Connect with us

Blockchain Technology

Nigerian Startup Kora is Leveraging the Blockchain for Low-Cost Cross-Border Money Transfers

Published

on

Kora

Kora, a new Nigerian blockchain startup, is utilising the blockchain to enable cross-border money transfers in Africa.

Dickson Nsofor, founder and CEO of Kora, was moved to develop the network while working in the United States as it was hard for him to transfer money back to Nigeria while there. Nsofor said: “It was faster to drive cash to Ghana than to transfer money using a digital channel. And I thought to solve this problem.”

Using the blockchain, the Kora team have managed to find a better way of cutting down the time it takes to make settlements. Since March this year, the Kora remittance service has been undergoing testing and is expected to go live in September 2018. Nsofor and his team plan to add more services than their current offering in future.

Currently, Kora is targeting people who are banked and live in underserved populace. They also have plans to tailor their services for the unbanked people in Africa.

Blockchain Technology Regulation

While payments are Kora’s main focus, for now, the company believes the blockchain can be used to digitise and empower other sectors like the insurance and loan services and is, therefore, testing other ways in which they can utilise blockchain technology. Kora has also created a token system to incentivise users using their platform to make money transfers.

Kora Network

Image by Kora.Network

There has been a lot of push and pull when it comes to regulating cryptocurrencies in Africa. A recent report by Ecobank found out that most African countries are taking a “wait and see” approach towards cryptocurrency regulation. Nigeria has not been any different.

However, Nsofor believes that the blockchain has a lot of potential and that businesses and regulators alike should not fear it. Accepting and acknowledging the technology by African governments would mean that the African continent does not adopt the technology late.

In order to support the adoption of the blockchain in Nigeria, Nsofor said his company is ready to support any blockchain project done by the Central Bank of Nigeria. He believes there is a need to test the technology’s local relevance in all sectors of the Nigerian economy. Naivety or little or no knowledge of the blockchain by African governments could be the two main factors that would cause Africa to miss on the opportunity of adopting the technology. It is for that reason that Nsofor wants African governments to allow and try exploring blockchain technology.

Gideon Orovwiroro, the Head of Operations in Africa at Kora, agrees with Nsofor’s sentiments and believes the greatest hindrance to the technology besides the lack of knowledge by African governments is regulation. In an interview with Techpoint.africa, he said: “A lot of African governments would rather adopt the sit-and-look approach, as opposed to being proactive which is keeping the continent back.”

Kora is keen on working with mobile money operators, licensed mobile transfer operators, businesses in the money service industry as well as banks. Their intention is to work with them using the regulatory framework that the different organisations have developed while waiting until the blockchain gets regulated. The startup is also planning to get a Payment Solution Service Providers license.

Why Africa?

According to Nsofor, there being no African Internet billionaires was the main reason why Africans were late to catch the Internet bubble during the early days and is why he is so keen on championing for the adoption of blockchain technology.

In May 2018, the Kora Network was able to raise $12 million in an initial coin offering (ICO). Looking at the kind of money transfer infrastructure that Kora wants to build, their goal within the next five years is to become “the first $5 billion tech startup in Africa”. And that is not all. They plan “to have a major stake in the financial service market” in Africa in the near future controlling micro-insurance, microcredit and credit scoring among others.

Kora’s game plan is to ensure financial communication within Africa is easy and that there is no currency or distance barrier. Besides, there has been an increase in the number of Global Internet companies that have built payment features interested in the African market a move that is more than welcomed by Nsofor as he believes his startup will be able to compete with them or get acquired.

“The end goal is to be the leading Pan-African digital banking solution provider from Africa by 2022. We want to be controlling payments, remittance, and digital banking across the continent.”

Blockchain Technology

Pundi X Unveils New Blockchain Phone ‘XPhone’ in Kigali

Published

on

xphone

Singapore-based company Pundi X recently unveiled its blockchain phone, called XPhone, at the GSMA Mobile 360 Africa event in Kigali, Rwanda.

The XPhone

The XPhone features a blockchain-based operating system enabling users to make calls and send text messages without the need for a centralised service provider. This makes it the first phone that runs on a decentralised ecosystem while allowing users to make phone calls, send messages, and transmit data. Furthermore, users can switch between the blockchain mode, which is powered by Function X, and the Android mode.

“Telecommunications and Internet companies have derived tremendous value from controlling data. By decentralising apps, we can put this data onto a smart contract, effectively giving control back to creators and users. Much of what we call peer-to-peer or ‘decentralised’ services continue to be built upon centralised networks. We are changing that,” said Pundi X founder and CEO Zac Cheah.

PundiXAccording to Pundi X, each XPhone is “a node on the network contributing to the operation of the blockchain ecosystem. Content and connectivity are organised in a distributed, node-to-node manner.”

Pitt Huang, the co-founder and CTO of Pundi X, stated: “Scalability in blockchain is derived from the number and geographic spread of nodes. It is clear how achieving a critical mass in terms of scale will require something with a high utility for people. The XPhone, thus, has the potential to establish a large global pool of nodes.”

Pundi X aims to give back to users the control over how their data is used with Function X which keeps data secure and encrypted.

