Blockchain Technology: Beyond The Hype
On the 11 and 12 March 2020, Bitcoin Events hosted its 6th annual conference, the Blockchain Africa Conference 2020.
The conference was hosted at Investec’s office in Sandton, Johannesburg. The Premier Sponsors for the event were Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume and Investec, Private Banking.
The event went ahead as planned despite the global coronavirus pandemic with over 230 delegates attending, while others watched the event via live streaming.
Unfortunately, Keynote Speaker, Charles Hoskinson, Founder of Cardano and Co-founder of Ethereum, was unable to attend due to the travel restrictions.
Renowned cryptocurrency investor and analyst Tone Vays provided an insightful presentation on the value proposition of Bitcoin. Later in the day Tone, participated on a very lively panel with Simon Dingle and Gareth Cliff on “Bitcoin, not Blockchain”.
Chris Becker, Blockchain lead at Investec, announced Investec would be offering their clients a digital asset custodial wallet service, which will appeal to both the traditional and tech-savvy investor alike.
Keynote Speaker and Master of Ceremonies, Tanya Knowles announced the launch of Binance South Africa and its fiat gateway for South African users to make rand (ZAR) deposits on the global platform. Her colleague, Damilola Odufuwa also announced that the Binance Charity Foundation would be donating $1M to support the growth and development of blockchain education in South Africa.
Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Use-Cases
Impressive use-cases of blockchain technology were presented by several of the 35 global speakers.
The majority of speakers at the conference weighed in on a wide variety of subjects within the blockchain ecosystem with a specific focus on trade finance, self-sovereign identity, supply chain management and regulation.
Peter Munnings, CEO and Co-founder of Adhara, a startup backed by ConsenSys, talked about a Pan-African settlement platform for Africa. Adhara was behind Project Khokha, which used enterprise blockchain client Quorum to see how zero-knowledge proofs performed with the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). The project was a proof-of-concept interbank payment and settlement system by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and the first blockchain-based initiative in Africa to receive global recognition.
Anrich Daseman, Senior FinTech Specialist at the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), told delegates that SARB had acknowledged that cryptocurrencies were “here to stay,” proven by the fact that a task force had been set up to develop regulatory frameworks for the sector. He also confirmed that the SARB would be issuing a draft policy paper on the regulation of cryptocurrencies in the country that would be released for public input in March.
Commissioner at the Fourth Industrial Revolution Committee for the South African Presidency, Mpho Dagada talked about the important economic benefits blockchain could bring to South Africa and in particular, the mining sector could benefit from forward-thinking solutions utilising blockchain technology.
South Africa’s Office of Digital Advantage’s Akhona Damane, discussed their plans to invest and support blockchain-based projects. The office falls under the jurisdiction of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Amongst the initiatives he discussed is the launch of the South African National Blockchain Alliance (SANBA) in April 2020.
Speakers that have indicated we may share their presentations can be downloaded below (in pdf format).
Akhone Damane, Mpho Dagada, Victor Mapunga, Mervyn George, Rob Hare, Michelle Chivunga Nsanzumuco, Anrich Daseman, Hemash Kala, Jacquelene Friedenthal, Dr. Ntuthuko Bhengu, Carmelle Cadet, Prof. Sope Williams-Elegbe