Viewpoint 丨 Restore the truth of African blockchain, an overview of African blockchain

At 20:00 on January 7th, BlockMania AMA live broadcast of the 40th period and BlockMania's "Global Perspective" 3rd period continued. This issue of BlockMania focuses on the magical African continent. The theme of this issue is "Does Africa have a blockchain ?" Guests are Thomas, founder of Cryptology and former CEO of Shaka Ventures. Thomas breaks down prejudices, restores the truth of African blockchains, and in-depth interpretation of what problems blockchains can solve for Africa's economy and society, and what kind of blockchain projects are introduced Ability to succeed on the African continent.

When it comes to Africa, in fact, many small partners will have misunderstandings. Could you first introduce Africa in your eyes and help everyone eliminate stereotypes. Diseases, wars, gold diamonds, the prairie of the animal world, every time we talk about Africa with new friends, everyone's keywords are these. In fact, Africa is far from summing up these words.

Refine a few points that I think are most important:

1) First of all, Africa is not a country, but a continent composed of 54 countries (as defined by China's diplomacy). The ruling systems and judicial mechanisms of most countries continue the rules of the Commonwealth or French colonial period, but are affected by the history and culture of different places and differ in many details. Historically speaking, the formation of the territory of African countries today is completely left over from the Western colonial period. The differences between African continents are huge, and must not be understood in terms of the federal system in the United States or the "province" in China. Taking Europe as an example might be more appropriate. The official languages ​​of African countries are mainly English, French, and Portuguese. The native language is Bantu, with countless branches. Most of the governing and legal systems are based on the Commonwealth and France, and of course there are countries like Nigeria that have inherited the United States federal mantle.

2) Africa is too big, and the hydrological and geomorphological differences are huge. The maps we see every day, due to the deviation of Mercator projection, visually underestimate the vastness of the African continent. The land area of ​​Africa is about 3.145 China. Such a vast continent naturally has hot places, as well as deserts, lakes, and snowy mountains. But don't always think that when you go to Africa, it will be hot and tan.

3) Africa is the continent with the fastest population growth today. As of December 2019, according to the United Nations data, the current population of Africa is 1.323 billion, and the average age of the entire continent is 19.4 years! !! 19.4 years old! !! (The average national age of Japan this year is 46.7 years, and the average age of the Chinese population is 37 years). The United Nations predicts that by 2050, the population of the African continent will reach 2.5 billion. This is a vibrant continent!

4) Generally, if you want to classify Africa, the culture, religion, and race are bounded by the Sahara Desert Belt, and they are divided into North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa (Black Africa). North Africa is mostly Muslim, Arabic, culturally and ethnically belonging to the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region; sub-Saharan Africans are mostly black and religiously more diverse. Today ’s sharing will focus on the sub-Saharan desert. Black Africa.

5) Africa is indeed backward, and the Gini coefficient is indeed high. But relative to the rendering in the movie, it may not be as poor as you think. I encourage you to read Hans Rosling's Factfulness and learn about our real life world.

Is Africa's blockchain market active? What kind of political, economic and social environment is this? The question is very big, to give a general answer: In Africa, the development of "blockchain" related technologies has remained in the application side, and will always stay in the storytelling stage. Encrypted digital currency (mainly BTC) based on blockchain technology is just needed. It is not active as a whole, but there is an increasing trend. Individual markets such as Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, and Zimbabwe are already very active.

As mentioned earlier, Africa is made up of many independent countries, so to answer this question, it is up to the country to explain. Take several countries as examples:

With a population of 200 million, Nigeria is currently the country with the highest GDP in Africa. According to our estimates (Cryptology), the average daily trading volume of OTC is around 300-500 BTC. There are many local exchanges, big houses such as Binance have already opened the fiat currency channel, and companies such as BitPesa (please Google yourself), which are mainly engaged in cross-border payments, are strong.

As an established African economic powerhouse, South Africa has the second largest GDP in Africa and the highest per capita GDP in Africa. It has strong purchasing power. Due to foreign exchange control, the demand for digital currencies is high. Luno, Africa's largest office, is from South Africa, while Huobi and other international offices have Desks in South Africa.

Kenya, the best economic country in East Africa, is also the most open and westernized country in East Africa (the landing site for African entrepreneurs). The central bank has repeatedly warned that BTC is listed as a high-risk investment. At the same time, measures have been taken to ban many digital currency-related companies. The region is also one of the few countries in Africa with a developer ecology. ADA, EOS, ETH, and many other small currencies often come to preach to do Meet up. If you remember correctly, EOS Nairobi has also killed 23rd in the global node.

Uganda, East African bully (mainly combat capability), the economy is open, foreign exchange is open, and the economy is small. In early 2018, under the lead of the big boss of Binnace CZ, he got the government's first Non-objection letter (understandable as a license) on digital currency exchanges. Uganda has reached another government willing to endorse Binance after Malta. In May of the same year, the first Africa Blockchain Summit was held in the capital Kampala, and the president and the governor of the central bank gave opening speeches.

Zimbabwe's economy has been weakening all year round, the foreign exchange blockade (it is said that the central bank's foreign exchange reserve is 1 billion US dollars), the central bank has repeatedly discarded banknotes, and there have been various legends about the BTC's shocking premium. .

As for the environmental context that generated this trend, I'll list a few key points:

1) The demand for cross-border payments is extremely high: population flows between countries are large, but central banks in each country settle independently, and foreign exchange capacity is poor.

