CV Summit Africa 2024: Insights Into the Promising African Blockchain Ecosystem

The South African sun shone brightly on the second edition of CV Summit Africa, hosted in the heart of Cape Town.

From April 23rd until April 26th, over 200 blockchain fanatics flocked to the vibrant city to be a part of this year’s CV Summit Africa. The conference brought over 30 international speakers to the stage and invited a vibrant community of founders, investors, and corporations to explore insights into the adoption of Web3 and share actions driving the utility of blockchain technology across Africa.

However, CV Summit Africa 2024 offered more than just a conference. Through four exclusive side events, a select group of attendees got the chance to get to know each other better and build connections through some exciting activities filled with networking, culinary delights, ocean breezes, and more.


Here’s everything that happened throughout the week!

April 23rd: Empowering African Web3 Founders

The festivities kicked off on Tuesday, April 23rd, with an evening dedicated to empowering African Web3 founders. Hosted at the enchanting Hugo Social Club, the event celebrated the launch of the Lisk Incubation Hub, a collaboration between Lisk and CV Labs that empowers founders to build blockchain solutions for the African continent. 

With a full house, spilling out onto the terrace, Dominic Schwenter, Gideon Greaves, and Mathias Ruch took the stage to delve into the blockchain world and its potential for transformation in Africa. Afterward, attendees took the chance to get to know each other better and forged invaluable connections. What an incredible way to start the event week!

April 24th: Sailing the Tides and Raising the Steaks

Setting sail on a networking adventure like no other, a select group of VIPs was invited by CV Labs and Bybit to embark on a three-hour sailing cruise around Cape Town’s coastlines. The Tigresse, our beautiful Catamaran, offered the perfect venue to mingle, laugh, and engage in horizon-expanding conversations.

After a day on the water, the group’s bond was strong. And what better way to keep that collaborative spirit going than with an interactive cooking experience? Hosted by CV Labs & Circle, this dinner allowed attendees to create a series of exquisite dishes, which was of course followed by a delightful feast enjoyed together.

April 25th: CV Summit Africa: Where Blockchain meets Africa

The day we had all been waiting for - the official CV Summit Africa 2024 conference - is here.  With over a quarter of attendees arriving before our doors were even open, the event was a massive success from the get-goget- go! Over 200 attendees joined us to discover the transformative potential of Blockchain in Africa. It was an electrifying day filled with insightful discussions, inspiring stories, and an incredible sense of optimism for the future of blockchain in Africa. Here are some of our key takeaways:

Investor Confidence on the Rise

A lively discussion featuring Rony Vogel (Vogel Family Offices), Antonio Beja (Consensus Capital), Christo de Wit (Luno), Blake Player (VALR), and Gideon Greaves (CV VC) underscored the growing investor confidence in the African blockchain space.

The panel emphasized the importance of trust and a long-term investment approach. Christo de Wit highlighted Luno’s focus on building trust by taking a "marathon, not a sprint" approach to company growth. This sentiment was echoed by Blake Player of VALR, who reported a surge in corporate accounts, tripling trading volumes, and significant new investments from traditional financial institutions. 

Rony Vogel raised a crucial point – many traditional investors are open to entering the Web3 space, but lack the understanding of Web3 metrics and KPIs compared to the established financial markets. So, how can we bridge this gap? Antonio Beja suggested Web3 wallets as a potential solution, while Gideon Greaves emphasized the role of experienced investors like CV VC, who possess expertise in both traditional finance and blockchain technology.

The morning session concluded with a powerful observation from Hank Coetzee of VALR. He noted a significant shift in the conversation surrounding blockchain technology. Companies are no longer asking, "What is this?" but rather, "How do we get this done?" This shift signifies Africa's growing confidence and readiness to leverage blockchain solutions for a brighter future.

Community as an Asset

On-chain communities are the backbone of blockchain. We rely on them to build our user base and create the best products and tools we can. A panel featuring experts Miriam Kiwan (Circle), Mic Mann (Africarare), Justin Swart (BITKRAFT Ventures), and Sowmya Raghavan (NODO) emphasized the critical role of community in the success of blockchain projects, specifically in Africa.

The panel highlighted the unique social nature of African communities; they are very social offline, which translates to their social behavior online. This suggests that building trust and fostering engagement will require a multifaceted approach through both offline & online interaction.

The discussion also recognized the importance of financial inclusion, particularly for Africa's rapidly growing youth demographic. Blockchain technology offers promising solutions for bringing financial services to the unbanked and underbanked.

The Power of Education

Shareer Karrim of Mzansi Web3 ICP Hub and Yosuke Yoshida, Co-CEO at EMURGO MEA, both discussed how education plays a critical role in onboarding the next wave of Web3 users. Africans are rapidly becoming the world's fastest adopters of blockchain technology, and education is fueling this growth.

Mic Mann noted that education is incredibly important in building and fostering on-chain communities. “There’s a lot of adoption in Africa, even though transaction sizes are small. If we keep enabling people, and foster that usage, we will see the space grow.”

Not only the African population needs to learn. Nonkululeko Ntuli (H.E.R. DAO South Africa) pointed out that “The big corporations aren’t really keen on change, so we need to make them understand Web3 and show them that we can trust the technology.”

