Eliud Kipchoge, an eight-time major marathon winner and three-time Olympic medalist who is often regarded as the greatest marathoner of all time, became the first Kenyan professional athlete to sell his own set of NFTs.
According to the official Twitter handle of Eliud Kipchoge, the athlete, launched his first two sets of NFTs. Eliud said that he was delighted to have the memories of his career available as NFTs. He further said that he hopes that he will give someone around the world the exact memories it gave to him.
The digital representations–Non-fungible tokens (NFTs)– of his career achievements were signed and officially approved by Eliud Kipchoge himself. These artworks were done by Momentible.io on the Ethereum network, in which they partner with Opensea.io (an NFTs marketplace), to showcase the digital trading arts of Eliud Kipchoge.
The auction of Eliud Kipchoge’s NFTs for bidding lasted for five days. The first set of the NFTs is the digital representation of Eliud Kipchoge’s 2019 moment, when he became the first person on earth to run a full marathon under the eye-popping 2-hour mark. This was sold for 14.8837 ETH, which is equivalent to $30,864.48 (Ksh 3,321,018.05).
The second set of the NFTs is the digital representation of Eliud Kipchoge’s legendary moment when he crushed the old world record on the marathon, one of the oldest competitions in sports history. This was sold for 3.1 ETH, which is equivalent to $6,428.10 (Ksh 691,663.56).
One of the buyers of Eliud Kipchoge’s first set of the NFTs is a blockchain investor known as “NoDaoIsLimited”, on the Opensea Marketplace. In addition, the “NoDaoIsLimited” also received a personal video message from Eliud Kipchoge.
Kipchoge is the first marathoner to run 26.2 miles in a once-inconceivable time of 1 hour 59 minutes 40 seconds at the age of 34 years. He broke a milestone record that seemed to be untouchable only a few years prior. But this cannot be recognized as an official world record because it was not run under open marathon conditions.
The famous Kenyan Athlete and the reigning Olympic champion, ran 2 hours minutes 5 seconds, in the London Marathon which is just 8 seconds off the world record held by Dennis Kimetto, a fellow countryman.
The Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are already receiving the attention of popular athletes, celebrities, musicians, and several others. Recently, Cristiano Ronaldo’s NFT token card was sold for €252,800 on Soare (NFTs fantasy football platform). This shows how the digital market is increasingly involving sports.
NFTs are a special type of cryptocurrency, in which each NFT represents a unique digital item. Every NFT has a unique code – metadata that lies within it. This ensures authenticity and originality. It can be bought, sold or held, just as any other property.
CBN Crypto Ban Increases P2P But Is It Also Increasing Crypto Scams?
The Central Bank of Nigeria CBN on the 5th of February 2021 caused an uproar within the crypto community in Nigeria and globally. The Apex bank released a circular that prohibits financial institutions from processing crypto-related transactions. Banks and other financial institutions were also directed to close accounts that made crypto-related transactions.
As expected the directive did not sit well with crypto enthusiasts, traders and most Nigerians alike. In the CBN’s defence, they were protecting Nigerians from crypto-related scams, volatility of the crypto market and several evils perpetrated with cryptocurrencies. Though valid reasons, many Nigerians still express their resentment of the directive. Cryptocurrencies which serve as an alternative to the weakening Naira are faster and easier at facilitating cross border transactions.
However, the ban has not hindered crypto transactions in the country. The country still ranks high when it comes to crypto transactions globally. Business Insider reports that between January and March 2021, p2p trading value of bitcoin in Nigeria was worth $99.1 million. This is $9 million more than the value of bitcoin p2p transaction in Kenya for the whole of 2020. Cleary p2p has increased significantly since the ban. It is therefore safe to say that the ban has increased crypto activity in Nigeria. But has it increased crypto scams too?
The dark side of p2p
While volatile nature cryptocurrencies might in truth lead to loss of funds, the ban by the Central Bank of Nigeria could make Nigerians more vulnerable to crypto scams as they now purchase these digital currencies from unregulated sources hence, p2p.
“It was very easy just buying bitcoin straight from the Luno app but now I need to find someone who is willing to sell me bitcoin and there is really no way to ascertain the person’s trustworthiness.” This statement by crypto newbie, Adekunle Agbetiloye sums up the troubles and vulnerabilities crypto newbies go through to buy and sell crypto assets.
