On July 25, 2019, news broke of Kenyan Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru receiving a report from Bitange Ndemeo, which recommends blockchain technology to help tackle problems crippling Kenya such as land fraud, corruption, and solve election disputes.
Blockchain’s Fine Qualities
The report was about Blockchain and AI, which Mucheru says:
“…provide an unprecedented level of integrity, security, and reliability to the information it manages, reducing the risks associated with having a single point of failure.”
The importance of this report is bolstered due the fact that the cabinet secretary noted he had even sued for not releasing this report, but thankfully is now able to pass along to the president as well as release for the world to see.
Deciding who runs a government is one of the most important decisions that a country makes. There’s a lot to gain if malicious parties are able to fudge the numbers and manipulate who has the final say in an election.
If the voting process was to inherit the immutability of the blockchain and make results impossible to manipulate, and this would effectively solve all election issues as well as bring a halt to the perpetual nature of corruption.
Blockchain technology for elections has been cited before and Kenya wouldn’t be the first use case, but perhaps a resoundingly impactful one.
Even before the official results were announced, Democracy Anchored, a local civil society initiative, reportedly used DLT to verify the results of 25 million votes out of the total 193 million votes within a few hours after the polling booths shut their doors on April 17.
In the past, this was impossible due to a large number of voters spread across 17,000 islands in the region. It, therefore, brought about a certain level of complexity in rounding up the results for millions of people in these geographical areas.
Blockchain Solutions, Later
While Mucheru is fully behind blockchain and what it can do for Kenya, the nascent technology can’t be fully utilized until 2025 by some estimates.
A crypto and blockchain think tank in Kenya is advising authorities to focus on ensuring cryptocurrency adoption in the country, reports CGTN Africa, July 25, 2019. Meanwhile, there hasn’t been much progress regarding the issuance of standardized regulations for digital assets in Kenya but the central bank says the Facebook Libra project poses a systemic risk. Outside Kenya, crypto and blockchain technology appears to be occupying a more significant position in government policy proposals.
The reason for this potential six year delay is that blockchain needs supporting technologies to shine: tech marvels such as Big Data, Data Science, more IoT integration, and 5g network speeds haven’t landed within Kenya’s borders yet.
That’s not to say blockchain can’t leave a meaningful impact today, but it’s kind of hard to set up full nodes if the network infrastructure is struggling to download the blockchain.
The eventual arrival of these technologies will bring about other positive change as well fringe benefits that we’re not even aware of, and when they do, Kenya will be on its way to stable and long term societal, economic, and technological growth.