As the adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrencies continues to rise around the world, IMA-ABASI PIUS takes a look at how Nigeria is struggling to adopt the technologies.
For many millennials in Nigeria today (especially the Generation Z), the stories of one having to stand for hours on long queues in the banking hall to send money to a loved one, or visit a post office for months before finally receiving confirmation of successful package delivery, might seem like a folktale.
Interestingly, this supposed folktale was what we once considered a way of life, not until the emergence of modern technology.
There obviously is no atom of doubt to the fact that the introduction of modern technology into our world, brought about a major disruption to Nigeria’s once rudimentary way of living, as we are now beginning to witness how these technologies are being leveraged to improve every aspect of our lives.
Thanks to modern technology today, Nigerians can now send money to their loved ones conveniently without having to leave their homes. They can also purchase goods and services from anywhere in the world via mobile devices, as a matter of fact, life has got easy to the extent that you could now buy a landed property using the mobile device.
However, while the rest of the world have been able to hit the ground running in terms of mass adoption of these modern technologies, Nigeria has had a really poor spell so far. Apparently, it appears that factors like ignorance, misinformation and lack of sensitization have contributed immensely to this existing dilemma, as many Nigerians, especially the older generation still shy away from utilising most of these technologies, due to the fact that they possess no knowledge on how they operate, and the few that do, tend to hold false notions on how they operate.
Unfortunately, it appears that while these technologies are already being utilised to impact change in other regions of the world, the question of their authenticity and viability are still being discussed as a hot topic in Nigeria. Blockchain for instance is currently one of the sought-after technologies in many countries today, but back here in Nigeria, many still hold the belief that this piece of technology is only used for fraudulent practices, which clearly explains why its adoption in Nigeria is moving at a slow pace.
However, looking on the bright side, one could notice a major improvement at the rate in which blockchain and cryptocurrencies are now being adopted in the country over the past few years. Apparently, a huge part of this progress could be attributed to the efforts of some emerging blockchain startups, who have been able to device feasible ways in which these technologies could be easily incorporated into the daily routine of the average Nigerian.
Thanks to these startups, many of the basic activities which we regularly conduct online, like purchasing airtime, buying data subscription, sending and receiving money, to mention a few, can now be done seamlessly with cryptocurrencies, through our mobile devices. What is even more fascinating is how these emerging Startups are now beginning to provide blockchain solutions that cut across a wide range of other sectors aside from finance.
Apparently, it appears that emerging startups might be the catalyst needed to fast-track the adoption of blockchain in Nigeria.
Financial Street, in a bid to reveal how these emerging startups are helping to fast-track the adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrencies in Nigeria, had an interview with Obiajulu Onyema, Chief Operating Officer at ABiT Network.
Onyema revealed how ABiT Network is creating blockchain solutions for Africa by providing sustainable solutions that go beyond just rendering financial services, but also addressing some major problems which are currently being faced across a wide range of other sectors in not just Nigeria, but Africa as a whole.
“ABiT Network is a company that aims to bring the massive opportunities provided by cryptocurrency to the masses. People who dwell in third world nations with unstable economies would find it easier to create wealth if they find a way to tap into the multi-billion dollar crypto economy, and at ABiT Network we are building platforms that would make that possible,” Onyema said.
He added, “At ABiT Network, our products fall into three major categories, with the first being products that give people access to new markets (cryptocurrency market), a great example of this is ABiTrader that makes it possible for people to earn via cryptocurrency trading.
“In the second category, we have products that increase participation in existing markets, a great example is ABiTCrowd which enable individuals with lower incomes to afford real estate, and lastly, we have products that provide people with credit, one special product we offer that falls under this category, is ABiTLoans.”
According to him, cryptocurrency is money and by building diverse platforms that people can spend crypto on, his outfit is establishing the fact that cryptocurrency “is something that can fit in the day to day transactions that people are already used to.”
Explaining further, he noted, “For example, on ABiT Discount Shoppers, we’re providing a platform where people would be able to buy day to day merchandise like clothes and shoes.
“At ABiT Network, we are also building a sustainable financial ecosystem where users can make financial investments and earn interests, just like its being done in our traditional financial market, which is what our staking programme is aimed at achieving.
“Our staking programme would be of benefit to people who are long-term holders of Tatcoin (the cryptocurrency fuelling the ABiT Network), so instead of letting the coin lie dormant in their wallet, staking is a way of letting them earn a form of interest on their investment. Anyone who hold Tatcoin can stake and this enables them earn from both Tatcoin price appreciation and also the Interest on staked coins.”
While analysing the level at which blockchain and cryptocurrencies are being adopted in Nigeria, Onyema confessed that a lot needs to be done before these technologies start getting adopted in mainstream sectors across the country.
He also pointed out the fact that proper sensitisation and education of the masses on how these technologies operate, would go a long way to help push its rate of adoption.
“The first step is always education. I would advise every young person coming into the crypto space to first learn what blockchain and cryptocurrency entails before making any investment.
“There are a lot of scams flying around and it takes the ability for you to understand how cryptocurrency and blockchain operate to truly separate the chaff from the wheat.
“When it comes to crypto adoption I believe that there is still a lot of work to be done, we are yet to scratch the surface, and I believe that the emergence of the ABiT Network would help accelerate this process,” he added.
So far, the race towards mainstream adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrency in Nigeria has been a major bust. However, with the recent emergence of promising blockchain startups in the country, there seems to be a glimmer of hope for this cause. Although it is still uncertain how soon their actions would begin to have a visible impact on the rate of blockchain adoption in Nigeria, it is safe to say that the future holds the answers.