The Minister of ICT, Mr. Frank Tumwebaze, has revealed that he will launch a taskforce to study all emerging technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence with a view to establishing their impact on the growth of Uganda’s economy.
“I will launch an expert task force next Tuesday to study all these emerging technologies and their use cases. The study findings will inform government policy on how to harness blockchain, cryptocurrencies, IoT and Artificial Intelligence, among others, for the growth of our digital economy,” the minister wrote on his Twitter handle.
He was responding to concerns from several Ugandans, especially Members of Parliament, of the rising cases of fraud perpetrated by some of the companies promoting these technologies.
Earlier, Finance State minister David Bahati had warned that Bitcoin and all related currencies are not yet approved by government and that citizens should go slow about them.
“The central bank issued a statement that Bitcoin and all related currencies are not under their control. We are cautioning the public to be aware that govt has not officially approved such currencies, govt will next month present a bill to this effect,” he said.
Arua County MP Odonga Otto (FDC) said one of his clients lost money to a company called D9.
“I am in court for someone that has been defrauded by a company called D9, I think Minister Bahati needs to go beyond cautioning the public,” he said.
Blockchain, the world’s latest and leading software platform for digital assets, is beginning to take root in Uganda.
It keeps a record of all data exchanges which is referred to as a ledger in the cryptocurrency world.
Each data exchange is a transaction while every verified transaction is added to the ledger as a block.
During the Africa Blockchain Conference at the Serena Hotel Conference Center in May 2018, President Yoweri Museveni, who opened the two-day event on Wednesday said there is a need to study the technology more to see how the risks it presents can be reduced and the benefits enhanced.
However, Bank of Uganda Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile said that blockchain technology lacks the necessary prerequisites to work as a currency and that people who sell cryptocurrencies risk being burned when the bubble eventually bursts.
He cautioned that no cryptocurrency can match the legality of a national currency adding that the technology can only succeed in the presence of a legal provision to give a currency status to a crypto.
But Nkwame Rugunda, the chairman of Blockchain Association of Uganda, said Blockchain sits at the fourth stage of Industrial revolution and will significantly redefine our human and social progress because it addresses the critical underlying fabric that defines our human interactions which is Trust.