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Swiss VC launches African blockchain early-stage fund

Africa’s first ever blockchain-focused accelerator is an initiative of CV VC and the Swiss government. Photo: Supplied/Ventureburn
Africa’s first ever blockchain-focused accelerator is an initiative of CV VC and the Swiss government. Photo: Supplied/Ventureburn

The first ever blockchain-focused accelerator for Africa could soon see the light following a partnership agreement between Crypto Valley Venture Capital (better known as CV VC) and the Swiss state secretariat for economic affairs.

The goal of this accelerator is to invest in 100 African start-ups over the next four years. To date, CV VC has invested in 12 start-ups where blockchain use goes far beyond cryptocurrencies to drive the continent’s future. This is set to continue through the launch of the African blockchain early-stage fund.

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Véronique Haller, a Swiss diplomat in South Africa, says, “Blockchain has the potential to be a catalyst for positive change and shape the future of our continent. With data in and around blockchain in Africa still scarce, the first Africa Blockchain Report will be an important milestone. And let’s bet that Africa will soon be home to its first blockchain unicorn!”

‘Data-driven account’ of blockchain in Africa

CV VC managing director Gideon Greaves says their objective with the African Blockchain Report is to share a data-driven account of blockchain on the continent, and begin an annual collation of benchmarkable venture data and solidly referenced African insights.

“We focused the report on a data set of 40 African blockchain companies. This way, we can be sure of the relevance of facts from which we can benchmark forward. We are also very proud to give an assessment of the regulatory landscape and a magnetic introduction to some of the greatest blockchain minds on the continent,” he adds.

The inaugural African Blockchain Report, published in collaboration with Standard Bank, highlights that obstacles to global transformations seem surmountable when seeing Africa’s urgent actions to utilise blockchain becoming the norm.

The report shows in detail how Africa has self-accelerated blockchain as a transformative force for society and the economy and how pioneers continue to reinforce the need for more unified action on regulation and infrastructure.

The African continent is emerging as a vibrant technology investment location. Sharp minds are driving valuable developments, and investment capital is seeping in, albeit still smaller than the rest of the world.

Capital is being invested despite the waters of conventional deal funnels being muddy caused by a lack of available data for potential funders – especially international ones. Experts say the report successfully depicts a unique holistic overview of blockchain in Africa, which will facilitate funders to make a better judgment of the continent’s investment potential.

One of the more significant reasons for the rampant growth of the blockchain sector is pure necessity, believes Greaves.

Many Africans cannot rely on vast, centralised, regulated infrastructural systems. They are often riddled with inefficiencies and red tape in the cases where they exist. As a result, innovation is blessed with a clean slate on which to paint, and progressive advances seem to follow. These advances sometimes improve existing systems, but, more often than not, they leapfrog the entire legacy system.

Most notable in the report is the evidence of the brilliant mindset, energy, and tech capability of the many great founders who are leading the African blockchain revolution in a manner that is exemplary to the rest of the world.

“While actively participating in Africa, we are amazed and humbled by the determination of the brilliant founders who are changing the future not just for their industries and nation but for the world,” says Mathias Ruch, co-founder of CV VC.

“In Africa, there is a mindset that complements Switzerland’s determination and a will to create well-being for its citizens and the future of humanity. As the world enters the decade of the fourth industrial revolution, building on blockchain as a transformative tech, it is worth recanting the main theme of this year’s WEF, ‘Working together and restoring trust’.”

Ian Putter, who heads up blockchain at the Standard Bank Group, says despite economic pressure the silver lining has been the self-fast-tracking of Africa’s digital and tech economy.

“This has already bolstered resilience as a road map to how and why the world needs to embrace blockchain as a transformative technology. Standard Bank has been a pioneer in leveraging blockchain to bring speed and transparency to our customer base across Africa. We are very excited to work with CV VC as a blockchain ambassador to enable the further emergence of blockchain, as a resource on which Africa can build and outreach globally.”

ALSO READ: Cryptocurrencies: Africa’s new ‘blood diamonds’

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