Blockchain is Africa’s future — Famoco CEO

Lionel Baraban (L), he co-founder and chief executive of French company Famoco, and the company’s President Nicolas Berbigier. Credit: Uganda Business News

Lionel Baraban, the co-founder and chief executive of French company Famoco, a leader in Android-based transaction devices, believes African countries are better off adopting blockchain instead of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in their quest to leverage available digital payments technology.

In an interview with this website at the company’s offices in Paris, Mr Baraban described blockchain as a “big paradigm shift” because of its elimination of third parties, which means little bureaucracy.

A blockchain is a digitised system that records cryptocurrency transactions.

“You don’t need a trusted third party, which is a very big challenge with bitcoin,” Mr Baraban said. “By saying that the common trusted third party is the network itself is enough otherwise a third party could be government, a big bank, the Central Bank or even the United Nations.”

“Blockchain’s network is resilient and that’s what makes it the future of the African continent,” he added.

Cryptocurrencies, which are a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange, have been growing around the world.

Mr Baraban said technologies such as blockchain and Fintech not only allow real-time payment settlement but are also ideal in data processing. He said they are the future and Africa is the next biggest market.

The Bank of Uganda Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile has previously warned against cryptocurrencies saying the Central Bank has no technology to regulate such technologies that are prone to high-risk exposure.

Meanwhile, Mr Baraban and other Famoco executives revealed they are looking at expanding their footprint in Africa’s digital payment space. The company currently operates in 15 African countries, mainly in the validation of digital transactions for organisations like the World Food Programme and NGOs.