Crypto-enthusiasts, blockchain entrepreneurs, and investors came together at the “convention of decentralized currency”, CoinFest Nigeria in Abuja to discuss the future of cryptocurrency and the blockchain in Nigeria.
Coinfest is an annual event held in many countries, including Nigeria, with the aim of promoting the use of digital currencies and blockchain technology in a collaborative manner.
Despite the recent drop in the cryptocurrency market and increased regulatory scrutiny for cryptocurrencies, Coinfest NG still experienced a strong turnout with over 150 participants coming from within Nigeria as well as other West African nations.
The event’s keynote speaker, Dr. Andrew S. Nevin, the Chief Economist of PwC noted in his presentation that there is a need for more Africans to see blockchain technology beyond bitcoin, highlighting this as one of the reasons why most African ICOs have failed. In his speech, he made a stunning revelation, “Despite raising billions, 46% of ICOs have failed globally, and the majority of African ICOs have failed. Only SureRemit and a few others were successful. Yet about NGN32 billion worth of bitcoin have been traded in Nigeria.”
In the same vein, Eamon Leonard, Vice President, TimeChain (Canada), spoke on “Building Blockchain Bridges between Canada and Africa.” He made reference to relevant use cases of Blockchain projects, providing collaborative opportunities between Canada and Africa.
Also speaking at the event was Simo Mcunu, Vice President (Africa), Cashaa, and he spoke on the sub-theme “The Power of Blockchain beyond Cryptocurrencies.” Simo stressed that the power of Blockchain has numerous great advantages from peer-to-peer, to Smart Contract, and more. But more importantly, in Africa, we should start adopting other use cases of this technology for growth.
One of the many discussions led at the conference was the fast rate at which the Steemit community is growing in Nigeria. Mr. Toju Kaka talked about building a blockchain community through Steemit. He described the blockchain-powered social network as the Telsa of social media, adding that the platform will be a vehicle that will drive cryptocurrency adoption across the world.
One of the interesting startups showcased at Coinfest NG was AgroPlexi, a new platform leveraging blockchain technology to provide financial inclusion in the Agriculture sector. The founder of Agroplexi, Mr. Ogundele Mayowa, said that one of the major problems of most African farmers is access to funding. Many of them are unbanked and do not have the necessary criteria to qualify for bank loans. This is where AgroPlexi wants to help.
Another Blockchain expert, Mr. Bolaji Onibudo, spoke on “XendBit: Decentralized Exchange and Blockchain Services.” As a Wallet with bank verified KYC, XendBit is developed primarily as an exchange and also to fulfill a number of financial inclusion services including Payments, Money Remittance, Aid, Credit and Venture funding.
Nigerian blockchain thought leader, Lucky Uwakwe, also spoke at the conference and noted to participants that “Experts used to say that it takes a good ten years for software to get into the limelight. That is to tell you that if bitcoin can keep on the pace at which it’s growing, in the next two years it will surely dominate the world as PayPal does.”
An expert panel was constituted to discuss on “Cryptocurrency and Innovation,” and the panel included experts who have gained veritable traction in the field, Faith Obafemi, Legal Advisor, ChainAfrica.org; Bashir Aminu, Founder, VenHub; Noah Justin, CEO, Bitcoinmonde (Cameroon), and Ruth Iselema, Founder, Bitmama. The panel was coordinated by Felix Sidoine, Ambassador, World Cryptocurrency Investment; and Martin, Chief Editor, CryptoMartinz. The panel explored innovation driving cryptocurrencies globally and gave participants a sneak peek into what to expect in the nearest future.
Coinfest 2018 showcased a wide range of startups, such as XendBit, Bitmama, and BeepMagnet, which are a testament to Nigeria and West Africa’s growing blockchain startup scene.