Transforming communication across Africa through decentralized internet

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  • With sixty-six percent of the continent unbanked blockchain promises to play a critical role in the decentralization of finance in Africa
  • Decentralized finance and P2P transactions are among the most exciting applications of blockchain in the African context.
  • The growth of community networks in Africa is partly due to concerns about how tech companies use personal data.

Africa is looking at a future projection of possible decentralized internet in the continent. In the desperate need for Africa to communicate for both commercial and social reasons, connection speed and bandwidth have been a major concern. This article examines the connectivity issues that the continent has, and how best they can be addressed.

Blockchain technology in Africa

With sixty-six percent of the continent unbanked blockchain promises to play a critical role in the decentralization of finance in Africa. A key factor to the success of blockchain applications in Africa is security as FinTech outfits like M-Pesa and Momo have been fully reliant on digital communications. According to Zianah Muddu, Engagement Partner at the Financial Technologies Service Providers Association in Uganda, blockchain will help build trust through a distributed database of discrete blocks. As new blocks are added, they link to existing ones, creating a chain of blocks.

The technology’s disruptive potential is best seen in the finance sector. Africa’s native population is eager to experiment with new financial systems, and blockchain-powered solutions can be the key. Decentralized finance and P2P transactions are among the most exciting applications of blockchain in the African context. However,  non-fungible tokens are the most promising. Blockchains are a perfect fit for this context, and African governments should explore the opportunities they present.

Cryptocurrency adoption in Africa

African countries are at the forefront of crypto adoption for various reasons. From personal finance and e-commerce to social good and wealth preservation, the continent is already making use of crypto in a variety of applications. For example, the country of Morocco has one of the highest crypto-holding populations in Africa, with over 2.5% of its population using some type of digital currency. For those looking for a lucrative side hustle, crypto can be a good option.

The adoption of cryptocurrencies has increased by more than 1,200 percent in Africa in the past year, according to a study by Chainalysis, a New York-based research firm. However, this growth in Africa has been slow mainly because of counterproductive mindsets, which have hindered the development of a decentralized ecosystem. While global organizations often overlook the enormous potential of African economies and the potential of new technologies in this region, the country has historically rooted barriers that are preventing them from leveraging the latest technologies.

African governments’ reactions toward cryptocurrencies

The use of decentralized networks is a way to avoid the censorship that comes with a centralized internet. The decentralized nature of the networks makes them more secure, as communications take place on a local level. According to a report by the Internet Society, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing digital rights, there are currently 37 such community networks in 12 African countries, including South Africa, Nigeria, and Somalia. While digital rights activists argue that there is plenty of room for more such networks, they note that the cost and regulatory barriers are barriers that stall their efforts.

The growth of the web in Africa is astonishing, but the impact is uneven around the globe. This is especially true in regions such as Africa. Founders and investors should pay close attention to web3. Additionally, African governments should take a lead role in driving the continent towards mass adoption and building tangible value around it. A few of the major players in the web3 ecosystem are the following:

Blockchain Startup 3air

To solve this problem, blockchain-based Startup 3air has come up with a solution using the decentralized Internet concept. 3air plans to expand its network across Africa to provide true broadband connectivity to the masses. Their proprietary technology enables them to bank the unbanked and connect millions of people without access to the internet. They leverage an open-source distributed ledger (OSDL) and privacy-enabled transparency to ensure secure, transparent transactions between members of the ecosystem. Furthermore, the blockchain allows for secure transactions within the ecosystem. By eliminating the need for passwords and other forms of data sharing, 3air is aiming to eliminate several problems related to connectivity and the lack of personal identification in Africa.

To achieve these goals, 3air is partnering with Swiss technology provider K3 Telecom in Sierra Leone. The two firms intend to pilot decentralized internet access in the country. This partnership will simplify the process of bringing high-speed Internet to remote areas. It will allow 3air to bypass the need for telecom masts and provide better infrastructure to make penetration easier. The company is also collaborating with CV Labs Dubai to develop its software. The company hopes to launch its first clients within six months.

Read: Cryptocurrency offers hope for Africa’s economic resurgence

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JOSEPH KANGETHE
JOSEPH KANGETHE
I am a tech, business, and investment news reporter covering Africa. Most of what is good in Africa is obscured by preconceptions, yet there is still a lot of good going on. Technology is what is driving the continent and this is my passion. For Africa, I share the stories that are important to Africans.