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Taskforce to look into hurdles, benefits of blockchain

A bitcoin outlet in Hong Kong. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A bitcoin outlet in Hong Kong. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The government is on Tuesday set to launch a taskforce consisting of not more than 15 members to look into opportunities available in the blockchain technology, which has been associated with the increasing popularity of digital currencies like bitcoin.

The taskforce, which will be expected to  hand over its study to the ICT ministry on how the government should implement the technology, will also look at the Internet of Things technology.

The team will assess benefits and challenges associated with the latest digital innovation trends. Blockchain technology use in cryptocurrencies like bitcoins has seen the value of investments in the currencies hit Sh163 billion, according to a report recently released by investment bankers at Citigroup.

The technology refers to a continuously growing list of records that are linked and secured using cryptography.

A blockchain, by design, is resistant to alteration or modification and some countries have already started applying the technology for official business.

“We need to better understand opportunities for blockchain technology, the risks of cybersecurity and the education and skills that our young people will need to make new technology work for them,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta during the Africa Digital Syposium in Nairobi on Tuesday. He said the country has been a leader in digital innovation and would not be left behind in the latest trends.

Mr Kenyatta said the potential for digital dividend is enormous if its transformational potential is harnessed by creating the right policy framework.

“As a matter of fact, the internet and associated digital trade of goods and services have led up to 10 percent rise in employment in Africa,” said the President.

Plans by the government to venture into the booming cryptocurrencies business comes barely a month after the Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge said they won’t be held liable for losses by consumers using digital currencies.