Suspicion, lack of trust and ignorance on digital currency trade is holding up a huge potential that can finance Kenya's small and medium enterprises, a government committee has established.
According to the Kenya Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence task force the trust can be created through a digital asset register which will link those with the money those who require resources.
“Blockchain mitigates trust. What has been lacking is that government did not have an infrastructure to ensure trust in Blockchain technology,” said the teams chairman Bitange Ndemo.
A digital asset registry would require small businesses to key in all their images, logos, video's, websites and text stored online to be used a portfolio for interested parties looking to invest in their business.
Ndemo said once a trusted registry is established small enterprises would have an alternative source of funding other than banks.
With a digital asset registry in place, the task force believes a digital currency could be created.
The coins, Ndemo said would be fashioned to represent the small business in which investors could buy into. The digital coins would be introduced as Initial Coin Offerings - the equivalent of a public share offering.
The 11-membe taskforce was created in February to provide a roadmap on the application of emerging technologies in the areas of financial inclusion, cybersecurity, land titling, election process, single digital identity and overall public service delivery.
“We have been talking to Central Bank so that we can create some sort of coin. You are going to hear more of ICOs,” Ndemo said.
He said the regulators have attended some of the committees's meetings and was optimistic with time they would buy into the idea.
Ndemo spoke during the launch of the Nairobi Securities Exchange mobile application which seeks to expand reach to retail investors, providing information on the stock market.
The app, launched in conjunction with Nutcracker Analytics Portal will also enable users access listed companies information and news, learn about different products on the market and provide a mock trading system where users can hone their trading skills.
“The goal is to support NSE and help increase market penetration,” Nutcracker founder and director Dean Casey said
Ndemo lauded efforts by the NSE to digitize its platform but said more still needs to be done to ensure inclusion of all Kenyans and not just the youth.
“If you look right now, most retail investors are old people. We need to create a way in which even they can understand what’s going on in the stock market,” he said.