Building a regulated platform in blockchain generally, would not classify as a walk in the park. It is even more demanding to take up such challenge in this part of the world where technology is obviously still far below average. To make matters worse, the competition globally- with the likes of Binance introducing their DEX, Huobi Exchange, Bittrex, Poloniex and a whole lot of VC-funded projects that make the playing ground very much uneven for local exchanges sprouting from the black continent of Africa.
#BUIDL CLUB provides an exclusive with Franklin Odoemena the CEO BITFXT, an IT firm that developed one of Africa’s leading cryptocurrency exchange platform. BITFXT portrays transparency, trust and user satisfaction.
In this interview,
Frank tells us about how “Use Case” helped him build BITFXT revealing secrets for pursuing a successful carrier within the most populated service area in the ecosystem.
In your own words, what would you say blockchain is?
Blockchain is simply an open, public, decentralized ledger for recording any kind of data and and transactions on the internet such that the records are irreversible and unchangeable.
Your Journey into the fast emerging Technology. When, how and through what means did you hear about Blockchain and Cryptocurrency?
I got interested in the technology when I first heard about bitcoin from a senior colleague in the year 2015. My first perception of it is that it is the future of money and that it has the capacity to become a global currency. I got much more interested in it when I performed my first transaction and discovered how fast and cheap it is… though my inability to purchase from coinbase and and the high exchange rate surcharge I got from a couple of other local exchanges available then made decide to provide a simpler and better solution for Africa, that was the birth of bitfxt.
In what areas of blockchain are you most passionate?
Exchange. I am passionate about providing a simpler solution for storing, buying and selling of cryptocurrencies in a seamless manner. I believe that such solution will hasten the adoption of the technology in developing countries. I have a goal of democratizing Africa financially.
What is Bitfxt?
Bitfxt is an IT firm that deals on deployment and development of software, mobile apps and websites including crypto exchanges, wallets, payment gateways, e-commerce, RFID tracking system, etc on the blockchain. We also aim a pioneering the movement of tokenizing businesses, assets and currencies in Africa.
What challenges or problems have you identified?
In as much as the hype is all over the place but in my own observations, not everyone truly understands the technology. 99% are in for the money and this is the reason why it will take a lot of people unaware.
When I got involved in the tech, I couldn’t find single developer in Nigeria, I couldn’t find a single trader both on the internet and offline, it was super frustrating. I had to outsource my project to a foreign country of which if we had developers, the money we spent would have gotten to the hands of a fellow Nigerian, thereby, improving on the economy.
How will your innovation use the blockchain to solve these problems?
Though we started as an exchange where you can list, save, buy and sell cryptocurrencies but we have grown beyond that to solve other problems. Right now, Bitfxt Technology is more of a decentralized IT firm where you can find professional blockchain developers to take on any project you can imagine. So far, we have developed other solutions such as bitfxt cointracker, bitfxt exchange wallet, bxtcoin, bitfxt vault, and much more coming soon
What milestones do you hope to accomplish in the coming years in the Blockchain Industry?
We want to be known as the largest blockchain IT firm in Africa at large. Lots of people have solutions locked up in their mind but because they dont have the funds and a professional to take on it, they die with the solutions and this is the reason why our coin BXTCOIN, is the official currency of the bitfxt ecosystem. Holders can pay at high discounts using our coin. We also hope to help tokenize Africa and stand as the largest exchange for trading African inspired tokens and coins.
How is your Project contributing to creating blockchain awareness and in turn Mass Adoption?
Our solutions are simple to understand and easy to use, and as such, anybody can easily use them. Our exchange is built with the African market in mind, users can easily connect their wallets to their local bank account in order to buy and sell cryptos and we hope to list more of African inspired projects and list them against other African currencies, I believe this will bring about mass user adoption.
Tell us about your project team?
My project team are made up of people from all works of life who has decided to make a difference in the industry. They are professionals to the core and are highly passionate about the project.
How did you come about the team?
I would say it was by the grace of God. I hand fully picked them one after the other not minding their academic background. I resonate more with passion because passion can drive a man to dare god, so I believe that getting the right people with the right attitude, willingness to learn and commensurate passion mattered more and that is what I go for.
How do you inspire them to give their best?
I try to be a true example of what I expect of them and so, they always pick a cue from my actions, resilience and passion towards the project. I also organize staff meeting once in a while where I ensure share knowledge and inspiration with them. In bitfxt tech limited, we are more of a family and it has helped us bond better.
