Bitcoin is the buzzword of the year. Though, if we properly look into it, bitcoin has been the buzzword for some time – at least since its inception in 2009. The associated blockchain technology may have been relegated to the lips of those in the technology industry or those looking to invest but, as the tide of the cryptocurrency has ebbed and flowed, it has entered the lexicon of the general public. Bitcoin, for those unaware, is a form of cryptocurrency utilising blockchain technology that doesn’t rely on a central bank system and, therefore, argues that it is safer, quicker, and more cost-effective than standard currency. But what does it have to do with Uganda?
Bitcoin in Uganda
A recent warning from the Bank of Uganda into the possible dangers of bitcoin in Uganda will only make the cryptocurrency gather more adopters, according to Katherine Atuhairi of Uganda Bitcoin Network. She predicts a spike in interest of the blockchain technology, which sets itself as a potential rival to the Bank of Uganda. She also suggests that Silver Kayongo, an East African Banking and Legal Consultant, is correct in stating that, with 77% of Ugandans without a bank account, moving away from the Bank of Uganda could damage fintech ambitions. Some would even argue that standard banking in Uganda can be just as damaging, as with the possible closure in 2016 of the Barclays Bank of Uganda. Yet, bitcoin and cryptocurrency are treated with more wariness than standard banking, despite sharing some of the same possible limitations.
Bitcoin Adopters in Uganda
But, despite warnings and the fluctuation of the market, including the price drop in December 2017, enthusiasts are not deterred. Indeed, some claim to even enjoy the excitement that comes with the volatility, which could see their bitcoin stock rise and fall on a dime. Bitcoin mainly entices those with no employment, who hope to cash in on the boom much like the dot-com boom of the late 1990s. Others are professionals hoping to create an extra cash flow, likely at little risk to them. Indeed, bitcoin does look promising to those with an interest in technology, finance, or risk. In Kampala, many people dedicate their time to informing others as to the blessing that bitcoin may bring. Richard M Bagorogo is one, who claims the holidays he is able to take and the money he is able to give to his father are down to bitcoin and his early adoption. But is Bagorogo’s work helping others to adopt the technology?
Where Else is Bitcoin Used?
Bitcoin may be unknown to many traditionalists in Uganda but it is fairly prolific in its uses elsewhere online. For example, Japan made bitcoin legal tender, where bitcoin trade accounts for around half of the global trade volume. The Kenya-based BitPesa allows cash to be transferred throughout Africa, along with the many different currencies in the 54 countries – and utilises bitcoin to do so. Moreover, as metioned by Betway Casino, Expedia and Microsoft, two huge global online brands, both offer payment for certain services in the form of the cryptocurrency. Plus, Overstock, was the first online retailer to offer bitcoin payment options back in 2014. The company, which sells big-ticket items at cheaper prices due to overstocking, was a pioneer in the cryptocurrency field. Bitcoin was even utilised to crowdfund for bitcoin housing platform BitRent.
How to Get Involved in Bitcoin in Uganda
Bagorogo suggests people invest in mining pools of bitcoin. That is, the blockchain technology is derived from ‘mining’ it online, where the ownership of each chain is tracked and computational power is utilised to discover new chains that make up the cryptocurrency. Some, however, are sceptical due to the lack of middleman management – and, therefore, the lack of regulation and protection that central lending offers. Others compare bitcoin to other new technologies that were dismissed initially, yet proved to be successful later on.
What Else is Blockchain Technology Used For?
The blockchain technology which bitcoin is derived from also has other uses, which may help warm people up to the idea of cryptocurrency. CryptoKitties uses the unique markers of the blockchain technology to create individual digital cats – each one 100% exclusive. The cats have a trade value and different attributes, which can be swapped with other collectors. They can also breed and create other unique cats with their own attributes. The trade ability and the unique chain technology both go far to showcase how bitcoin works and the safety present in its functionality. If nothing else, the blockchain cats may just show people that bitcoin isn’t as bad as people make out.
Overall, bitcoin still represents a positive and exciting move forwards in how finance is conducted, especially in Uganda. While there are those in favour of the changes that bitcoin can make to how things are done and how people can be benefited, there are also plenty of detractors who err on the side of caution when it comes to the uptake of new technology. Others cite the energy usage – one bitcoin transactions uses the same energy as boiling 30,000 kettles. Ultimately, as the uptake of the cryptocurrency grows in the world, more people will come around to the idea – or, conversely, if the technology proves to be a flash in the pan fad, then those critical of the tech will be able to tell people how they were right.
dfcu Bank supports Rotary Blood Bank initiative
By Our Reporter
dfcu Bank has announced a contribution of UGX 15,000,000 as one of the sponsors of the upcoming Transformational Leadership Forum and the Kirk Wallum Jazz concert slated for 7th March 2019. The contribution is towards fundraising efforts for the Rotary Blood Bank at Mengo Hospital which was constructed by Rotary and its partners.
