Meet NEAR's Newest Regional Hub - Sankore

Kelly Kigan
May 24, 2022

When Sankore CEO Kevin Imani realized the potential of blockchain technology in Africa, he envisioned a community that would foster regional development through education on Web3, blockchain solutions, startup promotion and developer recruitment. With a focus on blockchain education and developer recruitment, Kevin named his blockchain community after Africa's oldest continuously-operating institution of higher education, Sankore. Kevin identified the fastest, most scalable, and user-friendly blockchain - the NEAR Protocol, and built his community on it. With this, Sankore 2.0 was born.

What is Sankore and What Does Sankore Do?

What is Sankore?

Sankore is an Africa-focused blockchain community for the NEAR Protocol. The community was born out of the need to help businesses remain innovative in ever-changing business environments. Sankore does this by integrating blockchain technology in business operations. Sankore further imparts education on blockchain and web3, with a greater focus on developers. This precedes developer recruitment, where Sankore onboards African developers into the blockchain space.

The community also funds promising blockchain projects and provides incubation for the projects, to help cofounders save capital while exposing them to greater networks in the ecosystem.

Related: SANKORE ACADEMY - A Front for Blockchain Education

NEAR Protocol

Sankore is built on the NEAR Protocol. All the blockchain solutions Sankore builds are based on the NEAR Protocol. The projects Sankore funds are also built on the NEAR Protocol.

Near Protocol (NEAR) is a layer-one blockchain that aims to solve the problems of slow transaction rates, limited throughput, and poor compatibility. NEAR is a smart-contract-capable blockchain and features a unique scaling solution known as Nightshade and a powerful consensus engine called Doomslug

Latest Developments in the NEAR Ecosystem

Sankore is now a NEAR Protocol Regional Hub

NEAR Foundation has partnered with Sankore to launch a regional hub in Kenya. The hub is dedicated to ongoing blockchain innovation, education, and talent development throughout the African continent.

Related: Addressing Unemployment - Sankore 2.0 Creating Opportunities for the Youth With Crypto and Digital Skills

Sankore started as a guild in the NEAR Ecosystem. Within the NEAR ecosystem, guilds are communities that work towards common, specific goals, from the core protocol development to the projects being built atop it.

Sankore launched as an Africa-focused blockchain community for NEAR. The community has since revolutionized the blockchain ecosystem in Kenya, with its headquarters in Nairobi. In just 8 months since its launch, Sankore has conducted major blockchain tours around the main cities and towns in Kenya, bringing on board blockchain enthusiasts to the NEAR protocol and Web3.

Related: What are Sankore NEAR-Meets?

Why Sankore?

Still in its infancy stages, Sankore has demonstrated its impact in Africa's blockchain ecosystem. Sankore is in the process of funding and incubating over 10 projects from Kenyan developer teams. The funding provided is up to $50,000, along with incubation per project. Sankore gives you capital and exposes you to the right networks to scale your startup. 

Read Also: What is Incubation? And 5 Reasons Your Project Needs Incubation

This has led to popularity of the community, with blockchain enthusiasts joining the community in droves. Sankore already creates avenues through which developers can nurture their blockchain ideas and launch their projects on the NEAR mainnet.

Marieke Flament - CEO NEAR Foundation
"We are excited by the potential avenues throughout Africa for blockchain solutions, which come from innovation in development, education and talent."

-Marieke Flament (CEO, NEAR Foundation)

Sankore is based in Africa's silicon savannah, Nairobi, Kenya. Kenya is one of the friendliest countries when it comes to crypto regulations. Kenya boasts some of the finest developers in Web2 and now Web3. It's in this region that Sankore has built its portfolio, and continues to expand towards greater Africa.

Read Also: 5 Reasons Why Developers Should Learn Web3
Marieke Flament - CEO NEAR Foundation
"This hub represents a unique opportunity to partner with local talent not only for the opportunities that we know exist today but also for the opportunities yet to be created in the future."

-Marieke Flament (CEO, NEAR Foundation)

The NEAR Foundation also felt Sankore was the ideal regional hub because of Sankore's native education arm - Sankore Academy. Sankore Academy is Africa's front for blockchain education. The academy offers NEAR certifications, along with fulfilling other blockchain education duties that include:

Hosting blockchain workshops: Conducting theme-centered blockchain workshops, to cater for blockchain enthusiasts in the region, and expanding blockchain networks.

Blockchain Education: Blockchain education in Africa is still scarce, despite endless online resources. Sankore goes to the ground, to create awareness, and offer blockchain education, while giving blockchain and web3 direction.

Blockchain Webinars: Sankore conducts blockchain themed webinars every fortnight, reaching out to enthusiasts across Africa, and imparting blockchain education and ideas, while fostering online networks in the blockchain ecosystem.