Despite the obvious hurdles associated with building a start-up, exchanges seem to emerge on a consistent basis. Undoubtedly, most of them do not stand for progress in the ecosystem but those which truly are built with integrity are sure to survive the test of time. One would think this area was already saturated but wait till you hear the name of the next crypto exchange platform in town!
CryptoTVPlus Partners With SiBAN For Campus Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Tour 2019
The Stakeholders in Blockchain Association of Nigeria SIBAN has joined the list of partners sponsoring and promoting the blockchain and cryptocurrencies awareness in Nigeria tertiary institutions.
This partnership will see both organizations ‘pulling their weight’ to spreading awareness on cryptocurrencies and blockchain to the millions of students across Nigeria tertiary schools.
“Campus BCAT is a university-wide education program aiming to teach and expose tertiary education students on the facts and misconception of blockchain and cryptocurrency.”
Speaking on the motivation behind Campus BCAT 2019, CEO of CryptoTVPlus Tony Emeka “There are always meetups, conferences and others about blockchain which is good, but the enduring effects emanating from these events haven’t really been felt. This is exactly our motivation behind the Campus BCAT initiative as we are well aware of the strategic roles youths and millennials play in the adoption of any new technology, social media is an example“
With millions of students graduating from the tertiary institutions across the country yearly, Campus BCAT 2019 presents a good opportunity to educate the growing population of the varied possibilities in cryptocurrencies and the underlying technology, the Blockchain.
As countries of the world are getting exposed greatly to the growing possibilities the technologies brings, Nigeria been a nation that has most of its revenue from oil sales and plagued with various challenges, cryptocurrencies and the underlying technologies has been seen to be a good solution to some of the challenges.
The Campus BCAT 2019 Tour is expected to feature Talent hunts, Winning of exciting prices, Establishment of Campus BCAT Club, the opportunity for students to meet project founders building innovative products in the space, etc. This will start from the University of Ibadan (UI) on the 7th of September, 2019 and will continue from there to other schools across the Nation. Also sponsoring the Tour are Luno, BitFXT Technologies.
“SiBAN is a self regulatory body in Nigeria with the mission of growing the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry in Nigeria by providing regulating guides to projects and helping blockchain firms and projects in the Country to be able to function within the legal ambit of the law while also protecting the public from illegal practices.”
CryptoTVPlus the first of its kind blockchain and cryptocurrency focused media house providing quality and upto date news, report and information on the industry across Africa and the world.
Adoption of Cryptocurrency: Taking Ripio in South America as a Case Study
Cryptocurrency can never reach its potential until there is a massive adoption in various forms of our everyday life by various people, of different class and varying income levels
Generally, humans have a tendency to claim absolute truth based on their limited, subjective experience as they ignore other people’s limited, subjective experiences which may be equally true. Because we tend to see things in our limited knowledge
That’s the case of the perspective of different people on crypto today, where some have seen great opportunities others insist on seeing a scam, risk and uncertainties, even some business savvy billionaires are still sceptical about the future of cryptocurrencies; the likes of warren buffet.
In South America, there is also a difference in opinion on cryptocurrencies, from enthusiastic adoption to total disinterest, the South Americans are seeing cryptocurrencies with mixed reactions. Their dispositions aren’t really different from other enlightened parts of the world.
The Southern American region
Argentina is a country in South America and a potential to be a hotbed of cryptocurrency activities, but the biggest challenge amongst other ones peculiar to the south American region rests on its fairly unstable economy. In Argentina, 32% of people are estimated to be living under the poverty line. This is due to the shortfall in salaries, that cannot match the annual inflation rate the peso of more than 50%. Many simply can’t afford to risk their keeping their savings in their local currency at the risk of watching it fall in value. Due to the high inflation
This is said to be one of the reasons why some south Americans are buying into the cryptocurrency ideas.
According to an ad in Buenos Aires subway tunnels by Ripio. It is said that “250,000 Argentines have already bought bitcoins with us,” claims
Ripio is said to be among several other beginners who are betting that the time is right for cryptocurrencies to cut across major areas in Latin America. And it appears that Argentina’s unique economy makes it the perfect place to lead a vast adoption of crypto
Other countries that its citizen use cryptocurrency to protect themselves from the depreciating value of their country’s currency include Venezuela that has been hit with various sanctions by America leading to great economic woes, like Argentina a lot of their citizens have turned to crypto to alleviate their predicament. Using it to protect their savings.
