The South African Blockchain Ecosystem

Taking a look at the current state of the local blockchain industry.

Linum Labs
Jul 3, 2018 · 8 min read

Written by Megan Doyle.

The South African Blockchain Ecosystem

We have created an overview of the South African Blockchain Ecosystem by classifying various companies into a total of fourteen different categories.

Financial Services

Africa, the world’s second-largest and second most populated continent, faces some of the hardest challenges in the world. In the current ecosystem, there are a number of financial services operating within the blockchain space. Access to traditional services is one of Africa’s biggest challenges.

Blockchain has the potential to reduce corruption, increase transparency, improve processing times and streamline an array of payment mechanisms on the continent. This emerging technology will empower communities with increased financial inclusion as well as improve long-standing inefficiencies within multiple sectors in Africa.

Some examples in the space are Wala, Octobase and Project UBU.

Wala — Zero-Fee Money Application

  • Wala offers an alternative solution to high fees, poor experiences, and inaccessibility that is currently being faced in the financial sector. Individuals are able to send Dala digital money to individuals in any of the countries where Wala is available, buy services in the Wala Market, and deposit/withdraw at stores.

Octobase — A Company Governed on the Blockchain

Octobase is a blockchain company that makes the technology accessible to everyone through a simple, secure interface which is navigable through perfectly integrated products. Currently, Octobase is focusing on building Octo Vault, a wallet with improved management and security features.

Project UBU — Universal Basic Unit Currency

  • Project UBU is a platform that strives to deliver exponential returns to network participants. Project UBU aims to enable economic access for people facing the poverty trap, which renders them incapable of self-sustainability.

Production Studios

Blockchain studios aim to put the blockchain within reach of everyone by generating awareness and promoting its wide use. Production studios develop ideas into real-life working use-cases for individuals and enterprises by creating applications using blockchain technology.

From the South African ecosystem, we identified Linum Labs, SovTech, Trustlab and Nona Creative as popular projects within the Production Studio category.

Linum Labs — Bridging the Gap Between People and Web3 Technology

  • Linum Labs is a software studio that builds decentralised solutions in health and identity. Founded in early 2016, and based in Switzerland, Linum Labs consists of a growing team of pioneers, developers and digital implementers who create and inspire positive change through revolutionary emerging technologies to solve real-world problems.

SovTech — World Class Custom Software Development

  • SovTech is a leading custom software design and development company, providing game-changing innovations in mobile, web, blockchain and AI to businesses across the world.

Trustlab — Blockchain Innovation Studio

  • Trustlab is a venture production studio focused primarily on developing innovative blockchain solutions in the impact and digital identity sectors. Trustlab is uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between the impact and blockchain sectors.

Nona Creative — Software Development Studio

  • Nona Creative is a software development studio based in Cape Town, South Africa, focusing on blockchain and emerging tech by creating engaging human experiences online. The company focuses on blockchain consultation and smart contract development.

Education and Consulting

Blockchain-based learning platforms provide training courses with theoretical and practical components that empower individuals with the resources to help them find new ways to utilise emerging technologies in solving local problems.

Some of the interesting projects in this space are AIFMRM, Blockchain Academy and Blink.

AIFMRM — Postgraduate Education and Training

  • AIFMRM (The African Institute Of Financial Markets And Risk Management) is part of the Faculty of Commerce at the University of Cape Town where it conducts research and delivers postgraduate education. AIFMRM offers a Fintech and Cryptocurrencies course as part of UCT’s MPhil in Financial Technology.

Blockchain Academy — Training and Consulting on Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies

  • The Blockchain Academy , established in 2015, conducts training and consulting sessions for individuals to learn about the potential of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

Blink — Emerging Technology Specialists

  • Based in Johannesburg, Blink offers blockchain training, corporate advisory services and hosts a variety of networking events, as BECSA (Blockchain Entrepreneurs Club South Africa), for individuals actively participating in the blockchain space.
Innovation stems from collaboration.


Augmentors — Blockchain Gaming Application

  • Augmentors is an augmented reality, multiplayer mobile game built on the blockchain. Collect, battle, train, and sell creatures. Each Augmentor has its own unique history, past, and lore that are stored on the blockchain.


The Sun Exchange — Monetising Sunshine

  • The Sun Exchange enables individuals to buy solar cells, with either cryptocurrency or National currency, and lease them to schools and businesses in the sunniest places on Earth. Mainly Africa. Once all the solar cells of a project have been bought up, the solar power system is installed and ready to start generating power. The Sun Exchange arranges monthly lease rental collection and distribution.

Social Good

ixo — The Blockchain for Impact

  • ixo uses blockchain and Web3 standards, enabling anyone to collect, measure, evaluate, value, and tokenize verified impact data. An incredible case study example using the IXO protocol, is The Amply project.

