Based at the KAD ICT Hub in Kaduna, Nigeria, the Africa Blockchain Lab will bring together world-class blockchain companies working on solutions for African markets.
-One of the first initiatives to launch in the Lab is the AMLT Network, the first global system that provides the opportunity to report fraud and cybercrime related to cryptocurrency addresses and earn tokens (AMLT) in reward.
-Other lab tenants include African financial inclusion startup Kora.
The Africa Blockchain Lab is a joint venture between Coinfirm, a global blockchain regtech company which provides bank-grade AML/KYC compliance to blockchain and crypto companies, and KAD ICT Hub, the state-backed IT innovation hub in the heart of Nigeria’s tech capital.
In stealth mode for the past few months, its launch is a first-of-its-kind for the African continent, providing a home to companies and entrepreneurs building blockchain-based products and services relevant to African economies.
Grant Blaisdell, Co-founder and CMO at Coinfirm, explains:
“A Silicon Valley out-of-the-box solution approach has generally not worked in regions such as Africa; it requires a ground-up, organic approach. Coinfirm has already successfully built leading blockchain solutions, the largest structured blockchain database and coverage, and the first blockchain lab for Central Europe. Now, working with KAD ICT Hub, who share our vision of bringing transformative, blockchain-based solutions to African markets, and who have the local knowledge and expertise, we are going to do the same in Africa.
We want to work with, and provide opportunities for, African entrepreneurs working in one of the most exciting and disruptive fields today, while bringing our own solutions like our AML/KYC Platform and AMLT Network.”
The Africa Blockchain Lab will focus on companies working to revolutionise financial inclusion. While cryptocurrencies provide an alternative to fiat currencies, blockchains are decentralised, immutable and transparent ledgers, free from central control. This means both are potentially transformative technologies, in the face of authoritarian governments, corruption and economic exclusion.
The first tranche of Lab tenants include financial inclusion startup Kora, a blockchain-powered marketplace, infrastructure, and digital payments solution for inclusive financial systems that connect people, communities and capital.
The AMLT Network and the Coinfirm AML/KYC Platform sit at the heart of solving this problem. One reason individuals and companies in Africa have a hard time entering the traditional global financial market is that the incumbent compliance system is highly ineffective. It cannot discriminate based on the actions of the individual or business, but generally treats the entire region as high risk.
Coinfirm’s AML/KYC Platform can determine risk on an individual basis. And the AMLT Network offers users, operating in what is deemed a high-risk region, the opportunity to lower their personal risk profile by providing data on other parties, diminishing the global financial market’s high barriers to entry.
Coinfirm’s AMLT Network also provides an opportunity to technologists and young people across the continent. In return for reporting cryptocurrency addresses and evidence tied to online scams and suspected fraud to the AMLT Network and Coinfirm, individuals will receive AMLT tokens, which are issued by Coinfirm.
This not only creates the first system of this kind in the world, but it finally provides a mechanism for victims to report and provide evidence that can help fight against bad actors being able to further propagate their crimes.
KAD ICT Hub was launched in 2017 as a leading centre for computer engineering, software development and entrepreneurship. The launch of the Africa Blockchain Lab marks a watershed moment for companies and entrepreneurs working in the sector and region. Yusuf Bashir, Co-founder and CEO of the Hub, comments:
“The Nigerian economy is the largest in Africa. Thanks to a new regime, we have a stable economy, which pulls along the entire continent. We are the place Africa looks to in terms of growth for the future. The transformative potential of blockchain is enormous, and we are confident that, working with Coinfirm, we can provide the testbed and support for today’s leading African blockchain companies, giving them the opportunity to become global leaders. “
“Here in Kaduna, Nigeria’s third-largest state in terms of population, and leading learning and innovation hub, we are extremely fortunate to have a governor who is not only supportive of what we are doing but had ensured we are backed by the Kaduna State Government.”
The KAD ICT Hub has already been working with Coinfirm’s blockchain-powered data provenance document verification platform, Trudatum, which was recently integrated by the largest bank in Central Europe, PKO BP. In Nigeria, Trudatum is being proposed as a solution to government and universities as a way of holding state documents more securely.