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My Crypto Journey: Francis Obasi, CEO Lead Wallet

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Francis Obasi
Francis Obasi

Meet Francis Obasi

I first heard about Bitcoin in 2016, at the height of the MMM boom. At the time, the MMM founders were introducing MMM Bitcoin. It was a way of reducing the pressure on the fiat currency. MMM was at its climax then, the story curve was flattening and it was at the point of reaching its denouement. 

Regardless, I started researching what Bitcoin was. I discovered that it was internet money that could be used as a means of exchange. I went further to unlock more information about it. I learnt about how it could be mined and traded on crypto exchanges. I was astounded because I thought stocks were the only thing that can be traded in exchanges.

After digging further, things started to get complicated and I started to get bored so I forgot about the whole crypto thing for a while. My interest was reawakened in 2017 when I learnt the price of bitcoin was skyrocketing. Only in 2016, the price was barely N50,000 and now in 2017 it had more than doubled. That was all the encouragement I needed to really start the crypto journey. 

Crypto became so interesting to me. I was reading up on it a lot and knew it was going to be a very lucrative industry. I learnt of upcoming projects and ICOs. The crypto industry was open to a lot of innovation and I really wanted to be a part of it. 

Unfortunately, a lot of the projects I invested in were scam projects. I was ignorant when it came to doing proper due diligence and I learnt the hard way. However, the scams did not deter me. I pushed and shoved my way through till I got a job with BankCoin. It was a crypto exchange company that also had its native coin known as “Bank”. I wrote a couple of articles for the crypto exchange and they decided to pay me for it. It was then I thought things were looking up for me in this crypto game. It was all the more exciting and appreciated because I did something I enjoyed doing and got paid for it. I earned a total of N50,000 then but my excitement was worth a lot more.  

Although I was deep into the crypto journey, the N50,000 paycheck motivated me to burn the bridges behind me. “There was no going back,” I told myself. I went back to researching. I wanted to understand crypto and the crypto industry in its entirety so that I could earn more. 

My first move to earning more within the crypto space was to rise through the ranks even within BankCoin. I moved to become a community manager because the exchange had quite a large community. Luckily I got the job and it came with a bigger paycheck as well,  $100 weekly. 

Prior to the BankCoin job, the losses I had suffered investing in scam schemes almost made me lose faith in crypto. But the ability to render services that mattered and that was duly appreciated within the crypto space drew me deeper into the sphere. It was a budding industry with so much potential. The deal was sealed for me, it was crypto or nothing, I was prepared to render services that would help grow the industry. 

Having spent a few months at BankCoin, I moved to AmaZix. Things went on smoothly at AmaZix for some months until the bear market set in. Consequently, I got laid off. The bear market of 2018 was perhaps one of the most gloomy seasons in the crypto world. 

However, I decided to fight, I was going to take on the entire crypto market\industry for screwing me. To fight, I created my own community management company called ICE. I learnt quickly that I was not going to take on the entire industry on my own. ICE was dead or if you may,  melted in about 3-4months. Getting clients in the heart of the bear market was impossible. 

Interestingly, ICE was more than a failed crypto company; it was the catalyst to the creation of Lead Wallet. While at ICE we got to thinking, and the Lead Wallet idea came through. Truthfully between AmaZix and ICE, I have interfaced with several projects at different positions and a lot of that culminated into Lead Wallet. 

Crypto itself is on a journey and honestly, it has barely begun. A lot of innovations are coming to the industry and it is going to be amazing. As for me, I’m riding with crypto all the way. 

 

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Bolu Abiodun is a recent graduate of Theatre and Media Arts, Federal University Oye-Ekiti. A journalist with over a year's experience on the job. A former editor at American Media company Project Forward, he is a skilled content creator, social media manager and digital marketer.

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Bitcoin in Africa

Crypto Wallets: A Major Hurdle To Crypto Mass Adoption – Interview with Francis Obasi, Lead Wallet CEO

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Image Credit: Lead Wallet / Twitter (Image was modified)

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. 

