In Asia, Europe and the Americas, Cryptocurrency trading has become a way of life, but that is not the case in Nigeria and other African countries. In this interview, the Chief Executive and Principal Consultant, Crypto Plus Certified, Mr. Peter Ayoade Moradeyo tells Ndubuisi Francis that his company is poised to close the knowledge gap with the ultimate goal of enlisting Nigeria on the global cryptocurrency exchange. Excerpts:
What is a good way to concisely explain Bitcoin, block chain and crypto currencies?
The success story of Crypto currency dates back to 2009, during the financial breakout, when Bitcoin was formed on blockchain technology. Bitcoin was first introduced in Asian countries and gradually to Europe, US etc. It is needful to clarify however, that the blockchain technology is not the same thing as Bitcoin; the relationship between them is only that Bitcoin is deployed on the blockchain technology. Interestingly, Bitcoin seems to be more popular today than the platform on which it stands. Now, there are two things which distinguish Crypto currency from the normal currencies.
The first is that it is finite. It has a fixed number that can be taken off and immediately that happens, its value shoots up and we all know that anything that can finish naturally increases in value as it is being taken up. So, as the world gradually adopts cryptocurrency, the available number reduces and value automatically drives upwards, causing it to grow dynamically in value. That explains why Bitcoin has been able to grow like that since 2009.
The second thing is that cryptocurrency has intrinsic value or what some call store of value. Let me explain it this way: each copy of a coin is an address, a location on the blockchain. When one address belongs to a person, that address cannot belong to another person in any part of the world. This is unlike the fiat counterpart where any money reading on a person’s bank account means that the bank owes the account holder to the tune of the said amount, but not necessarily that that money is the account holder’s to cash at any time. This is why sometimes the banks would tell an account holder that they do not have enough cash to complete a transaction. The case of the blockchain is different because the value is intrinsic and better preserved.
What is the function of CryptoPlus Certified?
Since 2009, Bitcoin and several other alt coins have been coming up. Alt coins are referred to as alternative coins to Bitcoin which is the first and most popular of them all. At a point, we realised there was an opportunity where Bitcoin and other coins can relate in value; there is value relativity between them. So, we started by trading Cryptocurrency. I can recall that sometime in 2015, there was an upsurge of certain Ponzis in Nigeria. Nigerians sustained the following of Ponzis until it became almost endemic. Unfortunately, very few Nigerians knew about the very essence of the medium of transfer which Bitcoin was during the transaction of these Ponzis. Bitcoin was only used because it did not need a third party like banks to facilitate a transaction between the Ponzis and their victims. So, the Ponzis took advantage of their patronage, cashing in on the anonymity of transaction which was part of the features of cryptocurrency. What was supposed to have been an advantage became a disadvantage because of the ignorance of Nigerians.
Someone needed to educate Nigerians appropriately as to what cryptocurrency really meant and what disruption it was meant to address. So, we now came up because before now, we had a deep background on its trading. We decided to reappraise the image of Cryptocurrency as it were in Nigeria.
Also, at several conferences we have been all over the world, we realised that Africans are non-existent on several cryptocurrency trading platforms. Just like we have the Nigerian Stock Exchange with several companies trading on its platform, there are also several participating bodies that trade value among us. The sad thing here is that Africans are non-existent on any Cryptocurrency exchange whether in US, Asia or Europe. This is also true when one considers Cryptocurrency graph. The Asians are up there; Europe and America are there too, but Africa is non- existent. Our function at Crypto Plus Certified is basically to close the knowledge gap so that people can take advantage available and then Nigeria can be enlisted on what we call the global Cryptocurrency exchange.
We trace the current state of Crypto currency trading to slowness of adoption. The federal government is yet to adopt a framework for the implementation of blockchain that can give rise to participation. Several countries have done that but for some reasons it has not happened in Nigeria.
You have a dream to raise and establish 1,000 Nigerians on the Poloniex Exchange. What is the implementation plan put in place to achieve this and why the choice of Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt?
