What is Tezos West Africa working on right now?
We are building a large African based community and aim to expand to more countries. We are already present in Cameroon, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Senegal and Benin. We plan to expand in Mali, Burkina Faso and Togo in the coming months. Our ultimate goal is to have Tezos chapters across the whole Central and West Africa countries (22 countries).
At the community level, we are organising regular meetups, on average two per month since June. We try to have a specific learning subject for each of these online events from “Introduction to Tezos” to “Baking” to “Smart Contracts 101.”
So far we had 8 meetups, a 3-day training series on smart contracts with SmartPy and a premium sponsorship of BlockDefi Africa conference a week ago.
As the pandemic is receding in many African countries, offline meetings will resume starting with Ghana with of course all the necessary precautions indicated by local health services.
We also plan to launch a 1 month training series in French and English before the end of the year so as to bring more African developers to Blockchain and Tezos.
Finally, we are leveraging Ejara during our events to further Tezos adoption on the continent by giving away some XTZ and helping people get familiar with the Tezos blockchain and underlying value.
Ejara is the only non custodial platform in Africa which allows local customers to buy and hold their bitcoin and XTZ with an on ramp fiat.
How did you get involved with Tezos? Why not focus your work on another public blockchain?
I came across Arthur’s initial white paper in 2016 basically at the same time I fell into the rabbit hole of Blockchain & crypto. Being a computer science engineer myself, formal verification is what spoke the loudest to me initially. I am too familiar with the limitations of unit tests and non regression tests when developing a code to only rely on that for a protocol that aims to help secure my wealth.
Tezos was the 2nd ICO I participated in after Gnosis and I never doubted the project since then.
Finally, Tezos has a self amending blockchain with a strong governance. Tezos can upgrade itself and each token holder is part of the evolution of the protocol and has an active role to play which strengthens the feeling of being part of a growing community.
In summary, I came for the superior tech and I stayed for the fantastic community.
What is the perception of Tezos, and blockchain generally, in West Africa?
There is a lot to be done, and it’s actually a great time to build and develop awareness around blockchain/crypto in Africa. A lot of scammers are operating in the region, attaching a bad reputation on cryptocurrencies and it’s fantastic that the Tezos Foundation is supporting us as we are able to bring crypto the right way and educate the population on this innovative technology.
Bitcoin is king in Africa however Tezos is beginning to grow its reputation due to opportunities to earn staking rewards. I hope Tezos can become the Queen 🙂
I am convinced Blockchain will be a key ingredient in “Africa rising” rhetoric in the coming years; I intend for Tezos to have an enviable seat at the table.
What three things are you most excited to see built on Tezos?
CBDC to improve the existing wholesale financial system and increase the fluidity, efficiency and effectiveness of the entire deal flow. I am elated that Tezos was chosen by Banque de France to run Euro CBDC trials. I hope African central banks in the future get more interested to run such trials in the coming months; we are ready at Tezos West Africa to be a partner for such endeavours.
The latest protocol amendment will enable Defi/DAO opportunities which is now the hot topic and is a great fit for Tezos. Tezos is a community driven protocol and it’s really a natural fit for these use-cases.
Finally, I can’t wait for privacy features to be integrated with Zk-snarks as it will open up more practical applications for individuals as well as institutions. It will after all be the world first privacy coin with smart contract capabilities
And a bonus one! I would love a future amendment to be named after an ancient sub-saharan African city; I can suggest Harar (Ethiopia), Ife (Nigeria), Kumasi (Ghana), Kano (Nigeria).