Game Changers in the Philanthropy Space; Blockchain Technology & Cryptocurrencies.
Meet Nasimiyu, a twenty-one-year-old Kenyan girl studying at a University in Gisenyi, Rwanda. It is 2:00 a.m. After a long week of study, she decides to feed her craving for ice cream placing an order off her favorite fast food joint. In the ten minutes it takes for it to be ready to collect, she logs on to her BitLipa App, pays her rent, sends her little sister pocket money & renews her internet subscription. Immediately after, she goes to her school portal & casts her vote in the student association elections.
During her free time, Nasimiyu volunteers in the partnerships & fundraising department at a home for the elderly in Goma, DRC. In the 3 minutes remaining, she counterchecks the Ethereum donations received within the week through her BitLipa App so that she combines her trip to the fast-food joint to the bank to convert some of it to fiat. She approaches the fast-food joint & realizes she forgot her purse. Her worry is put to rest because she met with a neon green sign flashing, ‘Cryptocurrencies accepted here’. Her digital wallet on her phone is all she needs. The year is 2030.
How would blockchain work ?
Blockchain enthusiast, Zenny Litaba gave a simple definition, ‘the technology that allows peer-to-peer transactions of assets over the internet’. It is essentially a distributed ledger or database chain of transactions that is owned and maintained by all users of the system. It is not privately owned or operated by anyone.
In light of that, vision 2030 presents a promise of unmatched efficiency and limitless possibilities of what mainstreaming breakthrough technologies can do. From Information Communication Technilogy infrastructure, economic structure, political atmosphere as well as the social space. This explains why Nasimiyu can navigate with great ease. She is guaranteed high-speed connectivity & effortlessness access to information. The organization she works for receives daily donations. Why? The economic structures are set to ensure financial & monetary prosperity. As such, philanthropists have much more platforms? to give. Grantmakers are able to track the projects as well as get ‘proof of impact’ and goals realized in real-time. Due diligence & reporting costs are taken care of by the nature of this transparent, decentralized, immutable system. Blockchain technology has finally put the minds of innocent change-makers and community leaders at ease. The institutional trust crisis has been solved.
Nasimiyu can afford to go out anytime in a 24-hour economy where there is safety due to political stability. Voter systems are online eliminating election disputes. The transport rails allow her a fast commute to Congo DRC while studying in Rwanda. These advancements guarantee her education anywhere in Africa since there is regional integration. She has no anxiety for any form of remittances since Africa has adopted the BitLipa App, a ground-breaking payment gateway that allows her to send & receive money from anywhere in the world for free with cash out points even in the rural areas.
Is Africa sufficiently preparing? Or prepared?
Speaking on market penetration, Charles, BitLipa’s brand strategist says that the adoption into the grassroots is largely dependent on the technological literacy and technical skills of the users. ‘The penetration of knowledge & skill is still below targets’, he exclaims. This can also be tied to a talent deficit especially for grant-making organizations that need private blockchain networks.
Another factor that may curtail growth is the language barrier. Conversely, the BitLipa App developers are making strides to have a translate button that facilitates all widespread languages spoken across Africa.
Lending weight to this vision, Apollo, CEO of BitLipa affirms that ‘Africa has the resources & brains to compete globally. Many of the resources are underutilized. Solar, geothermal & wind energy can be harnessed to be able to cater to the massive energy consumption needed for the crypto-mining process. ‘He adds, ‘by doing this, philanthropists in the environmental space will be able to endorse this technology as a sustainable move.’
The good news echoed by both Apollo & Charles is that ‘the current challenges facing these emerging technologies are opportunities to leverage on’. Also, owing to the prior willingness and acceptance to explore alternative technologies along with the enthusiasm of a youthful population, Africa is the perfect breeding ground for blockchain fruition. Kenya, Sierra Leone, South Africa & Nigeria are already leading the way in the world of distributed ledgers and virtual currencies.
Will the social sector bite the bait?
Philanthropic activities have many times grabbed the headlines with scandals and much of the public no longer viewing charities as the social impact drivers they once were. Statistically, less than 40
% of charity money reaches the intended beneficiary in Africa. Also, the use and distribution of medicines and food by many NGOs is far from optimal.
Apollo’s passion is founded on creating peer-to-peer secure platforms that eliminate intermediaries in a continent said to be beset by institutionalized corruption. ’It is hard to predict the longterm future of hard-to-fathom technologies’, he adds. Notwithstanding, by implementing systems that depend on blockchain and cryptocurrencies for the completion of philanthropic ventures, foreign aid, charity donations, disaster response, medicine & food distribution, Africa will be able to mitigate the fees associated with international transfers, provide immediate financial support to communities and for automated track & trace purposes.
Unanimity is growing that feasibly Africa will consider full adoption of blockchain and crypto across every industry, systematically; each identifying their areas of operation that can benefit from deployment of certain elements of blockchain.
In the year 2020, Nasimiyu is 11 years old living amidst the Covid-19 pandemic that has accelerated the demand for alternative technologies in a desperate bid to adapt. She is counting on Apollo Eric, Charles Kijana, Gaseema Mwangi, Theophilus Mwangi & Clement Ndege, all co-founders of the BitLipa App to ensure that the app is secure and user friendly. Far beyond their call of duty, as industry leaders, she expects them to be at the forefront to lobby for a concrete legislative framework for crypto & blockchain regulation for her to be dexterous in 2030 & beyond.