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Blockchain Technology

Using Blockchain To Solve Real World Problems – Interview With Ubirch CEO, Karim Attia

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Image Credit: Ubirch.de

Ubirch is a German-based company using blockchain to solve real-world problems globally. The company is utilizing blockchain in innovative ways across several industries. By providing secure, portable, and immutable data, Ubirch is one company showing the world just how ground-breaking blockchain is. 

Surprisingly, the company started in a garden. Founder and Co-CEO Stephan Noller, connected a birch tree in the garden to the internet with an IoT (internet of things) device he designed. Mentioning the name of the tree in a tweet, caused lights on the tree to glow. The company has since been able to link data generated physically to the digital world, efficiently and securely.

With the company on the verge of being a global provider of digital trust, Karim Attia, CEO of Ubirch, will be taking us on a journey of how Ubirch is using blockchain and cryptography to provide digital trust, integrity, and security. 

How important is blockchain to Ubirch?

Blockchain is a key component for Ubirch in the provision of data that is trustworthy. On a global level, trust becomes very important, and this is where the importance of blockchain comes in. It is a distributed ledger which means no one can tamper with the information on it.  

This is one of the many positive effects of this new technology. Once something has been written in there it is there until the end of time. Therefore, we are using this technology for our trust services. 

We have developed a layer between the public blockchains and our infrastructure which gives us an extra edge in terms of scalability and efficiency. Hence, we can make public blockchains faster at the same time very cost-effective.

Verifying COVID-19 tests results with blockchain, blockchain-on-a-Sim and other applications by Ubirch

Health certificates are becoming more and more important in everyday life. There’s an increasing need for people to prove that they are not infected with COVID-19 or in the future prove that they have been vaccinated. The ability to prove this could be a prerequisite for granting travel permits or even work permits. 

One of the many solutions Ubirch is providing is making sure that these health certificates are not falsified. The test and vaccination status is assessed at the test centre or vaccination centre. We make it easy to verify certificates globally with public blockchains. 

Recently, together with known partners, Ubirch has been able to implement a blockchain client on a Sim Card – a project we are very proud of. Now, any sim card enabled device will be able to use our trust service. It is a very big achievement and we are the only company worldwide, as far as we know to achieve such a feat. 

The Ubirch infrastructure is also being used to provide data that helps women track their cycles and know their fertile time window. The device is created by German startup, Trackle. Trackle is one of our first clients. They are using our infrastructure to make sure that specific temperature data gathered by the device specially designed for women is correct. This data is used to assess fertility rates, supporting women naturally in their family planning efforts. 

Level of blockchain adoption

In Europe, most people think of blockchain as bitcoin, it is still very much associated with cryptocurrency in people’s minds. The other benefits of this revolutionary technology haven’t really caught on in Europe. It takes a lot to convince people of the benefits of blockchain, people usually conclude that you are trying to sell them bitcoin. 

However, it is getting better gradually. We are partnering with a group of data centres across Germany that are providing a local governmental blockchain to support the digital transformation of administrative processes. They are getting it and they are seeing that blockchain has more benefits beyond cryptocurrencies. 

Interestingly, the opportunities of the blockchain ecosystem are the motivation of our team at Ubirch. The enthusiasm emanates from the belief that we are shaping the future. We are setting the pace for entirely new data-driven business models.

Challenges to using blockchain technology

One of the challenges is to identify the right industry and sector that will really benefit from blockchain in the short term. There are sectors where you do not see the benefits of blockchain immediately. So knowing the industry and sector that will benefit from the technology at a sprint is a major challenge. 

For us, however, it is healthcare, insurance, logistics, energy, smart cities, and industry. These sectors are benefiting most from the solutions we offer. 

Ubirch’s plans for Africa?

