Entrepreneurs, developers and technology enthusiasts in Ghana with an interest in the blockchain technology will have an opportunity to meet and share ideas on a single platform at the first ever Blockchain Hackathon being organized in the country.
The event is being spearheaded by the Ashesi D: Lab, The Blockchain Society, Ghana, Kumasi Hive and Devless. These organizations have come together to explore blockchain as a potential application to a supply chain project that the Ministry of Trade is working on in partnership with the Association of Ghana Industries. The Blockchain Hackathon 2018 should see the most creative and inspiring blockchain teams nationwide exhibiting their ability to develop creative solutions to helping organize a supplier exchange platform. The platform will enable buyers (large scale contractors and LSE’s) to engage suppliers (sub-contractors and SME’s) in an exchange arrangement that ensures that buyer needs are met while supplier capacity is enabled. As part of the preparation for the challenge, participants are required to form a team of like-minded individuals and develop blockchain-inspired solutions to present at the hackathon for support.
Organisers of the event, indicate how important the program is for the technological prospects of the country. Joseph Peter Brown-Pobee, the Lead for the Ashesi D: Lab Hackathon Program said: “For the hackathons we organize, we typically, take real tough problems that make a big impact to ensure we are creating real value. This is one impacts an entire nation and we are excited to see the kind of innovative solutions the participants come up with” Paa Kow Bartels, the Lead Director of the supplier exchange system that inspired the hackathon, the SPX, at the Ministry of Trade stated: “A hackathon that impels an active supplier-buyer engagement is the sure pathway for enterprise development in Ghana”. Omar Majdoub, a co-founder of the Blockchain Society Ghana, noted that “It’s great to see an initiative from the Ministry of Trade to create a better supply chain solution. I think blockchain technology can certainly be used to explore this problem space”.
In agreement, Julius Odai, the Co-Founder and CPO of Devless, an open source Backend-as-a-Service Company noted that “Blockchain technology is the next big thing sweeping across the face of the earth... The Blockchain Hackathon is a giant step towards building solutions with and experiencing the awesomeness of the technology” “Understanding the fundamentals and basics of application of Blockchain is critical to its adoption as an appropriate technology for Ghana and Africa's development.. We need to accelerate the creation of the critical mass of Blockchain innovators and Enterprenuers to provide needed appropriate and relevant local solutions for an inclusive development of our society”, Jorge Appiah, Founder, Kumasi Hive said.
The organizers believe that the hackathon format is the best way to engage creative developers for such challenges and are therefore encouraged by the participation of the various partners. Laud Bentil, a Web Developer and also of Blockchain Society Ghana noted “It's really exciting to see local players getting involved in providing solutions to local problems, involving not just the government but local tech companies, education institutions and talented developers on the ground. The times are changing indeed and some great ideas will result from this fusion of all this talent and resources” “As famed American entrepreneur, investor, and software engineer, Marc Andreessen, noted in his famous essay on why software is eating the world, it is clear that more of such collaborations will become a great avenue for developers/engineers to work on new and interesting ideas that not only help them establish themselves but also help them solve some of our country’s problems” Kelvin Degbotse, a member of the organizing team said.
Dr. Gordon Adomdza, a Senior Assistant Professor and Founding Lead for the Ashesi D: Lab said, “We want to give our students exciting project opportunities. When we started thinking of the Blockchain hackathon, it was just an idea. Now it feels more like a movement. Most people we talk to can see how a blockchain-inspired supply chain system will work but want to know how it will be built and what it will require. We are sincere enough to them that we don’t know and that’s the point. We want to explore the space, guided and motivated by just the possibility. These are the kinds of experiences we want to develop for our students to learn and we are excited that we can open up this very experience to other students and professionals across the country”
The organizers expect the successful teams to pursue startups formation on the technologies and systems they develop. As such they are seeking partnerships with hubs, accelerators and incubators to support the teams. “The culture of hackathons, accelerators, hubs, and incubators have been used to spark innovation and creativity in many cities around the globe leading to these cities to becoming iconic. Accra is on that path as a city that is rapidly becoming home to incredible home grown technology innovations. I am confident the Blockchain Hackathon to address a fundamental economic development necessity like supply chain demonstrates the appetite of Accra as a city of innovation and the bravery and ambition of it's young men and women”, said Cecil Nutakor, Founder of eCampus and BlockChain Society Ghana.
The team has registered about 5 teams and are looking to register 5 more teams before the hackathon. Genesis Nchopereu, one of the organizers said "This will be one of most extraordinary hackathons to kick off the year 2018. For blockchain lovers, it'll be great gains working on a real issue that solves a problem for the nation of Ghana. For me, working on something that involves all of these entities is magnificent. One thing you must do now is to register for this hackathon. Go ahead - do it now”
Blockchain is, in its core, an empowering technology. It enables digital peer-to-peer transactions without the need for a trusted third party. The Blockchain Hackathon has been organized in other countries including Ireland and London.
The Ashesi D: Lab Hackathon series are events where students, entrepreneurs, developers and technology enthusiasts, converge to develop creative solutions to important problems in society. Impact is a key metric in the development of solutions, hence problems tackled at the hackathons are wicked tough but exciting!
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