A Kotani Pay EthSafari

Kotani Pay
7 min readOct 4, 2023


To explain EthSafari to someone who has never attended the month-long event is like describing the rainbow to a blind man. They may have a clue but they have to experience it for themselves. Worry, not, you can live through us.

The SafariDAO team did it again with the second edition of ETHSafari . They managed to bring hundreds of attendees with a love of all things blockchain across Africa and beyond. The 2-day conference was an immersive experience of learning, doing, engaging, networking, and a boatload of fun. Here’s a recap of the Kotani Pay EthSafari and why this year’s theme matters to us.

First, what is EthSafari?

Great question. According to Jason Eisen of UTU Technologies and a member of Safari DAO, EthSafari was birthed as a result of not having enough representation of African Web3 products in Global events. Such global forums, conferences, and summits are not only expensive to attend for many startup builders but they hardly showcase the incredible Web3 solutions being built by African builders.

Shall we rehash the conversation of blockchain needs Africa?

True to the word, African Web3 builders are every day creating more blockchain solutions for African problems. Take for example the Kotani Pay USSD or the Machankura 8333 USSD, both products have been built with the unconnected Africans in mind, which is half of the continent’s population.

The Safari DAO team made up of diverse members from the Web3 community came together with the sole purpose of building, supporting, and growing the African Web3 ecosystem. Among the many things they do, EthSafari is one of the grandest events they have done with its recently concluded second edition.

Again, what is EthSafari?

EthSafari is a full-on experience for all blockchain enthusiasts to learn, hack, and celebrate the Ethereum ecosystem and the decentralization that comes with it. The month-long event first starts with a virtual bootcathon and side events followed by a 2-day conference in the coastal region of Kenya, Kilifi.

Starting off is the bootcathon, a combination of a boot camp and a hackathon courtesy of Kushite ICP.Hub East Africa, MEMOI AFRICA , and Fonbnk The 20-day bootcathon was broken down into 17 days of online interactions and 3 days of physical interactions at the Jomo Kenyatta University Of Agriculture And Technology (JKUAT), Kenya.

Bootcathon hosted in JKUAT. Photo courtesy of Memoi Africa

But what makes Ethsafari unique is the African touch, where attendees get to travel from Nairobi to Kilifi using the blocktrain that goes through a National Park as attendees look out for the elusive pink zebra. The train was buzzing with excitement and conversations as builders got to know each other through games and interesting discussions.

For the rest of the 2 days, attendees are treated to workshops, panels, and keynote addresses in the beautiful and artistic Beneath the Baobabs. You can best believe the venue is literally underneath a humongous baobab tree where incredible conversations happen with a bare-foot policy. The conference had multiple stages and with a guided program, you could manage to reach your daily steps goal as you moved around from one venue to another.

The main stage at Beneath the Baobab

To crown the conference, we celebrated the Ethereum ecosystem with an all-night-long festival as we jammed and danced in celebration of the remarkable community that we have created.

Let’s get real

This year’s EthSafari theme was “Get Real” as we dived into topics on Real World Assets (RWA), Real Impact and Use cases, Real people and communities, and Real tech advances. The majority of the discussions surrounded these profound topics with insightful discussion by expert leaders.

Our focus will be in Real World Assets and why they matter especially with Kotani Pay.

Real World Assets (RWA)

Real World Assets have revolutionized the investment landscape through multiple ownership. More people can participate in investment projects as they are fractionalized and open to anyone across the globe. We are seeing more representation of tangible assets across fields such as real estate, collectibles, fine arts, and even natural resources such as gold among others.

Starting on this topic was a great panel comprising of our CEO, Felix Macharia, Aurelio Mofuga of Umoja Labs Rachel Black of HaloFi 😇 moderated by Jason Eisen Eisen of UTU Technologies as they discussed more on the current landscape of RWA in developing economies.

Jason Eisen, Rachel Black, Felix Macharia and Aurelio Mofuga

The panel dived into the benefits of RWA such as increased liquidity, zero borders, transparency, and smart contracts that come with it. They also walked us through possible risks that come with this trillion-dollar industry such as evaluation of the assets, maintenance of the assets, and regulatory challenges among others. The panel also dived into Decentralized Finance (DeFi) as one of the applications of RWA and how emerging economies are greatly benefiting from it.

