Connect with us

Blockchain Technology

How Blockchain Can Improve Data Security In Africa

Published

on

The emergence of blockchain provides an alternative way to protect and manage data in a decentralised and trustworthy way.

Data security

Digitisation in Africa is happening at a fast rate. There’s no doubt adoption of the internet and web technology has transformed the continent. Both public and private entities are moving their respective businesses and data processing systems to the internet. Most of the data or information that forms a core and integral part of our governments, businesses, organisations now have their roots on the internet.

While having an online presence, especially in this 21st century is good news, but the unpleasant news is the daily notices of a data breach in the continent have become an enormous problem for African entities.

Data protection has become a global topic. All over the media, are news related to data theft. A classic example is the data breach scandal involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

Governments all over the world are treating data legislation as a critical bill. In 2016, the European Union passed a bill on data protection and privacy.

Similarly, many countries in Africa have also joined this trend. For example, Kenya recently passed its data protection bill, South Africa also have data legislation in effect. Nigeria as well has passed a data protection regulation.

Will regulation alone solve theft?

This article attempt to look at blockchain a tool for improved data security.

Data is the new gold

In this internet age, data is the new gold and has become a crucial part of our business and governments. The way we interact, manage, and process information around us has become critical.

We exchange data, as we pay for goods and services online or when businesses connect and interact with each other on the internet. This could be sensitive information like personal records, credit card details, etc.

However, these data are subject to frequent breaches from hackers and criminals who use them for fraudulent activities.

The existing businesses and organisation on the internet store data using centralised model. How they store these data makes it vulnerable to theft and hacking.

For African entities, the risk is potentially even higher. Compared to the developed countries, Africa invests less in improving the cybersecurity of their companies and organisations.

A consumer intelligence survey by PwC shows 85% of consumers that took part, wished they were more companies they could trust with their data

While companies in the US and Europe resort to the use of sophisticated technologies to reduce the risk of data theft, their African counterparts seem to have no infrastructure or adequate measures to counter the threat of data breach.

As the wave of digitisation continues to spread rapidly in the continent – especially with the increasing use of smartphones and social media, there’s an urgent need to enhance data security – protection of data from unauthorised access.

A report from Pan-African-based cybersecurity and business consulting firm, Serianu, confirms this claim. The report shows most of the African businesses are operating below the cybersecurity line and that most data theft cases that happen in the continent go unreported or unsolved.

It’s prime time African entities invest in infrastructures, set-up measures that will combat data protection. To achieve this, African entities need to integrate complex technologies that will enhance the way we protect and manage the information available at our disposal.

Blockchain as a tool for data protection.

In 2009, the world witnessed an unknown technology – blockchain – which is an extra layer on the internet (trust layer). The first application of this technology is bitcoin– a peer-to-peer digital currency.

Blockchain immutably records data in a distributed ledger, using cryptographic functions to ensure end-to-end encryption.

In this prevailing Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), Centralisation means more data theft. But when data becomes decentralised and distributed, we can reduce theft and crimes.

Decentralisation is one core feature of a blockchain. Data stored takes place across a network of computers on a blockchain network. But for centralise entities, they store data in a central location.

To destroy or change any information on a blockchain means to hack or simultaneously bring down at least 51% of the computers on the network.

This makes it is nearly impossible as this could be millions of computers on a blockchain network. Because every computer on the blockchain network acts as a node and has a copy of all data or information stored on the blockchain.

Blockchain to the rescue!

From identity mismanagement, certificate, forgery, credentials, copyrights contents, or anything that has to do with securing data – blockchain provides a viable solution to all these problems.

The technology has a ready-made infrastructure that can record, manage and secure data in a decentralised manner.

By estimates, African businesses lose over $3 billion to cyber attacks. Most of which are customers’ data and information.

Identity management in many African countries is still a lingering problem. But we can track, manage, and protect citizens’ data with blockchain.

A 2018 report by a cybersecurity firm, Wizcase, shows data breach of the health records of people that took part in the Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS). We can tackle issues like this using blockchain.

For instance, blockchain unique addresses – public and private keys – make great for the creation of a decentralised database. As a digital ledger where information can be stored about who is related to a specific ID and how to access this information.

African entities should embrace blockchain to enhance data.

African countries should turn to emerging technologies like blockchain to address critical issues, especially the ones that have to do with securing and managing data and records.

Governments too, as custodians of the well-being of their people, have reasons to improve the way data is being managed and secured. This is crucial to help combat crimes like money laundering and terrorist financing.

The technology has the potential and could be the answer to the key challenges Africa is facing. It is, therefore, necessary we look more into how innovative technologies like blockchain can bring forth real-world commercial solutions that will transform our economies.

Comments
Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a comment:

Blockchain Technology

How blockchain can bridge the trust gap in governance

Published

on

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.

Comments
Continue Reading

Africa Blockchain Institute

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

Published

on

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. 

Comments

Decentralize Daily

From Crypto and Blockchain to AI, Fintech and Web 3.0 delivered twice in a week (Mondays and Fridays)

Continue Reading

Blockchain Technology

Africa Blockchain Hackathon 2021 Edition Begins Registration 

Published

on

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 

Comments

Decentralize Daily

From Crypto and Blockchain to AI, Fintech and Web 3.0 delivered twice in a week (Mondays and Fridays)

Continue Reading

TRENDING

%d bloggers like this: