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The State of the Blockchain in Uganda

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Blockchain in Uganda

Uganda is home to a growing cryptocurrency community. The capital Kampala was host to the Africa Blockchain Conference in May, which attracted a number of local and international blockchain enterprises and highlighted the country’s ambitions in becoming a blockchain hub. This article will explore the state of the blockchain in Uganda including the regulatory climate, notable startups and what the future may hold for the blockchain in the East African country.

The Potential for the Blockchain in Uganda

The blockchain is a decentralised, immutable and public digital ledger that records transactions across a distributed network of computers, which makes it de facto impossible to alter any records without altering all subsequent blocks or getting consensus from the network. Blockchain technology has gained global attention as it aims to build trust into systems used for transfer of value and any kind of data.

Digital currency adoption in Uganda has been on the rise with a number of investors, freelancers, and entrepreneurs in the space. In addition, the Blockchain Association of Uganda organises regular meetups and events where cryptocurrency enthusiasts can discuss opportunities and address challenges.

Regulatory Stance Concerning Blockchain Technology

Blockchain in UgandaDespite a growing cryptocurrency presence in the country, local regulators have not warmed up to the use of digital currencies. The Bank of Uganda has in the past warned against the use of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin citing the lack of consumer protections and a proper regulatory framework to govern their use. The central bank also warned investors about investing in MLM schemes like OneCoin, which are quite pervasive in Uganda.

However, things seem to be changing with policymakers and leaders looking to embrace blockchain technology and reap its benefits.

During the Africa blockchain Conference held in May the President of Uganda, Yoweri K. Museveni urged the Bank of Uganda to be more receptive about cryptocurrencies and to research on its potential benefits. He publicly endorsed blockchain technology explaining it would be useful for critical areas of the economy such as food production, service industry, manufacturing just to name a few.

Also, the Ugandan ICT minister announced at the conference the setting up of a Blockchain Taskforce to review the opportunities presented by blockchain, challenges, and advise the government on how best to utilize the technology. The setting up of the taskforce shows regulators in Uganda are becoming more receptive towards blockchain technology and its many applications.

Blockchain Startups in Uganda

There are a number of local and international startups that are harnessing blockchain technology to solve local problems in Uganda. While the Bank of Uganda’s position on cryptocurrencies remains unchanged, the regulator has given cryptocurrency trading platforms some leeway to operate.

This has given local entrepreneurs an opportunity to open cryptocurrency exchanges to serve the growing retail market. One such exchange is known as CoinPesa. Founded in 2018, CoinPesa is a cryptocurrency exchange and wallet that was formed to serve the needs of the global market while also providing access for the African user. The Kampala-based startup seeks to solve problems African users face when using international exchanges such as high fees and need for bank accounts. The company improves the user experience by integrating with familiar local payment methods such as mobile money and agency networks. CoinPesa also plans to release a utility token to be used on the exchange through an ICO slated for Q3/2018.

Apart from local exchanges, Ugandans will soon be able to trade cryptocurrencies on the leading global digital currency exchange Binance. The platform has launched a new cryptocurrency exchange in Uganda that enables crypto-fiat trading in local currency. The move comes nearly two months after Binance formed a partnership with CryptoSavannah, Made in Africa initiative, and Msingi East Africa to promote development in Uganda.

Wala, a blockchain powered platform that intends to offer barrier-free banking solutions to the unbanked in emerging markets, launched its money transfer app in Uganda. The zero fee app provides users with access to remittance services, credit and savings solutions on the platform. The services are enabled by the Dala token, which facilitates near instant micropayments at no fees. The company partnered with Spire to pre-install Wala in over 30 million smartphones across its markets. In addition, Wala partnered with Block Commodities, FinComEco, and the Dala Foundation to lend $10 million worth of Dala tokens to small-scale farmers in Uganda.

CryptoSavannah is another blockchain organisation in Uganda that is at the forefront of spearheading initiatives that promote blockchain technology in Africa. The organisation is forming strategic partnerships with the government, private sector, and international sponsors to develop the local blockchain space and thus create jobs and opportunities.

