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BlockDeFi Conference 2020: Unpacking Blockchain and the Potentials of Alternative, Open Trustless Finance

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Blockchain DeFi conference 2020
Image Credit: Blockchain Nigeria User Group

The advent of bitcoin and it’s underlying technology—Blockchain— in 2009, changed the narrative about money. Beyond the conventional bank notes, money became a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. It did not stop there. Advances in this underlying technology took another form in 2015, with smart contracts. 

Digital currencies can now be programmed into contracts that can be executed without human interference. This particular breakthrough has further unlocked many possibilities of what this technology can be used for. One of them is decentralized finance— financial applications built on public blockchain.

Decentralized Finance or DeFi, is one of the trending topics in the crypto world. The concept of DeFi is still relatively new to many people. However, early glimpses show decentralized financial (DeFi) applications have the potential to provide access to unexplored pool liquidity and remove the standing barriers that exclude users from participating in the financial market.

Do you want to learn about DeFi? BlockDeFi Virtual Conference & Exhibition 2020 is for you.

BlockDeFi 2020 is a free virtual conference organised by the Blockchain Nigeria User Group (BNUG) to simplify and further explore the concept of DeFi to the growing population of enthusiasts and organisations who want to explore the opportunities of this technology.

The two-day global event will be held live in a 2D interactive virtual environment on the 12th and 13th of September, 2020.  Join Industry experts, CEOs, CTOs, blockchain and crypto startups, software engineers, organisations, entrepreneurs, professionals and others for insightful discussions on the current trend. 

The theme of the conference: Unpacking Blockchain and the Potentials of Alternative, Open Trustless Finance, focuses on the following:

  • Blockchain protocols making significant impacts.
  • Layer 2 technologies of Bitcoin — Lightning Network.
  • Ethereum layer 2 scaling solutions.
  • Distributed file system and decentralized web.

Through powerful panel sessions, keynotes, Blockchain and DeFi product exhibitions, workshops and networking, attendees will learn more about the decentralized nature of financial application built on Blockchain, Lightning networks, as well as the opportunities and hurdles to scale.

Here’s a list of some of the confirmed guest speakers

  • Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili; She’s the Senior Economic Advisor, Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative (AEDPI) and Former World Bank Vice-President for the African Region. 
  • Elizabeth Stark; CEO and Co-founder of Lighting Labs. She’s an advocate for open internet and a Fellow at Coin Center and  Startup Advisor at Chia.
  • Olufemi Awoyemi; Founder and Chairman at Proshare, Financial Analyst, Social Entrepreneur and Member of Fintech Association of Nigeria.
  • Olaoluwa Osuntokun; CTO and Co-founder of Lighting Labs, Software Engineering Intern at Google and Teaching Assistant at University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Professor Olayinka David West: She’s a Professor of Information Systems and Academic Director at the Lagos Business School.
  • Yele Bademosi; is the CEO of Bundle Africa and Co-founder of Microtraction. He’s also a former Director at Binance Labs.
  • Adebajo Adedayo; Support Specialist at Jelurida, Managing Director, Jelurida Africa DLT, and Managing Partner at Africa Blockchain Institute (ABI).
  • DIna Mainville; Bitcoin & Blockchain Evangelist and Sales Director at CipherTrace, Canada.
  • Owenize Odia: Country Manager for Luno (Nigeria) and Former Mobile Financial Services Lead for Zenith Bank Plc.
  • Chuta Chimezie; Founder Blockchain Nigeria User Group (BNUG), Advisor at Kinesis Money, and Former Regional Director at PaxFul

About the Blockchain Nigeria User Group (BNUG)

The Blockchain Nigeria User Group is a vibrant community of crypto and blockchain enthusiasts. Led by its founder, Chimezie Chuta. The group has been involved in providing education, upskill for individuals, government agencies, organisations in Nigeria. 

BNUG is also a major organiser of Blockchain conferences across Nigeria. This will be it’s first virtual conference, and also the 9th edition of its National Blockchain Conference Series, which have been held in major cities across Nigeria, since 2017.

For more information, visit the BNUG website. For registration and the complete lineup of guest speakers, go to the BlockDeFi conference event page.

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Africa Blockchain Institute

Africa Blockchain Institute Organized The First African Blockchain Summer Bootcamp For Teenagers In Ghana

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In the spirit of catching them young, the Africa Blockchain Institute organized the first-ever Blockchain Summer Bootcamp for teenagers (age range 13 to 19 years old). A successful Bootcamp, according to the participants’ testimonials and stakeholders, held at the OpenLabs, Ring Road, Accra Ghana, between Monday 2nd August, and Friday 6th August 2021. 

The teenagers applied from across Africa, and selected participants all converged at the OpenLabs, Ghana, for an intensive five days of learning, interacting, and implementing personal  Blockchain projects. The participants were divided into three significant tracks, thus; Blockchain Development, Blockchain for Creatives and Blockchain Entrepreneurship. 

