The Blockchain Africa Cape Town has recorded conferences from 2015 to date. These events are centered on the popular blockchain technology in relation to Bitcoin and altcoins. The initiative was founded by Sonya Kuhnel and Theo Sauls in 2014. The founders are early adopters of bitcoin and they became passionate about the future of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. They perceived a need to sensitize and educate people about the opportunities offered by digital currencies and blockchain technology. Their Bitcoin Events started in 2015 to organize Blockchain Africa Conferences for addressing this need.
The Bitcoin event has organized two Blockchain Africa Conferences this year, one in Cape Town and one in Johannesburg.
The Blockchain Africa Conference in Cape Town had Speakers of high expertise and caliber who discussed the use of this technology in areas such as remittances and payments, farming and agriculture, renewable energy, provision and distribution of aid and support, impact data, decentralized business models community currencies, and a global cryptocurrency economy. The United Nation’s SDGs have fast become a guideline for initiatives like this in preparing agendas. The blockchain Africa Conference discussed the possibilities of achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for economic growth and social inclusion through the creation of broader access to a wide range of financial and other services. This is pivotal to the reduction of poverty in the long-term and enablement of African economic growth.
Reportedly, the Cape Town conference opened with Minister Beverley Schäfer’s well-researched and educated address where she outlined the outright possibilities for our economies in the likes of real estate, medicine, and of course finance, with the introduction of blockchain. She presented her keynote with passion and a genuine desire for economies to be impacted for the better through blockchain technology and other innovative solutions. Schäfer’s address included the statement, “We would likely find a way that blockchain can reduce costs, or increase speed transparency and traceability.” In a podcast interview with SA crypto, Minister Schäfer highlighted the need for innovative tech like blockchain, and the need to support technology-centered entrepreneurship in the Western Cape.
Responsive remarks by James Preston, Project Lead at SA Crypto indicates the programme was successful: “Almost one month before the conference, and in true South African style, Bitcoin Events made an announcement that came from left field. Premier Helen Zille would be a keynote speaker, along with the Western Cape’s Minister of Economic Opportunities Beverley Schäfer. For the first time in South Africa, significant members of the government and key policy influencers would be directly involved in a prominent blockchain event. Blockchain Africa Cape Town 2019 could very well go down as a pivotal moment in South Africa’s adoption of the technology. ”
In the Johannesburg conference according to reports, there was a deep discussion on enterprise blockchain in finance (cross-border payments, remittances, financial inclusion, and interbank settlements), blockchain use-cases, blockchain enterprise development, the future of banking, Self-Sovereign Identity, as well as challenges facing blockchain technology such as interoperability and scalability. There are other interesting uses of Blockchain technology to explore aside. Discussions included current challenges with technology infrastructure and regulatory frameworks in order to achieve these goals. Also, how blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies can enable and lay the groundwork for a sustainable, distributed, and shared future. The conference also explored the tokenization of assets, blockchain and cybersecurity, blockchain in government and health care, smart contracts, stable coins, the future of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and Security Token Offerings (STOs).
Some parts of 2018 were defined by the increased probing from regulators of the crypto and blockchain industries and 2019 has begun to bring some more attention from regulators.
According to Blockchain Africa’s web publication, the conference explored various jurisdictions regulations regarding ICOs, STOs, blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, the creation of sandbox environments and the success thereof, and concerns regulators have with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and consumer protection. Legal experts and regulators discussed finding the balance between regulation and innovation and what recommendations are being put forward for a successful regulatory framework.
At the conference in Cape Town, Marcus Swanepoel a South African tech success made a reminder in his comments of us just how hard he worked to get BitX, now Luno, off the ground and explained that we are in the middle of transitioning into a new global economy. Marcus said, "This new financial system will be created from the bottom up, not from the top down. It's trustless and more importantly, cryptocurrencies are very versatile.”
South Africa’s track record in the adoption of cryptos is looking bleak and is exemplary. Massive challenges abound in the African continent regarding transactions and doing business that, with the help of blockchain technology, can be transformed into simpler and more efficient ways of working. Countries like Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia amongst others have quickened steps to explore the blockchain technology. Although there isn’t a wide spread of countries in Africa doing the same, this is a start.
The African economy would greatly benefit from the advantages of this technology and the founders of the Blockchain Africa Conference have brought this initiative which would allow necessary parties to plot ways for Africa to benefit from these advantages. In many years to come, those investing now, exploring now will be speaking in the past tense of steps made and be reaping from their investments at that time. Africa would be among them, provided countries that are unresponsive do not shy away and those already in the works fearlessly take charge of what could be a revolution of technology in the continent.
Credits - Cointelegraph, Blockchain Conference Africa Web, Investopedia,
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