NEAR launches regional hub in Kenya to lead blockchain innovation and talent development in Africa

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Kenya ranked fifth last year Global Crypto Adoption Indexand Kenyans are already exchanging cryptocurrency with each other directly more than anywhere else in the world. In addition to expanding into Nairobi, NEAR is also reaching lesser-known cities in Kenya where no other layer-1 blockchain has an established presence yet.

The hub will be led by Kevin Imani, the founder of Sankore, and supported by a four-member core team. Comprised of events, an academy, an incubation program and the Sankore Bounty ecosystem, the hub will be a promising intersection of Africa’s most talented blockchain developers and international support for their innovations.

“We are excited to work with NEAR to educate and train talented individuals to become world-class blockchain developers,” said Kevin Imani, who will lead the NEAR hub in Kenya. “Our dream is to lead the way in blockchain innovations by providing solutions to Africa’s biggest problems. The NEAR protocol enables the brightest developers of tomorrow to build custom solutions with scalability, security and transparency and this hub is the next step in turning our shared vision into reality.

The overwhelming attendance rates at Sankore NEAR-Meets, where locals gather to gain blockchain education and meet people from the NEAR ecosystem, demonstrated the enthusiasm of younger generations in Kenya for crypto education , blockchain and web3.

Gatherings allowed people to learn, share ideas, network, create opportunities on the open web, and make Web3 a reality. A recent event held in Nakuru focused on leveraging opportunities in Web3 with a NEAR certified developer advising local developers on acquiring blockchain certification and NEAR developer certification.

The education arm of the hub has already established strong ties with local universities, with 77 students enrolled in NEAR Certified Developer Workshops, seven students enrolled in NEAR Certified Analyst Workshops, and six students already officially certified as developers.

When it comes to incubated projects, Sankore has already gained local traction by supporting several forward-thinking projects such as Kilimo Shwari, an on-chain solution aimed at protecting Kenyan farmers from agricultural uncertainties such as bad weather and calamities like the recent invasion of desert locusts in Kenya. The insurance is based on smart contracts, collecting data on uncertainties and automatically compensating farmers.

Another incubated project is Ledja, which tackles fraud across the African region and combats false documents. By cooperating with higher education institutions and initiating document scanning using the NEAR protocol, it enables much faster, safer and more secure document verification.

The continent has seen a rapid digital revolution over the past decade, and African countries have embraced crypto faster than their global counterparts. Cryptocurrency adoption in Africa has increased 1200% from July 2020 to June 2021, the fastest adoption rate in the world. Along with this, there has been a growing appetite among African youth for technical training and educational opportunities.

“We are excited about the potential avenues across Africa for blockchain solutions, which come from innovation in development, education and talent,” said Marieke Flament, CEO of the NEAR Foundation. “This hub represents a unique opportunity to partner with local talent not only for the opportunities we know exist today, but also for the opportunities yet to be created in the future.”

Internationally, excitement continues to grow around the potential of the NEAR blockchain. Unlike other networks, NEAR offers software developers easy access to create new crypto applications, from non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to decentralized financial products and the launch of new business models and consumer products.

The NEAR blockchain is also much faster than Ethereum, the most widely used blockchain in the world. It acts as a bridge to other blockchains, allowing the free flow of assets and communication between networks for the benefit of all.

the NEAR Foundation is a Swiss non-profit organization that oversees the governance and development of the NEAR protocol, a high-performance blockchain designed to be lightning-fast, incredibly secure, and infinitely scalable. NEAR is designed by an award-winning team of engineers and entrepreneurs to be simple to use, inclusive and good for the environment.

The foundation aims to help evangelize, raise awareness, support and grow this ecosystem and allocate grants on behalf of the ecosystem. To date, the foundation has allocated more than $45 million for new projects.

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