West Africa is residence to an estimated 381 million individuals and counting. Sadly, the area was additionally discovered to be a hotspot for local weather change, which can doubtless impression crop yields and meals manufacturing whereas inflicting harm to its distinctive wildlife.
On the similar time, West Africa is properly on its option to turning into the subsequent blockchain hotspot as properly, with the area persevering with to point out curiosity in cryptocurrency and digital options. In 2019, Nigeria ranked because the primary nation for Bitcoin searches on Google, which can be linked to the prominence of fintech adoption throughout the continent. For instance, based on the Ernst & Younger 2019 World Fintech Adoption Index, one of many international locations main the push, South Africa, ranks because the fourth-largest rising market by curiosity in fintech.
A blockchain mission gathering climate information
Because of Africa’s acceptance for brand spanking new applied sciences and crypto, the area is arguably an excellent place to implement blockchain-based options to fight ongoing geographical challenges.
One of many corporations hoping to make a distinction is Telokanda — an open-source climate know-how firm launched by a former Boeing and NASA engineer — has launched a blockchain-based climate balloon initiative. Telokanda has partnered with the blockchain platform Telos to add climate information generated from climate balloons, that are high-altitude units that accumulate and transmit details about atmospheric strain, temperature, humidity and wind speeds through a small sensor known as a radiosonde.
The sensors transmit information to the Telos blockchain in actual time, the place the knowledge is then saved on RAM. Telokanda makes use of this information to alert first responders of extreme climate circumstances as much as 12 hours prematurely. The corporate can be prototyping a textual content messaging service to routinely notify residents when balloons detect harsh climate circumstances.
Douglas Horn, chief architect of Telos, informed Cointelegpraph that the Telokanda climate balloon mission is at the moment being piloted in West Africa as a result of pressing want for climate information within the area:
“The shortage of climate data in Africa has highly effective detrimental results on the native inhabitants, who should get by with out trendy climate forecasting. That is additionally a worldwide problem, as the dearth of knowledge in Africa limits meteorological predictions within the Atlantic and past.”
Information reveals that climate observations coming from Africa primarily exist as incomplete, paper-based information. Even with help from the World Meteorological Group in Geneva in addition to Germany’s meteorological service Deutscher Wetterdienst, areas in Africa are hesitant to digitize historic local weather information. In response to a Nature article, hundreds of thousands of climate information in Africa stay in cardboard bins and depend on out of date know-how whereas digitization efforts are held up as a result of information possession and distribution points.
Regardless of the area’s challenges in record-keeping for climate circumstances, Telokanda founder Nicolas Lopez informed Cointelegraph that the corporate’s curiosity is to work in West Africa partly as a result of gathering its climate information is necessary for U.S. insurance coverage corporations analyzing the chance of hurricanes originating off the coast of Africa. “It’s a singular area the place realizing the climate is just not solely useful to native populations, but additionally the U.S. 1000’s of miles away,” he mentioned.
Whereas Telokanda’s sensor-equipped climate balloons work to gather information in West Africa, the Telos blockchain gives public transparency, permitting anybody to make use of and entry the knowledge collected. Though information transparency and using that data by others has been frowned upon by Africa’s climate officers, Horn asserted that the mission can show its worth. “We wish to make the info assortment methodology as open-source as potential, in order that anybody can contribute,” he mentioned.
Cryptocurrency incentives for gathering climate information
Along with utilizing blockchain for information transparency, the mission makes use of sensible contracts to ship contributors cryptocurrency.
In response to Horn, as soon as a climate balloon transmits information to the Telos blockchain, a sensible contract triggers funds in Telos tokens (TLOS) to a person’s digital pockets. Members are rewarded as much as 1,000 TLOS, or roughly $15, which might then be transformed to the Nigerian naira or Ghanaian cedis utilizing the Sesacash funds platform. Exchanges or automated market makers on Telos can even alternate TLOS immediately for a wide range of dollar-backed stablecoins or the South African rand.
The cryptocurrency incentive is a crucial characteristic of Telokanda’s climate balloon mission, particularly in areas like Africa, which have suffered from excessive inflation charges and risky nationwide currencies. For instance, a latest report masking the state of crypto in Africa states that over the previous 10 years, the South African rand has misplaced over 50% of its worth towards the greenback. The report then notes that, as a result of this and different financial challenges, Africa is a perfect area for crypto adoption.
Regulatory challenges stay
Whereas modern, challenges round information sharing could hamper adoption for Telokanda’s climate balloon mission. In response to a United Nations 2018 report on local weather information sharing in Africa — which critiques the World Meteorological Group decision 40 on coverage and apply for the alternate of meteorological information and merchandise that regulates worldwide information sharing — main obstacles stay with regards to effectively sharing information in Africa.
The report notes that strategic obstacles embrace an absence of authorized obligation within the WMO decision 40 to make information obtainable domestically or for worldwide use. As well as, the doc states that nationwide legal guidelines and laws in Africa prohibit entry to climate information as a result of issues about nationwide safety. Furthermore, many governments within the area lack understanding of the worth of knowledge sharing and the infrastructure required for such. Whereas cryptocurrency is adopted with open arms in Africa, information transparency through blockchain networks might not be so welcome.
Though this can be, Lopez stays hopeful, noting that Telokanda has already accomplished seven prototype launches in North America and Nigeria, and is now opening its program extra broadly. Lopez additional commented on cryptocurrency adoption:
“The most important hurdle we see is definitely entry to Eosio foreign money in some international locations, as this needs to be completed on a country-by-country foundation. In Senegal for instance, we wish to present wind path information to drone operators, however there’s no clear alternate for the foreign money.”