If you walk down Nairobi streets, you wouldn’t imagine how well mentally endowed the Kenyan youth are, particularly in solving challenges facing Kenya. It is only until you sit down in a pitch competition, where the young generation airs out their solutions to challenges facing the country, that you will realize even the judges themselves have a hard time deciding who takes the crown. Saturday 29th January 2022 witnessed some of the greatest minds in Nairobi, gather at the iHub center, to pitch blockchain and NEAR-based solutions to challenges facing the country.
Moriana Inc. an artist-based company by Chuani and Keyo kicked off the event at 1830HRS EAT. Moriana Inc. was started during the Covid-19 pandemic. Its pioneering pieces were influenced by the events of the pandemic, as the world was grappling with a new challenge never seen before. The company seeks to attain vision through art and incorporate blockchain to help artists achieve freedom. Chuani and Keyo seek to digitize and tokenize art, while getting rid of intermediaries, to connect artists and buyers directly.
The second pitch on stage was Timothy Olando; an artist cum professional graphic designer. Olando introduced the Cach dApp, a community-owned platform that enables participants to tokenize their shares in a centralized platform system. Olando argued that content creators are limited with no funding, but on this platform, they can tokenize their shares to get funding for their project. The dApp further performs other functions including swapping and staking.
Olando preceded Timothy Agevi of LandCoin. Agevi identified the gap of corruption and lack of transparency in the Kenyan systems, particularly in land acquisition. Agevi’s project mentioned the problem of fake title deeds and the long process of acquiring one, even when a potential landowner has all the right documents in place. The project seeks to use blockchain to register the relevant parties issuing land titles, particularly the registrar and the owner. The land acquisition process would consequently be facilitated through smart contracts.
Pitch number 4 was by Patrick Wendo, who presented Kilimo Shwari. In a well-structured presentation, Mr. Wendo highlighted the series of challenges small-scale Kenyan farmers face. Patrick highlighted problems ranging from bad weather such as late and poorly distributed rains to calamities such as the recent locusts that caused damage in Kenyan farms. He, therefore, proposed an on-chain insurance program to shield small-scale Kenyan farmers from such unfortunate incidences. You may ask yourself, why not traditional insurance? Well, Patrick also identified a gap in the traditional system, where there is a lack of trust between insurers and clients. This project would register farmers on the NEAR platform, where they can buy policies, all of which would be stored on-chain. The farmers would have prior knowledge of the season through machine learning and AI incorporated in the system.
Isaac and Abedi were the 5th pitchers with Metastars. The duo stated that consumers are tired of reading stories and reviews from brochures. These may well be made-up stories or biased reviews to mislead a buyer. There is a need for exposing the potential consumer to real-time 3D content and experiences before they can buy into a product. The solution to this gap based on the project is to create a collaborative virtual environment with metaverse brand experience and content creation.
Pitch number 6 highlighted a critical problem that contributes to poor leadership in Kenya. Dorcas and Tyson kicked off their presentation highlighting news stories that exposed famous Kenyan leaders and professionals, who faked their documentation to access power. The problem statement in the project was, “Physical documents and fragmentation in the document verification process in Kenya, contribute to 1 in every 3 Kenyans holding a fake document.” The project branded Ledja further backed their case by giving facts of several cases of fake documents in Africa. The duo proposed to eliminate the risk of document forgery and identity theft through document digitization and using blockchain technology for faster, safer, and secure document verification. The duo, also in partnership with Godwin Olingo, further proposed to increase access to their solution and lower the prices of the said solution, to make the project a reality.
Peter presented Cymple Marketplace for pitch number 7. The project seeks to provide a blockchain-based video e-commerce platform. Peter argued that there is difficulty in navigating the marketplace. The problem affects both the seller and the consumer. The project highlighted the problem of tracking stock from either side. A product may be marked available in the online marketplace when indeed it’s out of stock back in the warehouse. The solution to this problem is to integrate the market and stock in the blockchain to encourage accountability in the stock-taking process.
LC Solutions: Smartfarm Kenya Agricultural Project
At pitch number 8 was the trinity of Georgia, Lenny, and Fanuel. The triad forms the LC solutions and created the Smartfarm Kenya Agricultural project. The problem statement of the project pointed to the extremely limited irrigated farmland in Kenya standing at only 7%. The other farmers with no access to irrigation depend on unreliable rainfall, therefore farming for them is more of a gamble than an economic activity. The project seeks to achieve the goals of efficiency in farming by developing smart systems to minimize input and maximize output. The other goal is to use AI to obtain critical data on seasons and consequently offer insights to farmers to help them achieve the best farming results.
Web3 Talents and CoinFi
Projects 9 and 10 were pitchers who joined us via video call. Pitch number 9 featured a project dubbed Web3 Talents. A project that seeks to provide a platform where individuals can build a portfolio and further have their projects verified online. The project further seeks to expose talented individuals to potential recruiters. It is set to be built on NEAR Protocol. CoinFi was the project that closed the pitching process. CoinFi is a fully decentralized permission-less platform built on cross-chain token pools and auctions, enabling projects to raise capital in a decentralized and interoperable environment. CoinFi’s goal is to solve the early developmental challenges start-ups face, particularly funding.
I know you must be wondering which of these projects carried the day. The judges had a hard time picking the top three among the contenders. All the projects were viable, as they were based on creating blockchain and NEAR-based solutions to the challenges identified by the team. Well, be on the lookout for an analysis of the winning teams.
Sankore 2.0 is an Africa-focused community integrating the NEAR blockchain with projects and solutions conceived and built by local developers in Kenya. As noted in the content of this blog, Sankore 2.0 seeks to promote the development of Web3 products in Nairobi — for Kenya and for Africa as a whole