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Lack of legislation won't curb Kenya's blockchain enthusiasm

Lack of legislation won't curb Kenya's blockchain enthusiasm

Despite the lack of relevant legislation, Kenya's government is eager to implement blockchain related projects within local transport, education and finance sectors.

Speaking at the opening of the East Africa Com 2018 in Nairobi, Dr. Bitange Ndemo, Chairman of the Blockchain and AI Taskforce, Government of Kenya, said that there is little they can do in terms of fully implementing blockchain-backed innovation due to the lack of legislation.

"In each of these areas there is no full comprehensive legal framework and if we went without the legal framework there will be problems," said Ndemo, adding that the plan is to sandbox innovation for testing until these frameworks are in place.

Ndemo said that in the education sector, verification of university certificates will greatly benefit from blockchain, but there has to be tokens within the system that could verify documents in order to implement.

The tokens aren't fully covered by legislation, he said.

In transport, Ndemo said there were already developments in digitising some processes in the industry.

Currently, the Ministry of Transport, through the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA), is implementing a third party identifier - a sticker that would enable easy identification of cars and its owners.

The Authority is also implementing a digital number plate system that will be readable by the CCTV cameras to monitor motorists.

"Banks will benefit most from this technology. People feared that these (blockchain and cryptocurrencies) technologies would reduce the banks' powers. But there are several areas we converge. In terms of money transfers, what (the) central bank really needs is a record of transactions, but not the physical resource," Ndemo said.

Blockchain is a distributed ledger and would ease the verification process of transactions he added.

"We have no option but to move on with digital transformation. Globally, most things will be done through distributed networks. We have to join this bandwagon. If we don't understand it we will depend on others for innovation."

In February this year, the government put together an eleven member taskforce to look into the potential use of blockchain technology in Kenya.

This was directly after the Capital Markets Authority warned against Initial Coin Offers (ICO), but said they were open to explore blockchain use-cases.

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