How Africa Blockchain Institute Is Grooming Changemakers For Digital Transformation
Africa Blockchain Institute, headquartered in Kigali, Rwanda is re-imagining the possibilities of Blockchain education by providing the highest-quality and stackable learning experiences.
The Pan-African Institute was founded to promote the adoption, development, and use of Blockchain Technology as it provides high-quality Blockchain education to professionals, entrepreneurs, government regulators, and the public.
Blockbuild had a chat with Kayode Babarinde, the Executive Director, at Africa Blockchain Institute. Over the years, Babarinde has acquired expertise in Blockchain Technology, Digital Transformation Policy, and Business Management.
He has delivered training to multinationals and development organizations that want to adopt Blockchain Technology for their operations.
Kayode is research-active as he recently completed academic research on the adoption of Blockchain Technology in Higher Institutions of Learning through “Campus Blockchain Hackathon,” up to the National level, where the project is now adopted by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
He is a Professional Member of the Government Blockchain Association (USA) and also the Lead Partner of KAYBABS Consult, a leading technology firm with innovative strategies for market entries in domesticating the adoption of Blockchain Technology in Africa.
In this chat, we learnt how Africa Blockchain Institute is deploying blockchain technology to drive the African continent for the future of work.
How will blockchain technology enhance the adoption of the 4IR?
The fourth industrial revolution is the era where we will see a merger between the physical, digital, and biological.
The lines we have always known that existed amongst these three concepts will be instantly blurred as a result of the technologies that have developed in this period.
These technologies include artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, the Internet of things (IoT), automation engineering, quantum computing, and robotics.
All these promises disrupt the way we live, the way we work, and the way our governments are even run.
One of the biggest changes the 4IR will offer is automation. Blockchain technology will play a key role in this area through smart contracts.
Smart contracts are pieces of code that are programmed to execute a set of commands where certain conditions are deemed to have been met.
Smart contracts are already being utilized to manage operations in supply chains, royalty distribution, cross-border trade, and decentralized application activity.
Another way blockchain would help the adoption of the 4IR is through disintermediation. Blockchain technology was built to do one thing, enable peer-to-peer transactions.
There would be no need for middlemen in businesses and transactions. Decentralization also comes into this and we can tie it all to how it affects businesses and even governments.
Through the trustless model blockchain offers, it ensures accountability and decentralization when applied in its truest form.
We can see how this can play out in a blockchain-enabled voting system or even through Decentralized Autonomous Organisations (DAOs). Transparency would be the watchword. The absence of intermediaries also reduces operating costs and improves efficiency, and the chance of errors.
Blockchain technology will also push the 4IR agenda by creating a space for machines and networks to communicate with each other and exchange value. Mixing blockchain technology with artificial intelligence creates a whole dimension entirely.
Its ability to also serve as a secure and immutable cloud database for a variety of information is another quality that I believe is very key to the evolution.
How can blockchain get domesticated for adoption in the African market?
The first way is through regulation. If we are to encourage those in this space to bring up solutions for the problems we need using blockchain technology, we need to create a safe regulatory haven for them.
Innovation would be stifled in a harsh regulatory environment. The second way would be to create awareness. Blockchain technology is a technical one.
It is not understandable at face value by the average man, so we need to create simple awareness. There is no use in saying blockchain technology is the future when those who should benefit from it do not understand it all.
And lastly, I would say that we need to push out products that merge the familiar with the unknown. A mixture of old and new.
There is going to be a higher chance for the adoption of blockchain when it is paired with traditional methods and practices. A hybrid situation. We must accept that we cannot have total decentralization. That is a utopia that will not exist.
Engaging with youths across the world, has there been any difference in the adoption and usage of blockchain between Africans and others?
I would say that compared to other youths across the world, Africans are going for gold when it comes to the utilization of blockchain technology.
You can tell that there is an understanding that we do have problems in Africa that we can solve using blockchain technology.
Take a look at land registration, financial inclusion, voting, and remittance. These are problem areas that have plagued Africa for years and hindered growth.
But now, we see youths putting heads together to use blockchain to tackle them. In 2021, the total funding raised by African blockchain projects was $127 million according to the Africa Blockchain Report 2021 by CV VC.
In the first quarter of 2022, this value has almost been surpassed as $91 million has already been raised in the space.
Asides from creating and deploying solutions, we know that there is also the need to understand how to use those solutions.
