NEAR Foundation opens its first African blockchain innovation hub in Kenya

NEAR Foundation, the Swiss non-profit that oversees the governance and development of the NEAR protocol, today has launched a regional hub in Kenya dedicated to blockchain innovation.

The new hub has been launched in partnership with blockchain community Sankore and will also lead blockchain education and talent development throughout the African continent.

The hub will be led by Kevin Imani, the founder of Sankore, and supported by a core team of four members. Comprised of events, an academy, an incubation program, and the Sankore Bounty ecosystem. It will serve as an intersection of Africa’s most talented blockchain developers and international support for their innovations.

“We are thrilled to be working with NEAR Foundation to educate and nurture talented individuals to become world-class blockchain developers,” said Kevin Imani. “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.”

Kenya ranked fifth in last year’s Global Crypto Adoption Index, and Kenyans are already directly trading cryptocurrencies with each other more than elsewhere in the world. Besides expanding throughout Nairobi, NEAR says it is also reaching lesser-known cities in Kenya where no other Layer 1 blockchain has an established presence as yet.

Africa has been undergoing a rapid digital revolution over the past decade, and African countries have been adopting crypto quicker than their global counterparts. Cryptocurrency adoption in Africa increased 1200% from July 2020 to June 2021, the fastest adoption rate in the world. Alongside this has been a growing appetite among African youth for technical training and education opportunities.

“We are excited by the potential avenues throughout Africa for blockchain solutions, which come from innovation in development, education and talent,” said Marieke Flament, CEO of the 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.”

Internationally, the excitement continues to build around the potential of the NEAR blockchain. Unlike other networks, NEAR gives software developers easy access to create new crypto applications, from Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) to decentralised finance products and launching new business models and consumer products.

The NEAR blockchain is also much faster than Ethereum, the world’s most used blockchain. It acts as a bridge to other blockchains, allowing for the free flow of assets and communication between networks for the betterment of all.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to

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