The blockchain technology is taking the world by a storm and Nigeria is part of the countries riding on its tide. It goes beyond cryptocurrency which is its most common use case and branches into various industries and sectors. The blockchain technology is a decentralized, open source and distributed database used to record transactions across many computers in such a way that data cannot be altered without causing a disruption across subsequent blocks in the network.
The big question seems to be how the blockchain technology can cause a radical change in the way and method in which things have been done in Africa in general and Nigeria in particular? And if there is an aspect that the transparent nature of the blockchain technology would be needed in Africa, it would be in tackling corruption. The adoption of the technology across the continent is moving quite slowly but surely. Countries like Kenya have embraced the technology by setting up an 11-member task force to focus on how the country can maximize the benefits of the blockchain and Internet of things (IoT).
Although countries like Nigeria, known as the giant of Africa is still dragging her feet on the blockchain technology, choosing rather, to focus on cryptocurrency and its volatility. The blockchain technology will aid in fighting against corruption in the following sectors.
In February, Agora a Swiss-based blockchain company offering verified voting solutions built on their blockchain network to governments made a claim that they conducted the very first blockchain based election in the world in Sierra Leone. Although the Government debunked the claim, imagine the bloodshed and stress a trustworthy election can prevent in Nigeria. The 2015 presidential elections that was reportedly rigged in some parts of the country can be verified using the blockchain technology.
The public healthcare system of Nigeria is hanging by threads and applying the blockchain technology to this sector will help a great deal. As it stands, the rural healthcare institution is relatively untouched by technological advancement. Also, the sector is even grossly unrepresented in the national budget with just 3.95% of the total national budget for 2018 allocated to health. The problem isn’t the misrepresentation of the health sector in the national budget but the fact that the budget is not fully actualized leading to a depreciated health sector. But with the application of blockchain to issues ranging from medical records to managing pharmaceutical supply chain transactions and execution of the healthcare sector can be monitored on the blockchain network.
Most of the Northern states in Nigeria have been battling with terrorism for some time now. With a terrorist group known as Boko Haram kidnapping young girls and training teenage boys to be suicide bombers. Tracking transactions is still needed as the blockchain technology makes it difficult to fund terrorism especially with the use of a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.
The blockchain technology can be applied in a multitude of ways including identification such as the government of Estonia is doing. By allowing citizens access variety of services and rights enable by their e-identities. Pensioners should not be left out as tracking their pensions and gratuity will be easy and there will be lesser pension and tax fraud.
While we wait for the Government of Nigeria to adopt the blockchain technology, its citizens are already making use of cryptocurrencies, solving problems by creating blockchain startups and creating a name for themselves. The dream of Nigeria taking the front row in the crypto and blockchain space is one we hope comes true very soon.
MoneyGram’s New Time Remittance Technology backed by Visa not Ripple
A new service introduced by remittance giant (MoneyGram) which allows users to send and receive money in real-time has been credited to visa and not the work of its blockchain-based partner (Ripple) in an announcement by representatives of the company.
The recently launched Fastsend, a new service which allows clients to send money in real-time to a phone number through a mobile application or dedicated website. While responding to enquiries from news sources about the latest concept, it was revealed to much surprise that MoneyGram did not make use of the technology of Ripple to achieve the latest product.
Do we need blockchain for real-time settlements?
MoneyGram Chief Operating Officer, Kamila Chytil informed news sources that FastSend makes use of Visa’s Direct Original Credit Transaction to send funds to bank accounts making use of Debit card deposit which is clearly not blockchain-backed or related.
Without the need for DLT, the dedicated website and app make use of an open-source cloud-based microservices. Chytil further stated that although Ripple is not involved in the new product, the firm still makes use of Ripple’s blockchain in other fields of the company.
Also, Chytil made mention of MoneyGram’s continuous effort on how to utilize blockchain in areas where it could assist to solve data privacy and regulatory obligations via distributed ledger technology. In her remarks, she spoke highly of DLT technology and cryptocurrencies, stating that the firm believes blockchain to be the future of global cross border payments and transfer of money.
As MoneyGram continues to research on the multiple use cases in order to tap into Ripple’s tools while integrating with the recent version of Ripple’s service suit to introduce cash-out service to all network members.
It is worth noting that Ripple is gaining increased support and approval among financial institutions to provide them with its DLT services in Africa with the National Bank of Egypt joining its network, this has been seen as a welcome development as it would do well for the inward remittance within the region the Ripple Network.
