Kenya pilots interoperability system

Kenya pilots interoperability

Mobile money system
to launch in March.

ITWeb Africa

Tuesday, Jan 23rd

Blockchain tops Dimension Data's list of 2018 IT trends

Blockchain tops Dimension Data's list of 2018 IT trends

Blockchain, together with artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, and virtual and augmented reality, have the potential to deliver disruptive outcomes and reshape digital business in 2018. And companies that have not started the digital investment cycle are at high risk of being disrupted.

This is according to a list of top IT predictions for 2018 published yesterday by IT services company, Dimension Data. At the top of the company's list is Blockchain technology.

According to a statement from DiData, "Blockchain has an immense potential to disrupt and transform the world of money, business, and society using a variety of applications."

Ettienne Reinecke, Dimension Data's Group Chief Technology Officer, says Blockchain has gone from strength to strength. "Last year, when we looked at the top digital business trends for 2017, we predicted that centralised transaction models would come under attack.

"We were spot on. In the financial services sector, we've seen the US and European capital markets moving onto Blockchain platforms and similar activity in markets such as Japan. Considering how conservative and compliance-focused this sector is, that's quite remarkable."

In Africa, the technology seems to be more poised towards catering for the unbanked, with a number of companies capitalising on the increasing number of mobile subscriptions, digital payment solutions and a growing remittance landscape.

The World Bank estimates that remittances to developing countries to grow by 3.3% to $444 billion in 2017.

According to a recent report from the World Bank's International Finance Corporation, Sub-Saharan Africa, with its 70% unbanked population, provides enormous potential for the adoption of Blockchain-based solutions.

The report notes that digital finance is the key to spark Africa's financial revolution. "Potential uses go beyond financial sector - with possible benefits for global value chains, especially in agriculture and pharmaceuticals."

The World Bank says the overwhelming presence of alternative payment solutions in Africa could potentially pave the way for Blockchain since households may be less resistant to new technology.

"Seventy percent of all transactions in Kenya are already digital and over a half percent of the country's adult population holds an M-Pesa digital wallet. With relatively small legacy systems in the region, the adoption of Blockchain becomes easier due to lower transition costs and less cultural resistance."

According to multinational professional services firm EY, from financial institutions to industrial product titans, large companies in mature markets are experimenting with the ledger technology. "Less well-known is the fact that home-grown innovators in frontier markets such as Kenya are also exploring Blockchain. They see opportunities to improve nearly everything, but with an African flavour, including payments, governance structures, and agritech."

The World Bank notes, "Economies with a history of frequent political turbulence or those with high currency risk and capital controls are also fertile ground for individuals and households to embrace a solution that permits them to bypass the system's inefficiencies, overcoming fears of potential risks in the execution of transactions."

Some companies and start-ups in the continent that have emerged looking to disrupt financial services via Blockchain include, among others; Kenya's BitPesa and Bitsoko, Ghana's bitcoin exchanges BTCGhana, and South Africa's Luno, Ice3X, GeoPay, BitSure and Chankura.

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