Web3 Awareness Grows as University of Zimbabwe Hosts Blockchain Hackathon

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  • Over 175 students nationwide turned to the event, showcasing the growing interest in web3 technology.
  • In 2018, the government issued a law stating that crypto operators illegally operated within the country.
  • The University of Zimbabwe has partnered with Mzansi Web3 Hub, a South African blockchain company, to hold the institution’s first hackathon.

Amid Africa’s crypto ecosystem, several names must appear in every Africa-focused crypto news. Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, and Morocco are a few regions that have sometimes dominated the continent’s crypto sphere. Initially, many African nations took a negative stance on cryptocurrency, except a few, like South Africa. 

Fortunately, the determinations and consistency of African crypto traders soon changed the minds of many governments. The high trading volumes presented a beacon of hope for economic empowerment, forcing many governments to rethink their stance on cryptocurrency. 

Since then, many African countries have taken a positive outlook on the notion and have even gone as far as accommodating several web3-based initiatives like events, CBDC adoption, and even formulating crypto regulatory frameworks. Within this rising trend, Zimbabwe’s rising crypto ecosystems have caught the eye of many investors. 

The region’s positive take on digital assets and blockchain technology has caught the eye of many investors and enthusiasts. In recent news, the University of Zambia collaborated with South Africa-based Mzansi Web3 Hub, launching a successful hackathon in December. These new milestones shed a positive light on Zimbabwe’s future in web3.

The University of Zimbabwe hosted its first blockchain hackathon.

Despite Zimbabwe’s crypto ecosystem having a rocky journey, its government has recognized the usefulness of blockchain technology. Over the years, its government has encouraged its citizens to learn and adopt this technology to improve the region’s technological evolution. 

Africa’s digital transformation has sparked numerous events and partnerships showcasing the increased interest in technology. Web3 is one of the core technologies amid the 4IR; thus, the need for blockchain development has only grown. The University of Zimbabwe foresaw this rising trend and pioneered the region’s first blockchain hackathon. 

To accomplish this feat, the University of Zimbabwe has partnered with Mzansi Web3 Hub, a South African blockchain company, to hold the institution’s first hackathon. The competition occurred on December 8 and 9 and was met with an overwhelming turnout. 

According to the official report, over 175 students across the country turned to the event, showcasing the growing interest in web3 technology. During an interview with Bitcoin.news, Taurasi Rupere, the chairman of UZ’s computer science department, says the blockchain hackathon aims to identify and produce open-minded developers with rudimentary thinking.

The-University-of-Zimbabwe-Mzansi
 The University of Zimbabwe and Mzansi Web3 Hub launched a blockchain hackathon in December with over 175 participants.[Photo/Medium]
Taurasi added that the event assisted in promoting the awareness of blockchain and web3 technology. He said, “We must run a course to conscientize the market. We need to do this for two or three months. We can also do this via the research projects that our students do.”

Also, Read Zimbabwe Reserve Bank is close to launching gold-backed digital tokens.

Shaheer Karrim, the founder of Mzansi Web3 Hub, stated that the event aimed to enhance the younger generation’s knowledge of blockchain technology. With Web3, blockchain technology, and decentralized applications steadily becoming mainstream, the need for Web3 developers grew. 

Africa has showcased an overwhelming aptitude for blockchain technology. Events like blockage hackathons aim to create a generation that can exploit that aptitude and propel the continent to new heights. Karim added, “The rise in blockchain technology adoption by African governments and corporates indicates a recognition of its potential to revolutionize various sectors. The Internet Computer Protocol, known for its advanced technological stack, is becoming increasingly popular worldwide.

The two-day event was a success as Mzansi Web3 Hub took the opportunity to educate the participants on blockchain technology’s nature, benefits, and potential. The blockchain hackathon also allowed Mzansi Web3 Hub to inform the students about Internet Computer Protocol(ICP), an added skill for any skilled developer.

Zimbabwe’s rocky relations with Web3

Zimbabwe’s relations with Web3 technology have a similar background to many African countries. Unfortunately, the region has experienced a high inflation rate for some time. In fact, since the 1990s, the Zimbabwean dollar has struggled to maintain a stable value due to the country’s economic and political instability. During the 2000s, the government broke modern-day inflation records despite numerous attempts to revive it.

 The problem, however, persisted. In 2009, the country completely abandoned its currency to the US dollar. The Zimbabwean dollar had experienced a mind-blowing inflation of 231,000,000% compared to the US dollar. This significantly affected the livelihood of the citizens, forcing many to look for alternative income methods. Thus, when Bitcoin came about and gradually gained value, the people of Zimbabwe leaped onto it, a saving grace.

Also, Read Zimbabwe sells millions of gold-backed cryptocurrencies despite IMF caution.

 Since then, crypto trading has become a norm for the region, salvaging many citizens from poverty. Unfortunately, the high dependency on cryptocurrency is a vexing issue for the government. Its high rise to fame led to the development of Golix, a crypto exchange that significantly aided the country’s crypto traders in avoiding its strict regulatory frameworks.

Zimbocash
Zimbocash (ZASH) is a cryptocurrency system and payment wallet for Zimbabweans.[Photo/Medium]
Unfortunately, in 2018, the government issued a law stating that crypto operators were illegally operating within the country. This generally forbade any bank from facilitating or associating with any crypto-lasted transactions. Despite the harsh crypto rule, Zimbabwe’s crypto ecosystems continued to grow. A survey revealed that only around 24% of Zimbabwe’s population had poor or no understanding of Bitcoin, which is attributed to the region’s high growth adoption rate.

Eventually, the government saw the fundamental benefit behind Bitcon’s technology. This resulted in the development of the Zimbabwean cryptocurrency Zimbocash(ZASH). According to its developers, Zimbocash is a non-inflationary cryptocurrency specifically designed to combat the inflationary problems of the Zimbabwean dollar. Despite facing many adversities, ZASH was the first progressive milestone to inspire its government to release its digital assets.

Although Zimbabwe’s government had mixed feelings over cryptocurrency, it adopted blockchain’s underlying technology. Eventually, in April 2023, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) officially announced an upcoming gold-backed digital currency. 

They set this new initiative to stabilize its failing fiat currency. According to the report, the country’s gold reserve will back the token, and RBZ will house it. RBZ intends for its people to exchange Zim dollars or the gold-baed token to aid in hedging against the volatility of the local currency. This approach has met several controversial debates but ultimately underscores the region’s evolution from rejecting blockchain-based financial systems to incorporating and adopting them.

Wrapping up

The University of Zimbabwe and Nzansi Web3 Hub played a crucial role in introducing new minds into the web3 community. Despite the blockchain hackathon being limited to two days, it ignited the dormant ingenuity in various Zimbabweans.

Also, Read Zimbabwe races to launch CBDC.

Web3 technology has taken root in Africa, and to ensure the region dominates the franchise, we must learn the technology ourselves and not leave its development in the hands of outsiders. Although external forces have paved the way for Africa’s web3 journey, we have no choice but to take matters into our own hands if we are to prosper in the Industrial Revolution. The blockchain hackathon was among many efforts to create more blockchain-focused youngsters tapping into the content’s hidden potential.

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Ken Mutuku
Ken Mutuku
I am an enthusiastic writer who believes that facts, knowledge and opinions can be expressed vividly with just a few words. I think that all forms of writing achieve this; hence I have a wide area of expertise and interest, such as cryptocurrency, psychology and the human mind.