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Everything You Need To Know About Cardano, The Third-gen Blockchain

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Cardano – $ADA

The Cardano blockchain has shown a good level of growth since its inception as a third-generation blockchain. The growth of this blockchain network in extension has led to a meteoric rise in the value of its native token ADA. 

While ADA might pose as a good investment for crypto investors looking to make some money off it, it is important to know what has led to Cardono’s rise and what the future holds for the blockchain network and its token. 

To fully understand what has led to Cardano’s rise it is important to have a scope of what makes it different from other blockchain networks. 

What is Cardano?

Like Ethereum, Cardano is a blockchain network with a smart contract feature. But unlike Ethereum, Cardano is capable of more. 

Interestingly, Cardano’s birth happens to come from one of the brains that birthed Ethereum. Charles Hoskinson, one of the co-founders of ethereum is also the founder of Cardano. According to Hoskinson, Ethereum smart contract innovation is a profound addition to blockchain technology, however, it is a second-generation blockchain technology with several problems facing it. 

Hoskinson’s creation (Cardano) hopes to tackle these problems at the same time maintaining decentralization.

Cardano’s remarkable growth can be attributed to the number of organizations that are involved in its smooth running. These organizations exist so that Cardano creates and executes successfully, some of the most innovative ideas in the blockchain sphere. 

Specifically, there are three organizations responsible for Cardano’s heavy lifting

  • The Cardano foundation 
  • IOHK
  • Emurgo

The Cardano Foundation is the custodial organization for Cardano. It is a not-for-profit entity that  “standardizes, protects, and promotes the Cardano Protocol technology”. IOHK is a software research company also co-founded by Hoskinson. Finally, Emurgo is a Japanese company that merges commercial ventures with blockchain technology.

Cardano as a third-gen blockchain.

Although blockchain is not the only application of crypto, it is fair to say that Bitcoin championed the usage of the technology and brought it to the limelight. However, like any form of technology blockchain (relatively young technology) it is going through its stages of development and innovation. Hoskinson opines that we have gone through three generations of blockchain. 

The first generation was Bitcoin. Bitcoin’s launch in 2009 changed the way the world perceived money. After failed attempts to create a decentralized, general and secure digital currency, Bitcoin started the revolutionization of traditional finance. The Bitcoin concept was perfect, it, till today, leaves many marvelled. At the same, time it sparked a wave of innovation to its “perfect” concept. 

Ethereum, which is the second generation of blockchain, was the first to build Bitcoin’s innovation. While Bitcoin solved significant financial problems, it only allowed monetary transactions. Sending and receiving funds was all it could do. Ethereum changed that with a unique innovation called smart contracts. 

Smart contracts made it possible to add conditions to the funds that were being transferred. Ethereum began to show the world that more could be done with blockchain technology than just monetary functions. Money, shares and anything of value could be exchanged with a binding contract without the need for a third party. For example; a person sending Ethereums could add conditions to the transaction, saying that the receiver will only get the currency after something has been done in return. 

This innovation by Ethereum opened even more doors for further innovation in the blockchain space. The open-source blockchain ethereum created made Defi a possibility. However, the improvement on the technology still had its deficits. 

According to Hoskinson, “Bitcoin and Ethereum are smaller systems in a much smaller economy when they came out” The Cardano CEO says the team only hoped-for $100 million in market cap after they successfully raised $18 million for Ethereum. The development of Ethereum only anticipated a few thousand people building on the platform but the numbers grew faster than the development that could accommodate them. Now Ethereum is at $210 billion in market capitalization. 

Instinctively, Cardono learnt from the first two generations, added new elements that were lacking to become the third generation of blockchain. 

Three key elements highlight Caradano’s position as a third-gen blockchain.

Scalability

Usually, the benchmark for scalability is TPS, transaction per second. Bitcoin can only handle 7 transactions in one second, Ethereum can handle 15. In contrast, VISA can handle about 1700 transactions per second. If either network went mainstream, they would not be able to handle a lot of transactions. Cardano hopes to solve this by creating Ouroboros, a consensus mechanism on the proof-of-stake algorithm. Cardano’s Ouroboros is the first proof-of-stake protocol mathematically proven to be secure. 

Bitcoin and Ethereum use the proof-of-work consensus mechanism, an extremely tedious process called mining. Mining takes an incredible amount of hardware energy to do. Proof-of-stake, on the other hand, needs less. The process can be done easily on a PC or even a good smartphone. Although Ethereum started working on proof-of-stake a year earlier than Cardano, the new consensus mechanism will not be on the Ethereum network anytime soon. 

Practically, Ouroboros and the proof-of-stake algorithm could enable Cardano to handle a whopping 30,000 transactions per second. 

