Nigerian startup developing blockchain-based academic records

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Nigerian startup developing blockchain-based academic records

The cryptocurrency industry has faced criticism for its disconnection with the real world, but there are players who are trying to demonstrate that the underlying blockchain technology can solve some of our most pressing challenges in today's society, especially in regions where basic infrastructure is not available.

Akowe, a Lagos-based startup that participates in TechCrunch Disrupt's 2023 Startup Battlefield 200, is developing a blockchain-based platform for issuing verifiable academic records. Akowe's founder, Ayodeji Agboola, said in an interview that there's a big demand for digital certificate verification systems in sub-Saharan Africa, partly because of the difficulty of reissuing academic records and universities' possessiveness of them.

t want to reissue; what they would give you is an affidavit. That singular nature of universities makes them very protective of certificates, he said.

In 2018, the founder, who started a digital marketing agency, began educating a cohort of small business owners to use Facebook. By 2019, the program had trained 30,000 individuals and needed to prove people's comprehension of the course.

Agboola said she had no idea how to prepare for the coming election, adding: "It is a matter of skill and skill, Mr. Agboola said.

storage is a crucial aspect of blockchain, where it plays a crucial role. With an online database of their certificate templates and a list of recipients' names, Akowe generates digital copies of each individual's academic records. As a recruiter or a visa officer needs to verify a person's college certificate, they can then check all the metadata on the blockchain Akowe uses - including the URL of the certificate's hosting location, university names, student names, courses, grades and graduation year - on the blockchain that Akowe uses.

In the past, Akowe has utilized Hyperledger, a permissioned blockchain, but is now working with a new ledger database solution from Amazon, QLDB, which allows organizations to create centrally managed records.

Akowe, meaning 'clerk' in Yoruba, is still run by Agboola as a one-man, bootstrapped shop to this day with help from contract developers. The platform offers free services for universities, but it takes a cut from fees for universities to charge users. It's in the final stages of starting pilots with two institutions and is in talks with 15 others, he said.

The startup's challenge is not technological, but rather user acquisition. But public universities are where the majority of people go, with public universities accounting for a significant portion. In Nigeria, these are the most prestigious universities. there's a lot of red tape there that you need to navigate, he said, adding that he's been cautious with framing his business pitches because of the negative image of blockchain.