BLOCKCHAIN INNOVATION

Mara Hackathon to build on blockchain financing sustainability

Blockchain has the potential to take financial services and last mile payment solutions to new heights

In Summary

• Hack the Mara aims to engage participants to create decentralized applications that provide sustainable solutions for last mile payment tracking.

• The hackathon in partnership with Circle, issuer of USD coin (USDC) and Euro coin, will challenge developers to use blockchain via USSD and M-Pesa for payment transparency

Maasai dancers entertain guests at the Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
Maasai dancers entertain guests at the Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
Image: ROAR AFRICA

African innovators and blockchain developers are driving the next stage of Web3 innovation in Africa.

There are fast-growing communities in Africa that are excited by what blockchain and Web3 technologies could do for their countries.

Despite the existing challenges around its adoption, Web3 technology is spreading all over Africa and more local communities are needed to build on it and celebrate it.

Mara, a Pan-African blockchain platform, has launched a hackathon for African developers and innovators that is set to take place from September 17 to 26, 2022.

The competition dubbed “Hack the Mara” aims to engage participants to create decentralized applications that provide sustainable solutions for last mile payment tracking.

Some of the solutions that will be prototyped are expected to strengthen the financial sustainability of ongoing conservation projects in the Maasai Mara for better livelihoods.

The competition will take place in five stages; starting online and with the final stage being completed physically in Kenya.

The top eight teams will be invited for a physical hack in Ishara, Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Ishara is an immersive experience dedicated to preserving wildlife, the communities and the land of this globally significant conservation area.

Chi Nnadi, Mara co-founder and CEO, said that blockchain has the potential to take financial services and last mile payment solutions to new heights.

“With a direct focus on solving real local challenges, these innovators may create globally relevant solutions and drive the future of finance,” he said.

“ Through our non-profit foundation, we aim to empower problem solvers to build blockchain solutions which promote long-term beneficial, social and environmental change in Africa,” said Kate Kallot, Mara co-founder and Chief Impact Officer.

The hackathon in partnership with Circle, issuer of USD coin (USDC) and Euro coin, will challenge developers to use blockchain via USSD and M-Pesa for payment transparency.

Sandra Persing, Circle VP of developer relations, ecosystem relations and marketing said that they hope to see more technical breakthroughs that make financial services more inclusive, efficient and scalable.

“ We are excited to give African innovators an opportunity to build solutions that may change the world and certainly the world of finance,” she said.

Antler, a global early-stage VC and start-up builder, will offer the winning innovation the opportunity to join the Antler Nairobi program to further develop their idea into a business and potentially receive investment.

The participants will be evaluated by a panel of judges based on originality, creativity, analytical skills, strategic thinking, and practical implementation.

Top solutions will also be awarded up to 100,000 US dollars in funds and prizes alongside opportunities for follow-on funding by Mara and or its partners.

Azhar Madhani, Ishara co-founder, said that the deployment of these smart technologies is going to be transformative and impactful in different respects such as uplifting and empowering communities to preserve and conserve our wildlife and nature.

“ We look forward to welcoming brilliant creators to our camp and enabling them to experience the magic of Ishara and Mara,” said Madhani.

The most promising solutions will have the opportunity to be piloted with local conservancies in the Maasai Mara where they can have a real-world impact.

Victor Ohuruogu, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data Senior Africa Regional Manager, said that they are looking forward to understanding how this technology can make sustainable use of data.

“We want to know how it can help uncover a sustainable financing solution that can be beneficial to the local communities in addressing environmental changes,” said Victor.

Innovators and developers are encouraged to register for the competition before it closes on August 5.