Viral Tech: London Blockchain Week Spreads Into Day Two Despite Coronavirus Scare

Coronavirus anxiety continues to overshadow second day of London Blockchain Week.
The second day of Fintech Worldwide’s Blockchain Summit kicked off to unusually glorious sunshine. But you’d be hard pressed to notice that in the venue because there was no natural light filtering through to the handful of attendees that braved the ongoing coronavirus scare.Despite COVID-19’s spectre looming large over the conference, panelists spoke about an impressive range of topics, including how Blockchain can help local women in the Maasai Mara, to the day’s debate on the state of adoption.As MakerDAO’s Gustav Arentoft told me during the conference, speakers in London often come from a more institutional perspective that naturally tilts toward a critical perspective of the industry. While yesterday witnessed panelists clashing over decentralization, volatility, and more, today was mainly about cutting through the fluff that surrounds so many projects in the industry and thinking pragmatically about how to move forward.Compelling use cases in AfricaAny international Blockchain or crypto project worth its salt is turning its attention to Africa; a continent abundant with use cases for Blockchain. Africa’s huge market and the fact that many millions of people on the continent are considered “unbanked,” seems to indicate that Blockchain is a good fit for many of the complex challenges faced in the region.Technology entrepreneur John Kamara said that, in Africa, women are one of the most important economic driving factors for growth. Kamara explained that groups formed by local women currently represent a multi-million dollar informal lending economy:“One of the most important economic driving factors is women. Savings groups. Saving informally among themselves, to borrow themselves so they can survive in the markets. We’re talking about millions of women. All of these women have 4g phones. I was in the Masaai Mara and I could use my whatsapp. They can borrow money at a reduced interest rate among themselves. There are millions of dollars circulated in these groups, they just don’t know it because they are siloed.”But an emerging use of technology is not contained to the women of the Maasai Mara alone. Kamara gave a fascinating insight into the growth of Opay, a Nigerian startup that received around $120 million in Series B funding from Chinese investors last year. According to Kamara, Opay has revolutionised the motorcycle ride hailing sector in Nigeria:“Opay went to these guys and said “we’ll take every motorcycle and we’ll pay you 5 percent if you get the consumer to pay with Opay.” That’s probably like 30 cents, but, to the drivers, that’s a shitload of money. Now they’re saying “you need to pay Opay”, it’s the only currency I’m taking. The drivers will help you download the app and pay you to use it. They’ve built an economy using over 4 million people.”Getting blockchain done: Governments & blockchainFor many people, whether passive observers or innovators working at the coalface of Blockchain development, there is too much talk going on and not enough action. The reasons for this are many. Technologies like

Post written by our friend Joseph Birch and Syndicated from Cointelegraph
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