Kunle has been fortunate to have friends that are more grounded in trading cryptocurrencies. This has prevented him from falling into the hands of scammers that find newbies like him, easy picking. In his words “I know people that have fallen victim to crypto scammers that is why I only transact with people that I know personally”.
Ezekiel Juwon wasn’t lucky enough to buy from someone he knew personally. He recounts how he unsuspectingly sent money to a crypto scammer. In his words, “as a beginner I think it is more convenient to buy directly from crypto apps than dealing peer-to-peer. As someone who has experienced crypto scams first hand, I know this for a fact”. Juwon also adds that regulated p2p platforms created as an alternative to trading crypto can also be dangerous. He is convinced that more people will suffer his fate if the ban isn’t lifted. “Everyone wants to get in on crypto, it saves you from poverty so the ban just makes newbies vulnerable”.
Just like Adekunle, Oyin Komolafe is fortunate to be surrounded by crypto veterans. She says “aside from the grace of God, what is helping me is that I am surrounded by people who know their way around crypto. However, I am sure that newbies will be susceptible to crypto scams because of the CBN ban”
What experts have to say
However, Crypto expert and blockchain stakeholder, Samuel Attah feels crypto platforms have created alternatives that should keep crypto newbies safe. He sights Bundle as an example of these platforms. In contrast, some of these new users have said they do not find these platforms easy to use.
Another crypto trader who identifies himself simply as Smogz, says these alternatives by crypto exchanges and crypto platforms require a lot of expertise. Smogz believes that the ban will increase crypto scams. “Crypto platforms serve as a shield to protect crypto beginners from scams. Now that these beginners have to look outside of the confines of these platforms they are open to being ripped off”
It is clear the crypto ban cannot stop Nigerians from using cryptocurrencies. Although a risky investment venture, crypto assets are known to be a source of wealth. Ensuring the safety of Nigerians while they use these crypto assets should be a priority.
Crypto Wallets: A Major Hurdle To Crypto Mass Adoption – Interview with Francis Obasi, Lead Wallet CEO
Cryptocurrencies are getting more popular each year, but mainstream adoption and usage of digital currencies and assets are nowhere close. According to Buy Bitcoin Worldwide, 1.3% of the world’s population uses bitcoin. While a great number of people might know about cryptocurrencies, very few people own or use them.
For Francis Obasi, the CEO of Lead Wallet, a major obstacle to crypto adoption is the ability to create and simply use a crypto wallet. Whether trading, staking or hodling, owning a wallet is the basis of transacting in crypto. This is why Francis has created an app that he believes will help people enter the crypto ecosystem seamlessly.
The idea behind Lead Wallet
Before Lead Wallet, we were a group of community managers working for AmaZix. One of the most frequent questions we got then as community managers are “where will I store my cryptocurrency, which wallet is the best wallet?” We most times recommended Trust Wallet, we would explain the process of setting up the wallet. Unfortunately, some of these crypto newcomers fall victim to impersonators. For example, someone would impersonate me and tell people to disclose their private keys. People were getting scammed off their cryptocurrency and it became a concern for me.
Consequently, I realised that the bridge between conventional finance and the crypto space is a digital wallet. To interact with anything crypto-related you need a crypto wallet. So the crypto wallet is a very important factor in understanding what cryptocurrencies are and keeping new users safe. It is their first point of contact when they choose to enter the crypto ecosystem.
However, a lot of crypto wallets are not simple enough for new users. We decided to create something that will not seem strange to people who are already used to bank applications (which are simple to use).In essence, a crypto wallet bridges the gap between conventional finance and decentralized finance.
We chose the name “Lead” because we were building something different from what is considered the norm within the crypto ecosystem. We were setting a new standard, a wallet that will “Lead” the crypto mass adoption.
What a simple crypto wallet should look like?
A good wallet should reduce a user’s journey in performing simple tasks such as sending and receiving cryptocurrencies. Inside Lead Wallet, there is an ostensibly placed “send” button. Rather than having too many steps to simply sending cryptocurrency, it should not be more than four. In fact, doing most things on a crypto wallet should not take more than 4 steps.
So no matter how uninformed one might be about cryptocurrencies, using a crypto wallet for the first time should be easy.
Owning your own private keys
Owning your own private key means that you are in control of your crypto assets. The saying “not your keys not your coins” explains it well. A private key is an alphanumeric string that is generated at the creation of a wallet.
