Sikoba January 2021 — Update
In January, we made progress on the Sikoba blockchain. We also signed an MoU with AquaAgro, a Pakistani IoT company, to build the AgroPay financial app for farmer communities.
Native tokens on the Sikoba platform and ERC20 token migration
Having native tokens on the Sikoba platform has been on our roadmap for a while now, and development of this feature is finally under way. As we are re-purposing existing mechanisms to support tokens, this will speed up development.
We are already in talks with a couple of projects that currently have ERC20 tokens on Ethereum. Transaction costs on Ethereum have gone up more than hundredfold over the past year, to around $10 now, and future prices remain completely unpredictable. For that reason, many applications involving ERC20 tokens are no longer viable on the Ethereum mainnet. We are prepared to help other projects to migrate their ERC20 tokens from Ethereum to Sikoba, where these tokens can be accessed via a user-friendly mobile interface. Token transfers on Sikoba will cost less than one cent. Of course, we will also be migrating our SKO tokens to the Sikoba Network.
Update on the Sikoba blockchain
In January, we reached a major milestone with the development of the blockchain layer. Running several nodes, we were for the first time able to test end-to-end transaction processing in a near-production environment.
We successfully started and ran a network of several Sikoba nodes, each of which was running a node of the Babble blockchain middleware. By sending transactions to a random node, the blockchain layer distributed the transactions to all nodes, built a block, and returned it to our app layer, where it was successfully executed. We also worked on automating the deployment of our entire platform, bringing us one step closer to mainnet launch.
Partnership with AquaAgro (Pakistan) to create AgroPay
AquaAgro (http://aquaagro.smartcube.pk/) is Pakistan’s first Agri-Data company offering IoT and AI-enabled solutions to enhance productivity and water savings for farmers. By modelling crop yields, it helps farmers grow crops more efficiently and preserve 50 percent of the water used in traditional farming.
In November 2020, AquaAgro was one of the three winners of the Shell LiveWIRE Top 10 Innovators Awards, winning first prize in the Environment & Circular Economy category.
Aqua Agro is also one of the few startups in Pakistan that is led by a woman, Ramla Kaleem Shah, who is an electrical engineer by training. Mentoring the company is Dr. Muhammad Khurram, professor at NED University of Engineering and Technology and Head of the university’s Research Center for AI.
Knowing that farmers in Pakistan are often charged high-interest rates when they buy supplies, fertiliser and pesticides on credit, AquaAgro’s team reached out to us, as they would like to build AgroPay, an innovative financial app for farmer communities.
Using SikobaPay technology, AgroPay will allow farmer’s associations to set up community credit systems. They will be able to tap into the savings of local inhabitants and, later on, to bank credit. Farmers also sell their produce to middlemen at relatively low prices, as they have no direct contacts to city markets. To enable producers direct access to potential clients, the plan is to set up a virtual marketplace on which farmers will be able to list the crops they have for sale, allowing them to sell directly, removing the middleman.