In the latest episode of FinancialFox TV, blockchain PR guru Stefania Barbaglio talks to John O’Connor, Head of African Operations at Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK), the team behind the Cardano blockchain and ADA coin. Founded in 2015 by Charles Hoskinson, also co-founder of Ethereum, IOHK is developing decentralised open-source technologies set to cause cascading disruption.
Cardano represents the third -cryptocurrency, emerging from a group of tech academics and researchers whose core objective is to deploy blockchain technology to disrupt inefficient systems in the developing world.
Blockchain could serve as a superb tool to accelerate growth as it addresses the PROBLEM OF TRUST, which currently holds back development in many parts of the world. Establishing open-sourced far-reaching decentralised systems will help to shift the authority and decisional power, which currently lie with governments and centralized institutions, onto individuals. Thanks to transparency, accountability and scalability features embed in the blockchain, the same level of trust and security can be ensured as new participants enter the network.
Charles Hoskinson, founder of IOHK, says their mission is to develop an efficient decentralised system that can support change in the developing world: “About 3 billion people are unbanked and as the consequence of not having good identity, financial infrastructure; they don’t have the ability to climb out of poverty without a considerable amount of assistance or leaving their country, which creates ‘brain drain’,” said Hoskinson when Cardano announced plans in Ethiopia.
John O’Connor, currently based in Ethiopia, talks about Cardano’s ambitious plans in Africa and latest developments in its first project in Ethiopia.
Watch here interview:
In Ethiopia, where 80 million people work in agriculture, Cardano is leveraging on its unique blockchain platform to spur growth in the agritech sector. Thanks to John, Cardano has entered into an agreement with the local government to apply its blockchain to the coffee supply chain.
John belives that the secret to success in implementing blockchain in developing economies is to understand the specific/local problems and flaws in each country’s underlying systems and apply tailored blockchain applications to address them effectively.
One of John’s initial questions was: “How can we enable the local players to take advantage of this technology to improve their economy and likes?”. The answer is: “Identify a problem and offer the best simple solution”.
The other element of a successful project is having the right local partners and ensure the population is educated about blockchain: “The way is to work with local partners and individuals who are excited about what this technology can do.”
Cardano’s projects in the agritech sector is just the beginning. The aim is to build a solid foundation for other sectors in Africa which could benefit from blokchain in term of transparency, accountability and future growth.
As agriculture employs 70 million Africans, it a fundamental sector in ensuring economic growth. With blockchain agritech applications in place, the population will be empowered to embrace a wider revolution.
Africa is already seen a growing number of start-ups with new ideas on how technology can help drive economy. One example is the company Block Commodities also operating in the agriculture sector. Block is developing a commodity ecosystem that offer lending solutions in cryptocurrencies to Sub-Saharan farmers so they can grow their business and produce under better conditions and terms. Their pilot project has just started in Uganda. Check out for more.
Cardano’s mission is to unlock a new era of development, powered by technology and decentralisation, where individuals become their own masters, relying on their own assets to climb out of poverty and fight unsettling conditions, while taking control back from central authorities.
Despite its innovative spirit, Cardano is not the first business to come up with solutions for the problem of financial exclusion in Africa. The African mobile payment market is largely dominated by the platform M-Pesa, which currently has 30 million users worldwide.
However, M-Pesa is a centralised platform run by telecommunications companies. Cardano, on the other hand, is heavily decentralised and enables the use of smart contracts, a key element to decentralisation and individual empowerment.
Blockchain is revolutionary for developing countries because it targets the core problem: TRUST. Because of its shared, open-sourced structure, blockchain allows for transparency and accountability. Starting with Agriculture, Cardano its looking to deploy its technology into sectors such as land registry, housing healthcare, and gaming. IOHK has recognized the need for the gaming, in particularly, the need to improve its practices in transparency security and transfers, which again could be addressed by decentralized systems.
Blockchain makes it possible for more efficient businesses and partnerships, basically “anything that involves a process, blockchain can improve,” says John.
What this space for more updates on Cardano and blockchain projects in Africa. Subscribe to our FinancialFox YouTube channel for all the latest developments and news.