The blockchain ecosystem is one that continues to manage a crisis of perception. This is no thanks to one of its offspring known as cryptocurrency, which is today linked with all sorts of scams, frauds and hacks. This perception seems to have darkened the immense positive possibilities of blockchain technology itself.
Blockchain, like other types of technologies, can serve a dual purpose depending on the goals of the individuals involved. This is why I believe that the technology has a major role to play in a post COVID-19 Africa.
According to International Data Corporation, the overall spending on blockchain in 2019, saw an increment of 80 per cent. Another report from Deloitte indicated that out of 1,300 senior executives around the world, 53 per cent identified blockchain as an essential priority.
More start-ups such as Domineum, Digita and iBSmartify, among others are rising up to put blockchain to good use.
Areas like supply chain, land registration, maritime, logistics, healthcare, data management, e-commerce are all being tackled at various levels.
The reality is that based on the design of the technology, it is truly what Africa needs because of its inherent transparency and decentralisation.
Africa is faced with the two-hydra headed monsters of corruption and poverty, which technology can help to resolve to a large extent.
Again, COVID-19 has been a most terrible experience for the world. Besides its toll on the global economy, hundreds of thousands of people have died, which is indeed very sad. However, on the flip side, it has presented a good opportunity for emerging markets like Nigeria to re-tool, re-focus and re-strategise and technology of various types have evolved as tools of change, of course, for those that are willing. Put simply, COVID-19 has turned to a necessary accelerator in adopting the blockchain technology for good.
Blockchain is not just a hedge on the way a traditional business model is run anymore; it has now formed an integral part of finding out creative solutions that is in current existence, for solving the society’s problem. Let me also state that Blockchain is not all about crypto currencies alone, the technology Blockchain serves a multi-purpose in supporting enterprises and more solutions coming ahead will prove this.
Pre-COVID-19, the world was already going down into large scale global financial crisis. This has result in governments of various countries through their federal reserves to support their plunging economy.
COVID-19 has come with its impact on the financial ecosystem, thus, a big fiscal and monetary response to the pandemic has resulted in the consideration of bitcoin. Coming out of the pandemic and even, as at present, the combination of blockchain technology with the traditional credit cards, enables people to pay for goods and services, from the comfort of their homes.
During a recent chat with Amos Omotade-Sparks, who doubles as the Chief Executive Officer of IBSmartify and President of InksNation Foundation, both focused on deepening blockchain in Africa, he declared that the only hope for Africa in a post Covid-19 world is to embrace blockchain and artificial intelligence in solving many of the problems confronting the continent.
I have always been a big believer that the most sensible way to deal with the issue of corruption is to go digital or electronic as much as possible. Fighting corruption is beyond long sentences or public appearances but actual implementation of policies to effect change. The story of Treasury Single Account, powered by Remita is a testimonial that the right technology and political will can lead to great results. In this case, 20,000 bank accounts that the government had before became a single account that people with the proper rights and privileges can view easily.
Moving forward, blockchain technology in a post COVID-19 world stands a neutral ground for re-globalisation. It can mend the broken structure of the world economy, devastated by the effect of the coronavirus pandemic. With the decentralised structure of the technology, it can help to connect countries that are strongly held in their own patterns of economic order.
Hopefully, after a successful vaccine is found to counter COVID-19, blockchain can be further applied to design a global marketplace for the world’s citizens, driven by modern economic thought processes, largely based on the concept of a ledger as a global database.
I would at this point, admit that blockchain technology is not yet 100% guaranteed to be a game changer for the future, due to some flaws that are still being exploited. The technology has taken the opportunity of the pandemic to re-state its ability in the digitalisation of supply chain management, giving companies incredibly good opportunities, to execute a decentralized system, as well as remote working.
With the ground-breaking effect of the pandemic, some notable companies have embraced remote working and virtual workspace. Looking at this scenario, you could have a much more transparent virtual workspace, having no need of a central office yet. Each of these staff plays integral role in the systemic running of the whole structure, cooperating and getting to interact anywhere they are in the world. This is just one in many of what blockchain technology has to offer in a post COVID-19 world.
In a cross-entity collaboration, the same applies, such that in dealing with partner organisations, the approach to work will not have to change in times of crisis like this present pandemic. Remote working and digitalisation, coming in a more pronounced way during and post COVID-19 will, however, see many workers losing their jobs, but blockchain can still come to their aid.
“Our own blockchain focuses on basic income that can cover up for every member of our community and make sure that, whether you are working, or you are not working; whether you are displaced by Artificial Intelligence or digitalisation, you still have a stipend on the blockchain to fall back to”, stated Amos Omotade-Sparks, President, InksNation Foundation.
I believe that we need to have our own approach to leveraging the blockchain technology to solving many of our problems. Most importantly, we have to support the growth of various forward-thinking organisations that are leveraging blockchain to build a better society. No doubt, there are interesting days ahead for the technology!
CFA is the founder of CFAmedia.ng, a business and innovation platform