Also, in Argentina the Governments relative openness to cryptocurrency has helped shaped Buenos Aires into an attractive zone of development, their government’s openness to blockchain projects has helped shape Buenos Aires into an attractive zone of development.
The general disposition of everyday people
Despite all the progress a lot still needs in convincing everyday people to adopt the use of cryptocurrency in that region, especially by creating more user-friendly, trustworthy systems with clear advantages over the traditional and familiar dollar notes.
What Repio seeks to achieve
Ripio is really putting enough effort in this one, for the Latin Americans, presently, he is developing what it hopes are easy-to-use tools for buying, selling, trading, investing, and spending cryptocurrencies.
Although cryptos are a bit fresh to travellers and sailors, Ripio’s six-year-old company, which was originally called BitPagos, has managed to make its mark as a market leader in this regard
In 2017, BitPagos moved its attention from merchants to consumers and rebranded it to Ripio. It now has 300,000 users in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico (about 85% of them are in Argentina).
Today, Ripio offers users a cryptocurrency exchange and software “wallet” for storing their digital monies. Similarly, it has also started a service that uses smart contracts or blockchain-based computer programs which are useful for automation of complex financial transactions. This is in a bid to facilitate peer-to-peer lending based on the Ethereum blockchain. Allowing South Americans to have access to loans in local currency without having to pay high fees to a bank.
Education and its impact
To make crypto more adopted by people, a lot of work needs to be done in educating people on what it means also in providing resources to people on how they can going about using it, this knowledge will play a major role in sensitizing otherwise novices about what it’s all about increasing the potential of them becoming users of these various platforms which in turn will make them bring more people into the system,
Ripio has made this their agenda as well especially in Argentina with plans to unveil a new system which would combine these packages and a few new ones alongside educational content like articles, videos, and tutorials.
According to them, “The service is born out of the goodwill in assisting Ripio users the access to “the new economy.”
Juan Mendez, the company’s chief brand officer, stated that “We understand that the economy is changing, that banks are digitizing, and we want to be there in that moment to offer access, financing, and investment options”.
The company is staking its bet that crypto-assets will play a major role alongside more traditional financial services. Hence it wants to provide a central place to find all the options.
Stablecoins and its impact
The use of stable coin has helped to reduce the issue of volatility that most new users have with crypto, these coins maintain their value with the USD this helps users to make their transactions without the fear that their hard-earned savings will be impacted during a bear season this has played a huge role in making more people to adopt crypto
All these Important moves have played a major role in boosting adoption, but it’s not a piece of new information that the battle is far from being won, because despite the making cryptocurrencies more appealing and user-friendly to the average consumer.
They’re still the issue of trust, the uphill battle convincing everyday consumers in South American to trust a ‘new form of money’.
Despite massively overcoming the challenge of making a lot of more people understand the technical concepts of crypto all the good work is still being truncated by the unpredictable price fluctuations of crypto
This challenge has been fixed by the use of “stable coins,” which are designed to maintain the value of stable government-backed currencies like the US dollar.
Platforms like Ripio, for instance, tackled this issue of the volatility of crypto through the availability of stablecoins to their users, Ripio added a stable coin called Dai to its exchange and wallet, to go alongside Bitcoin and Ether.
Now, South Americans have the option of making use of the easy-to-use, easily accessible digital version of the dollar which is readily available to everybody in the continent.
Having stable coins has reduced the need for South American to queue up to acquire and to physical dollars and also risk keeping large sums of it on other or in their houses which will make them vulnerable to being attacked by thieves.
Also, Customers of Ripio, for instance, do not have to endure the stress of going to the streets for dollar exchange, it’s as easy as just going to the nearest convenience store to load pesos into their wallet to buy Dai. Later on, they could even spend them online and also use Ripio’s service to change them back into their local currency and purchase items from the popular e-commerce sites.
This can easily be replicated in other parts of the world, especially developing countries.
The success of dai, which has Many in Argentina has begun to use Dai, majorly as a form of remittances or store value. Is lesson to everyone But MakerDAO does not intend to stop there according to them the vision is more elaborate than that they believe that “decentralized” banking could broaden access to financial services, not just in Argentina but all over the world.
Bitcoin ATMs and acceptability by retailers
Bitcoin ATMs are scattered across the continent, however, there is a little indication on the streets of Buenos Aires that a crypto-infused future will be here any time soon. Most merchants have added cryptocurrency stickers on their storefront windows alongside those for Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. This has eased the use of crypto as a means of payment since many Paying with cash is still common, and many retailers offer discounts for doing so. Though it’s becoming more common for merchants to also accept QR code payments via a service called Mercado Pago, all in South America.
