Kenya Brings Blockchain to Assisted Housing

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A new Kenyan blockchain project provides an example of how digital technologies may lead governments to modernize services – but it also paints a picture of how housing is handled within the African nation.

Noting that the vast majority of Kenyan workers can’t afford mortgages on homes, announcements this week about a new blockchain-based housing program show that housing support is common within the country.

However, although the Kenyan government recognizes a responsibility to house its citizens, housing programs have historically been rife with fraud and corruption. A Cointelegraph report describing the new Kenyan program estimates that $78 million has been leached from Kenya’s housing program in a recent scandal involving many different government workers and departments.

Blockchain, proponents say, will help the new program to make sure that housing is given to legitimate needy citizens, and that money doesn’t get diverted to pad officials’ bank accounts.

Reading over the announcement, investors can get a sense of how non-profits and other stakeholders use cryptocurrency systems to fine-tune the work of delivering social services. That’s just one sliver of how Bitcoin and other coin platforms can be used in public administration – unlike traditional national currencies, having business done on a blockchain adds verifiable status to transactions, and helps auditors and others to “follow the money” when it matters most.

In this case, blockchain will provide transparency for the provision of half a million housing units under Kenya’s Finance Act of 2018. Analysts looking at the deal are seeing it as part of an ongoing trail blazed by an outlier government with the appetite for blockchain modernization.

“Kenya is one of Africa’s leading countries regarding blockchain and cryptocurrency development,” writes an observer at CCN. “Some of the region’s largest blockchain remittances originated from Kenya.”

Kenyan official are optimistic.

“Kenya will use blockchain technology to ensure the rightful owners live in government funded housing projects,” said Kenyan Housing and urban development Principal Secretary Charles Hinga in an urban dialogue on affordable housing agenda with the World Bank in Nairobi earlier this week as reported by The Star.

It makes sense to note that regardless of warnings from the International Monetary Fund about the possibility of negative disruption in global finance markets from “runaway crypto” the World Bank as an international body has been much more bullish about the potential of using Bitcoin and blockchain for good.

What many of these innovations, such as the new Kenyan housing program, mean for crypto investors is that the values of various cryptocurrencies will be shored up by two things – first, the actual demand from programs using cryptocurrency as underlying currency will push up market volumes.

Secondly, stocks may get indirect action from the buzz and enthusiasm for cryptocurrency that these programs generate. We’ve talked about how Africa is an emerging market for cryptocurrency programs and platforms. The newest example in Kenya is just one more illustration of how governments and businesses are jumping on board to take advantage of blockchain and cryptocurrency functionality.   

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