On Friday the 13th of September, Nairametrics sat down with the Chief Executive Officer of Quidax, Buchi Okoro, to discuss Quidax’s rising reputation in the cryptocurrency space and what to expect from Africa’s largest cryptocurrency exchange and possibly the continent’s next billion-dollar crypto startup.
Why is Quidax in crypto?
The journey into crypto started a while back with me actually getting ripped off while trying to buy cryptocurrency with Naira, as well as my co-founder Uzo Awili receiving Bitcoin for his work as a developer with no way to convert it to naira. Now multiply that by the thousands of people having these same issues and it becomes clear that the big why for us was to fill a real market need and the opportunity to be a part of the greatest revolution to finance and money in the past 200 years. That is golden.
At what point did Quidax seem viable?
We started initially with the crude (so it seemed at the time) idea of organizing a Whatsapp group where people bought and sold crypto between themselves. This was in 2016, at some point it was like oh, this is something and we sat down to do the math. People where moving serious numbers through that group, it was at that point we knew there was a demand for a reliable and seamless way to buy and sell cryptocurrency. We can say that was when we knew Quidax was viable but it wasn’t Quidax then.
What is Quidax doing that is unique?
Firstly, we settle to local bank accounts instantly, the earliest we have seen is 4 hours settlement time-spanning up to 72 hours, this literally means that you can’t save a life if you wanted to use a crypto transaction.
Secondly, we are building the infrastructure that powers crypto-fiat transactions across Africa which means you can now build a crypto application into your product or service powered by our infrastructure. If you want your users to buy, sell or store crypto on your product, or simply operate a cryptocurrency wallet, you can easily do that by integrating with our plug-and-play APIs.
What do you love about your team, and why are you the ones to solve this problem?
The thing I love most about the team is that they are crazy enough to think they can do anything. We always joke that if we knew what it would take we might never have gone into it but beyond that, there is a huge sense of trust, discipline and fellowship within the team and that is important because the journey is long and the demands are heavy.
We are solving the problem because there is equal parts experience, excitement and discipline within the team.
In your opinion, do you think cryptocurrency can transform Africa?
Yes, I do, and that is because Africa has a track record of leapfrogging. It happened with telecommunication, with mobile money and now with financial transactions. The promise of crypto is the ability to transfer value from point A to B efficiently, seamlessly and cheaply. We see cryptocurrency as the technology that could make doing business across and with Africa easier, cheaper, faster and more efficient. Crypto would open Africa to the world economically in the way the internet did.
What is Quidax’s unfair competitive advantage and why will it be sustained?
12 hours to 2 minutes. That’s the amount of time we have reduced settlement to the local bank account and we have been able to do that because of our integrations into the major banks, it took us 10 months to get this right.
We support businesses that transact with cryptocurrency and want to offer crypto services to their customers in the way no other player does.
Here’s a question I have been meaning to ask, what can people do with cryptocurrency?
In some countries, you can use cryptocurrencies to pay for everyday goods and services. The likes of Starbucks and retailer Walmart are among those that accept cryptocurrency as payment.
In Nigeria, very soon, customers would be able to pay for everyday stuff using cryptocurrency. One of the businesses we support, Fliqpay, has been on this journey for a while and it is finally coming to light. So you would be able to buy airtime, movie tickets, pay for pizza and even cars using cryptocurrency.
What has Quidax achieved so far?
The first of August this year made it 1 year since we launched our public beta. In that time we have processed over 110 Million US Dollars in transaction volume and we serve users in 70 countries and 6 continents but we are still yet to scratch the surface. We want to support more businesses looking to offer cryptocurrency services and help drive its education and adoption in Africa.
What does the next 5 years look like for Quidax?
In the next 5 years, we expect to be covering at least 40 countries in Africa and powering remittance in and out of Africa. We also expect that at that time we would have achieved our goal of being the go-to African partner for anything cryptocurrency related.
What’s a typical day at Quidax like?
A typical day at Quidax could go from calling users to understand the issues they are facing and then turning that feedback into actionable steps that could end up as new product features or an upgrade to an existing feature. However, the best part of my day is taking a look at our metrics to understand how users are daily engaging with Quidax and what we can do to optimize that experience for them.
