A blockchain is a digital register of transactions that is replicated and shared across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain. It is decentralised and enables peer to peer interaction between those connected to the network.
This feature is especially important as it enables parties to transact directly without using intermediaries or third parties. The inbuilt security means that data stored on it cannot be changed easily. New data can be added only after it is verified by everyone in the network.
In recent years, the advent of cryptocurrency, especially bitcoin which runs on the blockchain has been at the centre of the concept. This has diverted attention away from all other possibilities of the technology.
Truly, Africa has so far benefited from the use of blockchain technology. cross-border transactions, reduction in the high cost of remittance payment, and access to financial services are some of the benefits of the technology.
However, there is more to it.
Blockchain for Africa: The endless possibilities
In his keynote address at the TechNext Coinference 2021, CEO of Patricia, Hanu Fejiro Agbodje gave the example of how Michael Faraday did not envisage that one day, Elon Musk would use his creation, electricity to power his electric vehicles.
We are still in early phases and we can liken blockchain technology to electricityFejiro Hanu, CEO Patricia
According to him, the world is still in its very early days of blockchain technology. It is one that people would constantly try to understand and use in various ways.
For Hanu, the blockchain is a ledger that verifies integrity and authenticity. This can be integrity in transactions and identity. Cryptocurrency became a boom upon this ledger. Trust is one of the principles upon which the ledger is built.
One of the many possibilities is the use of blockchain in elections. For a country such as Nigeria, elections are a long and expensive task. Using blockchain, it is easy to verify the identities of voters and ensure credibility.
This is exactly the problem blockchain solves. The blockchain says one will always remain one.
Since the ledger is one that is transparent, voters can easily cast their votes using smartphones and be sure that it won’t change. Blockchain can be used to verify votes.
Using blockchain as an investment vehicle
Smart contracts are simply programs stored on a blockchain that run when predetermined conditions are met. In simple terms, they typically are used to automatically execute an agreement without involvement from a third party and without time loss.
Risk-free betting, an option that is being explored by Hanu’s company, Patricia is one of such investment vehicles. Risk-free betting is one in which different people can pool their money together to make a bet. At the end of a set period, there is a certain amount of interest on the original capital.
Then people who made winning bets get to share the interest while others get their initial deposits. The idea that is being explored by Patricia is no surprise as they were the first to initiate Africa’s first bitcoin card.
At Patricia, we are aiming at risk-free betting powered by the blockchain
Another such investment vehicle is Non-fungible tokens which are the new rave. Non-fungible tokens are digital artworks that cannot be replicated by anyone in the world. This is made possible by a string made possible on the blockchain.
Investment in NFTs can appreciate as they are entirely original. Through the trade of NFTs, people have made millions of dollars simply because of their originality.
Blockchain technology can also be used in the area of healthcare. Instead of having different records in different hospitals, central data accessible to everyone in the healthcare industry can be accessed from anywhere.
Imagine going to the hospital and you present your I.D. An I.D that be used to seek data on the blockchain that immediately informs the medical practitioner of your health recordsHanu Fejiro
On the question of regulation, Hanu wants the government to support the startups that are invested in the crypto market. So far, the performance has been great but it can be better when they get support from the government.
“We have been succeeding in this industry with zero support. Imagine if we get support from the government. We can win and we will win as long as we continue to strive,” he concluded.
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