What came to your mind when you first heard of blockchain technology? Well for me, I was unenthusiastic about it, I thought it would be lame(I had zero interest in technology at that time) but then, I decided to give it a try because I heard it’s the future and who wouldn’t care about the future? I made my research, and realized that blockchain isn’t lame at all, it’s actually the future! Blockchains are popular nowadays, and a good number of people have the wrong idea of what it really is, and its capabilities.
What comes to their minds first is cryptocurrency and when being asked, what is cryptocurrency? they simply say Bitcoin. Well, they are not completely wrong but oblivious of the fact that cryptocurrency is just one of the applications of blockchain technology and there is a whole lot that this technology can do, like it can now be used to solve some social, economic and political problems in the world.
In this article, I’ll be exploring the potentials of the cardano blockchain which happens to be the third generation of the blockchain technology, and how it can solve some problems in Africa. But first, a brief overview of blockchain technology, its meaning, and the first two generations. Enjoy your read!
HOW IT BEGAN
Two researchers Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta, wanted to implement a system where document timestamps could not be tampered with, and so in the year 1991, Blockchain was first outlined. Although, it was not in use until Satoshi Nakamoto, an anonymous individual, used the blockchain technology to create Bitcoin in 2009.
MEANING AND HOW IT WORKS
As the name implies, it is a chain of blocks, and each of these blocks, contains information of transactions carried out. Each of these blocks, are linked together and are shared to every user of the system. Blockchain can be described as a data structure that holds transactional records while ensuring security, transparency, and decentralization.
You can also think of it as a chain of records stored in the form of blocks which are controlled by no single authority. Once a data has been recorded in the blockchain, it is almost impossible to change it. Instead of using a centralized system to secure the chain, blockchain uses a decentralized system called peer to peer network. Each user gets a copy of the blockchain, and when a new block is formed, it is sent to each user to verify, after which it will be added to the chain.
FIRST GENERATION: BITCOIN
Any monetary value, that its supply can be controlled by a centralized system, cannot be trusted as it could cause hyperinflation if too much money is printed. Bitcoins are digital assets that serve as the reward for a process known as mining and can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services.
It is the hardest form of money, as its supply is not controlled by a centralised system but a decentralized one. Interesting isn’t it? Of course it is. Its supply cannot be controlled by anyone. It is controlled by mathematical algorithms and its supply is fixed, which makes it impossible for inflation to occur. Once again, hard money beats government fiat money. Bitcoin brought about decentralization of finances.
For once the centralized government does not have control over your financial transactions, and this system is very secure as each transaction recorded, cannot be altered. Bitcoin was plagued with a major issue, which is scalabilty(this is the ability to move large amounts of data at the same time).
SECOND GENERATION: ETHEREUM
After the advent of Bitcoin, some developers figured that the blockchain technology cannot be used just for financial and document transactions, and so, developed ethereum, the second generation of blockchain technology. Ethereum brought more uses of blockchain like the use of smart contracts.
The term, or concept of smart contracts, was first proposed in the early 1990s by a computer scientist, legal scholar, and cryptographer called, Nick Szabo. His aim was to use a distributed ledger to store contracts. Ordinarily, for you to transfer money or carry out any transaction from one person to another there has to be a middleman. This middleman does not carryout the transaction for free, it is controlled by humans, who have control over the fees paid to carry out the transaction.
Smart contract is way better and much more advantageous because it permits transactions to be carried out without the need of a centralized authority or a legal system. smart contract helps you exchange anything of value in a transparent, conflict-free way, while avoiding the fees of a middleman. For more on smart contracts, visit https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/smart-contracts.asp. Like Bitcoin, ethereum couldn’t solve the problem of scalability.
Cardano was discovered by Charles Hoskinson, who happens to be one of the co-founders of ethereum. There are three independent organizations which work really hard to make this project a success. They are;
- The cardano foundation
- Input output hongkong(IOHK)
‘The Cardano Foundation’s core mission is to standardize, protect and promote the Cardano Protocol technology. One of their goals is “to aggregate, Educate and Grow the Cardano Community”.
The role of Emurgo is to develop, support, and incubate commercial ventures and help integrate these businesses into Cardano’s decentralized blockchain ecosystem.”IOHK, Founded in 2015 by Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood, is a world-class engineering and technology company contracted to design, build, and maintain the Cardano platform through to 2020.”
