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!
Block.one Launches a Social Media App, “Voice”
Block.one, the firm behind EOS, on 1st June 2019 announced that it is introducing a blockchain-based social media, Voice, that will bring alignment and transparency to social media users. This was made open at the company’s June 1 event at the DC Armory in Washington, DC. which drew about 300 attendees who included industry influencers, developers, investors, media and members of the community.
Block.one claimed that “Social media is fundamentally broken and is in need of a complete overhaul.” Noting that Voice will be launched on EOS public blockchain and therefore is a more transparent social media platform for the world. And hence, the value of good content gets circulated right back into sustaining the community, not corporate bottom lines as it will return to users. Voice is then meant to cultivate creation, sharing, discovery, and promotion of contents by real users, not bots and fake accounts just like on Facebook or Twitter and users will directly benefit from their ideas and engagement on the platform.
Voice will be on the public blockchain of EOS and it will allow for alignment and transparency – no hidden algorithms nor invisible interests.
Brendan Blumer, CEO of Block.one, who opened the company’s June 1 event at the DC Armory in Washington, D.C. with the announcement of Voice said that “the truth is, current social media platforms are designed to use their users.” However, pertaining to Voice, he said, “just look at the business model. Our content. Our data. Our attention. These are all incredibly valuable things. But right now, it’s the platform, not the user, that reaps the reward. By design, they run by auctioning our information to advertisers, pocketing the profit, and flooding our feeds with hidden agendas dictated by the highest bidder. Voice changes that.”
Is Block.one Capable of this Social Media Revolution?
Block.one is well positioned to lead this social media revolution because its first product, EOSIO, was a global initiative to build a more scalable, secure and flexible blockchain framework that enable people to reimagine, rebuild and restore trust in the systems enterprises. Its success with EOS has led to it offering early backers a huge returns for their investment. And notably, the numerous networks built on the EOSIO software are consistently the most used public blockchain platforms in the world, accounting for upwards of 70% of all blockchain activity. For example, Everipedia and Galaxy Digital LP are such networks that utilized EOSIO network. Security, privacy and ease-of-use will always be critical in Block.one’s projects.
Bitcoin Pizza Day, We’ve Come a Long Way
Pizza is well known all over the world the juicy cheesy meal has won many a heart. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is also breaking boundaries. The story of Bitcoin Pizza Day begins on May 22, 2010. It isn’t just a story of how one man bought a pizza for 10000 Bitcoin, it is a story of Bitcoin adoption.
Nine years ago, Laszlo Hanyecz traded 10,000 BTC for Pizza and has since been known as the Bitcoin Pizza guy. At that time one BTC was less than a dollar, but today, it is worth over a $7,000. Laszlo Hanyecz had announced on the bitcointalk forum that he was willing to pay 10,000 Bitcoins for the delivery of two Papa John’s pizzas. He wrote on the platform,
“I’ll pay 10,000 bitcoins for a couple of pizzas.. like maybe 2 large ones so I have some left over for the next day.”
At that time, all Hanyecz, a software engineer from Florida wanted was to get Pizza in exchange of BTC. Pretty soon, a British man took up Hanyecz’s offer. He offered to get the two pizzas for him at the price of $25 a piece. It was quite a bargain because at that time 10,000 Bitcoins were worth around $41. Nine months after exchanging his BTC for Pizza, Bitcoin became equal with the U.S. dollar, which means the two pizzas were now worth $10,000. Today, the price of one BTC is worth $7918.69 as at the time of writing.
While it is easy to make speculations as to why Hanyecz was willing to part with his digital currencies for Pizza, we cannot deny that he has made a contribution to adoption. It is important to note that the Bitcoin Pizza story is the first known real-world bitcoin transaction. Hanyecz claims that buying the pizza helped legitimize BTC. And although he doesn’t think about how wealthy he could have been if he had held onto his coins he doesn’t regret it. He claims that he is proud to have been a backer of Bitcoin and a proponent of its use in the real world.
Today, Bitcoin use has exceed pizza purchase. Bitcoin and other altcoins can be used for varied purposes. A lot of businesses have adopted digital currencies as a means of transacting since the Bitcoin boom of 2017. You can now purchase a house with bitcoin and even receive your salary in Bitcoin. Today, May 22 has been named Bitcoin Pizza Day. In celebration of the day, crypto companies such as Huobi are celebrating Bitcoin pizza day with special offerings for their users.
Can you spend 10,000 BTC on Pizza? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.
Do Crypto Movies Really Educate?
Cryptocurrencies have come to stay and have found a way into the entertainment industry. Since the inception of Bitcoin in 2009, getting cryptocurrencies to go mainstream has been the aim of crypto and blockchain enthusiasts. A huge breakthrough has been made over the years with Bitcoin finding its way into the Merriam Webster Scrabble dictionary. Asides this, a couple of businesses now accept bitcoin. The importance of the media in creating awareness cannot be overemphasized. Now, the question revolves around whether crypto related movies have any positive impact on adoption or awareness.