Nigeria Calls For an Extension of the Time Set for the Eco Currency Launch for West Africa
Nigeria, the country with the largest economy in Africa calls for a delay in the progression of Eco Currency.
Nigeria on Monday has expressed her view on the issues of the progress made so far in the creation and official use of the Eco currency for the West African region.
According to the Presidential Tweet on twitter;
“Nigeria’s position on the Eco is that the convergence criteria (between states) have not been met by the majority of countries” which will adopt this common currency”
“There, therefore, has to be an extension of time on the take-off of the single currency,”
Nigeria has its own currency, the Naira.
The Eco single currency has been a controversial issue since the idea was initiated. It was after more than 25 meetings on the subject, that the 15 member countries of the Community of West African States (ECOWAS), finalized that it would be launched in 2020.
There is currently eight out of the 15 ECOWAS countries using the CFA franc, but were looking to cut financial ties from France, their former colonial power.
The height of the controversy followed after President Ouattara of Ivory Coast all of a sudden denounced CFA for the francophone countries for the Eco currency following Emmanuel Macron’s visit to the country.
Nigeria, a member of ECOWAS, and some other Anglophone West African countries denounced the agreement. This is because the monetary policies governing the issue of Eco currency doesn’t align with the requirements adopted in the region to set up the single currency.
Written By Ogbuowelu Anthony Uchechukwu
Yahoo Finance Adds Cryptocurrency Market Data on its Website
US based financial news firm, Yahoo Finance has partnered with Coinmarketcap to add cryptocurrency market data on its website amongst other financial reporting data.
The data which is supplied by the popular cryptocurrency market data aggregator Coinmarketcap now allow visitors on the website to track the prices of cryptocurrencies daily.
Currently available on the website are 118 cryptocurrencies ranked in the order of their market capitalization. The price data on the website are denomination in USD.
The website has a feature which it calls Heatmap View. It allows visitors to see the price actions on each crypto assets. A red signal shows the asset has dipped while a green signal reveals a gain in the asset.
Registered users can add any cryptocurrency to their portfolios.
Just like coinmarketcap reports, the Yahoo Finance website also reports detailed information on each cryptocurrency it has listed in its website.
The website reports on each website various market data such as current price, changes in percentage and amount, market capitalization, volume and circulating supply.
Yahoo finance also have individual pages for each cryptocurrency listed on the website. Yahoo Finance was quoted saying “We are thrilled about this partnership which comes timely as we continue to level up our game with the new liquidity-based metrics for ranking market-pairs and an improved pricing algorithm coming soon.”
Other than data from Coinmarketcap, Yahoo Finance also have two indices Crypto 200 (including Bitcoin) and Crypto 200 EX (i.e. excluding Bitcoin)
The data on the website incorporates pricing from over 200 exchanges, according to the Finance reporting organization, the indices provide exposure to the broader cryptocurrency market by including the cryptocurrencies that represent more than 90% of global market capitalization as of the index launch date.
Its daily newsletter and blog content will also be integrated into the news stream on finance site’s cryptocurrency screener landing page as well as the individual cryptocurrency pages.
The firm said in the future, it will plan to produce more educational video features, which it hopes will further add to the educational content on the website.
Image: Yahoo Finance
Facebook to launch Facebook Pay to Provide Users With Secure and Convenient Payment Experience
Is Facebook Pay an alternative to Libra?
Facebook has announced it will be launching the Facebook Pay service to provide people with a convenient, secure and consistent payment experience across its platform.
According to Facebook, people already use payments across its platform to shop, donate to causes and send money to each other. The Facebook pay will make these economic events easier while continuing to ensure user transaction information is secure and protected.
In order to use the service, users are to add their preferred payment method once and then use the service where it is available to make payments and purchases on the facebook’s platform apps. This will ensure users are not inconvenience as they wouldn’t be required to enter their payment information again.
The Facebook Pay will be available on Facebook and Messenger this week for US customers for fundraising, in-game payments, and event tickets, person-to-person payments on Messenger and purchases from select pages and businesses on Facebook marketplace.
According to Facebook, over time, the service will become available to more people and places including on its Instagram and WhatsApp platforms.
Facebook iterates its desire to continue investment in security of its platform.
Facebook said “We designed Facebook Pay to securely store and encrypt your card and bank account numbers, perform anti-fraud monitoring on our systems to detect unauthorized activity and provide notifications for account activity”.
To the Future
The Facebook Pay is part of our ongoing work to make commerce more convenient, Facebook said and this also will make it accessible and secure for people on its app.
And it will continue to develop Facebook Pay and look for ways to make it even more valuable for people on our apps.
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