Blockchain can maintain its dominance

Blockchain will continue to shape the rate and direction of innovation. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Blockchain will continue to shape the rate and direction of innovation. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

My crystal ball tells me that a number of things will happen this year.

In the technology sector, Blockchain will defy many sceptics and continue to grow its native token, Bitcoin and Ethereum, perhaps replacing some weak currencies in the process.

With or without a regulatory framework, it will continue to cause disruptions in its path to full acceptance. The technology will continue to shape the rate and direction of innovation.

As I write this article, the Dubai government last week committed to becoming paperless by shifting all transactions to Blockchain — an online encrypted database — by 2020.

Last month, the Chicago Board Options Exchange started a Bitcoin futures market and virtually all top accounting firms made it known that they could be paid via Bitcoin.

Debate on the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will intensify. Governments will examine its benefits and risks.

Already, many governments argue that AI will decimate as many as 75 per cent of jobs in developing countries.

In my view, AI is being harshly judged. New technologies simply shift work elsewhere and it is the role of state to retrain people to undertake the new jobs that come as a result of new technology.

Many people make blind assumptions without really understanding the application of AI in some of the most troubling problems that we have today.
On the political front, especially in Africa, tribalism will push back democratic gains.

Perhaps the biggest of all is that largely Zulu and Xhosa schemers will kick South African deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa out of African National Congress leadership.

Already, there are murmurs that a member of the minority Venda tribe cannot hold South Africa together.

Many in South Africa believe that Ramaphosa is a creation of white South Africa and that he was behind the Marikana Massacre of 16 August 2012.

In Kenya, political squabbling will continue to hold back development.

Increasingly, the 2022 campaigns will start to undermine President Uhuru Kenyatta’s powers to govern and deliver on the promises he has made to Kenyans.

In the agricultural sector, although IMF predicts 3.4 per cent 2018 growth in Sub-Saharan Africa due to easing of drought conditions that impacted much of eastern and southern Africa in 2017, there will be food shortages.

There are no long-term strategies in place to mitigate the problem. Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) estimates that over 15 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are facing dangerous food shortages due to a prolonged drought that has decimated crops and livestock with a prediction of the number increasing this year.

A year ending with 8 has not been kind to Kenya. My prediction is that if we are not careful, our differences will be our undoing. Since 1978, we have had major losses.

In 1978 the founding father of the nation Mzee Jomo Kenyatta died. Ten years later, we had the disastrous mlolongo elections that marked the height of Moi’s authoritarian rule.

In 1998, we lost many lives when the American Embassy was bombed in Nairobi.

Another ten years later in 2008 the country experienced post-election violence where we lost 1,133 lives in 59 days.

We need to be more careful this year by ensuring that we are civil to each other and are our brother’s keepers to avoid such incidences.

On the international scene, proponents of Brexit will fail and force British Prime Minister May to resign.

It will be difficult to please the Scottish and Irish and enjoy an English autonomy from the European Union.

Whatever happens, I wish you a prosperous 2018.