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Blockchain Africa Conference 2022
March 17, 2022, Online
Blockchain Africa Conference 2022
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Blockchain Africa Conference 2022
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Panel: The Value of SSI to Organisations and Citizens in a South African Context
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About the talk

Moderated by Lohan Spies. Existing traditional identity systems are fragmented, insecure and exclusive. Blockchain technology allows more secure management and storage of digital identities by providing unified, interoperable, and tamper-proof infrastructure with several benefits to enterprises, users and management systems. What is the value of Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) for organisations and citizens? What are the current initiatives and traction of SSI in South Africa? What are the economic benefits and the hurdles to SSI adoption in South Africa?

About speakers

Anushka Soma-Patel
Product Manager, Ecosystem at Input Output (IOHK)
Mark Brits
Executive Director at Centre of Excellence in Financial Services
Sean Mouton
Chief Technology Manager at Absa
Terry Kelly
Founder & Director at The Digital Databank
Dalene Deale
Executive Head at Secure Citizen
Lohan Spies
Board of Trustees at Sovrin Foundation

Anushka has been shifting the dial on blockchain-based digital identity since 2018 and believes that this technology will enable a better tomorrow for all of us. She is currently the Product Manager for the Atala Prism Ecosystem at Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK), Co-Chair of the South African Financial Blockchain Consortium (SAFBC) Identity Working Group, Lead writer for the AUDA-NEPAD Blockchain report, guest lecturer for blockchain at the University of Cape Town Fintech Program and member of South African National Blockchain Alliance (SANBA), BankservAfrica Digital Identity project and Trust over IP Foundation. Anushka’s core purpose of ‘fairness and equality’ together with her respect for people provide a strong foundation for her to collaborate effectively. She understands that blockchain is a revolutionary technology that will allow the world to bring about positive changes that benefit customers and societies. Her experience in IT and Lean combined with her MBA qualification enables her to analyse this new technology ecosystem in the context of the world as we know it today and with the curiosity and open mindedness of the world that is being and can be enabled by blockchain technology. Her core purpose in life fuels the passion and energy with which Anushka drives initiatives within IOHK, Girls in tech and the SAFBC.

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Mark Brits is a Senior General Manager at The Banking Association South Africa where he heads the Prudential Regulation Division. Prior to joining The Banking Association in 2003, he was a vice president and head of money markets in the treasury of ING Barings in South Africa for seven years. He holds a BCom and MSc. Mark has worked in the banking industry for 36 years and as a policy advocate for the past 19. He also researches and publishes articles on finance. His area of focus is the digitalisation of the financial sector and digital identity is part of it. Having spent nearly two decades working with policy and regulatory frameworks, the 4IR presents the most exciting opportunity to reshape society. Digital identity and Central Bank Digital Currency introduce more compatible solutions with incumbents, while crypto assets, FinTech and BigTech simply break all the rules, introducing new opportunities that force policy makers to act. Navigating the tension between the freedom of new ideas in real time, and the rigidity of policy and regulation is exciting and challenging. Lateral thinking and bold leadership is required to minimise wasted investment and conflicting regulatory outcomes. Participating in international fora and a constant learning mindset is key.

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Sean is Chief Technology Manager Head of R&D at Absa with 32 years of extensive knowledge in banking and payments. Sean serves as the Chairperson for the Financial Industry Standards Association and represent South Africa of Head of Delegation at ISO T68. Sean is also very involved with Digital Identity, CBDC and DLT.

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Terry grew up in Cape Town and after military service joined SAB at the Ohlssons Brewery in Newlands. Before IBM launched the Personal Computer in 1983 he was heading down the road of becoming a Cost And Management Accountant however once he got his hands onto one of these devices he quickly realized where the future was and immediately negotiated a dealership with IBM, Microsoft and Ashton Tate. The rest is history. Today Terry has over 40 years’ of experience in starting and running companies mainly in the Technology space. He was Founder and CEO of Softsource, an Executive Director of M+PD, which was one of the first IT listings in the late 1980’s. MD of MSL UK. Founder of Micro Design and Co-founder of Tarsus Technologies. He was also CEO of EBE (Altech), CEO of the Westcon AME Group (Datatec), and Chairman of On-Line Distribution Dubai UAE. After leaving Westcon he formed The Datanet Infrastructure Group which he later sold off to Pinnacle Micro. He was Country Lead for their Security and Privacy Practice at Deloitte and most recently he started The Digital Databank. Terry plans to develop The Digital Databank into a sustainable company before bringing in some young guns to really go and shoot the lights out globally.

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In a world where innovation is all around us and there is no industry untouched by change, I am most inspired when seeing companies adapt for the purpose of growth. As everyone strives to do better, do the right thing, be successful and make a change, I see the desire to be authentic and hard working as key elements of that roadmap. Regardless of whether you are an international corporate, an entrepreneur with proven success or a person on the precipice of creating a start up; passion, data and the ability to learn and adapt, are key fundamentals required for a business to succeed. I have worked my way through various levels in multiple organizations; both domestic and international. I have learnt to appreciate every lesson learnt; through observation, hard work and most importantly by learning from both successes and failures. There has been little in my corporate life that can compare to the joy of seeing companies, both big and small, maximize their growth through collaboration, working smart and applying lessons learnt from a plethora of collective experiences. My goal in life and in my career is to be a sponge when it comes to knowledge, a source of sharing and a driver of positive change.

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Lohan has been a Co-founder of various cybersecurity and blockchain-based ventures in digital identity and personal data protection, a DApp called Amply aimed towards dematerialising the early childhood development subsidy claims to optimising the impact market with the IXO protocol; the blockchain for impact. His latest venture – DIDx focuses on self-sovereign identity and cybersecurity. As a serial entrepreneur and self-sovereign identity thought leader, he continues to find motivation in building start-ups that leverage exponential technology and decentralised trust networks with the vision to achieve the identity for all. He is also a founding steward of the Sovrin Network and chair of the Sovrin Steward Council and ex-officio Sovrin Foundation board member and trustee. Furthermore, he is an active participant/member in the South African Financial Blockchain Consortium (SAFBC), South African National Blockchain Alliance (SANBA), World Economic Forum Digital Identity Coalition, Bankserv Digital Identity project, Decentralised Identity Foundation, Trust over IP Foundation and a frequent speaker on self-sovereign identity.

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Anushka Soma-Patel
Mark Brits
Sean Mouton
Terry Kelly
Dalene Deale
Lohan Spies