Blockchain Summer Bootcamp for Teens by ABI
Blockchain Summer Bootcamp for Teens by Africa Blockchain Institute

Across these three tracks, the teenagers learnt introductory units to Blockchain Development for societal challenges, Blockchain evangelism, Non-Fungible Tokens, and how Cryptocurrency works. Another highlight of the program was the excursion to the Accra Digital Centre, where the Boot Campers were introduced to the tech ecosystem and feel of the Ghana Tech Lab and Accra Innovation Hub spaces. A visit was also made to the Museum of Science and Technology, and the teenagers got to understand the history of technology in Ghana. 

Worthy of mention was the panel session aimed at motivating the students to pursue a career in technology. While making his comments during the panel session, the founder of BankLess Africa, Mr. Muntala Mohammed Shaibu, urged the teenagers to stop seeing themselves as too young to experiment with new technologies. In her remarks, Ms. Elohor Thomas, CEO & Co-Founder of CodeLn, urged the teenagers to continue to explore their interest in technology and blockchain early.

Blockchain Summer Bootcamp for Teens by ABI
Panel Session, Blockchain Summer Bootcamp for Teens by ABI

The Bootcamp ended with personal project presentations from the Blockchain Development and the Blockchain for Creatives & Entrepreneurship tracks. Projects such as NFT blogposts, Blockchain product reviews and Blockchain for transport and logistics were presented. The best presentation won the OpenLabs scholarship for Robotics Course. Thanks to Dr Sujith Jayaprakash, the Director of OpenLabs, Ghana, for the offer of scholarship. In his closing remark, the Executive Director of the Africa Blockchain Institute, Mr. Kayode Babarinde, urged the teenagers to continue using the  skills and knowledge gained during Bootcamp to explore Blockchain-related solutions further. We also appreciate Mr. Ganzaro Omar, Chairman, AfroBlocks, for his supports, and fostering collaborations with the Ghanian Blockchain community.

The Africa Blockchain Institute will continue to hold future Blockchain Summer Bootcamp series in various African cities to drive Blockchain knowledge into innovators early enough. 

Oluwaseun David ADEPOJU

Head of Research,

Africa Blockchain Institute. 

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Blockchain Technology

Africa Blockchain Hackathon 2021 Edition Begins Registration 

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Africa Blockchain Hackathon
Image Credit: Africa Blockchain Institute (ABI)

The 2021 edition of the Africa Blockchain Hackathon, a brainchild of the Africa Blockchain Institute (ABI) is ready for take-off. The initiative was created to allow young professionals, tech enthusiasts, students and policymakers amongst others to gain exposure to the opportunity of Blockchain/DLT Digital Innovations through mentorship, career and business opportunities. The Hackathon Program is a product of the partnership with FreeTON Africa (Sub Governance). The Hackathon provides a controlled, structural and sustainable mentorship model as well as a community to nurture and empower developers with potential towards building DLT and blockchain solutions. Registration for the Hackathon is already underway and the deadline is fixated on August 25, 2021. 

The contest is done in collaboration with FREE TON, an Open Source (OS)  community project created by developers of the Telegram Open Network (TON). TON OS  has more features than the Ethereum Virtual Machine and is designed as a decentralized operating system capable of handling decentralized applications. TON OS also has a stack of components that can be used by developers to create powerful applications. By making these components Open Source, anyone or everyone can view and copy fragments of the code.

The contest is open to all Africa Blockchain enthusiasts, newbies, artists, developers, policymakers and students. There is a prize of over 62,000 TONs up for grabs for the winner. The contest is open to the 54 countries in Africa for participants to build Blockchain Applications on Free TON. The aim is to add value to the FreeTON Network and the continent will equally benefit from the applications.  

According to John Kanyiri, FreeTON Africa Representative and the FreeTON Africa Team, “… we once again look forward to identifying projects culminating from this hackathon as being not only a showcase of what Africa can offer the global blockchain space but also solutions to the continent’s challenges. The creativity, ambition and sophistication of our localized developers are quite evident in the Hackathons and this time around we hope to see the same. Discovery of new talent and exposure of the same from very remote locations of Africa was witnessed in the last Hackathon and we look forward to the same this time too.”

The Hackathon is open to covering aspects of the blockchain that academia needs to know giving ample information about how the blockchain works and the current and future applications needed to change the world from the blockchain Point of View. The contest is open to both newbies and experienced developers as some of the best technical experts in the blockchain community will be there to aid you. In other words, the event is open to all who seek blockchain knowledge. 

