The African Digital Asset Framework (ADAF) — a project that aims to establish compliance-focused, cross-border blockchain standards for the African continent — published the first version of its guidance for initial coin offerings (ICO) on March 25.
ADAF is supported by the African Digital Asset Foundation (which shares the same acronym) — a non-profit organization and open-source project founded in November 2018, which aims to encourage self-regulation and foster the establishment of legal and technical standards that would support digital trade between the African continent and the diaspora.
According to an official blog post accompanying the new standard, entitled “Consumer Protection Guidelines on Token Generation Events, version 0.1,” the document was prepared by an open source community of 17 companies, which together represent 14 countries under the aegis of the ADAF project. As the blog post outlines, the collective effort aims to:
“Create [...] a set of standards for consumers, policymakers and entrepreneurs to follow when evaluating or participating in token generation events for utility-token based ecosystems.”
The use of the term “token generation events,” rather than the more commonly used “ICO,” is proposed on the grounds that the term more accurately reflects the purported aim of ICO projects, namely to finance and construct “distributed ecosystems that empower communities to build core infrastructure for distributed ledger technologies.”
Noting the largely unregulated status of the current TGE/ICO landscape, the ADAF argues for the urgent need to self-regulate through the creation and enforcement of community standards that would protect consumers and thereby mitigate the prospects of external regulation tightening to an extent that would stifle the nascent industry.
ADAF community members are invited to post feedback and debate topics directly onto a Google Docs version of the TGE guidelines.
The blog post notes that ADAF is currently further drafting guidance for “land titling system with oracles and smart contracts, a security token framework and a self-sovereign identity.”
ADAF’s founding member organizations include ADAF co-trustee Martin Coleby’s blockchain VC firm Raise, blockchain accelerator Kotani, and software developer alba.one. The ADAF website also cites support from ambassadors from the African Union (AU) and the African Development Bank, and lists stalwart African blockchain startup BitPesa and EOS Nairobi as backers of the project.
As previously reported, the World Economic Forum (WEF) appointed the CEO and founder of African payments firm BitPesa, Elizabeth Rossiello, to serve as one of two co-chairs of the Global Blockchain Council this January.
Alongside community-driven initiatives such as ADAF, state-level and supranational recognition of the need to establish standards — whether legal, regulatory or technical — for the blockchain sector continues to gather momentum worldwide.