What’s in Quidax’s pipeline? What features can users expect from Quidax in the next 1 year?
A couple of our plans for the next year are hush-hush. Although I can tell you what to expect over the next month. In about 3 weeks we will be launching our mobile app but sometime before then, we will be kicking off a partnership with a liquidity provider. With the partnership, people can trade higher amounts of cryptocurrency on Quidax. The most exciting part of next month is that we will be entering into some partnerships that would change the face of crypto-remittance in Africa.
Who are your competitors, and how are you different?
While there are a number of cryptocurrency exchanges in Africa none of them is on our trajectory. That is taking an active approach to solving remittance problem by providing liquidity and taking on the challenges of building out the required infrastructure to power remittance in a way no one is thinking about it today. In all honesty, we need more competitors looking at this problem with each coming up with a unique and innovative way to tackle the problem. At the end of the day, it’s a win-win for everyone.
What’s your biggest threat?
Our biggest threat is regulation. Don’t get me wrong we are not against regulation, we are currently in line with Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundry (AML) best practices for financial institutions. Rather, regulation without a proper understanding of the cryptocurrency space is what we are wary of.
Although we are definitely in support of cryptocurrency regulations to ensure a safe climate for users. We would rather it is done with players in the space at the table to ensure innovation isn’t stifled just when it is starting to grow.
Crypto bounty: $1 million up for you
Harvest Finance has increased its bounty from $100,000 to $1 million for details of an unknown cyber hacker.
Fast-growing decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol, Harvest Finance, has increased its bounty from $100,000 to $1 million for details of an unknown cyber hacker – leading to the return of $24 million in siphoned funds taken recently.
What you should know
According to tweets seen on its official Twitter handle – Harvest Finance anonymous, Harvest is offering the bounty of $1M for “tracking down” the attacker and returning the funds.
At the moment, the attacker is known to:
- understand flashloans
- understand arbitrage and trading
- understand the curve internal code
- understand renBTC
- understand opsec
💵Increasing the bounty for tracking down the attacker and returning the funds to $1M
Here's what we know about the attacker:
1) understands flashloans
2) understands arbitrage and trading
3) understands curve internal code
4) understands renBTC
5) understands opsec
— Harvest Finance (@harvest_finance) October 29, 2020
Why it’s happening
Harvest Finance’s bounty is coming on the back burner when it observed its protocol was apparently hacked, with the cyber hacker reportedly exploiting about $24 million from Harvest Finance pools and swapping for renBTC (rBTC).
- Hence, Harvest Finance affirmed the hack, stating the protocol is “working actively on the issue of mitigating the economic attack on the Stablecoin and BTC pools.”
- To protect users, we’ve pulled y pool and btc curve strategy funds to the vault.
- At this point, all Stablecoin and BTC funds are in the vault (not deployed in a strategy). No other pools are affected.
- To be specific: to protect users, 100% of Stablecoin and BTC curve strategy funds have been withdrawn from the strategy to the vault.
Harvest, a new (DeFi) platform created on the Kava blockchain, plans to launch a product that will enable users to earn more on Bitcoin, XRP, Binance coin, and two other cryptos.
Harvest offers crypto users the platform to supply crypto assets for lending, and earn interest on them, as well as, use their crypto as security for borrowing; this is according to Brian Kerr, Kava’s co-founder and Chief Executive.
6 Cryptos rich investors are buying
$ETH, $LINK, $REN, $ELF, $KNC, & $ZRX are among cryptos recently hitting one-year highs.
High net worth investors are quietly putting capital into some cryptos amid the recent bullish happening at the flagship crypto market.
Unsurprisingly, all the cryptos seen by Nairametrics recording high cash inflows are based and built on Ethereum, and the amount of each held by the high net worth investors addresses has hit one-year highs in the previous week, according to a crypto analytics firm – Santiment.
As investors give the world flagship crypto the much-needed attention, Bitcoin’s market price has been ranging between $12.7k and $13.3k, as crypto whales of many respective $ETH-based #altcoins have added to their non-exchange bags. $ETH, $LINK, $REN, $ELF, $KNC, & $ZRX are among those recently hitting one-year highs.