The announcement was at dfcu Bank’s head office in Kampala where the Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mathias Katamba, handed over a cheque to Dr. Emmanuel Katongole, Chairperson Rotary Blood Bank Program.
The initiative intends to raise $500,000 in order to equip Mengo Hospital with a fully-fledged Blood Bank which can test, process and pack safe blood before being distributed to other health centres.
According to dfcu CEO, Mathias Katamba, “It is unfortunate that, patients still die or suffer unnecessarily because they do not have access to safe blood transfusion. The timely availability of safe blood and blood products is essential in all health facilities. It is possible to bridge the gap, between blood requirements and annual shortfall of 100,000 units of blood in Uganda, if each one of us gets involved in initiatives such as these.”
“Our support towards this cause is directly in line with our brand promise of Making More Possible for the diverse communities in which we operate. People are at the heart of our Corporate Social Investment (CSI) agenda and the need for accessible safe blood is universal, so we are more than glad to make our contribution to this cause. We will be unveiling more community investment initiatives this year as dfcu celebrates 55 years of existence,” Katamba added.
“We are happy to have dfcu partner with us on a cause that will enable the Rotary Club make a significant contribution in meeting the annual deficit of 100,000 units of blood. Our target for this year is to equip the Mengo blood bank so that-it is a fully fledged facility which can test, process and pack safe blood. The contribution from dfcu towards our fundraising efforts is commendable,” said Emanuel Katongole.
dfcu Bank has a history with Rotary and has been a part of several fundraising initiatives including the Rotary Hospital in Mukono where dfcu made a contribution of UGX 150M towards its construction.
Huawei Presents Its Simplified 5G and SoftCOM AI Solutions at the MWC Barcelona 2019
By Staff Writer
Huawei has been committed to helping operators expand their business boundaries and achieve new growth through innovations in networks, services, and business models. To this end, Huawei is presenting its end-to-end 5G products and solutions at the event, such as simplified 5G sites, architecture, protocols, and operations & maintenance (O&M). These new offerings will help operators quickly deploy 5G networks on a large scale. Huawei has also launched the SoftCOM AI solution, which will help build autonomous driving networks of the future and maximize the value of telecom networks.
5G has arrived, and AI has become a new general-purpose technology. Innovation will never end and humanity will continue to develop, driven by advancements in science and technology. The intelligent world of the future will be a “Digital Village” where everyone is included and closely connected.
At this year’s event, Huawei is expanding on the theme of “Building a Fully Connected, Intelligent World”. Huawei’s main exhibition hall – Hall 1 – was designed around the theme of “The Digital Village”, representing the combination of technology and culture. The “Digital Village” provides a platform that brings together global industry elites and KOLs, allowing them to exchange ideas and discuss what challenges and opportunities the fully connected, intelligent world will bring to humanity.
Huawei’s main booth at Hall1 in Mobile World Congress 2019
Huawei has maintained absolute leadership in 5G solutions through ongoing investment in R&D. The high 5G network performance and strong delivery capabilities make Huawei a partner of choice. So far, Huawei has signed over 30 commercial 5G contracts with operators around the world, and shipped over 40,000 5G base stations. Its aim is to help operators jump start 5G and deliver a high-quality 5G user experience.
In Hall 1, Huawei is showcasing its end-to-end 5G products and solutions, ranging from simplified 5G sites and 5G integrated transport, to 5G cloud core and simplified 5G O&M. It also demonstrated its core technologies behind the new products and solutions, including radio frequency, optical transmission, IP, and IT. All of these are evidence of Huawei’s extensive experience in R&D and strong innovation capabilities.
Huawei was the first company in the industry to launch commercial 5G chips and devices, and has worked with the industry to drive 5G maturity and commercialization. Huawei demonstrated 8K high-definition (HD) livestreaming on Vodafone Spain’s 5G network, and showcased new applications such as Cloud VR, cloud gaming, and cloud PCs. These applications showed that 5G will bring a better life for everyone.
Under the support of Huawei, multiple European operators, including Vodafone, announced that 5G networks are now ready for commercial use. Huawei also signed 5G contracts with many operators from around the world.
In addition, Huawei presented its idea for autonomous driving networks, as well as its full-stack, all-scenario SoftCOM AI solution, with the aim to significantly improve operating efficiency, network performance, O&M efficiency, and user experiences. The SoftCOM AI solution enables “0 bits, 0 watts” and adaptive beam adjustment, thereby maximizing the value of telecom networks.
Huawei is actively innovating networks, services, and business models. It works with customers to redefine the business models and boundaries of the telecom industry, and ultimately help operators succeed. This will be achieved through a portfolio of innovative business solutions, including IoT cloud services, personal mobile services, five-star premium home broadband, and cloud-network convergence.