Soon, we will have the same capabilities we have in Europe, in Africa. Ubirch is happy to support regions within Africa with our knowledge and expertise. There are a lot of ways in which Africa can benefit from blockchain and the solutions we provide. 

Healthcare, supply-chains, real-estate amongst others, are areas where our infrastructure will be beneficial for the continent. 

The future of blockchain. 

Blockchain will be a fundamental part of our lives soon. A lot of things will depend on blockchain infrastructures such as the ones we provide. 

It is already evident from the way it is transforming the financial sector. It will eliminate the need for intermediaries. Blockchain will be a trustworthy global technology on which activities of different sectors will be organized. 

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Features

My Crypto Journey: Adebayo Juwon – African Lead, Consultant at FTX and Founder, Crypto Trading Africa

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It’s not uncommon to find a lot of Nigerians who learnt about Crypto through scams. For a while, the word “bitcoin” was associated with falsehood and fraudulent acts. Though bitcoin has gained more credibility over the years, some still perceive it as a tool for illicit transactions.

Adebayo Juwon is not one to be dissuaded by the dark side of crypto. After scams and trade losses amounting to millions of Naira, the veteran trader has courageously continued his crypto journey, weathering all the storms that come his way. 

Meet Adebayo Juwon

I was informed about bitcoin during the Ponzi era of 2016, like many Nigerians during the era, the limited knowledge about bitcoin made me susceptible to crypto-related scams. In fact, I lost my first bitcoin to a scam. It was a time where scams seemed to be a way of being inducted into the crypto scene. 

With further research, my friend and I discovered CoinMarketCap and realised that there were other coins out there besides bitcoin. We found out about repo,monero, dogecoin, stella and the likes. With the little funds we had, we bought some of these crypto assets and traded them on exchanges that were available then.

While crypto trading isn’t comparable to rocket science, it can be quite difficult. It was especially difficult for me because I learnt it on my own without training wheels or any form of direction. Those who venture into trading nowadays can easily avoid some of the mistakes I made cause there are a lot of mentors out there willing to help.

We got burnt a lot then, learning from one mistake after the other. Even after being broke from getting burnt, the first thing that came to mind after making money was to go back to trading. Of course, more burns came thereafter, but I was never deterred from trading. 

Crypto communities online, especially Twitter, helped to keep me excited about crypto. Back then in 2017, there were very few Africans on crypto Twitter. The community majorly consisted of foreigners who had bought bitcoin as early as 2010 and 2011. I learnt a lot from them, the community fueled my excitement for cryptocurrencies. The time zone difference made me wake up in the middle of the night to know what’s going on in the market cause a lot would happen in the crypto market while you slept. I’d also check to see which evil has befallen my portfolio. Honourable mentions during those times were also the memes, they would still make you laugh after a burn. Physically, a couple of guys organised meetups and seminars here in Lagos. It was interesting to meet other people who shared similar ideologies and enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies. 

Actively trading on exchanges, I shared a lot of my technical analysis across social media platforms. In 2017, an exchange (a startup) reached out to me and that’s how I started my career, working for an exchange. Working for an exchange does take up some of your time. You don’t get to attend to the charts as often as would if you were solely a trader. 

Similarly, for those who aspire to have a career in crypto, it’s important to learn how to merge your initial skills with crypto. A writer, graphic designer or social media manager can infuse crypto knowledge into these skills and create something worthwhile. For aspiring traders, it is important to understand that making profits early on isn’t feasible, hence, investing too much too soon could lead to a painful loss.

Crypto in itself has been on a remarkable and interesting journey since the launch of bitcoin in 2009. It has come a long way here in Nigeria. Learning about crypto is now easier with a lot of creators, offering free content and tutorials that are easily accessible. 

In the same vein, my crypto journey has been a thrilling one. Whilst I did not start making profit until three years after I started trading, it has been a learning process. As a veteran trader, I still make mistakes here and there based on emotions and just plain human error. For crypto, the journey has barely begun, and I encourage people to join the bandwagon immediately. 

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