By: Tebogo Mokwena
The co-founder and CEO of the tech startup Momint, Ahren Posthumus, believes that South Africa is leading the way in adopting blockchain technology on the African continent, which will help fight corruption. He told Vutivi News that NFTs (non-fungible tokens) would contribute to the fight against corruption, contract fraud and intellectual property ownership. Momint is also looking to provide solutions to the energy crisis by using NFTs to crowdfund solar power for households, schools, and other facilities. Blockchain technology was going to shape the future of the internet, and NFTs would play a huge part in the digitisation of money and the full ownership of one’s own data, Posthumus said.
An NFTs is a digital identifier that cannot be copied, substituted, or subdivided. It is recorded in a blockchain, and that is used to certify ownership and authenticity. They cannot be exchanged or traded equivalently like other cryptographic assets. Momint, a start-up that was launched in 2021 and is based in Cape Town, is the first NFT platform to mint tokens for free. It is also the first and largest NFT marketplace in Africa and has facilitated various auctions on its platform. Its biggest auction to date was the sale of a digital version of a former statesman. Nelson Mandela’s warrant of arrest in order to raise funds for the Liliesleaf Farm Museum, where it was kept. The sale garnered R2-million, which was used to revive the museum and keep its doors open.
Their most recent project, the SunCash Initiative, seeks to revolutionalise energy ownership and offer an alte native solution to the energy crisis by literally putting power in the hands of people. Posthumus said that the solar project concept aimed to make investing in solar power accessible to all South Africans to decrease the country’s dependence on Eskom over the next two decades. Posthumus explained that through the SunCash Initiative, they enabled average South Africans to crowdfund solar energy for homes, schools, and gender-based violence centres amongst others. They did this by tokenizing the solar cells of solar panel systems and selling each token as a solar cell.
A person could own as many cells as they wished, and they received dividends each time payment was made for the solar system in use. It was launched in January and they have sold over 10,000 cells. Posthumus said they were able to install solar panels for Delmas High School this year, and would soon install solar panels at a GBV centre. With this solution, Momint aimed to help people contribute to the energy crisis in a positive manner. He said that one of the most difficult challenges to overcome in running their start-up was convincing people of the value and potential of NFTs. “South Africans are generally skeptical people, which is good, but getting people to understand how NFT works is the biggest challenge,” he told Vutivi News. “However, we would like to see Momint leading the NFT drive and ensuring that people can mint and create NFTs for free without extra costs.”