How the Africa Blockchain Institute is grooming changemakers for digital transformation

How the Africa Blockchain Institute is grooming changemakers for digital transformation

Africa Blockchain Institute, headquartered in Kigali, Rwanda re-imagines the possibilities of Blockchain education by offering 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 caught up with Kayode Babarinde, Managing Director, at the Africa Blockchain Institute. Over the years, Babarinde has acquired expertise in Blockchain technology, Digital Transformation Policy and Business Management.

He has delivered training to multinational companies and development organizations that want to adopt Blockchain technology for their operations.

Kayode is active in research as he recently completed academic research on the adoption of Blockchain Technology in Higher Institutes of Learning through the “Campus Blockchain Hackathon,” up to the national level, where the project has now been 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 principal partner of KAYBABS Consult, a leading technology firm with innovative market entry strategies to adopt blockchain technology in Africa.

In this chat, we learned how the Africa Blockchain Institute is implementing blockchain technology to power the African continent for the future of work.

How will blockchain technology improve the use of 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 to exist between these three concepts will immediately blur as a result of the technologies that have developed during this period.

These technologies include artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, the Internet of Things (IoT), automation engineering, quantum computing and robotics.

All of these promises disrupt the way we live, the way we work, and the way our governments are even run.

One of the biggest changes 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 be met.

Smart contracts are already being used to manage supply chain operations, royalty distribution, cross-border trade, and decentralized application activity.

Another way blockchain will help adopt 4IR is through disintermediation. Blockchain technology was built to do one thing, enable peer-to-peer transactions.

There would be no need for intermediaries in businesses and transactions. Decentralization also comes into this, and we can link it all to how it affects companies and even governments.

Through the trustless model blockchain offers, it ensures accountability and decentralization when used in its truest form.

We can see how this could play out in a blockchain-enabled voting system or even through decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). Transparency will be the key word. The absence of intermediaries also reduces operating costs and improves efficiency, and the chance of errors.

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Blockchain technology will also push the 4IR agenda by creating a space for machines and networks to communicate with each other and exchange value. Blending blockchain technology with artificial intelligence creates a whole dimension.

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 its development.

How can blockchain be domesticated for adoption in the African market?

The first way is through regulation. If we are going to encourage those in this room to take up solutions to the problems we need using blockchain technology, we need to create a regulatory safe harbor for them.

Innovation would be stifled in a tough regulatory environment. The other way would be to create awareness. Blockchain technology is technical.

It is not comprehensible at face value by the average man, so we must create simple awareness. It’s no use saying blockchain technology is the future when those who should benefit from it don’t understand everything.

And finally, I would say that we need to push out products that intertwine the known with the unknown. A mix of old and new.

There is going to be a greater chance of blockchain adoption when it is paired with traditional methods and practices. A hybrid situation. We have to accept that we cannot have total decentralization. It is a utopia that will not exist.

Engaging with youth around the world, has there been any difference in the adoption and use of blockchain between Africans and others?

I would say that compared to other youths around the world, Africans are striking gold when it comes to the use of blockchain technology.

You can see that there is an understanding that we 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 youngsters putting their 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 exceeded as $91 million has already been raised.

In addition to creating and deploying solutions, we know that there is also a need to understand how to use these solutions.

Africans are eager to learn about the technology, hence the formation of various communities, all aimed at sensitization and skill building in the space. If all of these don’t say something about how Africans feel about technology, I don’t know what else can.

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Why should African organizations adopt blockchain technologies for their operations?

The most obvious answer to this would be transparency and accountability. Managing your operations on the chain brings a degree of vulnerability to an organization.

They are not able to abuse operations if they wish because anyone can check out their operations through their contract address. In an ideal situation, the type of blockchain used in this scenario would be one that would be private to the general public, but open to a select selection of the team.

Either way, there will be accountability in the system. Another would be the fact that data on a blockchain cannot be edited but only added to.

While this advantage may then raise some concerns, blockchain technology, through its quality of immutability, provides a higher level of assurance for organizational 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 can help alleviate the need for human effort.

This will clearly improve the efficiency of the organization. Finally, DAOs are another blockchain spring-off that offers excellent benefits for organizational structures. A DAO is an organization driven by code.

There is no central leader and members of DAO can contribute as much as they want to the growth of the organisation. The treasury of the DAO containing all organizational funds runs on the 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 in favor of the DAO.

Currently, DAOs are mostly run by simple communities, but they will certainly offer benefits to any organization that wants 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, firstly, our inspiration for the campus blockchain hackathon is the belief that the transformation we seek cannot be achieved if the youth we trust are not even equipped with the knowledge to carry it out.

Therefore, this hackathon aims to improve the problem-solving skills of young Africans using blockchain technology as its main focus.

Second, the Africa Blockchain Institute wants to capture future blockchain leaders as young as possible. This is why the hackathon is focused on teenagers.

We believe that preaching this blockchain gospel to these young people gives us a better chance to groom them into the change makers we need on the continent.

As a leading 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 used to build economic growth. A number of them include the use of blockchain technology to manage the traceability of products in national and private supply chains.

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With blockchain technology, the life cycle of a product can be monitored from ground level, making it easier to prove authenticity at home and abroad.

Using this, especially in the area of ​​agriculture where we have such a large capacity, will definitely help give us a boost financially.

Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies can also be used in crowdfunding. These are what used to be referred to as initial coin offerings (ICOs).

During the ICO rave, a large number of projects generated funding in the millions of dollars to kick-start. The amount of funding received greatly outweighs the traditional seed funding typically raised for traditional startups.

The reason for this was the decentralized and sharing effect of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. By providing easy access to finance, blockchain technology will help reduce the financial gap.

Crowdfunding is not the only way to raise money in this area. Money can also be obtained through decentralized finance-based loans in faster ways than traditional methods.

We can also see blockchain adoption for data storage in Nigeria. Through the immutability and security provided by blockchain technology, 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 make 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 National Blockchain Adoption Strategy.

The purpose was to outline a path for how blockchain technology can be adopted to drive Nigeria towards a more digital economy.

Five main objectives can be identified from this article: 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 use of blockchain technology in governance.

Give a brief about Africa Blockchain Institute

The Africa Blockchain Institute is Africa’s premier blockchain think tank 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 deployment of enterprise blockchain solutions.

Africa Blockchain Institute’s message is that the future is decentralization and we will not leave Africa behind.

Featured Image: Kayode Babarinde, CEO, Africa Blockchain Institute

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