Concordium in Nigeria
Massive blockchain adoption will begin first in Africa, particularly in Nigeria. The validation of that bold statement can be found when one considers the signs sprinkled around different sectors of the continent’s giant, especially the financial sector. Nigeria already ranks, globally, as one of the countries with the highest number of crypto transactions.
There is a fine intersection between a number of factors which makes it just right for a mass embrace of this technology. First of all, Nigeria is home to just the right user demography for the technology in terms of age, now known as the millennials and Gen Z’s. This is also the case across the entire continent. It’s a known fact that Africa holds the youngest population globally, having over 70% of its population under 30 years of age. In fact, according to a study, over 32% of the Nigerian population has dabbled with Cryptocurrencies. Secondly, the depth of smartphone technology penetration in Africa and its giant. More than 50% of the country’s population of 200M are internet users and there are almost 100% mobile connections. Lastly, another factor that makes Nigeria a ticking time bomb set for Blockchain adoption explosion is the friction within its financial sector, especially with remittance.
A little consideration of the fastest-growing companies reveals that the financial technology industry makes up a huge chunk of this fertile market. It also reveals that it is well-positioned to merge seamlessly with the implementations of the future digital economy. Previously unsure about the effects of the offshoots of the blockchain technology because of its regulatory roguery, the Nigerian government determined its best move to adapt the possibilities of this financial technology in the country was the introduction of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) whose launch has yet been problematic after multiple failed attempts.
Apparently, this makes it a fine fit for the use case of Concordium. Regulatory compliance and commercial readiness are just what Concordium is built to solve. This glaring opportunity and market match are what attracted our Chairman, Lars Seier Christensen, to visit, explore and create the right connections to initiate the adoption of Concordium in the giant of Africa.
In collaboration with Concordium Africa and BCS Africa, Lars fully packed two-day exploration of Nigeria, from several interviews to convening with top shots across several industries in the nation. Interesting to note, Lars went to school!
Here’s a summary of Lars’ exploration of Nigeria;
Lars’ exploration scheduled for the 13th to 14th of April kicked off with an interview on Arise News’ Global Business Report section. Lars discussed a number of topics including; blockchain technology’s potential in Nigeria, the impact of technology hubs, securing funding, Corporate governance, his personal investment philosophy, CBDCs and even Bitcoin. He emphasized on the fact that blockchain technologies now have taken a wrong initial step in leaving out solutions for problems that the traditional financial sector took time to solve. In his words, “A lot of blockchains, not just the early ones, go straightly against what regulators have tried to fix in the other space for a very long time, …to protect people against criminals and against terror and against money laundering…” which is the soft spot which Concordium is aiming to hit with its regulatory-compliant and commercial-convenient blockchain solution.
In another interview with CryptoTv+, the largest crypto media in the country, he emphasized Concordium’s use case of how it improves privacy, and identity ownership management, especially in the public sector, and simultaneously raises transparency.
Education is one of the pillars of technology adoption and as such platforms that facilitate the learning of technical skills and steadily churn out an experienced workforce are one to reckon with.
As such, on Day 2 of Lars’ exploration, He went to school. The day kicked off with this — a visit to TalentQL, the parent company for AltSchool, an educational platform taking a different approach, as its name suggests by focusing on technical skills and career development for software engineering. After a tour around the company, Lars had a conversation with the team behind the platform discussing their operations, student demography, and payment plans. Lars used this opportunity to encourage them to include foundational blockchain courses in their program. Certainly, as more people learn what the technology actually is, the need for Concordium’s proposition becomes clearer.
The next stop for the exploration was Vibranium valley. A startup hub incubating a number of infant companies in the country. Lars was taken on a tour around the valley’s unconventionally themed facilities and met with the group sponsoring the operations and funding startups there as well — Venture Group Capital. Conversations had laid the grounds for a possible partnership with Concordium.
The highlight of Lars’ exploration took place on the evening of the same day. It was an exclusive event, themed #AnEveningWithLars. Held at the 5-Star Four Points Hotel; Lagos by Sheraton, the event played host to a number of important personalities including Fehin Tolu and Olorunfemi Jegede — the founders Credpal, Femi Olubanwo a partner at the reputable Banwo & Ighodalo law firm, Tolu Latunji of United Capital Group, Babatunde Oparinde director of operations at Yellow Card Financial, SIBAN represented by the president Senator Ihenyen, Tobi Ajayi the founder of Nord Vehicles, Rachel Onoja the director of learning at AltSchool, Akin the country lead for Rust Nigeria.
The guests, some of whom just learned about blockchain for the first time or learned about the need for the technology, had some things to say about the event. Here are some interesting opinions from some of the guests;
A popularly known convener in the country and chess player, Tunde Onokaya, confessed that Lars did justice in exposing the utility of the technology in other areas, he commented, “…Lars touched a lot of that, especially its utility in other facets. Most people think blockchain is all about NFTs, Crypto, and all of that, rather than just being a ledger, He explained a lot of other use cases, even in real estate and that resonated a lot with me…”
Grasping the mission of Concordium, the African lead for Latoken, a popular cryptocurrency declared, “Concordium is really innovating blockchain technology that projects can build on and yet still do great things”
To stress the balance Concordium is aiming for by merging both worlds of privacy and accountability as well as commercial friendliness, Senator Ihenyen, the president of Stakeholders in Blockchain Association in Nigeria (SIBAN) opined, “Players in the space need to realize that we can’t always be at the extremes. Usually, the answer to the question on the lips of everyone will be somewhere in the middle.”
Lars conversed with the thought leaders present, and even played card games, but most importantly, he gave a lecture where he made the room see that the most important thing about the blockchain is not the tokens & coins by the technology but the blockchain technology itself. He stated,
“I think that blockchain is potentially the next internet…This space tends to be dominated by a focus on the crypto aspect of blockchain. Now the crypto (coins, tokens) are not really the important thing about blockchain, the important thing about blockchain is blockchain.”
He added that tokens and coins are now a distraction to the full potential of the technology and that effort must be put into pushing the adoption of blockchain technology in other sectors besides finances and payments. He also stressed the risks associated with unaccountable anonymity, emphasizing that regulators have fought against this in the traditional financial sector and will do so again with the blockchain technology, for the good of the users.
Lars’ visit exposed him to a lot of significant connections across a number of industries in the country, spreading Concordium’s tentacles a little deeper into Africa.
With the in-depth conversation that he’s had and still having, he’s getting a good grasp of the technology ecosystem of the giant of Africa, identifying its strengths, and weaknesses as well as spotting opportunities to execute the adoption of Concordium for mainstream use.
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