The Future of Blockchain in Uganda

Warnings from regulators against the use of cryptocurrencies have not slowed down Ugandans’ appetite for acquiring digital assets. With high unemployment rates witnessed among the youth in the country, many Ugandans are turning to digital currencies like bitcoin for investment and trading.

Furthermore, the Ugandan Government is looking to leverage blockchain technology to improve efficiency in public service delivery and provide easier access to critical public services.

In light of the success of the recent Blockchain African Conference in Kampala, combined with Binance’s arrival in the country and the launch of several new local blockchain initiatives, it would not be surprising to see more local blockchain startups emerge as well as international blockchain startups entering this market. This, in turn, would help to boost digital currency adoption and the development of value-adding blockchain solutions for Ugandans.

Blockchain Technology

What to Expect at the Blockchain Africa Conference 2019

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Blockchain Africa Conference 2019

The Blockchain Africa Conference is scheduled to take place in Johannesburg between February 28 to March 1, 2019, and in Cape Town on March 6, 2019.

What to Expect at the Conference?

Currently, in its fifth edition, the Blockchain Africa Conference is an annual event that is organised by Bitcoin Events. The three-day event will see more than 800 plus delegates listen to more than 50 speakers from around the world.

Given that the African continent has a lot of challenges with doing business, the conference seeks to explore how blockchain technology can be used by different industries as well as organisations to streamline systems and processes to improve Africa.

As Bitcoin Events has organised two different conferences in two of the most popular cities in South Africa, attendees should expect a myriad of offerings. The three-day Johannesburg conference will focus more on “blockchain enterprise development, blockchain use-cases, self-sovereign identity, enterprise blockchain in finance, the future of banking, as well as challenges facing blockchain technology such as interoperability and scalability.”

Blockchain Africa Conference

The one-day Cape Town conference will focus on how the blockchain and digital currencies can be utilised to attain the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for economic growth and social inclusion by facilitating and enhancing access to a broad range of financial services that are crucial in the achievement of Africa’s economic growth as well as long-term poverty reduction.

The speakers lined up for the Cape Town conference will focus on how blockchain technology can be utilised for new social projects in different areas like decentralised services for identity, patient records, remittances, healthcare support, renewable energy, provision and distribution of aid and support, and community currencies, among other areas.

Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Impact Training Course

artificial intelligenceAttendees of the Blockchain Africa Conference in both cities will also be able to take part in a two-day training session on blockchain technology and artificial intelligence (AI). For this, Bitcoin Events has partnered with Intelligent Impact and Blockchain Academy to offer the practical course that is meant for enterprises, development organisations, non-profits, corporates, governments and investment firms. Participants who attend the course will also be introduced to a wide range of emerging technologies.

List of Speakers

Bitcoin Events has selected a panel of speakers who are well-known globally for their contribution to the bitcoin and blockchain technology space. For both the Johannesburg and Cape Town conference, speakers lined up for the conference are people who have had their careers in the crypto space since it was started.

The list of Johannesburg speakers include:

  • Farzham Ehsani, CEO and Co-Founder of VALR.com – Master of Ceremonies
  • Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director of Hyperledger Project – Keynote Speaker
  • Charlene Chen, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at BitPesa
  • Mandla Magagula, Blockchain Consultant at Rand Merchant Bank
  • Tanya Knowles, Chair of the South African Financial Blockchain Consortium
  • Ntuthuko Bhengu, Health Expert on the SA National Planning Commission and a Chartered Director (SA)

The list of Cape Town speakers include:

  • Didi Sehume, Project Lead and Strategist at Hume Est/ MC & Moderator – Master of Ceremonies
  • Marcus Swanepoel, Co-Founder and CEO of Luno
  • Monica Singer, Creator of Opportunities at ConsenSys
  • Kwame Rugunda, Chairman of the Blockchain Association of Uganda
  • Simon Dingle, CEO of Inves Capital, South Africa Radio Presenter
  • Lorien Gamaroff, Founder/CEO of Bankymoon and Co-Founder/CEO of CentBee

Get Your Ticket

From 2014, the Blockchain Africa Conference has been known to bring together thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders to discuss the future of the blockchain and crypto in the African continent.

Tickets are already on sale. You can purchase your Johannesburg ticket here or for Cape Town here.

