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Africa Blockchain Hackathon 2021 Edition Begins Registration 

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Africa Blockchain Hackathon
Image Credit: Africa Blockchain Institute (ABI)

The 2021 edition of the Africa Blockchain Hackathon, a brainchild of the Africa Blockchain Institute (ABI) is ready for take-off. The initiative was created to allow young professionals, tech enthusiasts, students and policymakers amongst others to gain exposure to the opportunity of Blockchain/DLT Digital Innovations through mentorship, career and business opportunities. The Hackathon Program is a product of the partnership with FreeTON Africa (Sub Governance). The Hackathon provides a controlled, structural and sustainable mentorship model as well as a community to nurture and empower developers with potential towards building DLT and blockchain solutions. Registration for the Hackathon is already underway and the deadline is fixated on August 25, 2021. 

The contest is done in collaboration with FREE TON, an Open Source (OS)  community project created by developers of the Telegram Open Network (TON). TON OS  has more features than the Ethereum Virtual Machine and is designed as a decentralized operating system capable of handling decentralized applications. TON OS also has a stack of components that can be used by developers to create powerful applications. By making these components Open Source, anyone or everyone can view and copy fragments of the code.

The contest is open to all Africa Blockchain enthusiasts, newbies, artists, developers, policymakers and students. There is a prize of over 62,000 TONs up for grabs for the winner. The contest is open to the 54 countries in Africa for participants to build Blockchain Applications on Free TON. The aim is to add value to the FreeTON Network and the continent will equally benefit from the applications.  

According to John Kanyiri, FreeTON Africa Representative and the FreeTON Africa Team, “… we once again look forward to identifying projects culminating from this hackathon as being not only a showcase of what Africa can offer the global blockchain space but also solutions to the continent’s challenges. The creativity, ambition and sophistication of our localized developers are quite evident in the Hackathons and this time around we hope to see the same. Discovery of new talent and exposure of the same from very remote locations of Africa was witnessed in the last Hackathon and we look forward to the same this time too.”

The Hackathon is open to covering aspects of the blockchain that academia needs to know giving ample information about how the blockchain works and the current and future applications needed to change the world from the blockchain Point of View. The contest is open to both newbies and experienced developers as some of the best technical experts in the blockchain community will be there to aid you. In other words, the event is open to all who seek blockchain knowledge. 

The contest will be carried out in three sections: country competition, regional competition, and continental competition. The country and regional competitions will be held virtually however, winners of the regional competitions will get an all-expense-paid trip to South Africa for the Finals. The winners will attend the Grand Finale which will be hosted in South Africa. Participants are allowed to work on topics or applications that are peculiar to the needs of the African continent. However, some applications may include: 

  • National voting platforms
  • Fintech infrastructure/Digital Wallets (to help those who do not have access to banking)
  • Land ownership and registry
  • High tech job creation
  • Human rights protections

There are lots of prizes to be won including an all-expense paid trip to South Africa for the winners of the regionals. Other prizes includes:

1st Prize: 25,000 TONs

2nd Prize: 15,000 TONs

3rd Prize: 5,000 TONs

4th – 20th Prize: 1,000 TONs

Participants will have to follow a simple process leading up to winning amazing prizes. The first step is to submit applications for the hackathon, meet all the requirements and pitch ideas. Next, participants have to receive Acceptance Confirmation Notification/Onboarding, form a team and then join the opening session. The last part of the process involves building the application and collaborating with team members. 

Notable Dates 

Applications open July 2021.

Application Deadline: August 25th, 2021.

Hackathon Dates:  September 6th – 24th 2021. 

Begin your application here:  https://bit.ly/africablockhack 

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Blockchain Technology

Can NFTs play-to-earn game usher in the next generation of platforms?

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Blockchain technology is taking the world by storm with massive leaps into various fields such as the arts, sports, real estate, finance and now gaming. The first NFT game propped up in 2017 in a Crypto Kitties video game and a pixel art CryptoPunks giveaway. It gained short term popularity and went back into its shell during the 2018 crash. A new wave began later till date. This article explores NFT-based online video games. Enjoy!

