Mara is seeking to recruit Kenyan developers who will help it build a secure blockchain to allow tracking of last mile transactions on mobile money.
This comes ahead of expected launch of Mara Wallet later this year which will allow users buy and sell cryptocurrencies on its exchange platform.
The startup says “Hack the Mara” hackathon aims to engage participants to create decentralised applications that provide sustainable solutions for last mile payment tracking with top solutions bagging Ksh 11.8 million ($100,00) in funds and prizes.
“Blockchain has the potential to take financial services and last mile payment solutions to new heights. With a direct focus on solving real local challenges, these innovators may create globally relevant solutions and drive the future of finance” said Chi Nnadi, Mara Co-founder and Chief executive Officer.
The event will also lead to the solutions prototyped during the hackathon help strengthen the financial sustainability of ongoing conservation projects in the Mara for better livelihoods.
The hackathon which will be conducted in partnership with Circle, the issuer of USD Coin (USDC) and Euro Coin, will challenge developers to use blockchain via USSD and M-Pesa for payment transparency.
“Developers are core to what we do at Circle. We hope to see more technical breakthroughs that make financial services more inclusive, efficient and scalable. We are excited to give African innovators an opportunity to build solutions that may change the world and certainly the world of finance” said Sandra Persing, Circle Vice President of Developer Relations and Ecosystem Relations and Ecosystem Marketing.
Antler which invests in early stage startups will offer the winning solution the opportunity to join its programme in Nairobi to further develop their idea into a business and potentially receive investment.
The participants will be evaluated by a panel of judges based on originality, creativity, analytical skills, strategic thinking and practical implementation.
The firm says the most promising solutions will also have the opportunity to be piloted with local conservancies in the Masai Mara where they can have a real world impact.
“Blockchain for social impact is at the heart of everything we do at Mara. Through our non-profit foundation, our aim is to empower problem-solvers to build blockchain solutions which promote long term beneficial, social and environmental change in Africa,” said Kate Kallot, Mara Co-Founder and Chief Impact Officer.
The competition which is set for September will take place in five stages, starting online with the final stage completed in person in Kenya.