Weather-tracking blockchain in West Africa, but transparency on a raincheck

A blockchain-based project aims to collect weather data generated in West Africa. Will the region be open to data sharing?
West Africa is home to an estimated 381 million people and counting. Unfortunately, the region was also found to be a hotspot for climate change, which will likely impact crop yields and food production while causing damage to its unique wildlife.At the same time, West Africa is well on its way to becoming the next blockchain hotspot as well, with the region continuing to show interest in cryptocurrency and digital solutions. In 2019, Nigeria ranked as the number one country for Bitcoin searches on Google, which may be linked to the prominence of fintech adoption across the continent. For example, according to the Ernst & Young 2019 Global Fintech Adoption Index, one of the countries leading the push, South Africa, ranks as the fourth-largest emerging market by interest in fintech. A blockchain project collecting weather dataDue to Africa’s acceptance for new technologies and crypto, the region is arguably an ideal place to implement blockchain-based solutions to combat ongoing geographical challenges. One of the companies hoping to make a difference is Telokanda — an open-source weather technology company launched by a former Boeing and NASA engineer — has released a blockchain-based weather balloon initiative. Telokanda has partnered with the blockchain platform Telos to upload weather data generated from weather balloons, which are high-altitude devices that collect and transmit information about atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity and wind speeds via a small sensor called a radiosonde. The sensors transmit data to the Telos blockchain in real time, where the information is then stored on RAM. Telokanda uses this data to alert first responders of severe weather conditions up to 12 hours in advance. The company is also prototyping a text messaging service to automatically notify citizens when balloons detect harsh weather conditions. Douglas Horn, chief architect of Telos, told Cointelegpraph that the Telokanda weather balloon project is currently being piloted in West Africa due to the urgent need for weather data in the region:“The lack of weather information in Africa has powerful negative effects on the local population, who must get by without modern weather forecasting. This is also a global challenge, as the lack of data in Africa limits meteorological predictions in the Atlantic and beyond.”Data shows that weather observations coming from Africa mainly exist as incomplete, paper-based records. Even with assistance from the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva as well as Germany’s meteorological service Deutscher Wetterdienst, regions in Africa are hesitant to digitize historical climate data. According to a Nature article, millions of weather records in Africa remain in cardboard boxes and rely on obsolete technology while digitization efforts are held up due to data ownership and distribution issues.Despite the region’s challenges in record-keeping for weather conditions, Telokanda founder Nicolas Lopez told Cointelegraph that the company’s interest is to work in West Africa partly because collecting its weather data is important for U.S. insurance companies analyzing the risk of hurricanes originating off the

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