It is still important to educate people about blockchain and cryptocurrency. In some areas of Africa, bitcoin and other crypto currencies are becoming a viable alternative to fiat currency.
Blockchain Education and Advocacy in Uganda
Although there have been many advances in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since the Pandemic, many, especially in Africa, remain unfamiliar with these technologies.
Blockchain enthusiasts across Africa are focusing their efforts to help bridge this gap by educating others about blockchain basics. Killian Mugenyi and Daniel Mulondo, both blockchain enthusiasts in Uganda, have started a platform called Nileone that aims not only to educate, but to raise awareness of potential scams.
Mugenyi discusses how efforts by the bank to increase public awareness have been successful in an interview with Bitcoin.com News. His opinions also range from the central bank’s digital currencies (CBDC), to current efforts of Ugandan authorities to regulate and control digital assets. Below are Mugenyi’s written responses to Bitcoin.com News regarding questions sent to him via Whatsapp.
Bitcoin.com News (BCN), You’re one of few Africans involved in cryptocurrency/blockchain education, advocacy and policy. Please explain the reasons you chose to participate in this effort.
Killian Mugenyi (KM):My partner and I decided to concentrate on advocacy and education in crypto/blockchain. This was due to the following:
– The countless scams and Ponzi schemes have created a negative reputation for the industry.
– Sensitize the masses about crypto & blockchain in order for them to see the value and opportunities the industry can avail.
– Develop the skills of those entering the market for a sustainable and long term vision of building, growing and sustaining the industry with skilled labour that understands the dynamics of this new but highly relevant industry.
What does this mean for BCN?
KM: Indeed our work is making a huge difference and we’ve achieved quite a lot. We’re having more people joining the academy and more are sharing testimonials about the knowledge as well as the successes acquired thanks to our programmes. Other organizations, such as foundations, governments, and institutions, are also reaching out. This new market opportunity is misunderstood and many people want to know how they can profit. [to be]It is a quick way to get rich. The online training platform, which we are currently revamping to better meet growing demand and deliver more efficiently during the Covid period, has also been our focus.
BCN: In the past year, it was reported that the Ugandan regulator, the Financial Intelligence Authority, wanted the Ministry of Finance’s help in formulating the appropriate crypto regulatory framework. Is there any movement in this area?
KM:Leaders have been cautious in their progress on regulatory frameworks. We hope to help them draft regulations and provide better industry guidance. In addition, we hope to support regulators in assisting them with efforts that aim at establishing regulatory clarity for cryptocurrency/blockchain within Uganda. Just recently we had some positive news where “The Akon City” project was allocated land to start building. This is a positive step in the direction of our goal to encourage more adoption of blockchain/crypto/blockchain.
BCN Tell our readers, why do you believe it’s important that the Ugandan Blockchain Industry has this regulatory framework?
KM:Regulators are primarily designed to promote adoption of Blockchain technology while ensuring clarity. We can attract investment and increase local participation in this industry with the right policies. Institution involvement will also be increased, which would benefit everyone. This could help to provide opportunities for the most educated, but not employed, youth.
BCN: The Bank of Uganda established a regulatory sandbox in 2021. At that point, one fintech company was included in the sandbox. Is it possible to find out if any additional fintechs were added to this sandbox in the meantime?
KM:Uganda’s fintech market is still young, with very few players such as Nileonegroup. The platform we are creating will bring international players to our table to offer quality services to individuals, governments and institutions that want to investigate crypto/blockchain possibilities. That said, there’s little information regarding progress in regulations but we are building capacity that will help accelerate this effort once we are engaged by the government and regulators like the Bank of Uganda and other African nations.
BCN: Last year, the Central Bank of Nigeria launched its digital currency, the e-naira, while many other central banks in Africa have signaled their intentions to launch their own CBDCs — or to at least explore the benefits of having one. Is this a positive thing for crypto, or is it a bad idea?
KM:CBDCs offer many benefits, including the ability to simplify implementation of monetary policy as well as government functions. Automating and increasing efficiency are key to many functions such as tax collection, calculation, and distribution. However, CBDCs will not eliminate the problems of centralization as they are still controlled by central banks. With that said, I don’t think we as Africa and in particular, Uganda is ready for these developments until we have the right policies and frameworks to regulate and support those trying to build the required infrastructure and workforce for sustainable adoption of crypto/blockchain.
BCN Do you believe there are other things that can be done to limit or reduce the amount of crypto Ponzi scams like MTI and Pinkcoin?
KM:You can be sure that we have had an impact on the education of people about blockchain/crypto. It is becoming easier for people to grasp the basics of crypto, as well as its potential applications and opportunities. Also, people are more aware of potential Ponzi schemes before they invest in them. Better yet, Nileone is a trustworthy party where they offer light consultations about such scam projects. As these frauds continue to deter adoption, it is important to educate people on the best ways to avoid them.
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