Tracing the African evolution from traditional banking systems, to seemingly, the current proliferation of fintech and agritech startups, there is no gainsaying the fact that blockchain, and by extension, cryptocurrencies, will constitute a major player in the continent’s evolution story.
With the increasing fluctuations in the African economic systems, coupled with the need to key into relatively stable forms of investment as an alternative to unemployment, several Africans have turned to crypto assets.
However, in spite of this large user base which crypto has garnered over the years, there is a plethora of stories involving African crypto traders who have ventured into the crypto market and have either lost their capital, or generally failed in their quest to gain profits. This is the backdrop for the launch of the My Crypto Journey series.
The series is a compilation of interviews conducted with experienced and successful cryptocurrency and blockchain professionals, who would be willing to share useful experiences, tips, as well as mistakes they made during the course of their respective journeys. The first edition of this Series comprises interviews with crypto and blockchain professionals, Doris Ojuederie and Kayode Babarinde.
Founder, Blockchain Africa Ladies.
For as long as I can remember, I have always been quite enterprising. I grew up in a large family as the sixth of seven children; but my thirst for financial freedom drove me to trying out seemingly viable opportunities to make profits and fend for myself. This was primarily how I encountered blockchain or at least, at the time, cryptocurrency.
Whilst I was studying Accounting in 2015, a few of my friends mentioned cryptocurrency in a conversation. Although I became curious, I did not necessarily act on my curiosity until 2016. That year, I started conducting my own research and attending cryptocurrency-related seminars. I basically utilised the power of social media. Although, I made enough money to fend for myself, I was strictly a cryptocurrency trader at the time, and I honestly had not been exposed to the endless potentials of blockchain technology. But of course, in subsequent years, the narrative totally changed.
One of the most eye-opening discoveries during my cryptocurrency journey, was that the industry was(and is still largely) male-dominated. When I attended conferences, there were few women, if any. I discovered that a lot of women had not been exposed to the life-changing potential of blockchain, and even worse, many of these women had been conditioned to viewing cryptocurrency trading as a man’s job. This was why I founded the Blockchain African Ladies.
For me, blockchain is a major key to the financial freedom of African women, and by extension, the development of the African continent. None of these feats would be attained when women are left unempowered. This is of course, because no society can truly experience sustainable development when half of its population is marginalised. Just as much as blockchain completely turned my life around, I strongly believe it can do the same for other women, especially in view of the deep impoverishment that many African women currently face.
If I had to go down memory lane, I would honestly admit that although my cryptocurrency journey has been largely fulfilling, the path to fulfillment was not entirely devoid of challenges. I made quite a number of mistakes. One of such mistakes is the fact that I ventured into cryptocurrency trading without having a guide. Crypto assets would definitely not qualify as rocket science, but they are not necessarily easy to understand, either. I did not have a strong grasp of the technicalities of trading, and of course, I paid dearly for it. I got burned a lot. I invested in a number of bad coins and I got scammed by ponzi schemes. I did not take the magnitude of Bitcoin seriously, either. When I ventured into Bitcoin, it was about $250-$300. If I had considerable knowledge that cryptocurrencies were set to blow up, my life would have definitely been different.
But overall, the pros still outweigh the cons. Blockchain technology is an investment I would recommend to anyone, primarily because it can be applied in virtually all sectors of the economy. The beauty of the tech and all its components is that irrespective of your location or status, there is always room for you. If I could relate a statement to a prospective investor, it would be that just like the internet, blockchain technology is the next big thing. It would be best to hop on the train, before it completely speeds off.
Executive Director, the Africa Blockchain Institute.
In 2015, I met Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof, the founder of Bitnation, at a camp I attended. This was majorly my first step towards discovering blockchain. Subsequently, the camp organizer had me host MeetUps and Workshops on blockchain. It sparked my interest in the concept, and I became very curious. But of course, at the time, I was more interested in educating interested people on the complexities of blockchain and cryptocurrency.
During the first few years of my blockchain journey, the proliferation of mistrust was quite overwhelming. Many Africans were heavily suspicious of cryptocurrency trading, and viewed it as another scam which was set to take over the market for a while, scoop profits, and suddenly vanish into thin air.
The regulatory gaps didn’t let up either. There were (and still are) limited or no legal pronouncements on operating crypto businesses on the African continent. The best we often have access to are recommendations from the policy makers, warning citizens on Ponzi Schemes. Asides that, there is virtually nothing. As a result, many law abiding crypto businesses now have to operate under FinTech Laws instead. However good this is, it still limits the full potentials of crypto business operations.
But looking back, if I had to retrace my steps, one of the major things I would have paid attention to, especially as a cryptocurrency enthusiast, is the fact that losing is basically built into the system. It is inevitable. Investment is the Interplay of risks, and cryptocurrency trading is not an exception. As a trader, your major focus should be on optimising your percentages, and not gunning for perfection or a perfect record of correct trade predictions. Also, whilst being in the process of optimising your productivity, it is pertinent to learn how to pause and verify information before moving to trade based on such pieces of information. This is because should the information turn out to be wrong, it could be quite detrimental to profitability. So, one thing you need to have as a cryptocurrency investor, is a list of reliable sites you can always consult to verify any piece of cryptocurrency-related information.
Similarly, an important element in the journey of every cryptocurrency trader should be the ability to only invest what one can afford to lose, and be considerably comfortable with the fact that one might lose it all. These elements do not necessarily connote the adoption of failure as a mindset, they only reiterate the nature of cryptocurrency as an investment where massive profits are attainable, and deep losses can equally be incurred.
My cryptocurrency journey has been quite interesting, to say the least. Of course, there are challenges, but as a saying goes, “If you want to quit, remember why you started”. The journey is definitely for a long ride, and I have packed my bags.