IOHK/Cardano paving the way for Blockchain-powered development in Africa

In the latest episode of FinancialFox TV, blockchain PR guru Stefania Barbaglio talks to John O’Connor, Head of African Operations at Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK), the team behind the Cardano blockchain and ADA coin. Founded in 2015 by Charles Hoskinson, also co-founder of Ethereum, IOHK is developing decentralised open-source technologies set to cause cascading disruption.

Blockchain PR Guru Stefania Barbaglio interviews John O’Connor, African Operations at IOHK

Cardano represents the third -cryptocurrency, emerging from a group of tech academics and researchers whose core objective is to deploy blockchain technology to disrupt inefficient systems in the developing world.

Blockchain could serve as a superb tool to accelerate growth as it addresses the PROBLEM OF TRUST, which currently holds back development in many parts of the world. Establishing open-sourced far-reaching decentralised systems will help to shift the authority and decisional power, which currently lie with governments and centralized institutions, onto individuals. Thanks to transparency, accountability and scalability features embed in the blockchain, the same level of trust and security can be ensured as new participants enter the network.

Charles Hoskinson, founder of IOHK, says their mission is to develop an efficient decentralised system that can support change in the developing world: “About 3 billion people are unbanked and as the consequence of not having good identity, financial infrastructure; they don’t have the ability to climb out of poverty without a considerable amount of assistance or leaving their country, which creates ‘brain drain’,” said Hoskinson when Cardano announced plans in Ethiopia.

John O’Connor, currently based in Ethiopia, talks about Cardano’s ambitious plans in Africa and latest developments in its first project in Ethiopia.

Watch here interview:

In Ethiopia, where 80 million people work in agriculture, Cardano is leveraging on its unique blockchain platform to spur growth in the agritech sector. Thanks to John, Cardano has entered into an agreement with the local government to apply its blockchain to the coffee supply chain.

John belives that the secret to success in implementing blockchain in developing economies is to understand the specific/local problems and flaws in each country’s underlying systems and apply tailored blockchain applications to address them effectively.

One of John’s initial questions was: “How can we enable the local players to take advantage of this technology to improve their economy and likes?”. The answer is: “Identify a problem and offer the best simple solution”.

The other element of a successful project is having the right local partners and ensure the population is educated about blockchain: “The way is to work with local partners and individuals who are excited about what this technology can do.”

Cardano’s projects in the agritech sector is just the beginning. The aim is to build a solid foundation for other sectors in Africa which could benefit from blokchain in term of transparency, accountability and future growth.

As agriculture employs 70 million Africans, it a fundamental sector in ensuring economic growth. With blockchain agritech applications in place, the population will be empowered to embrace a wider revolution.

Africa is already seen a growing number of start-ups with new ideas on how technology can help drive economy. One example is the company Block Commodities also operating in the agriculture sector. Block is developing a commodity ecosystem that offer lending solutions in cryptocurrencies to Sub-Saharan farmers so they can grow their business and produce under better conditions and terms. Their pilot project has just started in Uganda. Check out for more.

Cardano’s mission is to unlock a new era of development, powered by technology and decentralisation, where individuals become their own masters, relying on their own assets to climb out of poverty and fight unsettling conditions, while taking control back from central authorities.

Despite its innovative spirit, Cardano is not the first business to come up with solutions for the problem of financial exclusion in Africa. The African mobile payment market is largely dominated by the platform M-Pesa, which currently has 30 million users worldwide.

However, M-Pesa is a centralised platform run by telecommunications companies. Cardano, on the other hand, is heavily decentralised and enables the use of smart contracts, a key element to decentralisation and individual empowerment.

Blockchain is revolutionary for developing countries because it targets the core problem: TRUST. Because of its shared, open-sourced structure, blockchain allows for transparency and accountability. Starting with Agriculture, Cardano its looking to deploy its technology into sectors such as land registry, housing healthcare, and gaming. IOHK has recognized the need for the gaming, in particularly, the need to improve its practices in transparency security and transfers, which again could be addressed by decentralized systems.

Blockchain makes it possible for more efficient businesses and partnerships, basically “anything that involves a process, blockchain can improve,” says John.

What this space for more updates on Cardano and blockchain projects in Africa. Subscribe to our FinancialFox YouTube channel for all the latest developments and news.

Cardano: Science for human empowerment and financial inclusion

Cardano (ADA) is among the top 10 coins rated by Coin Market Cap, however some particularities about this coin and blockchain that makes it stand out and hold a unique promise of growth. The mission and philosophy behind Cardano is to be more than a cryptocurrency: it was designed to be a technological platform capable of supporting the myriad of financial transactions and applications performed by individuals, governments and institutions especially in developing economies.