“Blockchain today is at a similar stage of development as the Internet in the early ’90s. Like the browser was to the Internet, a new kind of network and decentralised protocol like Function X will have a profound effect on blockchain, putting it in the hands of millions via a smartphone and returning control of their data to them,” Huang added.

Features

The XPhone will have a 5.65 inches screen, 6GB RAM and 128GB ROM, fingerprint sensor on the side, 16MP front camera, 48MP rear camera, 3500 mAH battery capacity, and the Qualcomm SnapdragonTM 660 Mobile Platform. The blockchain phone will retail for $599. These are, however, the minimum specifications. Both the design and specs can change.

The XPhone will also have an ‘X’ button on the side that enables users to easily access DApps when they are in blockchain mode.

“Blockchain-based calling and messaging is toggled on and off on the phone operating system, which builds upon Android 9.0,” the company explained.

Pundi X will produce and release 5,000 XPhones in late 2019. The company is open to partner with hardware and phone manufacturers that want to build their version of a blockchain phone powered by Function X.

Continue Reading

Blockchain Technology

Blockchain Game Gods Unchained Launches Beta Version

Published

on

Gods Unchained
Image by godsunchained.com

Blockchain game Gods Unchained launched its beta version. The Ethereum-powered game, which was created by Fuel Games, has already sold four million virtual cards, generating four million dollars in revenue for the gaming startup.

God Unchained Beta

The Gods Unchained beta version will enable more players to “join the fray, collect cards, mint cards to the blockchain, and battle with others around the world.”

Co-Founder of Gods Unchained, Robbie Ferguson, said in a press release: “Gaming is a $100 billion per year market that has capitalised on leasing premium features to select individuals on their purchasing power. In almost every game, players are buying items, cards, skins, and upgrades which they do not truly own. Blockchain actually gives players digital-asset ownership by minting game elements to a blockchain. With Gods Unchained, we have captured the allure of traditional print card collectibles like Magic, married them with appealing visuals of digital games like Hearthstone, and added true ownership through the Ethereum blockchain.”

The beta will run through July where cards will be collected from packs. “Developers will monitor the performance of cards and measure the fairness of different deck combinations. This is to ensure that the game remains balanced, fun, and competitive. After the balancing beta, the development team will solidify card stats and activate peer-to-peer trading functions,” an official statement said.

Packs, Genesis Set, and World Championship

New players will get a starter deck to play the free game while players looking to expand their collection will have access to booster packs. In addition, during the pre-sale of the game, the developers have released a limited edition of the Genesis Set which has 380 special cards. The developers will terminate the Genesis Set after the beta closes and version 1 of the game launches. A new season of cards will follow the termination of the Genesis Set.

Ten percent of the sales from the packs will go towards the prizes for the first Gods Unchained World Championship. $430,000 has already been put aside for the championship.

Unlike traditional games where players do not own items they purchase in a game, the use of blockchain technology in Gods Unchained gives players real ownership to the items they buy or earn. This means that they can sell these items for digital currency or trade them with other players.

In order to create the blockchain game, Fuel Games raised $2.4 million from Coinbase Ventures, Sora Ventures, Nirvana Capital, and Continue Capital. The company is currently creating the Apollo Platform which will offer scalable blockchain infrastructure for world-class game studios.

Continue Reading

Blockchain Technology

OneWattSolar is Leveraging the Blockchain to Provide Renewable Energy to Nigerians

Published

on

Nigerian startup, OneWattSolar, is leveraging blockchain technology to provide low-cost solar energy to Nigerians to relieve them of the reliance on costly power generators.

Blockchain Payments

OneWattSolarWhen using OneWattSolar‘s clean energy solution, customers do not have to pay for the solar panel system setup. Instead, it comes with an Internet-enabled router that will collect data on energy usage to ensure customers are billed exactly for what they use and also alert the company of any potential problem.

The idea of using the blockchain for its solution is to allow transparency among all stakeholders and to reduce the costs involved.

“[The blockchain] provides transparency, you can see the utilisation of funds, how many systems we have purchased and how many are being used. On a traditional service using fossil fuels, energy usage is around 70 Nigerian naira ($0.19) per kilowatt. But the blockchain system is 50 percent cheaper than diesel,” Alagbe told CNN.

Africa Renewable Energy Industry

For decades, African countries – including Nigeria – have been plagued with a lack of power supply. According to a 2016 report, only four out of ten Africans have access to a reliable power supply. In 2017, Nigeria was ranked as the worst electricity supply nation while research conducted out by the World Bank shows 42 percent of Nigerians do not have access to electricity.

In a bid to tackle this problem, the renewable energy industry in Africa has been experiencing tremendous growth. Morocco plans to power over one million homes with a new solar power plant reported to be the largest in the world while Ghana announced plans to increase the consumption of renewable energy by 2030.

Video by Idea Seed Africa

OneWattSolar launched operations in January 2019. The clean energy startup hopes to supply more than one million homes without electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa with solar energy through blockchain by 2025.

OneWattSolar is a part of GoSolar Africa, a renewable energy company that has been in operating for the past eight years.

Continue Reading

Popular Posts