NFT-based Online Video Games explained

Non-Fungible Token (NFT) are proof of ownership of digital assets. It’s equivalent to having copyright over a piece: artwork, music, design or any other digital asset. For instance, Leonardo Da Vinci, the artist that painted the Mona Lisa image died over 500 years ago. The Mona Lisa image has remained relevant since then, it can be downloaded and printed on a shirt by anyone. The image is not owned by anyone, so, no one can claim ownership of it. However, since the French government can prove its authenticity via its provenance, the Mona Lisa in the Louvre is considered priceless. The priceless image and the one on the shirt are two worlds apart. Let’s say the priceless one can be sold as NFT. The rise of NFTs led developers to shift their gaze to the opportunities of online Play-to-Earn games for game lovers. 

NFT-based online video games combine conventional gaming designs with unconventional game mechanisms that allow users to have control over in-game assets such as skins, characters, weapons, virtual lands and others. These features are supported by launching games on blockchain technology and anchoring them with asset-powered economies 

NFTs are commonly used for these digital assets since they are distinctive and tamper-proof. The implementation of NFT token standards also allows developers to keep certain of these in-game objects rare and distinctive. As a result, some blockchain gaming assets are seen as more valuable than others.

Players can claim ownership of game assets using three basic tactics with this system in place. They could create or breed new characters, buy digital products on native or third-party marketplaces, or earn and unlock additional items. You have exclusive ownership rights to these game assets regardless of how you access them. In other words, you can distribute or sell them and keep 100% of the profit.

Rise of NFT-based Online Video Games

When the Covid-19 pandemic got heated in 2020, the stay-at-home order and its resultant effect in ravaging jobs and businesses across the world led most people to look for other ways to earn money online. This led to the popularity of NFT-based online video games which raked in $20billion in 2020 alone. One such game is the Axie Infinity where players collect, breed, raise, battle and trade digital creatures. Participants of this game rake up to $400 per month which may vary based on the exchange rate of the game’s cryptocurrency in USD. The game does not require special skills before it can be won making it one of the legit ways to earn money online. Most Filipinos earn a living through this game as it gained popularity by June 2021. Play-to-Earn games often require players to pay an up-front cost through cryptocurrency to play the game and receive the game’s prizes. These ‘prizes’ can be sold later when they increase in price. 

Is the NFT Play-to-Earn game ushering in the next generation of platforms?

The NFT Play-to-Earn game is an innovative way of earning money online in the form of leisure. Before now, it was Pay-to-Play without gains attached; except for the feelings of satisfaction. The popularity that online NFT games have attracted to themselves show how fast the industry has grown within a short time. Players now spend hundreds of dollars just t get an upgrade on their avatar or to access a highly coveted item. There are an estimated 1 billion online gamers currently active worldwide, experts forecast that the number will grow to 1.3 billion gamers by 2025. 

Nothing feels good more than earning in your leisure time. For game lovers, this is a chance for you to do your best and earn with it. What an utmost spree of enjoyment!

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Artificial Intelligence

The Metaverse in Bits and Pieces

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The metaverse is coming. Or maybe it is already here. But interest in the concept has soared higher than ever before after Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg announced that his newly renamed company, Meta Systems Inc., would take up the task of building a metaverse within the next few years. The metaverse, which started out as a fictional concept in the 1992 book “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson, is a virtual reality built on top of the real one in which people live, interact and do what people do. Meta Inc. hopes to bring this vision to life by “rendering the internet” in 3d.

The metaverse is going to be a virtual world but a much more immersive one, more so than our current digital worlds. The aim is to create a reality that would otherwise be indistinguishable from the real one in many aspects while also outdoing real life in others. The possibilities are endless. However, the crux of the matter remains that if a metaverse is built in the way currently envisioned by Meta Inc. and other tech visionaries, then the people living in those virtual worlds obviously would interact in ways already done in real life and more.

