Kieran Mc Gowan could not have expected that he would find himself working at the forefront of blockchain innovation in Africa from a desk in his home town of Sligo.
After joining the Overstock.com team just over a year ago, Kieran transitioned to its subsidiary Medici Land Governance (MLG), a Medici Ventures keiretsu company, where he is spearheading projects to transform land governance in Zambia and Rwanda.
Overstock has long operated on the cutting edge of technological innovation and its CEO Patrick M. Byrne is determined to fully explore the potential business and societal benefits of blockchain, the technology that underpins Bitcoin.
Byrne identified six pillars where blockchain technology could be used to create a technology stack for civilization– Currency and Central Banking, Voting, Identity, Capital Markets, Land Titling and Supply Chain.
In May of 2019 MLG signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Lusaka City Council (LCC) that will lead to the issuance of no fewer than 250,000 certificates of title related to real property under the jurisdiction of LCC in and around the capital city of Zambia. One of the fastest growing cities in southern Africa, Lusaka has a population of at least 2.5 million in its metropolitan district.
Through MLG’s blockchain technology, Byrne is addressing poverty in developing countries by enabling people to use blockchain technology to create a paperless land registry. In Rwanda, MLG is using a secure blockchain-based way of establishing land ownership that will allow the owners to treat their land as an asset, raising credit against it, or being able to borrow money to invest in it.
This blockchain technology will allow people to improve their economic well-being by securing their property rights and enabling them to enter the formal economy.
Remarkably, this transformation is led by Kieran and a team of programmers at Overstock’s European base in Sligo. Initially, Kieran travelled to both Zambia and Rwanda to catalogue requirements before building a team in to carry out the projects.
Overstock and MLG encourage their programmers to be innovative and explore the uses of the latest technology. Having this level of autonomy was a significant selling point for Kieran when he decided to join the MLG team.
Sligo’s prime location was another attraction. He was able to buy a house without having to compete with hundreds of other buyers and he is no longer commuting in crammed carriages on the Dart or enduring long drives home. He can enjoy the best of both worlds – the relaxed environment of his home town and the freedom to innovate using the transformative potential of blockchain technology.
Kieran will be speaking at the IDA Ireland Tech Life Balance event at The Building Block on Thurs, 30 May as part of Blockchain Ireland Week.
Find out more on how to attend this great event or watch it live via our Facebook page.