Real World Assets as the Key to Success in Africa

The discussion on "Crypto Narratives for 2024" revealed a fascinating contrast. While traditional exchanges are experiencing fewer listings, panelists advocated for a shift toward embracing tokenization of equity. They encouraged the blockchain sector to be less apprehensive about exploring new avenues for value creation.

Nonkululeko Ntuli (H.E.R. DAO) emphasized that DeFi has the potential to unlock "a lot more freedom" for Africans by offering solutions for "banking the unbanked," a critical need for the continent.

The conversation then shifted to the role of stablecoins and real-world assets (RWAs) in the current crypto cycle. Yosuke Yoshida (EMURGO) agreed with Andrew Forson (Hashgraph Association) on the transformative potential of stablecoins for financial transactions. 

They highlighted the particular relevance of stablecoins in today's environment with fluctuating currency values, where inflation and deflation rates can reach up to 30% across some currencies. In a previous keynote, Paolo Ardoino (Tether) also addressed the pressing issue of currency devaluation in many African countries, proposing the digital dollar as a solution for maintaining financial stability. 

However, Monica Singer (Consensys) cautioned that the broader adoption of stablecoins might be hampered by potential difficulties with government taxation.

Building on the discussion of RWAs, Dominic Schwenter (Lisk) introduced the Optimism Superchain, which represents a significant step towards achieving scalable and decentralized computing on a global scale. Schwenter emphasized the vital role of African participation in this initiative.

The CV VC African Blockchain Report

The upcoming third edition of our African Blockchain Report was a topic of much interest. This report serves as the only pan-African resource for information on blockchain innovation, impact, and investment. Researchers, contributors, and startups participated in the panel, including Albert Stoffberg (Ivy Parse), Sowmya Raghavan (NODO), George Maina (Shamba Records), Charné Thompson (Thompson Legal Alliance), and Tarris Arnold (Luno).

The discussion highlighted the diverse approaches across Africa. Unlike South Africa, where crypto is primarily seen as an investment asset, Nigeria utilizes crypto for everyday transactions. This underscores the importance of recognizing Africa's multifaceted landscape, rather than viewing it as a monolithic entity.

The session concluded with moderator Hank Coetzee asking the panel to identify the biggest opportunities for blockchain in Africa. The responses encompassed payments, peer-to-peer energy trading, financial inclusion, traceability, and the tokenization of real-world assets.

Don’t be Afraid to Earn Money

The final block of CV Summit Africa ended on a high note, with Andrew Forson’s (Hashgraph Association) inspiring story of perseverance, culminating in his success within the blockchain industry, leaving a lasting impression. He shared his story of founding a startup at a young age, and touched upon his experience with both receiving and providing startup funding. 

Especially for Web3 startups, it is very difficult to provide accurate valuations. Instead of focusing on receiving VC funding, startup founders should focus on creating returning revenue. Then, the VC funding will follow naturally.

The Future of Digital Assets for African Banks

A fireside chat between Rob Downes (Head of Digital Assets, CIB Africa at Absa) and Gideon Greaves (CV VC) explored the future of digital assets for African banks. Rob anticipated a rise in crypto-based salaries and growing customer demand for advisory services, liquidity solutions, and stablecoins. 

He mentioned Absa's focus on exploring stablecoins, scaling trade finance, and engaging with regulators to navigate these new frontiers. Gideon highlighted the diverse regulatory landscape across Africa, as well as Absa's pan-African presence. 

Rob acknowledged that regulations will guide Absa's business decisions within the borderless nature of this technology.

Choosing a Chain

The Summit wrapped up with a deep dive into Layer 1 vs. Layer 2 solutions, the building blocks of blockchain technology. Experts like Dominic Schwenter (Lisk) emphasized two key takeaways: interoperability, the ability for different blockchains to communicate, and choosing a blockchain with a shared vision. 

Dominic offered a valuable summary, advising builders to choose a chain based on community, vision, and a sense of belonging.

Shark Tank meets Cape Town

After a jam-packed day of insights and meaningful discussions, all event attendees were invited to join CV Labs and partners for a lively afterparty at the Two Oceans Aquarium. Against the backdrop of a breathtaking shark tank, attendees enjoyed a last panel on the potential for RWAs in Africa and enjoyed continuing their conversations with the connections made throughout the week.

April 26th: Exploring the Cape's Vineyards

Embracing the Western Cape's breathtaking wine region, ZARP and CV Labs invited the group of VIP attendees for a trip on the Franschhoek wine tram. The group tasted various wines at three beautiful wine estates and enjoyed a delicious three-course lunch. From seasoned sommeliers to curious newcomers, everyone had a blast networking and creating lasting friendships.

CV Summit Africa 2024 ignited the spark of Africa’s potential, innovation, and spirit of collaboration. As the sun set on Cape Town, attendees experienced the energy and momentum generated at this event, promising a bright future for blockchain in Africa.

A big thank you to all the partners, speakers and attendees who made CV Summit Africa 2024 a resounding success!

Emurgo Africa, The Hashgraph Association, Lisk, Moore Johannesburg, Mzansi Web3.ICP Hub, Tether, Cricle, DoshFX, VALR, ZARP, ByBit, Intmax, Luno.

We can’t wait for the next one.

Written by
CV Labs