2) Traditional banks cannot meet demand: bureaucrats in bank services (many rural populations cannot even complete KYC), high fees, and as of 2014, 66% of people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have bank accounts.

3) Most countries have high inflation rates, and people need relatively stable means of asset preservation.

4) There is no compliant and stable securities market for people to invest.

5) Bribes, arms, gold resources and other inconvenient funds transfer requirements through regular channels.

Can you describe the current ecological landscape of African blockchains? What are the industrial chain links? In fact, Africa does not have a complete "blockchain ecology", which mainly focuses on the investment and use of digital currencies.

Technology and technology applications have not really seen actual cases so far. There is a project called Bitland, which records various parameters in land property rights on the chain. Participation in activities is often mentioned as a positive case. In fact, this project has never really run. There are many reasons. If you are interested, you can start another topic, "Black Entrepreneurship Projects I Have Seen in Those Years." . 》

The ecology of the currency circle is relatively complete, from mining to OTC, from ICO to exchanges. Every development is a big topic. Give each one an example.

The core of mining is the price of electricity. Everyone thinks that Africa lacks electricity. In fact, some countries in Africa have very developed hydropower. In other words, the backwardness of the power transmission infrastructure (transmission and transformation) in most African countries has led to a surplus in power generation capacity. This makes it possible for large hydropower nations like Ethiopia to have lower electricity prices. Currently (through an inexplicable special channel), the lowest electricity price available in Ethiopia is 2 cents. There are indeed some small mines with Chinese background operating in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is located on the plateau, and the temperature around the target power station is around 12-20 degrees per year. After addressing security issues, Ethiopia is indeed a suitable mining development.

Other small-scale mining stations (and personal mining stations) exist in the vast land of Africa, all of which rely on special channels to obtain cheap electricity as a prerequisite.

OTC, because the information is not transparent, the vast majority of BTC / USDT transactions are OTC. Our "Cryptology" is currently one of the largest OTC in East Africa. OTC mainly solves two practical needs: one is to act as a money bank among similar African countries; the other is to help local digital currency investors integrate fiat and digital currencies.

ICO, KORA base in Nigeria is the largest ICO project for African native team background I have seen so far. According to reports, a total of US $ 12 million was completed in public and private placements in early 2018. Immediately after, they voted for Quidax, the Nigerian exchange. Two years later, KORA has just launched a new mobile payment product, KORA Pay, and the transaction volume of Quidax is slowly increasing in Nigeria. This wave of operations is very smooth and smooth, and it is also one of the few projects I have seen in Africa (inconvenient data disclosure).

On the other hand, pure Ponzi air projects like One Coin are also common on the African continent. Amazingly, most of the victims I know knew this was a scam, but regretted taking the last set.

Exchange, Local Bitctoin should be the largest exchange in Africa (somewhat decentralized?). In addition, Luno is the oldest exchange in Africa, but there are only two trading pairs; Binance has many trading pairs and good reputation; others like Okex, Huobi, Bitfinex, etc. Many people also know, but because there is no bank card, Not willing to do KYC, cash transactions and other issues, not many users.

Wallets, this is very interesting. The "Blockchain" wallet is absolutely mainstream in Africa. It has obvious advantages, fast certification, and small price fluctuations (actually, the fluctuation is delayed, which is often 10 $ lower than the big one), and is used by 90% of African currency circle practitioners. As for the reason for the rise of this wallet, the locals explained to me that because the most commonly heard locals are Blockchian and Bitcoin, they think that this "Blockchian" is the "Blockchian" on which BTC is based! So it ’s important to start a business in the African market with a straightforward name!

What does Africa's traditional financial markets look like? What can blockchain do in the financial field? The traditional financial markets in most African countries, or the banking industry, the extreme bureaucracy, and a large number of Unbanked people, are also the reasons why the World Bank and the United Nations have repeatedly emphasized the importance of financial inclusion in the 2030 target.

There are many causes of persistent poverty in Africa, and I think banks are one of the main reasons. Imagine that your second wife, who is doing business in the countryside, carries papaya on her head and sells it on the village street every day. No matter how much papaya she sells, she gets cash, and this cash will be stored in all corners of her house. Banks are very unfriendly to many people in the middle and lower levels. There are few online stores, high account opening costs, some bank deposits have fees (above a certain amount), account maintenance fees, withdrawal fees, inter-bank settlement, and transfers. There may be fees. As a result, the meagre surplus of the working masses was eaten by the bank. There are too many similar articles, so I won't go into details.

Fortunately, in many African countries, two types of financial service providers have emerged under pressure, one is an operator-based mobile wallet service; the other is a community credit system.

The operator's mobile wallet does not say much, what mpesa, airtel money, MTN money, similar to the SP business in early years. In addition to the call charge, a separate storage and settlement system is opened. Simply understood as giving money to the operator to help you save and settle. At present, Kenya and Tanzania, the two East African countries, have mobile penetration rates above 80%.

The community credit system in Africa is not well understood by the people now. According to the scale and the way they are assembled, it can be roughly divided into Sacco (East African name) unions / communities, up to a thousand people; Group finance, a few to dozens . Mutual protection consensus is reached within the community, and individuals give the money to the elected person in charge for asset management. Can save and loan (some Group finance can only loan).

As for what kind of problems the "blockchain" can solve in such an environment. I believe that all the visitors are very good entrepreneurs, practitioners, or fathers of gold, you must have your own views and answers. I won't do it.