Today saw the launch of the Barclays Africa Supply Chain Challenge at the Capital Club in Nairobi. It’s a contest for in which the winner will get a $10,000 prize for using block chains (wikipedia definition: a block chain (database), is sequential transaction database found in cryptocurrencies derived from bitcoin) to help solve friction in supply chains in any industry.
Barclays was one of the first UK banks to work with bitcoin companies and continues to partner with startups by being their customer and in helping them scale and engage with governments on regulation.
At the event, it was surreal to see bankers showcasing the power of block payments and bitcoin, and at a panel, Elizabeth of Bitpesa spoke of bitcoin as enabling international money transfers, unlike mobile money that’s only within the country. She said the process of licensing in different countries is moving well with many leaning towards licensing of such payments, but Africa is still a grey area with bank regulators yet to decide on bitcoin.
At the launch, Kenyan Information Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi said that the government would in October launch an Enterprise Kenya challenge to fund innovators from $1,000 to $10,000 and to get more assistance such as support with intellectual property and market linkage to grow.
Also businessman Chris Kirubi spoke about a medical innovation he came up with ten years ago which was a medical smart card that has since saved Kenyan corporations like Barclays millions of shillings in medical fraud, and he wants them to now help him expand the product into other African countries as well.