🐳 With most eyes on #Bitcoin's market price between this $12.7k and $13.3k range, whales of many respective $ETH-based #altcoins have added to their non-exchange bags. $ETH, $LINK, $REN, $ELF, $KNC, & $ZRX are among those recently hitting one-year highs. https://t.co/JRk8mdEaAx pic.twitter.com/2J2wTDy2Ox
— Santiment (@santimentfeed) October 26, 2020
What you should know
All seems to be going well for these crypto’s derivative Ethereum. At the time of writing this publication, Ethereum traded at $387.51 with a daily trading volume of $10,620,097,122.
- ETH price is up 0.2% in the last 24 hours. It has a circulating supply of 110 million coins and a max supply of ∞ coins.
- There are good news and bad news for #Ethereum’s quest to again surpass the $420 price barrier.
- The good news is that miners aren’t selling, and there is a big increase in new $ETH addresses being created, and pre-existing addresses have shown increased inactivity.
- The bad news is that social sentiment is bordering on the euphoric territory, and daily active deposits have jumped in a big way.
Why Nigeria is Africa’s biggest Crypto market
Cryptos are fast becoming more popular for payment transactions around the world and Nigeria has emerged Africa’s biggest market.
Nigerians are fasting adopting the world’s most popular crypto – Bitcoin, as their mainstream for payments and wealth preservation. Thus, setting the pace for other African countries – as it leads the whole African continent combined in the use of Bitcoin via transactions turnover.
Then, it becomes unsurprising to see leading crypto brands like Binance, Paxful, FTX, Crypto.com, printing their labels in Nigeria, as it is apparently one of the fastest-growing crypto markets in the ever-changing world.
According to a new study seen by Nairametrics, Nigeria has seen the largest influx of activity in peer to peer lending in the month of October.
What you should know
Data obtained from usefultulips, a BTC analytic data provider showed Nigeria leads Africa’s peer to peer lending in the month of October 2020, as it posted a monthly P2P volumes of between $32.5 million, followed by South Africa and Kenya posting about $9million and $7.4 million respectively.
What they are saying
Ekene Ojieh, Head Of Public Relations, Buffalo Chase, a fast-growing crypto analytic firm, attributed the upward trend in the adoption of cryptos – most especially Bitcoin, to Nigeria’s demographic structure.
“Nigeria ranks 8th position in the largest country with crypto adoption. The reasons for this fact are not far-fetched.
“The Nigerian youth has about 32% of the entire population of about 200 million people.
“It’s easy for a young country like Nigeria to adopt the use of bitcoin because a large percentage of its population falls within the age range that is tech-savvy. Although, that’s not the only reason why many Nigerian youths adopt bitcoin.
“Nigerian youths prefer to secure their assets in bitcoin or stablecoins because naira like every other fiat currency is susceptible to inflation.
“The borderless feature of bitcoin makes payment effortless and transaction fee outrageously low.
“In the recent protest in Nigeria, we saw the sharp switch to bitcoin after the movement’s bank account was frozen making up to about 44% of the entire donation.
“Bitcoin gained an impressive 13.7% over week 43 – as per Glassnode. Bitcoin is currently traded at a $13,000 region. With the accessibility of bitcoin, we see more Nigerian youths adopting the use of bitcoin.”
It’s also critical to note that a significant number of Nigerian youths, amid #EndSARS protest that had triggered police reforms, got help from Bitcoin, on the principle that its payments were secured and had no central authority, which could breach payment. The funds were consequently used in aiding and providing medical and legal bills for some youths who had peacefully set out for such cause and got arrested in that period.
Another thing that surely stood out in the just concluded #EndSARS protest and got the rare limelight in the crypto-verse, is a Nigerian female rights group better known as the Feminist Coalition, a non-governmental organization originally created to push for gender equality in Nigeria, used the power of crypto technology in disbursing funds for injured protesters, food, water, first aid supplies – that the co-founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey had to lend his support.
Dorsey tweeted, “Donate via Bitcoin to help #EndSARS,” while also retweeting a tweet by the Feminist Coalition informing Nigerians of how to support the fast-changing female right group.
— jack (@jack) October 14, 2020
Nigerian millennials are fast adapting to the most ever-changing financial asset in the modern era and leading brands are also taking advantage of such prevailing macro.