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.
Nigerians’ love for cryptocurrencies on the rise, as it offers cheaper ways to transfer funds
Nigerians do have a high passion for digital currencies and are among the greatest users of cryptocurrencies in the world.
In 2019 Google Trends, Lagos, Nigeria was the number one city based on online search volumes for Bitcoin worldwide. While recently, in May 2020, Arcade Research ranked Nigeria fifth globally with its 11% of connected Nigerians owning or using cryptocurrencies.
In addition, data obtained from Coinmarketcap recently revealed the largest cryptocurrency users around the world, with Nigeria surging by 46% among its youth users. As a country, it gains stood Nigeria Up 211%.
These trends have shown that Nigerians do have a high passion for digital currencies and are among the greatest users of cryptocurrencies in the world. This is based on a major fact that Nigerians are using cryptos to avoid expensive and heavily bureaucratic money transfer systems currently available. Many Nigerians rely on remittances for their daily activities and any way of making the process effective cheaper would be of great benefit to them, this is where Bitcoin comes in
What you need to know: Cryptocurrency is basically, a digital currency based on an innovative technology called the blockchain. Its users range from small businesses to process payments, financial tech-based startups, and retail consumers that use it to send money across the border and as an investment asset.
Consequently, Asia’s arguably most popular cryptocurrency exchange listed Nigeria’s Naira to be first African currency supported on its Binance P2P platform, The Binance CEO said:
“We no longer need to bank the unbanked. We can empower them with cryptocurrency financial services directly. Nigeria is a vibrant innovation hub with a great passion for cryptocurrencies. We strive to provide the easiest cryptocurrency access and best trading service for the African community, and P2P trading is a more flexible approach, giving users the freedom to choose their payment methods and counterparty in a trade.”
However Nigeria’s central bank issued a statement about three years ago banning the use of bitcoin for transaction purposes, this statement was sent to all banks in Nigeria warning them against facilitating the trading of cryptocurrencies but that seems not to pause Nigerians growing love for cryptocurrencies.
OmiseGO, a small digital coin up, 150% in less than 30 days, as Bitcoin fails to break $10,000
OmiseGO traded at $0.5 on April 1st and is presently trading at %1.26, with a market capitalization of about $276 million.
OmiseGO, an ethereum token that energizes smart contract platforms and trades under a sticker known as OMG, surged after popular American based cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, revealed that it would list the token on its exchange.
OmiseGO, which is not even in the top 30 most valuable cryptos in the world, has gained over 150% since April 1, according to data obtained from Coinmarketcap.
It was trading at $0.5 on April 1st and is presently trading at %1.26, with a market capitalization of about $276 million.
What you need to know: OMG coin was designed as a white-label eWallet. It was designed on the Ethereum blockchain by a Thailand based financial services company called Omise. Its full name is OmiseGo.
OmiseGo helps in easing the transfer of coins from one blockchain to another without using a crypto exchange.
Meanwhile, the broader bitcoin market is closely watching for Bitcoin to break the $10,000 price level, after Bitcoin went through a supply squeeze a few weeks ago. Yet, Bitcoin’s price has remained around the $9200+ mark in recent days.
However, Teju Adeyinka a product manager at Nigeria’s fast-growing crypto exchange, Buycoins, explained to Nairametrics why cryptos such as Bitcoin would continue to be a leading force in future. She said:
“Bitcoin is the next important thing because it ushers in a new level of financial inclusion for everyone. It is a financial system that is truly democratized and in the interest of the people. It enables people to have total control over their money and decide what it does or where it goes.
“It also opens up borderless trading and enables people who have been previously shut out economically to partake in financial opportunities beyond their geographical boundaries.
“For instance, with our new product, Sendcash, people are able to easily receive payments to Nigeria from anywhere in the world.”
Cardano to give crypto a cash like experience without internet access
Cardano is working on a microchip that will make users have cash like experience the chip will be vitals in regions like Africa.
Cardano is working on a crypto microchip that would ease crypto transitions without access to internet, enabling fast experience for hundreds of millions of users around the world.
Cardano’s creator, Charles Hoskinson, reveals the new details and that the chip is built by IOHK with the University of Wyoming.
In addition the chip will be vitals in regions like Africa. There, 98% of farmers don’t have a smartphone or are internet-enabled to use cryptocurrencies. Cardano’s creator further outlines:
“So when you look at that, you say, well, OK, 98 percent are mostly offline and not banked or digital. So if I was building a money system for them, it would probably be a bad idea to say, ‘oh, you have to use an always online, purely digital currency.
’” You need some other thing. And so how do I replicate the cash money experience but still have a blockchain backend? Well, what you do is you create a hierarchy where those two percent basically become like micro banks and then they can manage the issuance of these tokens to people and then their local phones or infrastructure can verify”.
What you should know; Cardano is a type of blockchain that permits people to receiving and sending funds. ADA coin is the name is the cryptocurrency. It uses the Cardano blockchain. It also allows people to design smart contracts just like Ethereum.
As discussed earlier, the chip can store private keys and the system proposed by Cardano’s founder will allow them to be transferred from one chip to another.
Furthermore, with the proof of erasure it can be guaranteed that the keys only exist on one chip. That way, the use of the internet is not necessary for transfers:
“So if you can do that, you can basically just tap phones locally with no Internet connection to each other and move value. Like you would a twenty-dollar bill from one actor to another actor, and you’ve replicated the cash experience.
“Now, what’s nice about the solution is it’s infinitely scalable because these transactions actually don’t occur on the blockchain. So from the blockchain perspective, nothing has happened.”
Cardano’s chip can keep private keys and the system proposed by Cardano’s founder will allow them to be transferred from one chip to the other.