Like it or not … The Era of “Currency Evolution” is here! You can’t escape it, you can’t run away from it; which makes it an ‘Evolution’. It all started with creation of the Blockchain Technology. The main objective of a blockchain is a decentralized system. A blockchain works with Blocks. A block in a blockchain is a collection of data. Nowadays most of the Finance and banking sectors are using blockchain technology.
Just like the Internet started and became popular with Emails, the blockchain started with Bitcoin. Apart from cryptocurrencies, there are many other things that can be built on the blockchain network. Many countries of the world including in Africa have embraced the blockchain technology.
Blockchain Is Taking Over The World
The leading countries include:
Malta is known as “blockchain island”. It is also looking forward to setting up a crypto bank. Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges inaugurated its office in this country and it is the first place where a decentralized bank and stock exchange was established.
Japan is months ahead when it comes to Bitcoin and crypto adoption. Some of the retail stores in Japan accept Bitcoin. It is among the largest Bitcoin traders. According to a Nikkei report cited in a note by Masao Muraki, who is a global financial strategist at Deutsche Bank, around 40% of Bitcoin trading in Q4 in the year 2017 was conducted in Yen.
Estonia is the first country to establish a blockchain based e-residency programme. This country is a digital society that has adopted new technologies to benefit the people and the finance of the country. It is willing to implement blockchain in Healthcare, banking services, and e-governance.
Estonia was the first country to use blockchain based e-voting service. It also hosts a number of Bitcoin-based ATMS.
In the first quarter of 2014, the USA Internal Revenue Service released a guide about taxation of operations with regard to Bitcoins and other virtual currencies. Bitcoins are treated as property when it comes to federal taxes. Profits from Bitcoin mining are subject to taxation. ICOs are also under regulation in the US. The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) controls tokens.
The United States of America holds the highest number of startups. It has over 40% of total blockchain startup market. Just like the internet age, the USA is leading the way in the smart economy.
Many US-based financial companies are investing on how blockchain technology could streamline the current work and create a more efficient network to process financial transactions.
Venezuela now has a stated owned crypto dubbed “Petro” which is launched in February 2018. It is a cryptocurrency issued by the government of Venezuela which is attached to a quantity of oil.
Switzerland is one of the famous adopters of blockchain technology in the world. Switzerland ranks 1st as a crypto-friendly country in Europe in 2018, according to Blockshow. It is also the home of Ethereum Foundation, a Swiss non-profit that developed Ethereum. Switzerland is ahead of most of the other countries and is moving rapidly to pave the way to create a decentralized future.
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates is one of the most digital-friendly nations. It is also one of the advocates of blockchain and cryptocurrency.
The government of Dubai has interest in blockchain. H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the crown prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Dubai Future Foundation said the government has a vision of creating a paperless digital enterprise.
UAE wants to become the first country in the world to have a “blockchain powered government by the year 2021 which will save the government a massive $3 billion USD annually.
In Singapore the dominance of blockchain technology has affected the Singapore government’s policy. According to the research by Global Market Insights On October 13th, 2017, the partnership between the Monetary Authority of Singapore(MAS) and a consortium of financial institutions launched a new interbank system based on Blockchain.
The government also has formulated different plans to tokenize the state’s currency on the Ethereum network. The Singapore authority allocated over $225 million dollars to blockchain research and development.
The United Kingdom has the second most number of blockchain startups in the industry. The government of UK has planned to improve its regulation against identity theft and slow financial services with the proper implementation of the blockchain technology.
A group of professors is looking forward to the creation of the world’s first “blockchain university”. On August 3rd, 2016, The government of Uk launched Blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) as a part of ‘Innovate UK’. The department for work and pensions in the UK allows the pensioners to claim payments through blockchain enabled mobile apps
The governor of the Bank of England believes in the power of blockchain which makes it the highest priority among them now.
Sweden entered the blockchain business with a different concept. It aims to be the first country to have a blockchain based property title process. The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority has publicly declared Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a means of payment.
Canada maintains a generally Bitcoin-friendly stance while also ensuring the cryptocurrency is not used for money laundering. Bitcoin is viewed as a commodity by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This means that Bitcoin transactions are viewed as barter transactions, and the income generated is considered as business income. There are laws on taxation too.
Remember that this is just a snippet into the countries that have already adopted the Blockchain Technology and are working tirelessly to develop the technology the more. There are other countries like Australia, Denmark, Gibraltar, France, Korea, Denmark, South Africa, Uganda and many others. According to un.org, the Bitcoin countries in Africa are Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Testboo is of the view that though Nigerians use the blockchain Technology to an extent, the government of Nigeria is not showing any interest in the technology. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is still unable to provide regulatory framework that will guide financial services using blockchain technology in the country making some investors who might have interest in Nigeria shy away to other African Countries.
Michael Kiberu, Chief Executive Officer, Vault Bridge, said Nigeria can take a cue from countries such as Uganda, Switzerland, Kenya, Japan, where adoption of blockchain technology has greatly impacted the landscape.
Chuta Chimezie, coordinator Blockchain Nigeria User Group, had this to say on Blockchain “Summarily, for any type of record keeping for which transparency, tamperproof storage, and clear maintenance of audit trail is desired, blockchain is the way to go. Be it marriage registry, land registry, birth registry, death registry, medical records, census records, academic records, financial records, blockchain is a tested technology that can be applied for above mentioned”
Testboo is of the firm opinion that blockchain will help Nigeria in areas such as Data Base Management, Election And Good Governance, Budget Tracking.
Corruption is the reason for the set backs faced by most African countries. Reports show that Africa loses $148 billion — 25% of Africa’s average GDP — every year to corruption. In the 2017 Open Budget Index (OBI) survey released in February 2018, Nigeria scored 17%, ranking 90th out of 115 countries globally, and 23rd out of 38 African countries.
Blockchain technology can be applied in the development of budget-tracking protocol to tackle budget-related corruption. A blockchain-based application will save all transactions and expenditures and everyone in the network will be alerted at every update. Even INEC in Nigeria can use this technology.
This will eliminate corruption and embezzlement of funds as the transaction data including transaction amount, time, account number(s), and receiver(s) will all be under public scrutiny.
Cryptocurrency trading in Nigeria can also be taxable if the government wishes. The cryptocurrency industry generates much income for other countries who made it taxable.
Now Facebook has shown interest in Cryptocurrency with the emergence of the white paper for its coin, dubbed Libra. The Libra will be used both on Whatsapp and Messenger and can be transferred from one account to the other. The sudden news about Facebook’s Libra has given more popularity to cryptocurrencies which can be seen in the resultant increase on the price of Bitcoin.
According to a new report from professional social network LinkedIn, Blockchain is one of the top ten most important employee skills in the Asia Pacific region.
While Nigeria is busy sleeping, Uganda is busy hosting the 2019 Africa Blockchain Conference with Yoweri Museveni, the President of Uganda officiating.