Living out life, working, playing and socializing from a 3d digital space inevitably means economics will come to play in some way. The question of how technologies like the blockchain and cryptocurrencies would fit into this digital future remains fuzzy but many are optimistic that cryptocurrencies would be the currencies of the metaverse. And they certainly could. The most touted features of blockchain based cryptocurrencies such as immutability and security are one of the biggest talking points for why cryptocurrencies should take center stage in the finances of any metaverse and should the metaverse use cryptocurrencies for its transactions and exchange of value, it could further boost their mainstream adoption.

NFT’s are also getting a buzz from the metaverse concept. While NFT’s have had their fair share of criticism, amongst which are that NFT’s are not environmentally friendly or that purchasing NFT’s is akin to buying air, all that could change in the metaverse. The issue seems to have been that an NFT token was not much use in the real world, however, this would or could be radically different in a virtual one. NFT’s provide a solid opportunity for metaverse users to own virtual property which would be NFTs of real estate to artwork or memes, all real-world items or commodities carried over to the virtual one.

What, if anything, would be the fate of fiat currencies in the metaverse? While conversation is going strong about the role of cryptocurrencies and NFTs in these virtual worlds, it is important to note that the vast majority of the world’s money exists digitally. Besides, seeing as cryptocurrency use is still far from mainstream in many ways, metaverse users ultimately must reconcile their virtual lives with their real ones. Trade and commerce in the metaverse may overlap with real life just as online shopping does and the question is how fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies would be used within those spaces.

The metaverse may already be here, in bits and pieces. Nevertheless, if it succeeds in the ways laid down by its proponents, it would fundamentally change how people live, work and play.

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Blockchain Technology

How blockchain can bridge the trust gap in governance

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Governments and authority figures have existed throughout history to serve many purposes amongst which trust is central. In matters of social and economic concern, some form of trust and/or distrust has enabled people in all cultures across all times to transact and interact, to exchange value and advance cultural agenda. This is so important that our very concept of money is built on trust or value induced by trust.

However, for most of history up till now, authorities have wielded central power and that has always been an avenue for corruption, a lack of transparency which leads to wastage of resources and spirals down to a lack of trust by a populace in the authority over them. Evidently, this is paradoxical, the governments are to be trusted by virtue of the authority given to them but it’s this centralization that ends up upending it down the line.

Evidently, many people in many countries do not trust governments to do things the way they say they’d do them. The question is, what can a hypothetical government do about massive distrust from citizenry?

Enter the blockchain. As with many things, technology often has something to offer. The blockchain which underlies cryptocurrencies like most famously, Bitcoin, has been imbued with a certain peculiar philosophy; one of democratization. Although this is more of a mantra within crypto circles, it’s not difficult to see why. First is the blockchain’s nature; distributed ledger built on cryptography with certain features which make it functionally immutable. It’s most famous and defining uses have been with crypto but it could be so much more. A record keeping system for example, one that would be immutable and most importantly, transparent, open to all to see.

So, in the administration of nation states, blockchain technology has the ability to fit into a lot of places. The main idea is to be able to carve out trust from distrust i.e. the apparent reality of being watched and having all records secure is an incentive for governments to act transparently. In some use cases, governments (as well as private businesses of course) could leverage smart contracts, a task built into a blockchain that’s executed when the conditions specified are met. These systems in governance would undoubtedly improve transparency, cut down on corruption as well as its accompanying wastes and overall be more efficient.

So, will we see a trend where governments would like to use blockchain technology? Overall, this is for now unlikely. World governments, it would seem, do not understand blockchains very well and hence are apprehensive about them even to the point of banning the cryptocurrencies built on them. At the end of the day, the use of blockchain at the governmental level of any nation depends on the nation’s own unique set of problems and issues. All in all, the next few years will be interesting no doubt in this regard.

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