Nurture Talents: Sankore Academy nurtures developer talents, through offering guidance in blockchain projects that benefit from Sankore's funding and incubation. 

Read Also: Top 5 Reasons You Should Join a Blockchain Community

Leading the Way in Blockchain Innovations

The NEAR regional hub in Africa will be dedicated to further blockchain innovation, education, and talent development across Africa. Africa has lagged behind in blockchain advancements. This is majorly due to a lack of several authority figures in Africa's blockchain space. With regional hub status granted to Sankore, Africa is on its way to becoming a critical figure on the global blockchain map.

The hub will be led by Kevin Imani, the founder of Sankore, and will include events, an academy, an incubation program, and the Sankore Bounty ecosystem.

Read Also: Sankore Bounty Ecosystem (SBE)
Kevin Imani - CEO Sankore 2.0
"Our dream is to lead the way in blockchain innovations in providing solutions to Africa's biggest problems. The NEAR Protocol allows tomorrow's brightest developers to build custom solutions with scalability, security, and transparency and this hub is the next step in turning our shared vision into reality."

-Kevin Imani (CEO Sankore 2.0)

What Regional Hub Status Means for Kenya and Africa

Facilitation of Projects

Project Facilitation

The main objectives of the Blockchain Regional Hubs are the facilitation of innovation projects. NEAR is a leading blockchain, and is taking in developers along with their promising NEAR-based projects.

Through Sankore, the NEAR Foundation facilitates innovation in blockchain projects. These projects are changing the world and the operation of things in many sectors of humanity. The world is changing and power is shifting back to the people. Blockchain promises to bring back freedom, and it starts with ideas from the same people who wish to achieve this freedom.

Related: SANKORE Pitch Competition Tour — Nairobi Edition

Gateway for Funding

Access Project Funding Through Sankore

There is a huge potential for capital and funding in NEAR Protocol, yet limited projects in the ecosystem. This is often because the people who may qualify for funding, are not exposed to these opportunities. 

Sankore will be the bridge between NEAR Foundation and developers who need capital for their projects. Sankore exposes you to the right information, onboards you to blockchain, and grooms you and your project for funding.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Your Blockchain Project Needs Funding

Certified Blockchain Education

Get certified blockchain education

Getting started with blockchain and crypto education can be overwhelming for beginners, with endless resources in the online realm. It often turns out to be counterproductive when a beginner has endless learning material, but no direction towards productive results. Sankore regional hub will have tailor-made courses to cater for people with different needs in the blockchain ecosystem.

Greater Blockchain Networks

Increased blockchain networks

The NEAR Foundation is setting up its regional hub right in Kenya. This means global blockchain conferences will be held at the regional hub based in Nairobi. This hub brings greater blockchain networks closer to blockchain experts and enthusiasts in the region. This expands blockchain potential in the region, accelerating holistic development. 

Blockchain Adoption

Increased blockchain adoption

Currently, Africal lacks a significant market for blockchain and crypto, but it is growing despite the concerns people have and tough regulations in different countries. BitcoinAfrica.io reports the top 5 African countries whose communities are adopting Bitcoin are South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Ghana. They have the most demand for digital currency as well as the most active local cryptocurrency communities.

According to the Kenyan Wall Street, Kenya leads the world in grassroot crypto adoption. This is because Kenya leads in peer-to-peer (P2P) cryptocurrency transaction volumes. With a NEAR Protocol regional hub in Nairobi, more people will be onboarded to blockchain technology, increasing blockchain adoption in the region. 

Web3 and Blockchain Opportunities for Africans

Web3 opportunities for Africans

Web3 and blockchain spaces are still facing a huge talent gap. The spaces need trained individuals, to deploy their expertise in the ecosystem. These range from technical fields such as developers and analysts to functional skills including marketing and writing.

Read Also: Web 3.0: The Next Internet Revolution

This regional hub will facilitate grooming of Africans to be initiated into the blockchain space and deploy their expertise. Some will be absorbed directly into the regional hub, as Sankore seeks to put to use some of this expertise. The regional hub opens job opportunities in a new and flexible realm, allowing Africans to build their portfolios, while earning decent incomes. 

Conclusion

The NEAR Foundation sees great potential in Africa's silicon savannah. It is for this reason that the Foundation has accorded Sankore NEAR regional hub status. This isn't just another blockchain hub in Africa. This hub presents a myriad of possibilities and opportunities for people in the region. Most importantly, "this hub represents a unique opportunity to partner with local talent not only for the opportunities that we know exist today but also for the opportunities yet to be created in the future." Sankore is grateful to the NEAR Foundation for this authority bestowed upon the community, and plans to show the blockchain space what constitutes blockchain talent in Africa. 

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