Huawei has worked closely with industry organizations, and has made key contributions to future network infrastructure, cyber security, and security policies and standards targeting vertical industries. Huawei is the world’s one and only telecom equipment vendor that is subject to and passes inspections against the highest-level standards. This ensures Huawei can create more secure and trustworthy products and solutions for its customers.
At this year’s event, Huawei is exploring cyber security mechanisms and standards that are suitable for Europe by holding forums and announcing joint initiatives with major industry organizations. Together, they will drive fair, open, trusted, and secure cooperation across the industry.
This is the first time that all of Huawei’s three business groups (BGs) – Carrier BG, Enterprise BG, and Consumer BG – have participated in the MWC. Huawei’s Enterprise BG showcased four star products: the industry’s fastest OceanStor Dorado series all flash storage; the world’s first AI-powered data center switch; the world’s first Wi-Fi 6 access point (AP) for commercial use; and the X series cameras – the world’s first AI-powered software-defined cameras. Huawei’s Consumer BG showcased multiple popular devices, and launched the world’s first foldable 5G smartphone.
MWC 2019 runs from February 25 to 28 in Barcelona, Spain. Huawei is showcasing its products and solutions at booth 1H50 in Fira Gran Via Hall 1, booth 3I30 in Hall 3, the Innovation City zone in Hall 4, and booths 7C21 and 7C31 in Hall 7. For more information, please visit http://www.huawei.com/mwc2019/.
Huawei is a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices. With integrated solutions across four key domains – telecom networks, IT, smart devices, and cloud services – we are committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world.
Huawei’s end-to-end portfolio of products, solutions and services are both competitive and secure. Through open collaboration with ecosystem partners, we create lasting value for our customers, working to empower people, enrich home life, and inspire innovation in organizations of all shapes and sizes.
At Huawei, innovation focuses on customer needs. We invest heavily in basic research, concentrating on technological breakthroughs that drive the world forward. We have more than 180,000 employees, and we operate in more than 170 countries and regions. Founded in 1987, Huawei is a private company fully owned by its employees.
For more information, please visit Huawei online at www.huawei.com or follow us on:
MTN’s 20 year anniversary celebration goes regional.
- MTN continues the celebration of 20 years in Uganda to regions this week starting with Kabale district.
- The regional expos will be ongoing until 25th May 2019
- The expos will take place in Kabale, Gulu, Lira, Fort Portal, Mbarara, Arua, Hoima and Mbale districts.
- The theme is “Celebrating the Past and Inspiring the Future”
Kampala – MTN Uganda has today started off a three-month tour of the country with regional expos in major towns as part of its 20 year celebrations in Uganda. The regional expos are part of the celebrations that started in October 2018 with the MTN Expo at the Kololo Airstrip. On Monday, 25th February 2019, a team from MTN departed for Kabale, the first stop of the regional expos planned until 25th May 2019.
In October 2018, MTN Uganda turned 20 years and under the theme “Celebrating the past, inspiring the future”, the company opted for commemorative activities like Expos across major towns in Uganda.
“In 1998, MTN Uganda launched in this market, facilitating business growth and enabling communication. In the last 20 years, MTN has taken services across Uganda and connected millions of people. That is why are celebrating the 20 years by taking expos to major towns in the country to represent that we are “everywhere you go,” explained Gordian Kyomukama, the Acting CEO MTN Uganda.
Some of the features of the week-long regional expos will be the bicycle challenge, a Smartphone Fair, performances by top Ugandan musicians, stakeholder engagements, a donation from the MTN Foundation and displays by some of the MTN Uganda partners. The first stop of the expo will be at the Kabale Stadium from February 26th, 2019. There will also be lots of prizes to be won.
In some of the towns like Gulu and Mbarara, MTN through MTN Pulse will also host Pulse parties.
“Our aim is to celebrate the 20 year journey we have been connecting Ugandans. However, we also want to indicate our commitment to operating in Uganda for many more years to come because we have enabled connections by providing services that have eased the sending and receiving of money, affordable voice and data rates and business solutions,” Kyomukama adds.
Over the next years, MTN’s focus will be ensuring increased reliable internet access and improved financial inclusion through Mobile Financial Services like MTN Mobile Money.
MTN Regional Expo calendar.
|Kabale||25th February to 3rd March 2019|
|Gulu||11th to 17th March 2019|
|Lira||18th to 24th March 2019|
|Fort Portal||1st to 7th April 2019|
|Mbarara||8th to 14th April 2019|
|Arua||29th April to 5th May 2019|
|Hoima||6th to 12th May 2019|
|Mbale||20th to 5th May 2019|
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