Having your own private keys means you are in charge of your own crypto asset. A wallet like Trust Wallet or Lead Wallet gives you power over your own crypto assets, it is a decentralized wallet. However, unlike Trust Wallet that stores all crypto assets within one private key, Lead Wallet creates a unique private key for each crypto asset. This gives users the ability to export wallets to other platforms such as Trust Wallet.
Decentralized crypto wallet is the gateway to DeFi
Decentralized Finance, known for short as DeFi, is a disruption to the traditional financial system. DeFi gives everyone a chance to enjoy financial services without the bottlenecks that come with traditional or centralised financial services.
Savouring the fruits of decentralized finance requires a decentralized crypto wallet that can connect to a web 3 browser. Like Lead Wallet, such a wallet should offer a very user-intuitive web 3 browser that helps them interact with DeFi applications. Lead Wallet provides these apps as bookmarks to protect users against malicious links.
There is a lot going on in the crypto world, a lot of people genuinely want to be a part of it but there’s a lot they do not know. A crypto wallet which is most likely their first point of contact with the crypto ecosystem should simplify things for them.
Visa’s USDC Crypto Acceptance And Its Impact On The Financial Ecosystem
Recently, payment technology giant, Visa, announced that it would now support the settlement of transactions in USDC, a stablecoin that is powered by the ethereum blockchain. The new move by Visa was great news for the global crypto community. However, understanding what this means requires a fundamental understanding of what payment settlement is.
Everytime you make a purchase using a Visa card, for example, a bundle of complex processes take place beneath the hood to ensure that the money moves from your bank account to the seller’s account. Without the money being transferred from your account to the recipient’s account, it would be impossible to make transactions without the use of cash. The mechanism of this “movement of money” is the crux of payment settlement. This settlement of transactions is made possible by a payment technology company like Visa, MasterCard, etc. Although the process is invisible to the everyday customer who makes financial transactions with a Visa card, it is what actually powers these transactions.
As some businesses, fintechs and other crypto adopters shift to the use of digital currencies for transactions and running their business, the need for a settlement process that makes crypto transactions as seamless as possible becomes necessary. A company like Crypto.com has a crypto-linked visa card which allows its customers to use their visa cards to make payments in digital currencies. However, Crypto.com has to handle a bunch of additional backend complexities to ensure that this is possible. This is because Visa’s settlement process requires business partners, like Crypto.com, to convert digital currencies into traditional fiat which Visa accepts. This adds complexities to their operations, costing them additional money and time. However, Visa’s new upgrade will relieve its partners of the need to convert digital currencies to fiat, thereby, saving them time and money.
This means that it would become easier for crypto-native companies to pay their employees in digital currencies without having to set up an infrastructure for converting to fiat currency to settle the transactions with Visa. This would also mean that crypto-native businesses can store their balances entirely in crypto without having to convert part of their crypto treasury reserves to traditional fiat at an extra conversion cost. More platforms would now also be able to easily help customers carry out transactions with cryptocurrencies.
With Visa’s new capability, the experience of the end customer remains the same. The process that happens behind the scenes is what changes. According to Visa’s Head of Crypto, Cuy Sheffield, “This will make it easier for more crypto wallets to offer Visa card programs to consumers, and that’s ultimately going to benefit consumers as they’ll have more options to pay using crypto.”
As the financial ecosystem anticipates functional and efficient frameworks that allow the use of digital currencies for everyday transactions, Visa’s acceptance of settlements in USDC signals a significant progress towards achieving this goal. The upgrade will, undoubtedly, facilitate the use of digital currencies for routine transactions.
Visa’s blog post on its announcement of the upgrade emphasizes the significance of Visa’s work. “The implications of our work with stablecoins are potentially far reaching — enabling our ability to one day support new Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) as they become available. Central Banks are ramping up CBDCs, with 80% reporting that they are engaging in some CBDC-related effort, according to research from the BIS1. We are committed to supporting these initiatives so they can be integrated into the existing payments ecosystem,” the post states.
The potential of Visa’s work in facilitating the integration of CBDCs conveys how much impact it would have on the global financial ecosystem. As Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) become available, it is important that they are seamlessly integrated into financial systems. Visa’s new capability is an example of how transactions could be seamlessly settled with CBDCs, through a Visa card, thereby, allowing anyone to easily spend it. On a broader scale, it represents an example of how upgrades in payment technology to support the use of digital currencies, could open the doors for a better financial experience for everyone across the globe.
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