Uganda is the site of a growing crypto-aided financial experiment which potentially shifts the paradigm of crypto as the preserve of speculators, Western libertarians and Venezuelans with no choice due to a collapsed national fiat currency.
Launched by South Africa startup Wala, $DALA is an Ethereum-based cryptocurrency that has brought hundreds of thousands of people across Southeast Africa out of financial exclusion that they previously faced due to the country’s impractically expensive financial system. $DALA is able to offer financial services including airtime top-up, money transfer and even payments for school fees on a practically zero-fee basis.
Following $DALA’s successful ICO last year which raised $1.2 million, more than 100,000 $DALA wallets have been opened, with over 2.5 million transactions processed since the token launched in May 2018.
Operating on a flexible, multi-chain basis that uses Ether for the wallet and Stellar for transactions, $DALA gives millions of African users access to cheap, efficient and seamless, cross-border financial services enabling them to transact, borrow and save using a decentralised financial system that is much cheaper and more accessible than what was previously obtainable.
$DALA’s Electricity Partnership with CPEM
$DALA is also involved with a new gigawatt-scale $1.5 billion electricity project in Uganda that aims to make it easy for Ugandans to take part in a blockchain-enabled clean energy economy. Energy company CleanPath Emerging Markets Uganda (CPEM), cofounded by Prince Kudra Kalema of the Buganda Kingdom - an ancient royal lineage going back to the 14th century - is behind the initiative, alongside the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
Speaking to TechCrunch about the proposed framework, Prince Kalema said:
We began using the $DALA protocol because it became very clear that the financial structure in Uganda was not adequate. It was clear we needed something. There is no way the Uganda shilling is stable enough for the type of program we are doing. Wala was already invested in the same country and wasn’t just about the idea of a running a crypto coin in an emerging market, but was also about creating the best type of financial institutions for the country. That goes hand in hand with what we are doing. It became a no-brainer.
Also speaking about the project to TechCrunch recently, Wala co-founder and CEO Tricia Martinez remarked:
The numbers we’ve seen since the launch of $DALA have been staggering, and a large portion of our current users are Ugandan, so this partnership is a natural next step to allow users the opportunity to further benefit from using $DALA. The high level of user traffic also shows us that Ugandans are ready to use crypto assets in their day-to-day transactions.
Under the framework, Ugandans will be able to buy solar energy from the new project using $DALA, while CPEM will use DALA’s blockchain platform to organise its ledger, smart vendor contracts and partner commitments. Workers and vendors will also be paid in $DALA according to the framework.