Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK) a technology company committed to using peer-to-peer innovations to provide financial services to the world’s unbanked 3 billion people, has set its sights on other parts of Africa just as the company is branching into Ethiopia.
The firm has already displayed a keen interest in Rwanda and has cited South Africa as one of the continent’s most viable markets for financial tech investments.
Founded in 2015 by Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood, IOHK is a technology company committed to using peer-to-peer innovations to provide financial services to the three billion people who don’t have them.
At the beginning of May, 2018, IOHK announced a partnership with Ethiopia’s government to explore applications of blockchain technology in the country.
It emerged that the Hong Kong-based firm would work in collaboration with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Science and Technology, as well as the country’s ministers, entrepreneurs, and startup companies to examine blockchain applications that can benefit the country.
Ethiopia is exploring a first use case of supply chain traceability for coffee, which is the East African nation’s largest export. The country is also considering using the technology in other agricultural technology applications.
“If anybody has to set up a business in Africa, places like South Africa and Ethiopia are a must visit, added the founder,” Hoskinson said in a past statement.
“About 3 billion people are unbanked and as a consequence of not having good identity infrastructure and financial infrastructure, they don’t have the ability to climb out of poverty without a considerable amount of assistance,” he explained in a recent address.
“So, the very first thing I thought when I entered the cryptocurrency space was ‘how could we use this technology to actually resolve the problems of the world development?’” he continued.
IOHK is self-defined as an engineering company that builds cryptocurrencies and blockchains for academic institutions, government entities and corporations.
“We are a decentralized company that loves small, innovative teams forming and executing ideas that cause cascading disruption,” the firm’s representative have said.
IOHK is currently studying new tools and paradigms for cryptographic research and the architecture of cryptocurrencies. More specifically, we are collaboratively developing an open-source library for universal composability and the Scorex project. We also do for-profit work aligned with our mission, vision and goals.
Speaking in regard to Ethiopia and other marginalized or hard to reach parts of Africa, Hoskinson states that despite their optimism, there have been a few challenges.
“Getting money that lives on the internet that’s always digital to work on a cell phone that doesn’t always have an internet connection – that is challenging and is certainly going to attack our researchers, our engineers,” he explained.
Nonetheless, IOHK believes that it can penetrate the African market and bring financial solutions to millions of people across the continent.
“We view the world as a series of giant and mostly interconnected social graphs with hundreds of complex systems embedded. Our mission is to perturb the graphs to a more connected, transparent and fair configuration for both the flow of ideas and value,” the company said in its mission statement.