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Winners emerge in FSI/FUTMinna virtual hackathon

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Virtual hackthon

Winners have emerged in the final round of the ‘IncludeMe virtual Hackathon competition, the FSI/FUTMinna innovation challenge, which was held on Tuesday, April 12, 2022.

Team Stemlab defeated nine other contestants to emerge victorious, carting home a grand prize of N1.5 million while the 1st runner-up, Team Rocket, went away with a whopping N1 million and Team EarNest came third, earning N500, 000.

Team Stemlab won with its innovative app, Maaji, an online and offline mobile payment platform in the Hausa language aimed at financial inclusion for both the banked and unbanked Nigerians. Team Rocket pitched an app, Oda Money, with which financial transactions in rural communities can be conducted without the use of cash or withdrawal from ATMs as cash is tokenized and accepted by merchants in these localities. Team Earnest clinched the third position with Kara Banking, a non-smartphone voice banking app in the Hausa language for MSMEs to conduct banking transactions irrespective of their literacy level or social status.

Other winners of the competition include Binary Hub, Wazobia, Sleek, Pennywise, Lambar, Esususave, and Pay4Service. They all smiled at the bank with consolation prizes of N100,000 each and thanked FSI, FUTMinna, and the sponsors; Flutterwave, Capricorn Digital Ltd, and the Committee of e-Banking Industry Heads (CeBIH) for allowing them to showcase their talents and develop inclusive and innovative solutions for MSMEs.

Conceptualised by Financial Services Innovators (FSI), a non-profit organisation committed to enabling start-ups within the technology and financial space, and organised in collaboration with FUTMinna, one of the leading specialised universities in the technology space in Nigeria. The virtual hackathon, which started on March 11 with a webinar entitled, MSME Challenges in Northern Nigeria, is aimed at engendering inclusive financial solutions for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises, focusing on the banking and insurance sectors in Northern Nigeria.

Speaking at the grand finale of the hackathon, the Executive Director, FSI, Aituaz Kola-Oladejo, said: The hackathon aims to identify talents in higher institutions and nurture them, thereby creating a pool of talents to address the financial inclusion challenges in Nigeria through an enabling platform. It will also help us to develop the MSME sector and encourage entrepreneurship. The participants were drawn from 10 universities across the country. I want to thank our sponsors, Flutterwave, Capricorn Digital Ltd, and the Committee of e-Banking Industry Heads (CeBIH) and partners for their support and encouragement. And to the winners, I want to plead with you not to disappear after winning but to strive to advance your innovation until it is deployed in the market.
In his goodwill message, the Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Emmanuel Udensi, said, We sincerely appreciate what FSI is doing. The hackathon is necessary for the development of the MSME sector and the growth of the economy.

The virtual hackathon was moderated by Derek Nwafor while Dr. Ibrahim Abdullahi, Mr. Eniola Boluogun, Mrs. Binta Mustapha, Mrs.Stella Uzochukwu, and Mr.Abdul Sulaiman served as judges. Professor Nicholas Iwokwagh, Dean of the School of Information and Communication Technology in his closing remarks stated that the hackathon is the beginning of the process that would address the MSME financial inclusion challenges in northern Nigeria.

Seventy-seven teams registered for the hackathon with a total number of 209 team members. However, fifteen teams with 43 team members were shortlisted to pitch their innovative ideas virtually to a panel of judges at the grand finale. The teams developed technological applications to solve real-life problems in suburban communities.

FSI is a shared infrastructure for the financial services ecosystem with the primary goal to enable financial innovation, as well as to discover and nurture talents, from tertiary institutions toward building a robust digital economy.

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YouTube Music, Sarz Academy to Train Producers, Songwriters

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By Adedapo Adesanya YouTube Music has collaborated with The Sarz Academy to train emerging producers and songwriters in Nigeria as part of a series of initiatives commemorating Africa Month 2022. The training is part of YouTube’s Future Insiders program and will be a three-day training series designed to help young producers and songwriters build their […]

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Study: Amid Mining Bans, China Still Commands World’s Second-Largest Share of Bitcoin Hashrate

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image 2022 05 17 132154

New data stemming from the latest Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) report on bitcoin mining indicates that China still holds the second position in terms of global hashrate. While China commands close to 22% of Bitcoin’s global hashrate, the United States currently dominates with 37.69%, according to CCAF researchers.

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance updated the organization’s bitcoin mining data and map in order to highlight 2022 hashrate statistics. In July 2021, Bitcoin.com News reported on the CCAF’s data that showed China’s hashrate dropping by 46%.

At the time, China’s government enforced a ban on bitcoin mining and a great deal of the country’s miners re-located. However, the latest CCAF stats show China’s hashrate is still very prominent as the country is the second-largest leader in terms of global hashpower dedicated to the Bitcoin (BTC) network.

The study’s authors believe the miners located in China are likely leveraging virtual private networks (VPNs) to conceal their locations. The report indicates that China’s share of the overall Bitcoin network hashrate was 21.11%.

CCAF’s data derives from the organization’s partner mining pools Foundry, Poolin, Viabtc, and Btc.com. Moreover, some of the hashrate stemming from China did not leverage VPNs and CCAF’s researchers believe those miners are comfortable with their locations unhidden.

CCAF’s report notes that a “non-trivial” quantity of Chinese miners may have thought the ban wasn’t a big deal. “It is probable that a non-trivial share of Chinese miners quickly adapted to the new circumstances and continued operating covertly while hiding their tracks using foreign proxy services to deflect attention and scrutiny.”

Following CCAF’s updated data in July and October 2021, a CNBC report noted that unnamed sources told the reporter MacKenzie Sigalos that bitcoin miners were still located in China. China’s hashrate is sizable compared to a great number of other countries, however, the U.S. still dominates Bitcoin’s global hashrate by 37.69%.

CCAF’s data from last July showed the U.S. captured 16.8% of the global hashrate last year. If CCAF’s data is correct, that would mean the U.S. hashrate has climbed 124.34% since July 2021. Pool distribution metrics match with CCAF’s data as the mining pool Foundry USA has captured 19.5% of the global hashrate during the last three months. 13,182 blocks were mined during the three-month period and Foundry USA found 2,566 of them.

What do you think about the latest CCAF data that shows close to 22% of the world’s Bitcoin hashrate still resides in China? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

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