To most Nigerians without a certain conversance with digital ledger technology, blockchain remains a mystery; its nature is obscure, its language is Greek to them. And those who manage to gain a little bit of knowledge often mistake blockchain technology as interchangeable with its subset, cryptocurrency. While cryptos like bitcoin have found their way into mainstream consciousness, with Nigerians trading the cryptocurrency more than almost every other country in the world, there is hardly any infrastructure in place to facilitate the maximization of the myriad opportunities offered by blockchain technology as a whole.
That was the reasoning behind the creation of Convexity Blockchain Hub (CBHUB), inaugurated in Abuja, the capital city, on May 8, 2021. The first dedicated blockchain hub in the country, CBHUB aims to create an ecosystem where Nigerians can create tech-driven solutions to Nigeria’s problems using blockchain.
In order to deviate from the overt emphasis on cryptocurrency when discussing blockchain, the CBHUB founder, Adedeji Owonibi, has noted that the hub will proffer solutions that do not at all involve cryptocurrency.
These solutions include facilitating transparency in aid distribution through its Convexity Humanitarian Aid Distribution Solution (CHATS) project and tackling the problem of counterfeit school certificates through its BitCert project.
Following its launch, the CBHUB, unveiled a new groundbreaking project: a “crypto forensics lab” which is to spot illicit cryptocurrency trading scams. It is a result of a partnership with Chainalysis, a New York-based company that analyzes cryptocurrency transactions for government agencies, corporations and financial institutions.
CBHUB’s cypto forensics lab, the first ever in Africa, will investigate crypto-based crimes in a digital atmosphere increasingly proliferated with illicit players. Earlier this year, South African company, Mirror Trading International, was exposed as the biggest investment scam of 2020 after raking in $589 million from over 471,000 deposits.
The company is currently working with partners in Lagos and Northern Nigeria to bring bitcoin education to the grassroots level. This latest developments from CBHUB represent a chance for Nigeria’s growing tech industry to harness the potential found in the blockchain technology while introducing it to a whole new generation of tech enthusiasts.
Kanyinsola Olorunnisola is a journalist, social critic and literary enthusiast. He is the recepient of the 2017 Fisayo Soyombo National Essay Prize, the 2020 Speculative Literary Foundation’s Diverse Writers Grant and the 2020 K&L Prize for African Literature. He is the founder of SprinNG, a platform dedicated to the development of young African writers.