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Blockchain Technology

Africa Blockchain Alliance Joins Hands with ConsenSys Academy to Offer Blockchain Developer Program in Africa

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ConsenSys Academy

The Africa Blockchain Alliance (ABA), headquartered in South Africa, has joined hands with ConsenSys Academy to offer a blockchain developer program in Africa. The aim of the program is to produce highly-skilled Ethereum developers in response to the high demand for blockchain experts worldwide.

The Blockchain Developer Program

ConsenSys Academy focuses on promoting Ethereum education globally while the Africa Blockchain Alliance focuses on policy advocacy and facilitating awareness in blockchain technology. The blockchain developer program, which will be offered online, will begin on March 1, 2019, and will run for three months.

The program will include fresh and improved content created from the feedback of former ConsenSys graduates. It will cover smart contract development, DApp development, best security practices, and Ethereum concepts.

Participants will undertake the course for about ten to fifteen hours per week inclusive of four to five quizzes and a project. Once graduates have successfully completed the program and the project, they will receive certificates on the Ethereum blockchain.

ConsenSys AcademyThe Africa Blockchain Alliance in conjunction with its network of partners will provide support through meetups, community events, mentors, and in-person sessions in hand-picked African cities.

The founder of the Africa Blockchain Alliance Ben Onuoha stated:

“I am particularly excited about this initiative as this is our contribution to helping bridge the global blockchain knowledge gap in order to help meet the demand for blockchain developers as well as creating more diversity in the blockchain world. This program also has the potential to create employment for the graduates. Finally, blockchain expertise in Africa owned by Africans to deliver blockchain solutions is lacking and we are excited to be leading the charge in this regard.”

Registration

The blockchain developer program is open to both individuals and organisations from anywhere in Africa. Registration for the program can be done on the Africa Blockchain Alliance’s website.

Learners are required to have a stable Internet connection and a computer running the latest versions of Linux, Mac OS X, or Windows.

The Benefits of the Blockchain Developer Program

The graduates of this program will benefit in various ways such as gaining the opportunity to work for global companies, getting mentorship from developers in the Ethereum ecosystem, and becoming certified blockchain developers.

The program will also enable organisations to create blockchain developer expertise in-house, work on ideated use cases, and access certified and experienced blockchain developers.

The blockchain developer program comes at a time when African countries are reacting positively to blockchain technology with the plan to use it in various sectors. Therefore, this program could provide the talent pool African countries need to implement the blockchain.

If you want to learn more about blockchain development, you can check out our guide on ‘How to Become a Blockchain Developer‘ and our review of the best blockchain online courses.

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Ugandan Coffee Exporter is Putting Coffee on the Blockchain

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Uganda Coffee Blockhain

Ugandan coffee exporter Carico Café Connoisseur is now using the blockchain to verify shipments of its coffee. This move comes from a rise in demand by consumers wanting to know the origins of their products.

Finding Your Roots

According to a report by Business Day, coffee company Carico Café Connoisseur has started to track its shipments using blockchain technology. Mwambu Wanendeya, the CEO of Carico Café Connoisseur, stated that ‘Bugisu Blue,’ which arrived in South Africa last December, was a blockchain-certified shipment.

With blockchain certification, coffee lovers are able to follow the steps the coffee goes through using their smartphones. They can do this by scanning the QR codes or via a certification platform called Provenance.

Uganda Coffee BlockchainWanendeya says: “The idea is to give the consumer an appreciation of what happens on the journey and also to ensure that there are more linkages with the farmer. Traceability is important because people are increasingly concerned that […] farmers get rewarded for their work.”

From when farmers drop off their coffee at the collection centres to warehousing, to inspection by regulators and shipping, everything is recorded. This means that coffee drinkers can receive information such as the type of coffee bean they are drinking, their harvest year and which country it originates from.

Carico Café is already working with two farmer cooperatives with hundreds of members. This revolutionary move, Wanendeya thinks, could boost the farmers’ income by ten percent.

As he put it,

“Consumers are willing to pay more if they know where exactly the coffee is coming from.”

Currently, Uganda eagerly wants to increase their exports from current levels, which is good news for coffee farmers. Uganda is Africa’s largest exporter of coffee according to the International Coffee Organisation.

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