FEB 7, 2024
Bike Riders & Blockchain
It's a Monday evening, I took a glance at my watch, the time was 7:15 pm, and with the nationwide curfew still set at 9 pm, I got up and started packing my bag to leave, starting with my laptop, followed by the charger and so on. I said my goodbyes and headed outside.
The facility is located up a hill, and you can get down either with a taxi or a bike rider (Okada - as they're called locally), but it's a lot easier going down with bike riders. So there I was, standing, waiting.
Two riders stopped by, asking where I was headed, but they weren't wearing a helmet, and I prefer the ones who do - in my mind, it's like "At least that shows a level of responsibility".
The next rider that stopped had a helmet, so I got onboard and off we went.
While going down, he asked "Wetin una dey do na ya", meaning "What do you guys do here?".
Over the past months, I will get this question at least once a week from a bike rider. This is because the facility Is very new to the area, and construction was only completed a few months ago, so there's the curiosity to figure out what this new building is all about.
The new building is Christex Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to bringing the opportunities and power of blockchain technology to Sierra Leoneans - specifically the Solana Blockchain, by training them on how to build on the technology and also exposing them to opportunities to earn in USD.
It's always a bit tricky explaining to people about the facility, in a way that is simple and easy to understand, without including the complexities of blockchain.
So I said to the rider "It's a place where people get trained on how to build on blockchain technology and also expose people to opportunities to earn in USD". I then went on to tell him what blockchain is "A very secure place to store information", and then went on to tell him about products on the blockchain and their benefits, using Decaff as an example.
At that moment we had just passed Model New Road junction, on the highway that leads to Duazac junction, and I noticed he was taking his eyes off the road, turning his head to the right, to kind of hear clearly what I was saying. So I told him, "Bruh abeg, be watching the road". (In my mind, I'm not ready to die yet, please). We laughed it off and continued our journey.
He then asked "So, how me go benefit from blockchain, way ar nor get touch phone and na button phone ar dey use?" which translates to "How can I benefit from blockchain, when I don’t own a smartphone, but use a dumb phone".
I paused for a second and then told him about Mocha - a project that allows users of dumbphones to access features of the blockchain via USSD, with no internet required.
After answering, my mind wandered, I thought to myself, what solution specifically targeted at bike riders, can be built on the blockchain? What need will it address? How big of an impact would it have? For the rest of the ride, that thought kept floating in my mind.
I got home and immediately went straight to Google, to get statistics on bike riders in Sierra Leone.
There are close to 80,000 bike riders in Freetown alone as of 2021 - according to the bike Riders Union, and that number represents ones that are registered under the Union.
With that number, got me thinking, what do bike riders need? The first thought to come to my mind is insurance.
A lot of road accidents are associated with bike riders. In 2021, an estimated 1000 riders got seriously injured from road crashes. A lot of times when these riders get into these accidents, they don’t have access to nearby health care to treat them. And with a lot of them being unbanked, does that present an opportunity for an insurance platform, tailored made for bike riders, powered by blockchain? Which would not only provide on the spot emergency healthcare, but also, regular health checkups.
At this point, my thoughts were all over the place.
How would it work? What would adoption look like? How do you get a network of healthcare workers, distributed across every area? Questions, questions, questions!!!
But the one big question remains, what would be the use cases, for bike riders and blockchain?
If you have ideas and would like to collaborate and build!!, feel free to send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org