Founded in 2015, with a solid academic base, Cardano is the first cryptocurrency to evolve from scientific research led by a highly skilled team of engineers and researchers. Cardano team members have the shared vision of creating a cryptocurrency that encompasses all the possibilities unlocked by blockchain technology and applies them to empower individuals and systems in the developing world.

Cardano is fully human-centered. Its ultimate mission is to bring innovation and technology to create an ecosystem that is balanced, sustainable and focused on the needs of its users. Thus, his focus is on the true practical applications of blockchain and how they can ultimately create a better environment for businesses and individuals.

The development of Cardano is strongly based on academic research and peer review which make sit one of the protocols with the most advanced features in crypto. Its language is written in Haskell, ensuring an accurate mathematical code. Because of regulatory oversight and consumer privacy, Cardano is a flexible and scalable system, very adequate for adoption at large scale and multiple uses.

Unlike other currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum whose network is built on a proof-of-work, Cardano uses a new proof-of-stake (PoS) algorithm called Ouroboros to reach consensus, which results in less consumption of energy and computational power to be mined, encourage honesty and long-term participation. PoS enhances efficiency and widens the possibility of individuals having control over their cryptocurrencies themselves.

Cardano is the result of a collective effort from three organisations: the Cardano Foundation, based in Switzerland that supports the Cardano community and liaises with authorities; IOHK, the research body leading development of the platform; and Emurgo, who looks after investments and venture capital to build on the Cardano blockchain.

IOHK is the brains behind the Cardano blockchain. Their team is made of scientists and engineers engaged in developing decentralised open-source technologies that are able to cause cascading disruption.

Committed to the development of emerging economies: The projects in Africa and Asia

Cardano acts at the heart of the Smart Africa Alliance: a joined effort of African nations and partners like the World Bank to bring the continent forward. The alliance was created to transform Africa using the power of technology and relies on five pillars for development: Policy, Access, e-Government, Entrepreneurship and sustainable development.

Cardano offers the technology necessary for systematic changes to happen. With the multitude of applications that blockchain has, a decentralised technology can enable digital payments, smart contracts, food traceability and loads more.

In Ethiopia, more than 80 million people work in agriculture; production of coffee taking the largest sum of those. Having developed a deep understanding of both the social and economic importance of growing coffee, in addition to team’s unique connections within the country , Cardano entered in an agreement with the Ethiopian government to implement Cardano technology into coffee supply chain — with the possibility of extending this deal to other sectors upon good results.

According to reports, Cardano expects Ethiopian developers to be using the platform by the end of the year.

Apart from Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa and Rwanda have already shown interest in bringing in Cardano to their economies. Last month during IOHK team in Africa, Charles Hoskinson visited Rwanda and talked to authorities about plans of implementing decentralised systems in public systems and IOHK also announced plans to provide blockchain training for students in the region.

In a video interview, John O’ Connor, IOHK Director of African Operations commented on opportunities and projects in Rwanda. “Whilst our technology is general and be built to many different applications, you need to start by understanding what the problems are,” he said. “Rwanda is an interesting country because of the ability of running trial projects at small scale, with population of 10 million people and a progressive, technology interested government.”

Uganda is another targeted country for Cardano’s expansion since the country shows an incredible growth mobile penetration and technology take up, especially among the younger generations.

Also addressing flaws in food supply chain, Cardano team is looking into applying its blockchain in Vietnam and Cambodia to trace beef supply through, from its origins all the way into food markets. “It creates a single global market enabling anyone to trade at a global scale, which is revolutionary. The blockchain platform can solve many varied issues and make the world a better place,” said Hoskinson.

It is publicly known that Cardano intends to take its technology beyond Africa onto other developing countries in South America and Asia.

Hoskinson revealed that his motivation in the crypto world is to develop an efficient decentralised that can support change in the developing world: “About 3 billion people are unbanked and as the consequence of not having good identity, financial infrastructure; they don’t have the ability to climb out of poverty without a considerable amount of assistance or leaving their country which creates brain drain.”

“This technology has no owner. This technology has no central point of failure. This technology has no one in control. Instead, it’s infrastructure, global infrastructure that no matter what, how rich you are or poor you are, use the same infrastructure.”

Indeed, the recently launched 2018 Africa Blockchain report from Liquid Telecom reinforces the praise that tech initiatives have in Africa. Initiatives at a local and global level are critical; to ensure the continent moves forward and grow sustainability .

John O’Connor, Director of African Operations at IOKH, will be special the guest on the FinancialFox TV show next week. Questions and suggestion of topics welcomed, get in touch at