing awareness of needs, problems, and potential solutions.
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.
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