Kotani Pay CEO, Felix Macharia

Discussing more on the elevating RWA in Africa was a fireside chat between Saruni Maina of Flutterwave and Yele Bademosi the CEO and co-founder of Netcoins. A key takeaway from this discussion is the potential of RWA in Africa as we stand to gain more from it and the need to bridge the gap between traditional and digital resources. By addressing the risks and challenges that come with RWA like the negative narrative that comes with digital assets, especially in Africa, and educating more people on DeFi for more uptake.

Saruni Maina and Yele Bademosi discussing RWA. Courtesy of Fidesio

Why does this matter?

RWA and tokenization matters not only because it’s a hot trend in the DeFi ecosystem that could be a $5 trillion industry but also because of the value it brings to those who need it most.

Most African countries are facing a currency crisis with their currency depreciating by more than 40% in some countries. This means savings, earnings, and investments are holding less value than what they originally were with the majority of people counting their losses. Inflation also poses a risk with assets with prices of assets bloated up making it hard to invest in these assets.

Emerging economies are pursuing alternative ways to store and retain the value of their assets despite the currency crisis they face. Real World Assets and tokenization provide a way for people to still hold their assets in a currency with value such as the dollar, evaluate their assets in that currency, and through blockchain technology invest in their assets with the value still intact.

The Kotani Pay stablecoin settlement solution and API take advantage of stablecoins, tokens whose value is tied to the US dollar to peg their value. This is to say that by on-ramping or off-ramping to such tokens, investors are able to safely invest in RWA on-chain without losing their value.

Interesting people and interesting conversation.

We had a great time catching up as a team in Kilifi as we shared our experiences, gains, and challenges.

Our CEO, Felix Macharia shares a selfie with our CFO, Keith Mandela and our head of forex, Andrew Njega

Dispersed at the conference, the team had the opportunity to attend sessions, and network with key industry leaders such as Antoni Martin, the Co-founder of Polygon Labs who shared some of the remarkable projects they are undertaking together with Eduard Peris i Deprez at ImpactPlus.io. Through his keynote presentation on Polygon 2.0, the next stage for blockchain, we had a chance to learn more about Polygon and how it provides unlimited scalability and unified liquidity.

Antoni Martin, Felix Macharia and Edward Perez pose for a photo

We also had a chance to meet Morgan Williams of Base a secure, low-cost, builder-friendly wallet on Ethereum L2 which is supported by Coinbase Wallet browser extension. Representing Metis Africa, the African wing of MetisDAO Foundation was Norbert Amankwaa Adomako.

It was also lovely running into familiar faces from one of our integrated networks Celo Foundation as they shared the amazing work they are doing together with Opera Mini’s latest product, the Minipay wallet, the world’s lightest wallet.

Beverly Lwenya of Celo, Tosin Onikosi of Minipay and Abigail Munene of Kotani Pay

EthSafari 3rd edition? Let’s go!

It is safe to say that the 2nd Edition of EthSafari was timely and much needed. The theme that focused on getting real helped us dive into building communities, products, and technology for Africa affirming the fact that blockchain is much needed in Africa. We are grateful for the opportunity to learn from thought leaders, builders, artists, founders, and VCs with a customized approach to Africa. The friendships forged are priceless and the experience unforgettable.

Morgan Williams, Felix Macharia, Samuel Kariuki, and Norbert Amankwaa pose for a photo.

We are looking forward to blossoming partnerships, more integration with our API, more onboarding of users on-chain, more use cases of Kotani Pay products, and stronger, ever-evolving connections.

If the second edition was not convincing enough, the 3rd edition of EthSafari in 2024 will blow you away. Get your visas ready, plan your safari, and come prepared to experience the Ethereum community in all its glory.

Felix Macharia, poses with Peter Mwangi of Yellow card, Dennis Maina, Muchiri Elkana of Jua labs, Keith Mandela and Brian Kimotho



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