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The CBN Cryptocurrenncy Ban: Jelurida Africa Reacts

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It was a shocker to all when the CBN released the circular to all banks and financial institutions to stop facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges, and to close all bank accounts tied to these actions. Nigeria represents the 3rd largest cryptocurrency trading country on a global scale, with a lot of blockchain projects either being pushed out or about to be pushed. The circular has not only attracted a lot of criticisms from business folks and investors both locally and international, but it has also gathered a momentum stagnation for a lot of plans in development, as most fintech payment service providers halted all supports for crypto payment processing. 


Prior to this sudden release of the circular, there have been a number of dialogues with the likes of Securities and Exchange Commission, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation and even the Central Bank of Nigeria, on creating innovative ways to regulate cryptocurrency. This seemed to be yielding results, as cryptocurrencies were broadly classed as “securities” along the journey.  

Cryptocurrency has, by far, become a means of sustaining the economy of the country, providing an edge against inflation on the local currency for investors, and creating a means of livelihood for a lot of others in a country with high rate of unemployment. This new action of the CBN will, in so many ways, deteriorate the economy of the nation which is currently unstable.

Looking closely into the situation, what they were able to achieve, giving the absolute power in their possession, is to mandate financial institutions to avoid processing any cryptocurrency-related transactions. Ever since, a lot of individuals have kickstarted the process of creating alternatives. Imagine this; a nation with over 200 million population, a higher percentage of which are youths involved in cryptocurrency, now gradually removing themselves from depending on the banking sector. Blockchain technology has the potential to provide banking services for the unbanked settlements. Gradually, we approach a future where the banks become less relevant and are replaced by blockchain innovations such as DeFi solutions. Alas, the required push to get to a destination originally planned by Satoshi Nakamoto was influenced for Nigerians by the CBN.

Jelurida Africa recently expanded its borders of operation into other African countries, asides Nigeria. What a coincidence! Offering blockchain services to Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania, with more expansion plans for regions more open to highly scalable and decentralized innovations. Nigeria is well endowed with experienced techpreneurs, versatile blockchain developers and of course, funding opportunities from private sectors and wealthy individuals. The only major challenge ever faced in the country, as regards innovative development, has now emanated from the supposed enablers of innovations— the government. We can only hope that this is a nightmare we will soon wake up from. Must we learn the hard way from the pandemic, only to move backward when it is the perfect time to embrace innovation? 

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CBN Crypto Ban Increases P2P But Is It Also Increasing Crypto Scams?

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Crypto ban

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.

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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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Eliud Kipchoge, World Marathon Champion Sells Out Career Milestones As NFT For 17.9837 ETH

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Eliud Kipchoge
Image Credit: Eliud Kipchoge / Goal.com

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.

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