Mauritius is a small country located in the Indian Ocean and has a population of about 1.4 million people. This sets Mauritius as a very interesting location to test our very innovative ideas and projects. As such, Mauritius is primed to be one of the leading blockchain and crypto hubs in the African continent.
Is Mauritius gradually becoming a blockchain hub?
Mauritius definitely has the ability to become a cryptocurrency hub in the future. In the last few years, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology in general have become more prominent and there has been increasing interest in these technologies from different sectors, primarily from the financial sector which includes banks and management companies.
This has spurred a lot of development in Mauritius with projects like Horizon Africa, CryptoFish, and Lootverse. These projects are technically complex and show that Mauritius has the ability to reach a high level of expertise in the crypto sector despite its small size. With the right regulations and help from the private and public sector in terms of collaboration and funds, Mauritius can benefit from this emerging sector and become a crypto and blockchain hub. Independent actors like the Mauritius Africa FinTech Hub (MAFH) and the Economic Development Board (EDB) are also helping the local landscape to move in a very positive direction by bringing together people to work in unison. They are helping local startups to get more visibility and actually get the right recognition in Mauritius and abroad.
However, we also need to understand that other countries have also seen this opportunity and are also moving in this direction. They include countries like Rwanda, Malta, Singapore and Switzerland. In a lot of areas, they are much more aggressive than Mauritius and this is currently providing staunch competition in becoming a crypto hub. For Mauritius to become a crypto hub, speed of execution will be a determining factor.
Are NFTs the Future?
We still tend to think about fintech primarily in the context of traditional sectors like banking and insurance. The world however is moving in a very different direction.
It is no surprise that people are spending a lot of their time online, and as a result online economic activity is booming in non-traditional sectors like online gaming and virtual worlds. This has spurred new innovation in the way finance is viewed, in terms of new products but also in terms of new business models. NFTs, which are currently at the center of all this development, are becoming more varied in their usage. NFTs are no longer being tied to art work only, but they are starting to evolve to revenue bearing NFTs, or NFTs can allow you access exclusive virtual locations, or have exclusive perks which are available only to the holders of NFTs.
At the core, NFTs remain a financial product. However, some of its features allow it to be used in highly innovative projects, with the main feature being that it is based on top of the blockchain technology which gives it very special characteristics in terms of the custody of these assets. From a technical perspective, NFTs are traditionally represented by smart contracts but which can sit on different blockchains, Ethereum, Horizon Africa, and other blockchains which can support smart contracts.
Most NFTs are traded because of what they represent with the artwork. However, NFTs are increasingly being used as an exchange medium or a currency in the ecommerce sector, as well as being the item that is being sold. This is not only innovative but redefines the meaning of money altogether. This ability, in the context of a metaverse, or a system where there are no restrictions creates new business opportunities and new ways of doing business.
By Mr Suyash Kumar Sumaroo