A lot of documentaries have been made on cryptocurrencies since the inception of Bitcoin. The movie ‘Banking on Bitcoin’ is a documentary released in 2014 which explains the disruption bitcoin can bring into the financial system. The great thing about these movies is that they spend time educating people on different aspects of cryptocurrency. “Bitcoin in Uganda – Empowering people” is a 5 minutes crypto documentary created in 2018. This documentary shows the real power of cryptocurrency in remittances and cross-border transactions.
While most of these crypto movies are not mainstream, they do a lot in explaining the power of digital currencies. These documentaries chose different aspects of digital currency and focus on revealing more details about them. In fact, Bitcoin Big Bang, a 104-minute screen piece gives details on the Mt.Gox hack. The story focuses on the arrest of Mark Karpales, the CEO of Mt. Gox in Tokyo after the exchange was hacked and about 850,000 Bitcoins was reportedly stolen. The importance of documentaries such as this cannot be overemphasized
Going Mainstream Media With Crypto
Although there are a lot of low budget documentaries on cryptocurrency, high budget movies are beginning to spring up. ‘Deep Web’, a documentary about Ross Ulbricht trial on Silk Road had a budget of about $80,000 which was raised through Kickstarter. TV Shows such as Billions have episodes dedicated to cryptocurrency.
In fact, Dope is one of the first movies to accept Bitcoin. The movie which had a budget of $7,000,000 was the first movie to accept Bitcoin, this was due to a partnership between GoCoin, Lionsgate and Movie Tickets. Partnerships such as these go a long way to push crypto education mainstream. Also Hollywood blockbuster, ‘Crypto’ was released in April 2019, however, it was a movie about money laundering which involves crypto.
Is Crypto the Big Bad Wolf
As more movies begin to talk about cryptocurrency, the question remains if these movies are for crypto education or just on the move to portray crypto in a bad light. Crypto, the movie which features Beau Knapp and Kurt Russel promises to be a movie about digital currencies or is it? While many have praised the movie for the talent of the actors, a lot of persons are not so pleased with the script with many accusing it of scaring people away from Bitcoin.
Typical of every money laundering or compliance movie, the Russians are always the bad guys. However, does this movie portray crypto as a means of payment which is secure and fast or is it just an easy way for laundering money? While Hollywood still has a long way to go in crypto education and awareness, they must be praised for paying attention to details. From the representation of Ledger’s Nano in Billions to Crypto featuring images of a cryptocurrency exchange called Cryptocurrency market, progress is being made. However, anyone looking for cryptocurrency education will do well not to rely totally on these Hollywood movies.
This is why we have decided at Cryptotvplus to take it a step further at educating the populace on Crypto, its impact and what the future holds. Cryptotvplus will be reeling out interesting short movies bothering on crypto where anyone whether you understand the intricacies of cryptocurrencies or not will not only be educated but also become more than a spectator by participating in this revolutionary shift in the evolution of money and global finance. More on this in my next piece.
What topics or areas in Crypto would you like to see a short film done? Do you have any title in mind? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.
Digital Assets Exchange Luno Launches Cryptocurrency Literacy Tour For Varsities in Nigeria
Luno has kicked off its cryptocurrency adoption program for Nigerian universities dubbed “Cryptocurrency Literacy Tour for Universities” launching out with the University of Lagos as the first of a series of tour where it will go about canvassing for the favourable adoption of cryptocurrency through knowledge in 6 Nigerian universities.
Luno, an exchange based off of South Africa was launched in 2013. It has since continued its growth trajectory by adding new users across 40 countries spanning more than 4 continents. It presently boasts of up to 3 million registered users across its platform with Nigeria as one of its biggest market.
Speaking on this development, Owenize Odia, the Country Manager for Luno said:
We are committed to educating our customers given the nature of the market and the tendency for people to fall into the wrong hands while online
With its debut tour kicking off in Unilag and having 300 youths in attendance, Luno is clearly taking the charge to bringing about perceptual shift and a favorable disposition towards cryptocurrencies which it says has not been properly understood. Through its representative Odia, it argues that the current financial systems was built for a non-digital age, ignoring the needs of the modern individual. Citing on the decentralized nature of a peer to peer digital currency like the bitcoin, it is not dependent on any central government or authority as obtainable with fiat.
She continued by saying
We are contributing by investing heavily into our Luno Learning Portal, which helps the public, the media, and other stakeholders educate themselves about the facts, opportunities, and risks in the cryptocurrency market,
In her post on LinkedIn, Odia assured the participants and other stakeholders that Luno would continue to focus on awareness initiatives such as this in Nigeria and Africa at large, thereby providing a reliable platform where just about anyone can visit either buy or sell cryptocurrencies.
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