On Thursday (March 18), Charles Hoskinson, Founder of Cardano, as well as Co-Founder and CEO of IOHK, gave the keynote address at the two-day Blockchain Africa Conference 2021.

Here are a few highlights from his talk:

  • The crown jewel of our labor has been the Cardano Protocol. We started in 2015 for the building the Cardano Protocol, specifically to figure out how to accommodate this concept of economic identity. How to build applications that would be equally useful as they are in someone’s basement. New Jersey as they are to the shepherds in Senegal.
  • We also realized that addition to doing great science and great engineering it would take quite a bit of time for us to actually figure out how to deploy these systems within the developing world. That meant we physically had to move to those countries.
  • And we were unified with a common cause and purpose: how do we enable a system to operate from the bottom up instead of the top down? How do we figure out how to give people self-sovereign identity and put them in control of their own money, in control of their own future, and give them a platform to build upon and once they — through merit — earn, be able to protect and secure that through insurance and other products?
  • Now that four-year journey since when we started establishing office in Ethiopia to today has yielded some amazing fruit. First off, we had the incredible opportunity to meet many world leaders who are aligned, many NGOs and charities that are directly aligned with our goal in a lot of meals, a lot of breaking of bread, a lot of knowledge that we’ve gained.
  • We’ve also had the ability to train local talent and acquire local talent, people who have made this their tireless life mission, in many cases, deeply under-resourced and exposed to in many cases uncaring bureaucracies or corruption, waste fraud, and abuse, and just plain old-fashioned setbacks.
  • “... we are at the cusp of deals in initiatives this year, which will bring millions of users through public-private partnerships into the Cardano ecosystem… It means that for a large group of people, for the first time in their lives, they will have digital identity that also can be linked to wallets, that also can be linked to payment systems, that also can be linked to property, that can enjoy rich metadata and other such things.
  • And this is the highest goal because if we can achieve these things, then it means functionally a new economy can form. The great liquefaction of over $5 trillion of wealth can happen. You see, the reality is that Africa is not a poor continent and the African nations collectively are not poor. They are rather a situation where they have tremendous potential and real wealth, but that wealth is inaccessible due to bad systems and difficulty globalizing the nation states.
  • In the Cardano ecosystem, it is our belief and hope that over the next five years a meaningful percentage of the entrepreneurs who deploy infrastructure — it could be a peer-to-peer lending system, it could be a remittance system, it could be an ATM network, it could be basic internet access, it could be micro ISPs, it can be power generation, whatever it might be — will likely come from a pan-African view…
  • Over the next five years, our staff on the ground in Africa will likely scale from the dozens to the hundreds, if not the thousands, and instead of just having one headquarters, it’s likely we’ll have at least four or five headquarters throughout the continent. For example, we’ve already started a campaign to build up resources and access and personnel in the country of Ghana.