Nubicoin does not want for ambition. Its vision is to use Blockchain technology to beneficially transform the lives of hundreds of millions of Africans.
The technology company is building a platform that would empower African governments to launch their own digital currencies and tokenise their assets.
The focus is very much on interoperability, with the Nubicoin platform acting as the bridge between different proprietary systems in different countries.
“At the moment what we see is that banks have their own payments platform; telecoms have their own payments platform; retailers have their own rewards systems, loyalty systems and payments platform. We are building a platform that will unite all the stakeholders,” say the Nubicoin directors, Joshua King and Henry Agyei.
What Nubicoin also sees in Africa is a predominantly cash-based economy in which 80% of the population does not have a bank account, although a similar proportion does have a mobile phone.
Joining the dots, the obvious solution is to provide a system that enables mobile phone users to enjoy all the benefits of having a bank account, without having to go through all that tedious infrastructure build-up.
As King points out, “Africa has the tendency to leapfrog in regards to technology”.
He cites the example of M-Pesa in Kenya, where more than US$30bn is going through the mobile phone-based money transfer and financing service each year; that’s a mind-boggling 40% of Kenya’s annual gross domestic product.
Alex Lightman of TokenCommunities, which is backing Nubicoin, observed that cash is going the way of the dodo in many societies and that a cash-based society makes it difficult for governments to levy taxes.
“I love the idea of Nubicoin being a one-stop-shop for governments to come and say, if you have people who have mobile phones, we’ll show you how to provide banking for them; we’ll show them how to have secure transactions so that the government will get its cut and the people will be able to hold on to their money and have hyper-inflation-free money,” Lightman said.
“If you have what happened with M-Pesa happen with the Blockchain, continent-wide, Africa has a chance to be Wakanda [the technologically advanced African nation in the Black Panther film].
“There’s the Black Panther movie that’s out right now, and people are saying: wait, wouldn’t it be amazing and beautiful and cool if Africa could have the most futuristic cities in the world?” Lightman said.
Away from the fantastical vision, Nubicoin is putting in the hard yards, talking to governments across sub-Saharan Africa.
It is building a consortium that s bringing together some of the biggest banks, telecoms and retailers to work in partnership with the governments and the central banks to have an interoperable platform that will allow millions of unbanked citizens to benefit from fast, transparent and secure payments on the Blockchain.
“We’re really keen from day one to have a platform that’s based on utility and not hype, and to actually look at how we can work hand-in-hand with some of the biggest stakeholders on the continent to deliver transformative change on the ground, impacting the everyday consumer who’s handling cash, has security issues,” King said.
Necessarily, much of this work is going on behind the scenes but Agyei says there should be a “brand refresh” round about April that will see the company disseminate more information about its vision and activities.
Agyei said the company is also planning to do an initial coin offering (ICO) at the back-end of this year.
The ICO could be regarded as a litmus test. There is little doubt, however, that the potential of the project is enormous.
“I think if you look at DRC Congo, it’s a very special case where there is US$24tln worth of resources that is untapped,” states King.
“To date, there hasn’t been a realistic, sustainable, interoperable solution that enables the populace to benefit and to tap the value of those resources.
“So, we at Nubicoin … see a great way forward where we can tokenise these assets and have shared prosperity.”