The contest will be carried out in three sections: country competition, regional competition, and continental competition. The country and regional competitions will be held virtually however, winners of the regional competitions will get an all-expense-paid trip to South Africa for the Finals. The winners will attend the Grand Finale which will be hosted in South Africa. Participants are allowed to work on topics or applications that are peculiar to the needs of the African continent. However, some applications may include: 

  • National voting platforms
  • Fintech infrastructure/Digital Wallets (to help those who do not have access to banking)
  • Land ownership and registry
  • High tech job creation
  • Human rights protections

There are lots of prizes to be won including an all-expense paid trip to South Africa for the winners of the regionals. Other prizes includes:

1st Prize: 25,000 TONs

2nd Prize: 15,000 TONs

3rd Prize: 5,000 TONs

4th – 20th Prize: 1,000 TONs

Participants will have to follow a simple process leading up to winning amazing prizes. The first step is to submit applications for the hackathon, meet all the requirements and pitch ideas. Next, participants have to receive Acceptance Confirmation Notification/Onboarding, form a team and then join the opening session. The last part of the process involves building the application and collaborating with team members. 

Notable Dates 

Applications open July 2021.

Application Deadline: August 25th, 2021.

Hackathon Dates:  September 6th – 24th 2021. 

Begin your application here:  https://bit.ly/africablockhack 

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Highlights of week 4 of The African Blockchain Developers Call Series

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African Blockchain Developers Call virtual weekend series

The fourth week of the weekend series of the African Blockchain Developers Call (ABDC Series), a web conference series aimed at accelerating participation and adoption of blockchain solutions, was held on the 19th of September, 2020 where the theme “Blockchain Application in Logistics (Supply chain)” was explored and examined by experts and professionals in the blockchain space. The session saw an influx of discourses of how the supply chain field could be aided by blockchain technology solutions towards strengthening its efficiency and adequacy. 

Trace Labs, an organization which is the core developer of the OriginTrail Technology, through its activities, intends to address issues affecting data such as inefficiency and inadequacy in the administration of the supply chain. The organization attempts to employ blockchain technology solutions in making data more structured, accessible, and trusted. Jurij Skornik, who serves as TraceLab’s General Manager, states that the solutions enable the data to be of global standards, enhance flexible data settings, enable secure data exchanges across platforms, and serve as a powerful base for business applications. The organization hopes to aid efficiency in the areas of It and the Next Generation Internet, through collaborations with big tech companies like Oracle, to improve its Network Operating System for the adequate rendering of effective service to its users.

The Series witnessed a breakout session and Fireside Chat with the Convener, Adedayo Adebajo, who doled out insights on the theme by exploring the emerging issues in the supply chain sector and how blockchain solutions could help accelerate growth in the field. 

Ship Chain’s CEO, John Monarch, highlighted the goals of the platform (ShipChain) in effectively administering supply chains and eliminating potential challenges customers may encounter in the course of transactions. During his platform presentation, he stated that his firm helps make supply chain companies accountable in the course of the movement of freight to the customers. He states that  through the use of the decentralized Ethereum blockchain technologies, records of cargoes are accessible in real time, every step of the way. 

Panel Discussion

The Combined Panel Session was graced by supply chain professionals like Helen Disney, John Monarch, Jurij Skornik and Sebastian, who all prescribed ideas on the session theme and issues emerging in the sector.

Helen Disney; the Founder of Unblocked, highlighted that her organization collaborates with supply chains and other allied organizations to propagate the benefits of blockchain solutions. She stated that the nature of the multifaceted solutions adopted, often affects orientation in blockchain solutions. She equally mentioned that the increase in mainstream customers in the sector, would drive investments and growth in logistics and supply chain. To Disney, distributed ledgers and blockchain could enhance transparency in the healthcare sector, especially in times of pandemic. She expressed optimism on the growth of the sector and participation of industries in the application of blockchain solutions to supply chains.

John Monarch; explained that the supply chain is the movement of everything, ranging from the movement of goods from the manufacturer right to the customers hoping to utilize the product. He stated that blockchain solutions have not been optimally tapped but it is a sector now gaining traction especially in the logistics sector. He mentioned that blockchain solutions are now getting support in the large tech, and that the reluctance of companies in the adaptation of blockchain solutions is as a result of the fact that they wish to be sure of the security of the future of blockchain before they indulge in adapting it to their services.  

He states that the transparency in records and tracking of services in distributed ledgers enhances trust in the customer base on the effectiveness of blockchain solutions in the logistics sector.

Jurij Skornik; argues that the supply chain does not only cover how the goods move, but also what happens to the products during the course of movement. He stated that transformation requirements, data standards and usability are still misunderstood in the blockchain sector and much needs to be done in that aspect. He mentioned that fake certifications and canceled orders often affect the system’s efficiency, and proposed that more effective solutions should be pursued to protect the integrity of the chain.

Sebastian; who serves as the African Ambassador for Dallas, an enterprise level open blockchain organization, explained that the blockchain would help in assisting in day to day transactions and would go a long way in enhancing traceability of goods and accountability in the supply chain. He stated that blockchain solutions are now being gradually accepted in Africa because of the transparency it provides in the provision of services. 

The panelists all expressed ideas on how blockchain solutions could influence effective supply chains and how the transactions would feature public and transparent distributed ledgers in supply chains and logistics services in the near future.

The African Blockchain Developers Call virtual weekend series is still ongoing. You can register via this link: ABDC Series Event page

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