BD Insider: How the University of Johannesburg is using blockchain to fight certificate fraud

In BD Insider, Letter 110, we covered the University of Johannesburg's plan to issue blockchain-based certificates for graduates and YC’s most valuable African startups.

BD Insider: How the University of Johannesburg is using blockchain to fight certificate fraud

Hello BD Insider,

Last week, in commemoration of Earth Day, Twitter announced a ban on “misleading” advertisements “that contradict the scientific consensus on climate change.” Adding that “tackling the climate crisis requires meaningful, sustained collaboration.”

The social media giant also noted that the climate conversation happening on Twitter is ever-expanding and uniquely global. Since 2021, the conversation about sustainability has grown by more than 150% with a 60%+ increase in terms like “restoring” and “rebalancing.”

In this letter:

  • The University of Johannesburg implements blockchain-based certificates for graduates
  • Y Combinator’s most valuable African startups

Let's dive in!

The University of Johannesburg to issue blockchain-based certificates to graduates

In a bid to prevent certificate fraud, stop counterfeiting, and avoid fraudulent representation of qualifications, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) will now issue blockchain-based certificates to its graduates. Making them the first higher education institution in Africa to use blockchain technology for its certifications.

“The new blockchain-based certificate capabilities will improve certificate security even further. The public may now authenticate the conferred qualifications for UJ graduates without having to contact the University or go via a verification service, just by scanning the QR code on the certificate, and at no cost,” Dr Tinus van Zyl, Senior Director of Central Academic Administration at UJ stated.

According to the University, graduates from UJ will be able to securely examine and order missing or damaged certificates, as well as share their certificates securely with other parties or employers at no cost, thanks to the university's blockchain-issued certificates.

This implementation process started in 2019 when UJ introduced digital certification and a virtual qualification verification system that will enable its graduates to access their qualifications digitally.

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Y Combinator names seven African startups as “top companies”

Y Combinator has listed seven African startups as its “2022 top companies” out of 271 startups globally. The list includes private, public and exited YC alumni valued at $150M or more and are sorted by valuation or market cap as of February 2022.

Responding to why it uses valuation to measure its top alumni, YC said “we have always said that valuation is not the best way to measure a company’s value, and we consistently warn our companies not to over-optimize their fundraising for a high valuation. That said, it’s the most commonly available metric to compare companies in the startup world.”

With a $3 billion valuation, Flutterwave (S16) leads the African startups on the list. Followed by Francophone Africa’s first unicorn, Wave (W12) at $1.7 billion. Amidst the fintech dominated list, two Nigeria-based healthtech startups—Reliance Health (W17) and 54gene (W19) sit in the third and fifth place with a $225 million and a $150 million valuations respectively.

Paystack (W16) which was acquired by Stripe in 2020 for $200 million is fourth on the list. Meanwhile, Yassir (W20) and Kudi—now Nomba (W17) closed the list with a $150 million valuation each.

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Have a great week!
🖊 Johnstone Kpilaakaa