Incubators/ Accelerators

Blockstarters — South Africa’s First Blockchain Hub and Seed Accelerator

  • Blockstarters aims to bring together the corporate, startup and enthusiast community involved in blockchain technology. The Johannesburg-based company offers co-working office spaces, market access, collaboration opportunities and regular networking events.

VC and Funding

Newtown Partners — Blockchain Investment and Advisory Services

  • Newtown Partners is a blockchain investment and advisory company, specializing in token economics, token sale design and demand generation for both startups and in an advisory capacity.


BlockMesh — A Decentralized Communications Network

  • BlockMesh is a platform supporting mesh based devices focusing on communication and the loT. The platform provides users with the ability to communicate and digitally transact in the peer to peer network, reducing data costs and banking fees.


Protea — Empowering Communities of Tomorrow

  • Protea is an open & community-centric software protocol that merges tokenized incentive models with real-world interactions. We are building the foundation for an emergence of new co-operative networks, from grassroots communities to global marketplaces.

Cryptocurrency Exchange

Luno — Bitcoin and Ethereum Made Easy

  • Luno is an online crypto-wallet and exchange platform. The platform enables individuals and companies to use, store, buy and learn about digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

ICE3X — Cryptocurrency Exchange

  • ICE3X is focused on being the most trusted cryptocurrency exchange in South Africa. The organisation aims to constantly develop features which add value on top of providing a reliable and trusted cryptocurrency trading environment in South Africa and beyond.

Chankura — Trusted Crypto Exchange for the Masses

  • Chankura, founded in South Africa in 2015, is an exchange where individuals can trade over 40 cryptocurrencies, currently operating in San Francisco and Johannesburg. The exchange is integrated with an ICO listing platform to help companies launch initial coin offerings that can then be listed on the exchange.


iosiro — Securing High Risk Ecosystems

  • iosiro is a blockchain security company with clients across 5 continents, helping companies enter the blockchain space safely and securely. iosiro works across the entire security lifecycle of a project, including penetration testing, smart contract auditing and anti-phishing protection for exchanges and ICOs.

Land Registration and Real Estate

DreamBlock — Real Estate for Everyone

  • DreamBlock uses blockchain technology, utility tokens, cloud computing and mobile technology to make it possible for real estate asset managers to create their own fractional investment products without needing any knowledge of the underlying technology.


Custos — Combating the Piracy of Media Files Using the Bitcoin Blockchain

  • Custos provides a way of detecting the source of leaked media by imperceptibly marking each copy of a digital media file that is entrusted to a recipient. This “watermark” directly identifies the recipient. What makes this unique, is that Custos rewards individuals in piracy networks across the world to report on pirated content.

South African Achievements

South Africa continues to be at the forefront of digital transformation with some of the country’s most notable achievements including Unlock The Block, the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB’s) Project Khokha and ETHCapeTown(April 2019).

Unlock The Block — Africa’s Largest Hackathon

Unlock The Block was a 10-day Blockchain Hackathon, that took place in Cape Town South Africa in January 2018, co-hosted by Linum Labs and AIFMRM (African Institute of Financial Markets and Risk Management). In a 5-day digital boot camp, participants were trained by industry experts in overarching Fintech trends, as well as the blockchain tools required to develop decentralised applications and protocols. The event concluded with an intense 72-hour live hackathon, where participants built prototype blockchain applications, which were presented and judged on the final day of the event.

The South African Reserve Bank — Project Khokha

The South African Reserve Bank launched Project Khokha, which is exploring the use of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) for interbank payments settlement in South Africa.

‘An important outcome from this project is the realisation that there is more with which to deepen and expand our knowledge. It is evident that significant benefits will be realised by leveraging collaboration across an industry — and even more so when global communities work together’. — See the full report.

ETHCapeTown — Africa’s First ETHGlobal Hackathon

ETHCapeTown is set to be Africa’s WILDEST ETH hackathon, taking place from the 19th-21st April in Cape Town, South Africa.

Leading minds within the blockchain space will join over 200 international hackers, developers and curious minds to collaborate in building a decentralised future using Ethereum. The occasion will be inclusive and educational, inspiring communities through the creative design of blockchain applications. This could be an incredibly exciting opportunity for students to gain valuable experience with a wide array of developer tools, knowledge resources and exposure to key industry experts within the blockchain space.

Active Meetups

Join the local movement.

This article is intended to be a living document, which will grow as more blockchain companies and entrepreneurs enter the space. With your help, additional comments and suggestions, we can expand this overview of the current South African Blockchain Ecosystem.

If you would like to submit your South African blockchain company to the growing ecosystem, please email us with your company name, logo and category.

Linum Labs Blog

At Linum Labs, we are a global team of developers, entrepreneurs, and change-makers, building decentralized systems in healthcare and identity.

Linum Labs

Written by

At Linum Labs, we are a global team of developers, entrepreneurs, and change-makers, building decentralized systems in healthcare and identity.

Linum Labs Blog

At Linum Labs, we are a global team of developers, entrepreneurs, and change-makers, building decentralized systems in healthcare and identity.

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