Taxiing with twende
The Twende app aims to coordinate the vast network of drivers to deliver a revamped service to citizens that is easy to pay. What sets it apart from the rest of its competition? Twende plans to achieve its goal with the help of blockchain.
The brainchild of Dutch software developer Pietre Buikema, the Twende app basically brings elements of Uber to ‘boda-bodas’ (motorcycle taxis) beginning in Nairobi. Through the app, users can hail vetted drivers to increase safety and reliability. Then for the drivers, distance-based incentives create the willingness to drive more and gain good customer ratings. An additional interest for drivers in partnering with Twende is Uber’s decision to slash fares in Kenya by 35%.
The role of blockchain in Buikema’s plan will be to revamp the organization. In the event that the concept takes flight, the coordination of thousands of drivers and equal distribution of income implemented because it is an economy where bank account penetration for micro-entrepreneurs is extremely limited.
Buikema added that “Blockchain technology can make it possible. That’s what Bitcoin’s based on. What matters is that is no central point is greater; rather, users keep each other in check. In the long term, this can build a system where everyone is micro-shareholder.”
A smart way to tie the knot
Marriage negotiations in Kenya are a colorful affair full of drama. Elders from both the parties gather under a hut or a shade of a tree and will lead the dowry negotiations. To make sure that the throats of the elders never go dry a local brew will be served as the negotiations on the ‘irreducible minimums’ on the number of cows and goats to be paid would continue unabated with demands and counter-demands. Finally, after what will seem like ages, both the parties will, at last, come to an agreement.
This has been the norm for many generations in many Kenyan villages. But one man has decided to do things differently this time around.
Anthony Mburu, who is based in the district of Naivasha made the headlines when he decided to pay his dowry with bitcoins instead of the traditional cattle. Mr. Mburu is engaged to Elizabeth John, whose parents are glad to receive the cryptocurrency and are lauding their future son-in-law for his smart move.
Mburu explained that he arrived at this ingenious, yet foreign concept when he was planning for his marriage months ago “I took my 200 dollars and later we were ready to pay the dowry. The amazing thing is that my 200 dollars have become 10 times more than its initial value”.
The smart couple has some advice for those couples who have no idea have they can fund their wedding. In their words, they say “All young guys who are planning to do their dowry next year December and they don’t know how, get a few Bitcoins now, leave them and I believe next year you don’t have to call your friends because it won’t be a big hustle.”
The insurance sector
America Insurance Group (AIG) partnered with banking group Standard Chartered to run a pilot using blockchain technology where it ran cover offers for their policyholders across America, Kenya, and Singapore. The pilot saw the two companies attend and process real-time payments for their clients on a unified platform that linked their agents and financial institutions.
Payments were made on time and policy renewals happened automatically once premium payments had been received. The two companies stated that the use of the blockchain technology to process payments would eliminate the need for a physical company setups in the said regions thus helping cut on expenditure when it came to expansions.
A blockchain based insurance system will save time and effort for policyholders who find it difficult to renew their insurance from time to time. In terms of security, it will allow for a more careful scrutiny of policyholders that will prove instrumental in eliminating insurance fraud as once the information is stored in the system, it cannot be changed or easily accessed other than the insurance company itself.
What are Kenyans hoping to see next year?
The recent examples of how blockchain and bitcoin being adopted seamlessly in mainstream every day shows that both can be readily adopted by and for everyday uses by ordinary citizens to enrich their lives.
Having a larger user base opens up more and better business opportunities, increases the demand for Bitcoins – and, by extension, their price. It also makes it more feasible for business owners to enable Bitcoin payments at their stores and brings other countless benefits to the participants of the market.
The blockchain is already hailed as a disruptive force that can change the very dynamics of the financial industry, with its decentralized nature and hart-to-break-in security protocols, reason enough for the economies of the world to take into consideration the potential the technology has to offer. A World Economic Forum report even predicts that 10 percent of the worlds GDP will be stored in blockchain technology.
It is where events like the World Blockchain Summit come in to enable a smooth transition into the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency. The World Blockchain Summit is set to take center stage and aims to connect global blockchain gurus, technology innovators, investors and startups in this space – with regional business and IT leaders from across key industry verticals to debate on the nature of blockchain and its many potentials to improve efficiency in every business processes.
The event is happening on 22-23 March in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information about the event, click here.