Besides transactions per second, there are other scalability benchmarks is; network. Blockchain or distributed ledger technology means data is constantly moving through networks. Speed and seamlessness then become a must. However, Bitcoin doesn’t do too well with speed. Cardano on the other hand has an innovative response to the speed limits facing Bitcoin. Recursive Inter-network Architecture or RINA. Interestingly, RINA is so fast that it could serve as the new backbone of the internet. The technicalities of the technology are however immensely complicated. 

Interoperability

 The second element in Cardano’s third-gen framework is Interoperability. Hoskinson believes that there won’t be one main cryptocurrency. He is of the premise that most cryptocurrencies we have in existence today will continue to exist. In fact, traditional banks will continue to operate. What Cardano proposes is unity between every blockchain network and by extension traditional financial institutions. This has been termed the internet of blockchains, a network where Bitcoin, Ethereum and even banks can coexist. The need for intermediaries will be eliminated. SIdechains is one way Cardano is looking to solve this problem.  

Sustainability 

Cardano’s innovation will revolutionize the blockchain scene immensely, but sustaining the constant development of a blockchain entity is no easy task. Hoskinson himself, admits that this is a major hurdle. ICO’s are known ways of raising funds for a blockchain entity. ICO’s are, however, not sustainable. Cardono hopes to raise funds for development through a treasury model.

How does the treasury model work? Any time a block is added to the Cardano blockchain, part of the mining reward goes to developers. 

More than finance

Cardano’s native token, ADA, has been profitable over the years. It is however important to note that there’s more to Cardano than ADA. Cardano hopes to revolutionize not just the financial industry, it is harnessing the full potential of blockchain, promoting a blockchain revolution.

Like Cardano, there are several other companies doing exploits with blockchain. Cardano will definitely be among the key players innovating blockchain for mainstream adoption.

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Bolu Abiodun is a recent graduate of Theatre and Media Arts, Federal University Oye-Ekiti. A journalist with over a year's experience on the job. A former editor at American Media company Project Forward, he is a skilled content creator, social media manager and digital marketer.

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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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Africa Blockchain Institute

Africa Blockchain Institute Organized The First African Blockchain Summer Bootcamp For Teenagers In Ghana

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In the spirit of catching them young, the Africa Blockchain Institute organized the first-ever Blockchain Summer Bootcamp for teenagers (age range 13 to 19 years old). A successful Bootcamp, according to the participants’ testimonials and stakeholders, held at the OpenLabs, Ring Road, Accra Ghana, between Monday 2nd August, and Friday 6th August 2021. 

The teenagers applied from across Africa, and selected participants all converged at the OpenLabs, Ghana, for an intensive five days of learning, interacting, and implementing personal  Blockchain projects. The participants were divided into three significant tracks, thus; Blockchain Development, Blockchain for Creatives and Blockchain Entrepreneurship. 

Blockchain Summer Bootcamp for Teens by ABI
Blockchain Summer Bootcamp for Teens by Africa Blockchain Institute

Across these three tracks, the teenagers learnt introductory units to Blockchain Development for societal challenges, Blockchain evangelism, Non-Fungible Tokens, and how Cryptocurrency works. Another highlight of the program was the excursion to the Accra Digital Centre, where the Boot Campers were introduced to the tech ecosystem and feel of the Ghana Tech Lab and Accra Innovation Hub spaces. A visit was also made to the Museum of Science and Technology, and the teenagers got to understand the history of technology in Ghana. 

Worthy of mention was the panel session aimed at motivating the students to pursue a career in technology. While making his comments during the panel session, the founder of BankLess Africa, Mr. Muntala Mohammed Shaibu, urged the teenagers to stop seeing themselves as too young to experiment with new technologies. In her remarks, Ms. Elohor Thomas, CEO & Co-Founder of CodeLn, urged the teenagers to continue to explore their interest in technology and blockchain early.

Blockchain Summer Bootcamp for Teens by ABI
Panel Session, Blockchain Summer Bootcamp for Teens by ABI

The Bootcamp ended with personal project presentations from the Blockchain Development and the Blockchain for Creatives & Entrepreneurship tracks. Projects such as NFT blogposts, Blockchain product reviews and Blockchain for transport and logistics were presented. The best presentation won the OpenLabs scholarship for Robotics Course. Thanks to Dr Sujith Jayaprakash, the Director of OpenLabs, Ghana, for the offer of scholarship. In his closing remark, the Executive Director of the Africa Blockchain Institute, Mr. Kayode Babarinde, urged the teenagers to continue using the  skills and knowledge gained during Bootcamp to explore Blockchain-related solutions further. We also appreciate Mr. Ganzaro Omar, Chairman, AfroBlocks, for his supports, and fostering collaborations with the Ghanian Blockchain community.

The Africa Blockchain Institute will continue to hold future Blockchain Summer Bootcamp series in various African cities to drive Blockchain knowledge into innovators early enough. 

Oluwaseun David ADEPOJU

Head of Research,

Africa Blockchain Institute. 

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Blockchain Technology

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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