Cryptocurrency is making a major progress in South America, despite its numerous challenges, but their success should serve as a motivation for other companies to invest and push for adoption in other developing continents like Africa, especially those with very high number of unbanked citizens by taking a cue from Ripio and its progress in South America.
Surveyors Make a Move For the Integration of Blockchain Technology in Real Estates
Professionals in the real estate sector, have begun to make moves to implement the application of the blockchain technology to advance transparency and speed of transaction between clients and practitioners in the field.
According to them, the implementation of this technology would go a long way in enhancing transparency, low level of liquidity in the sector, amongst other benefits.
The blockchain technology also referred to as the decentralised ledger technology (DLT), is characterized by a time-stamped series of an immutable record of data that is managed by so many computers around the world not owned by any single entity. Cryptographic principles are being used to enable the security of each block and data in the system.
Speaking at its Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Nigeria Group, in their second continuous professional development series titled, ‘Blockchain: The brick & mortar of its growth in today’s world’, the Managing Partner, Blockchain Asset Management, Deji Soetan clearly stated that the blockchain technology being a disruptive technology gradually gaining ground in today’s world presents the real estate sector with limitless possibilities in the real estate sector.
According to a news report by The Guardian, he also made reference to other aspects of the technology, such as smart contracts which could eliminate the cases of frauding of property owners. He said that the technology has created the possibility of linking digital ownership of documents, properties and contracts to the blockchain, laying emphasis on the fact that when all of these have been linked to the blockchain there is no chance of any form of alteration.
Soetan also made mention of the fact that this technology would soon gain notoriety even in the least expected industries. He further explained that transactions on the system are verifiable as every who including those who are part of the network and those who are not can have access to the open ledger and that every transaction can be traced right back to its origin.
“Within the context of payments, introduction of smart contracts into blockchain real estate ledgers and transactions have clear potential in streamlining various real estates processes, such as releasing apartment ownership, or rental documents upon completion of a crypto-currency transfer. One important area where it would be used is in the speed of transaction because nowadays, the process is still slow, making it be so archaic and needs to be modernised”, he said.
Facebook’s Libra Project White Paper Is Officially Out: Pushes for the Internet of Money
After months of speculation and a nonofficial statement from the Facebook team after the news break by Bloomberg reports on the rumoured cryptocurrency project secretly being worked, Facebook’s Libra Project White Paper is officially out.
Facebook clearly outlines its mission and vision for the Switzerland registered project.
It’s mission according to the whitepaper reads
“Libra’s mission is to enable a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people.”
Facebook is clearly ready for another phase of its reign as a social media giant housing more than a quarter of the world’s population. It is home to more than 2 billion users with its aggregated user base for WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook and Messenger.
With the Libra’s project cryptocurrency dubbed the Globalcoin, Facebook is going to have an impact in the cryptosphere coupled with the influence of the founding members such as Coinbase, Visa, Spotify, Mastercard, Uber, Paypal, and others who have invested about $10million each into the project.
Facebook wants to make Libra the evolution of Paypal with the wish that it will be simpler to establish, easier to use as a payment means with fewer transaction fees, more accessible to the unbanked, more flexible and durable through decentralisation.
In its Libra document, Facebook writes:
“Success will mean that a person working abroad has a fast and simple way to send money to family back home, and a college student can pay their rent as easily as they can buy a coffee.”
Alongside Libra network, Facebook is also launching Calibra, a subsidiary company that will handle the transactions and protect users privacy. The goal of Calibra is “to provide financial services that will let people access and participate in the Libra network,” and it will be readily available in Messenger and WhatsApp and also as a standalone app.
The control of the Libra network will not be solely Facebook’s duty since it is decentralized to include all the 28 founding members. It is the association’s duty commonly referred to as “Libra Association” to promote the open-sourced Libra blockchain and also sign up businesses to accept Libra for payment. It rests upon them to recruit more founding members as Facebook says it wants to reach 100 members before the official launch of Libra.
The unit of the Libra cryptocurrency is Libra just like the unit of a dollar is cent. Libra is represented by a three wavy horizontal line Unicode character ≋ like the dollar is represented by $ or the naira by #. The value of a Libra is meant to stay largely stable since it is a stable coin. Its stability will make it be a good medium of exchange, as merchants can be confident as they will be assured they won’t be paid a Libra today that will be lesser than the amount tomorrow.
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