Ethiopia's Minister of Education confirmed the government is working with IOHK, the company behind the Cardano protocol, on a blockchain-based system to track student performance in the African country's schools.
"This initiative is about bringing technology to improve the quality of education," said the minister, Getahun Mekuria, in a video conversation with John O’Connor, IOHK's director of African operations, livestreamed by the company Thursday. "It’s very practical to think of the blockchain technology [as a way] to improve the quality of education."
The much-touted project is still in its early stages. O'Connor told CoinDesk the company is only beginning to develop the code for this project, and does not expect to launch anything before January 2022.
Africa has been fertile ground for crypto experimentation lately. Nigeria is one of the largest peer-to-peer bitcoin markets in the world, according to data from Useful Tulips. Xend Finance in Nigeria is bringing decentralized finance (DeFi) to the world of credit unions. Hip-hop star Akon is looking to build a crypto-centric project in Senegal.
Five million Ethiopian students will receive a Cardano blockchain-based ID that will allow the ministry to track their academic performance, Mekuria said Thursday, and 750,000 teachers will get access to the system. According to the minister, the Ethiopian government struck a deal with a Chinese manufacturer of tablet computers, which will be distributed to the students.
Founded by Charles Hoskinson, who co-founded Ethereum, Cardano uses the proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, to which Ethereum is now moving. Its native token, ADA, has jumped 9% since April 26, the day before IOHK announced the Ethiopia project. On a 24-hour basis, it was down 0.8% to $1.35 at press time.
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