We had an opportunity to talk to Jonathan Fennell, who is heading the Government Blockchain Association’s (GBA) chapter in Zimbabwe. Jonathan also happens to be the founder of Genesis Block Africa (also GBA) a firm which partners with public and private sectors, consulting, sourcing, supplying and managing a full range of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) solutions.
Mr Fennell explained to us how the Government Blockchain Association conducts their business and in a bid to further understand what exactly they’ll be doing we had a few questions we aimed at Jonathan.
Below is the Q&A session detailing the Government Blockchain Association and what exactly people can expect from this organisation…
Techzim: WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT BLOCKCHAIN ASSOCIATION?
Jonathan Fennell: The Government Blockchain Association (GBA) is an International Professional Association and a US-based non-profit, membership organization that consists of individuals and organizations that are interested in promoting Blockchain related solutions to government requirements. Membership is available to Civil Servants along with private sector Professionals and Corporations.
TZ: Why is Government Blockchain Association Important?
JF: GBA creates global relationships that would otherwise not come about – between and among technologists, public policy makers, application specialists and those who simply need to understand the new and emerging digital currencies that will change the world. GBA will act as a catalyst in creating a public dialog around the creative, profitable and positive leveraging of blockchain.
TZ: What exactly do you guys do?
JF: GBA connects people and organizations with blockchain based solutions to problems typically faced by government entities.
GBA is not a lobbying organization. However, it does bring together governments around the world (at all levels) with industry, in order to create helpful dialog that will facilitate the efficient, ethical and rational adoption of blockchain technology so that this powerful innovation increases the quality of life for citizens across the world.
We conduct and promote networking, training and educational events. We publish and support the creation of content to help members understand and communicate important blockchain related information.
GBA is a global membership network that includes thousands of active members from government and industry. We also have over 70 chapters around the world delivering education, training and certification, such as the GBA Blockchain Consulting Certification
We also help people establishing best practices that promote blockchain related solutions by working with governments to help solve challenges and to meet missions to better serve citizens.
GBA also produces current blockchain related content, such as blogs and white papers, that are made available to the public and private sector.
Members are offered the opportunity to engage in thought leadership and they are empowered to become subject matter experts. GBA members are encouraged to join Working Groups and Communities of Interest to collaborate with other professionals while being at the forefront of introducing blockchain to the public sector. Membership of GBA is open to any professional or organisation as well.
TZ: Government Blockchain Association – Zimbabwe Chapter is currently seeking volunteers to assist in its operations. Are you in a position to disclose what the volunteers will be assisting with?
JF: Regarding Government Blockchain Association volunteers there will be a variety of areas where individuals will be needed for basic roles such as accounting, marketing and event management purposes and then speakers too as it is important to get different views from the various local individuals who have been ‘underground’ for so many years working on, building and studying blockchain, hyperledger and distributed ledger technologies. Generally though, just creating relationships between and among technologists, public policy makers, application specialists and those who simply need to understand these new and emerging technologies that will change the world whilst ensuring our Gvt makes the right choices whilst doing so.
There are many organisations out there who will already be approaching the government claiming to have the best solutions but actually do not, Eg: I would state that building a digital currency on Ethereum is not currently viable and am more biased towards Eos, Hyperledger or other more centralised solutions whereas an Ethereum loyalist would debate this, offer a solution to Gvt, be awarded the project and it fails. As we all are aware, the level of knowledge in Blockchain and related technologies is minimal in Zimbabwe and it is down to us to assist government get up to speed and therefore make informed decisions before we are all affected by a poorly made one.
Through Government Blockchain Association there are a number of courses that can be taken, although paid for (I am discussing on reducing some of the fee’s for these courses for Zim). Primarily though, the main benefit is to join the discussion on an international scale via various working groups and able to contribute to and build solutions whilst drawing on the knowledge from individuals and organisations globally then hopefully one of us Zimbabweans will be able to provide a solution.
TZ: Which Organisations have you worked with thus far?
JF: Government Blockchain Association I will get the list of international organisations and bodies involved although I do know the following are involved:
- City of Palo Alto, San Fransisco
- State of Delaware
- United States Department of Agriculture
- Kearney & Company which serves the Federal Reserve as independent auditors
- Noblis which is also a non-profit involved in the Federal reserve focusing on civil, defense, and intelligence
- Tresys who also work with the Fed on cybersecurity and intelligence matters
Those interested in applying for the aforementioned volunteering gigs can send an email to CV@GenesisBlockAfrica.com