Africans are eager to learn about the technology hence the formation of various communities all geared towards sensitization and skill building in the space. If all of these do not say anything about how Africans feel about technology, then I do not know what else can.
Why should African organizations adopt blockchain technologies for their operations?
The most glaring answer to this would be transparency and accountability. Handling your operations on-chain gives a certain level of vulnerability to an organization.
They are not able to mishandle operations if they desire to because anyone can check out their operations through their contract address. In an ideal situation, the type of blockchain utilized in this scenario would be one that would be private to the general public but open to a chosen select in the team.
Either way, there would be accountability within the system. Another would be the fact that data on a blockchain cannot be edited but only appended.
While this benefit may then yield some concerns, blockchain technology through its quality of immutability grants a higher level of insurance for organization data than any other database.
Automation is also another reason to adopt blockchain technology. If an organization performs repetitive actions in its day-to-day operations, smart contracts may help ease off the need for human input.
This would clearly improve the efficiency of the organization. Lastly, DAOs are another blockchain spring-off that offers excellent benefits for organizational structures. A DAO is an organization run by code.
There is no central head and members of the DAO can contribute as equally as they want towards the growth of the organization. The treasury of the DAO which contains all organization funds runs on-chain and is visible to everyone.
DAOs can be programmed to stave off withdrawals until a certain quorum is reached and each member can be given the power to vote on decisions for the benefit of the DAO.
Currently, DAOs are mostly run by simple communities but they will certainly offer benefits to any organization that wishes to use them.
What inspired your campus blockchain hackathon?
Our mission at the Africa Blockchain Institute is to champion digital transformation in Africa using blockchain technology.
So first, our inspiration for the campus blockchain hackathon is the belief that the transformation we seek cannot be achieved if the youth we rely on are not even equipped with the knowledge to effect it.
Therefore, this hackathon aims to improve the problem-solving skills of young Africans using blockchain technology as the main focus.
Second, Africa Blockchain Institute would like to catch the future blockchain leaders as young as possible. This is why the hackathon is focused on teens.
We believe that preaching this blockchain gospel to these young ones gives us a better chance of grooming them into the changemakers we need in the continent.
As a foremost blockchain evangelist in Nigeria, how can we adopt the use of the technology to drive the economy?
There are several branches of blockchain technology that can be adopted to build economic growth. A variety of them includes using blockchain technology to manage the traceability of products in national and private supply chains.
With blockchain technology, the lifecycle of a product can be monitored from the ground level making it easier to prove authenticity at home and abroad.
Applying this, especially in the area of agriculture which we have so much capacity will definitely help give us a boost economically.
Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies can also be used in the area of crowdfunding. This is what used to be referred to as initial coin offerings (ICOs).
During the ICO rave, a large number of projects generated funding in millions of dollars to kickstart. The magnitude of the funding received greatly outweighs the traditional seed funding usually raised for traditional startups.
The reason for this was the decentralized and sharing effect of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. By providing easy access to funding, blockchain technology will help to reduce the financial gap.
Crowdfunding is not the only way to raise money in this space. Money can also be obtained through decentralized finance-based loans in quicker means than traditional methods.
We can also see blockchain adoption for the storage of data in Nigeria. Through the immutability and security blockchain technology gives, missing files would be a thing of the past. Blockchain can be used to digitize our databases across all civil systems.
It also promises to increase the efficiency of businesses through disintermediation and making transactions more secure.
In 2020, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) teamed up to release a paper titled the National Blockchain Adoption Strategy.
The purpose was to outline a path on how blockchain technology can be adopted to drive Nigeria towards a more digital economy.
Five key objectives can be identified from that paper: to establish regulation; to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship; to develop security, trust, and transparency in value chains; to encourage investment opportunities and job creation; and the use of blockchain technology in governance.
Give a brief on the Africa Blockchain Institute
Africa Blockchain Institute is Africa’s foremost blockchain think-tank that is focused on reimagining the possibilities of blockchain education for digital transformation in Africa.
We believe in the potential of blockchain technology to help solve Africa’s problems and we are committed to driving that agenda.
We do this through research, training, hackathons, and the deployment of enterprise blockchain solutions.
Africa Blockchain Institute message is that the future is decentralization and we will not let Africa be left out.
Featured Image: Kayode Babarinde, Executive Director, Africa Blockchain Institute
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