Benefits of blockchain technology in South Africa

Posted on October 2, 2017 12:03 am

In South Africa, blockchain technology is widely expected to upend the country economy by revolutionising the way in which companies and consumers transact with each other.It is described to be another disruptive technology spawned by the Internet, and is now bringing about extensive changes to businesses, governments and state enterprises, as well as the digital banking industry and Universities. For example, a South African university is now testing blockchain technology to record student credentials, allowing people to share verified copies of their qualifications with employers and other third parties in a tamper-proof system. The university is among the earliest in Africa to pilot the technology, which will be used next year in an internal course taken by its academics to improve their teaching skills.Someone close to the industry in the country told your blogger that three more universities, as well as some professional organisations and companies, were trialling the blockchain credentialing technology. Because of blockchain’s ability to provide a secure and verified record of events which cannot be altered, the technology is widely expected to revolutionise the way South Africans record their educational achievements and professional work experience.The project will no doubt put the universities in Africa’s most developed country at the vanguard of new technology. Most South African employers were interested in being able to verify the skills of employees at a very granular level and students, too, wanted to show the specific skills and abilities they had acquired. Microcredentials, verified through secure, distributed platforms like blockchain are a means to address such.Blockchain users in South Africa could soon download an app which they could use to invite educational institutions to lodge their credentials according to one of the app developers who is a close friend to your blogger. The developer said users could choose which other organisations to share these with. Other users who received the credentials are able to conduct a quick verification check to ensure that credentials are genuine.Any South African who needs to verify official records, such as employers, can quickly check the validity and authenticity of each certificate. Any attempt to change, embellish, or otherwise misrepresent a micro-credential represented by a certificate will cause the verification to fail added the app developer.

Another example of impact blockchain is having is that for decades data filing and security systems in South Africa have been progress which has transformed digital transactions across many sectors. One widely known such transaction is the digital currency, Bitcoin, which is managed without any central authority. Bitcoin, using blockchain technology, was invented nine years ago and first implemented in eight years ago when the first Bitcoins were issued using a network of computers. Bitcoin has since been shown to be resistant to alteration or hacking for over eight years, proving that blockchain technology works and South Africans haven’t been left behind.Due to that outstanding security feature, public and private sectors in South Africa have begun to use blockchain to improve their transactions mainly through reduced costs and operational time lags. The public sector is now expected to use blockchain technology in registration work, such as for land ownership records that previously required a hardcopy document to identify the land owner. In the private sector, blockchain is expected to be used in trade, import and export, settlements, cross-border money transfers, logistics supply chain management and in capital market.It also appears that the financial technology sector is growing fast in the country and more South Africans stakeholders are turning their attention to the technology race they each battle it out to become the country’s hub for the industry. And yet, with banks and technology firms considering a collaboration to boost the industry, it can only be a good thing that will help to further demonstrate their attractiveness.In the future, blockchain-based solutions can help South Africans and government in other ways, too. Many people don’t education and that limits their ability to use banks and also bar their way when trying to access basic human rights like voting, getting health care, going to school and traveling. Several companies are working on solutions that can help create and validate individuals’ identities. The data recorded on a blockchain can be accessed later by anyone who needs to check that person’s identity. Without proper education and validated documents blockchain could be the only way many poor South Africans have to prove who they are. That could really make their lives better and expand their opportunities as well as access government services with ease.

 

Contador Harrison