As commonly known, Cardano is a decentralized, blockchain based system, powered by the ADA coin, the cryptocurrency which runs on the cardano platform. So basically, ADA is the digital currency that fuels the cardano platform, the same as BTC is for Bitcoin, so is ADA for cardano. It is the third generation of the blockchain technology, and has a lot of potentials that makes it unique.
It is the first blockchain project to evolve from a scientific philosophy, the first to be built in haskell programming language. Cardano is all about three topics; scalability, interoperability, and sustainability. In a white board presentation by Charles Hoskinson, he said that “the cardano project aims at solving each of these categories in a way that it is going to inherit the best features and lessons learned from both the first and second generation but also add a lot of new concepts and technology to the space”.
What an awesome vision! One interesting fact about cardano, is that cardano has a team of scientists, cryptographers, engineers and programmers from different walks of life. This is a different from all other projects. For more details on the three pillars of cardano, please visit https://blockgeeks.com/guides/what-is-cardano/or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ja9D0kpksxw .
>Cardano blockchain, can bring solutions to some of the social, economic, and political problems in Africa. Problems like; voting system, land registration issue, tax payment, school certification,
Most African countries like Nigeria for instance are characterized with the issue of electoral malpractice during election. This is not just the issue, it is also accompanied by serious violence. This happens all the time and has caused most citizens to dread this period.
Most citizens don’t exercise their right to vote during elections as a result of fear. During these times, a lot of lives are lost, properties are lost, people give up their integrity for money offered to them, to mention but a few. This issue has been going on since time-immemorial, and it’s high time it stopped.
With the adoption of cardano blockchain, people can cast their votes in the comfort of their homes, there will be no form of violence or rigging because the whole election will be decentralized. Everyone will see the real winner and there is nothing the centralized government can do, to rig the elections. It will also save time, and energy.
LAND OWNERSHIP AND REGISTRATION;>
This problem is very common in Africa, although plagued by other countries outside Africa. There has to be a proper registration of lands for land owners. And no better way to that than to register it on a blockchain system. Once registered there, it cannot be altered, or destroyed.
Most people, especially the uneducated, have lost their rights to own their properties due to improper documentation or registration of the land. This has stripped some people of their property, and in other cases of their source of income.
Most African countries, still collect taxes in a non-standard way. This has resulted in corruption in the sense that people tend to avoid tax payment, or reduce their total income at the end of the year or month, just so they can pay less. Its the system used to carryout tax payment that is the problem. If the government can adopt blockchain technology, there won’t be need for cheating, or forgery.
Nigeria, as some other countries in Africa, are faced with high rate of unemployment. This is not only caused by the government, but partly by the citizens who forge their school results.
I have been in a classroom, where a man who claimed to have graduated with a first-class in Chemistry, could not write a simple equation for the students, when being asked to.
Some lecturers in the universities are also involved. They collect money from students for high grades, and purposely give low grades to those students who refused to follow his system. If the educational sector can adopt a blockchain system, this issue will be completely eradicated in the society.
SUPPLY CHAIN SYSTEM
As long as the fees paid by people for transactions carried out are controlled by a centralized system, it will always be misused. They increase fees for their own selfish gains. Payments can be made on a blockchain platform using cryptocurrencies, which reduces cost rather than depending on a middleman who has control over the fees paid. The origin of products can be traced really fast to reduce high rate of fraud using a blockchain system.
Blockchain also solves errors made by humans when working with large amount of data manually. If put in the blockchain system, this will be a lot easier.
Some African countries are already seeing the relevance of blockchain technology and are gradually bringing it into their system. An organization in South Africa called South African Blockchain Alliance(SANBA), has just been recently launched, and the Cardano foundation is in support. Nigeria has also experienced a reasonable growth in it’s blockchain community. Ghana, Uganda, and Rwanda also have their eyes set on the blockchain technology.
Cardano wants to be the blockchain that can support, supplement and integrate all possible blockchain applications and if it succeeds(definitely it will), cardano will be the superior chain that is suitable for everything. It will be all-encompassing. We are very close to this amazing future, it’s potential is very clear.