By Sam Ancer
Blockchain technology has made huge waves in the past decade due to things like cryptocurrency and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). However, while people often discuss the blockchain in regards to these technologies, they are not the only use for blockchain technology. To understand what this means it will be helpful to explain what blockchain technology is. In short a blockchain is a type of database. While most databases use tables to hold and display their data, blockchains operate differently.
A blockchain will gather and hold information in sections, or blocks. Each block has a specific capacity and when it is filled it is closed and linked to the block that was most recently filled. This creates a chain of blocks, hence the name blockchain, where all the data can be accessed and stored in chronological order.
Instead of having a singular server that holds data, a blockchain will operate across a network, with many servers doing the work of storing and recording data. What this means is that it becomes nearly impossible to lose or alter data as you would have to destroy multiple servers at the same time, or alter multiple data points on multiple servers at the same time. This is why blockchain technology is used by cryptocurrencies, because it is able to maintain a transaction history removing the necessity of banks and recordkeepers.
However while these are the most prominent uses for Blockchain technology, they are not the only ways in which this remarkable tech can be used. This article will be discussing three African Startups that are forging ahead using blockchain technology.
One of the largest concerns with the African real-estate industry is being defrauded or having your assets seized due to incorrect documentation. This is largely because of a lack of infrastructure, which results in incorrect record keeping. This has caused severe problems in a number of countries across Africa as it means the property industry is unable to function healthily.
However, blockchain technology provides a unique solution to this problem and is being utilised by the rapidly growing African based tech startup House Africa. What House Africa does is establish a record of sale through the blockchain which means that there is no way for these records to be lost or altered. This allows property values to be accessible to both everyday homebuyers as well as financial service providers and companies looking to involve themselves in real estate. This means that risks around losing money due to fraud are mitigated as well as keeping an accurate record of transactions that have taken place keeps property values in check.
What House Africa is doing is allowing banks and financial service providers to have the safety and security necessary to issue loans and mortgages to people looking to buy property. This means that House Africa has placed itself in the centre of a multi-billion dollar industry that was frozen by insecurity. By utilising blockchain technology to its fullest potential House Africa has not only shown the value of the blockchain, but also the ways in which it can be used to help address some of the systemic issues in Africa
Mazzuma is a cryptocurrency and mobile money system that uses the blockchain to secure payments and keep track of transactions. While this is similar to existing cryptocurrencies it does have some crucial differences that make Mazzuma not only more stable but also provide greater use and utility than other cryptocurrencies.
For instance, Mazzuma does not use mining like other cryptocurrencies. Instead it releases tokens every so often that are available for purchase. This firstly makes Mazzuma more environmentally friendly as the electricity usage associated with cryptocurrency mining is one of the largest concerns around sustainability. Beyond that Mazzuma issuing tokens as opposed to using mining means that the tokens value will grow at a more sustainable rate and will not be prone to dramatic collapses in value the same way other cryptocurrencies are.
Beyond that Mazzuma also has internal utility as a mobile money payment system. This means that you can use the Mazzuma app to pay for goods and services, giving them greater utility than simply cryptocurrency, which means that the value of the Mazzuma token will always exist, since it has an inherent use, whereas other cryptocurrencies are only valuable as an investment. This means that if there ever is a collapse in the cryptomarket, Mazzuma will likely fair a great deal better than other cryptocurrencies.
Pravica is an Egyptian based startup that has been using blockchain technology to create a completely private communications platform. The goal of Pravica is to put privacy back in the hands of ordinary people and they use the greatest level of security to ensure privacy is maintained.
While platforms like Whatsapp use end-to-end encryption to secure your privacy and data, Pravica uses this in addition to the blockchain to ensure not only your data’s security but also its fidelity. While most communication apps swear by their ability to keep your sensitive data secure, additional features and human error always pose a risk to the integrity of their security systems.
Pravica uses the blockchain in addition to encryption to make sure that your data is secure and safe, beyond even their ability to keep track of it. There is a clear market for securing privacy and this has been noted by the large investment by a Swiss based venture capitalist firm Crypto Valley Venture Capital who gave them funding to scale up their operations and secure new clientele. Pravica is showing the world how African startups can push the envelope and use creative solutions with existing software to solve market problems.
African startups have used blockchain technology in unique and creative ways that shows the promise of the tech outside of simple cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Africa could be paving the way for the future of blockchain technology if the creative entrepreneurs that establishing these platforms and services continue to innovate and develop new technology.