Africa has been recognized for its acceptance of cryptocurrencies quite often in recent times, as countries on the continent are experiencing economic hardship and currency devaluation. Countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Togo top the list of cryptocurrency users. Cryptocurrencies are used for international and commercial transactions and as a store of value in the almost complete absence of traditional banking systems.
Interestingly, blockchain is being used on the continent, for more than just personal financial purposes. Some of the use cases include public spending, governance, electricity trading, land registration, etc. It is also being used to achieve transparency in healthcare, along with a faster supply of data and materials.
IOHK, the development team behind the Cardano network, announced plans in April to build a national identifier blockchain system in Ethiopia. The partnership between IOHK and the Ethiopian government aims to build a global blockchain-based student accreditation system in the East African country.
Possibly launching later this year, it will see the first deployment of blockchain-based Cardano IDs to 5 million students in 3,500 schools. The idea is to create records and track their academic performance.
While many have hailed this as a revolutionary step towards blockchain usage in the world, it doesn’t seem like IOHK has plans to stop here. In a recent podcast, IOHK’s Director of Africa Operations, James O’Connor, highlighted the company’s plans to showcase Cardano’s technology capabilities in Africa in the future.
He revealed that the team is already in talks with several African countries. Hoskinson will meet with many officials and presidents from multiple countries who are also interested in identity solutions. Other interests included central bank digital currencies, remittance and microfinance opportunities. The IOHK wants to “compile a toolbox of what blockchain can do for you as a nation-state.”
When asked about future plans, the CEO noted that IOHK would like to pass the torch to future developers, around the world, to transform Cardano to increase scalability and help the world’s unbanked population. And he went on to say,
“We have these high-level goals – we want 100 million users who use the Atala publication. We want many nation states that use our system. We want a Cardano state where all infrastructure is built on Cardano in one country.”
As far-fetched as this may sound, Africa is known to have great potential when it comes to adopting new technologies, and blockchain is no exception. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are routinely used to make remittance payments and store savings. In addition, blockchain-enabled fintech options are also being actively developed and used by institutions across the continent.
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