The disruptive nature of the Blockchain technology is no longer news. The application of a technology developed just over a decade ago holds great promise and can redefine current understanding of what we know. In Finance, the most popular application of the Tech, innovation appears to be on the rise with newer products getting on the public stage. Chiefly of this latest reveal is the Facebook attempt to get onto the blockchain wagon.
With the speedy growth and development of the technology across the globe, Africans are trying to leverage it to solve peculiar native problems. From commonplace issues to rare yet defining challenges are being tackled ranging from fast and low cost cross border payment to applications in legal sectors, gamification etc.
There are several innovative and bold individuals who despite the economic situations and the governments level of understanding/acceptance of the technology, are creating the next level solutions causing disruption to the conventional.
We at CryptoTVPlus met with one of these bold individuals Mr. Francis Mensah of Walchat Ltd and had a chat to get to know what he is up to. For over one and a half hours, we had an engaging interview where the Ghanaian entrepreneur gave insight into what he is doing, why and the level of acceptance of the technology in his home country.
Owing to the length of the interview, we shall have the abridged version here.
We examined what Walchat is and what drives it. Also we got to know the leader of Walchat Limited.
Marvelous A: Please who are you and what is Walchat?
Entrepreneur: I am Francis Owusu-Mensah, CEO and Co-founder of WalChat Limited. Walchat is a cloud based multi-purpose messaging and mobile payment app powered by the blockchain technology. Continuing, he said Walchat is made up of Wallet + Chat. The wallet supports both fiat currency (Mobile Money, Credit Cards) and cryptocurrency which will be used for funding Walchat e-wallet depending on users’ locations.
When asked if the Walchat will have a native token, Mr. Francis replied that, at the moment, no but maybe in the future. And didn’t he disclose the blockchain platform Walchat is currently building upon as Walchat is still under development.
Marvelous A: Why and when did you decide to build Walchat? What drives you?
Mr. Francis Owusu-Mensah: He said, “Our mission is to position WalChat brand as the spearhead of enriched secured peer to peer chat for free and cross-border digital payments system with guaranteed security, fast and low transaction fee”. He also revealed the idea of Walchat came to mind in October 2018 and the firm was registered in 2019.
Marvelous A: Fast and low fees have become a cliché in crypto-finance. How is Walchat different?
Mr. Francis Owusu-Mensah: Sending an international payment through established banking channels is a complex, multistep process that involves several intermediaries and involves high cost of transaction fees, delay of payment and less payment option available. Cross-border payments supported by blockchain provide significant advantages to businesses and consumers. It is estimated that business-to-business and person-to-person payments with blockchain result in a 40% to 80% reduction in transaction costs, and take an average of four to six seconds to finalize (compared to two to three days using the standard transfer process).
Marvelous A: Considering the features of Walchat, it appears it is similar to the popular privacy focus Telegram App. Do you consider the Telegram and Facebook move into crypto a threat to Walchat?
Mr. Francis Owusu-Mensah: No. Our target market is Africa and so our business model is focused on the African market. WalChat will support mobile money, cross-border payment using your phone number or email, audio/video conferencing and other social related services.
After talking about Walchat, we went on to talk about the Ghana cryptocurrency and blockchain industry.
Marvelous A: How receptive is the Ghana community to the blockchain technology and cryptocurrency?
Mr. Francis Owusu-Mensah: The reception is moderate; however, it is a gradual process.
Marvelous A: Since the industry is quite in its infancy, what are challenges affecting blockchain and crypto startups in Ghana?
Mr. Francis Owusu-Mensah: The main challenge I will say is Lack of funds or investors to support such tech-startups. The cause of which is the mindset and lack of research into the capabilities of the technology. Education is needed in this regard to change people’s minds. Take for example the Trade War between the US and China. If it was in Africa, where will we be having this nice conversation? We need to take our tech seriously.
Marvelous A: What do you think the government should do to help grow the industry?
Mr. Francis Owusu-Mensah: I think one way the government can help grow the industry is to fund young entrepreneurs who want to venture in tech-sector.
After talking about the Ghana blockchain industry, we talked about aspiring entrepreneurs.
Marvelous A: For those desiring to build businesses or careers in the industry, as a builder, what is your advice for them?
Mr. Francis Owusu-Mensah: I always tell my team that it is time for Africa to Rise so they should never give up.
Concluding our interview, I asked Mr. Francis a word that describes his drive. He responded by saying #AfricaMustRise.
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