Optimism abounds for crypto and blockchain adoption at virtual Blockchain Africa

Blockchain Africa highlights the remaining hurdles that stand in the way of widespread adoption of crypto and blockchain on the continent.
The first-ever virtual version of Blockchain Africa delivered an optimistic outlook for the cryptocurrency and blockchain space in the continent as the world settles into a new normal dictated by COVID-19.The conference featured a number of well-known industry commentators, participants and thought leaders from around the world who addressed a completely virtual audience. The event attracted around 4,000 attendees online, according to organizer Sonya Kuhnel, despite going virtual in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.A major highlight of the conference was an insightful keynote address from Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson on Africa’s burgeoning position as a hotbed for cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption and development. Hoskinson outlined his belief that the continent would drive innovation in the space and highlighted Cardano’s ongoing investment and work in various African countries.Well-known podcast host Peter McCormack moderated a thought-provoking fireside chat focused on the arrival of institutional investments in the cryptocurrency space. This featured Dan Held from Kraken, Bybit co-founder and CEO Ben Zhou, MineBest senior vice president Peter Tylczynski and Crypto.com U.K. general manager Teana Baker-Taylor, who all weighed in on the changing cryptocurrency landscape from a global perspective. Stani Kulechov, founder of popular decentralized finance platform Aave, gave an overview of the growing DeFi protocol’s role in the greater ecosystem.Some prominent individuals from the African cryptocurrency and blockchain space tackled the industry’s progress on the continent in various presentations and panel discussions. Regulation and adoption was a major talking point that will be expanded upon later in this summary.“All-you-can-eat buffet of progress”Hoskinson’s address at Blockchain Africa painted a bright future for the continent, likening Africa’s position as an emerging economy to that of China in the 1980s. In the space of three decades, China became a global powerhouse, and Hoskinson asserted his belief that Africa could follow in its footsteps and even surpass the Asian powerhouse.Key to this accelerated development is Africa’s position as a marketplace for completely new systems like blockchain technology, which will bring efficiency and lower costs, resulting in what Hoskinson described as a huge competitive advantage to nations that adopt them first:“The first countries to hold national elections online that are credible, free, fair and auditable will likely be African nations. The first countries to have an end-to-end digital identity and economy, there’s a great potential for that to be African nations — not Germany, not France, not England, not the United States, not China or Japan. This is an all-you-can-eat buffet of progress and new systems.”Cardano has actively invested and built digital infrastructure in Ethiopia and other African countries that are being used to service large-scale government deals. The rationale behind this, according to Hoskinson, is the fact that citizens in those countries will begin using this new technology and its tools. The hope is that Africans take advantage of Cardano’s Catalyst funding system, which has over $250 million of grants for individuals and

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