We need to make it clear that Nigeria is a country with many opportunities. We also need to state that Bitcoin came into Nigeria with a wrongly perceived image, and on the wrong platform. So, our first goal is to take the responsibility to repair that image, and then reappraise the benefits and enlist Nigeria as a participator in the normal trading of Cryptocurrency.
In order to achieve that, we launched what we called, ‘Dream 1000’. It is all about trading on Poloniex which is the largest Crypto exchange in America and we are currently working with them on releasing a mobile platform strictly for Nigerians and it will work as an arbitrage with our own exchange which will come from Germany. We want to work as an arbitrage so that they will trade on our own platform via the mobile interface. Nigerians can be taught on how to trade this currency easily, and our strategy is very unique because the mobile application is actually enhanced to be able to reduce all the variables of trading system. Since we launched the ‘Dream 1000’ recently in Lagos, we have had some of our students who were able to distinguish themselves with the level of knowledge we passed to them and they are going to show Nigerians that we are serious about what we are here to do. We have this on cyptopluscertified.org.
How has the response been like?
I grew up in Nigeria before I decided to relate with other countries for business reasons. One thing I know about Nigerians is that they respond to results. So, the first thing we want to identify is, we want to be able to have people who have had results and that is why all the events we have done, we have been showcasing people that distinguished themselves, those that we gave the knowledge and they applied it and got results. We want to be inspired by results and not just belief.
Can Bitcoin be regulated? What about Bitcoin and taxes?
Those conversant with information coming out of cryptopluscertified would have noticed that Nigeria is currently on a discourse on how to regulate Cryptocurrency trading based on several frameworks. I have several write ups regarding this. Cryptocurrency trading as it were is decentralised and this is why the banking system cannot operate it. It is decentralised because of its nature. For instance, Bitcoin as it were, does not have a management interface and that is why the regulation has not been somewhat forthcoming. But it is found to be very secured and has ability to store values. That has been the reason for all the enquiries on how do we have a framework for a kind of currency that has thus kind of features? Sometimes, it takes time, but individuals are working and several people have stored values on it and exchanged it with another. The US is an example where Poloniex is operating. So looking at it more objectively, the regulatory framework and the operational climate go hand in hand but they can be mutually exclusive.
Bringing it to a layman’s understanding, what are the advantages of Bitcoin and how does Bitcoin work?
In a layman’s way, I would like to use the similitude of changing one currency to another, for instance. If you have some Naira notes and you want to change to Dollar, knowing the exchange rate that relates one to the other will be very helpful. Now to a layman if I bring my Naira and want to buy a Dollar, I will change the Naira to a Dollar based on the foreign exchange rate agreed between the person selling the Dollar and myself. Now imagine where you have the Bureau de Change in the middle and you have the buyer, that is, the demand, on one side and the supplier on the other side; that is the way it works. The person at the middle collects commission from two persons. The buyer sells at a price based on demand and supply. So, if the demand is higher than supply, the price is likely to go up. If I’m able to read that the demand and price for a thing I bought and own have gone up and I sell it, now the difference between what I bought and what I am selling now that the price has gone up is my own profit. That is the basic analysis of how it works.
Demand for Cryptocurrency…what are your training modules like? The fee, process and duration?
Training is 30 days and we have a huge demand for it and because of this, we have set up world class training hubs in the three geopolitical zones Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. So, demand is already there. We have a structure that accommodates different levels of trading – the strategic portfolio building and robotics. Our modules cover; Introduction to Cryptocurrency Trading – CPC 101
Cryptocurrency Masterclass – Advanced Trading CPC 102
Trading Engaging Robotics – CPC 103
People are already aware of what Cryptocurrency is; it will be wrong for us to say that people are not aware of it. The only thing is that there is a knowledge gap on how to use it and take advantage of the value in it, and that is what we are trying to close up.
Is there any risk attached to Cryptocurrency… Is Bitcoin legal? And how secure is Bitcoin?
The idea of trading Cryptocurrency and the national legal framework is mutually exclusive. Trading on Cryptocurrency can be done when someone knows how to handle it. The reason for the legal framework is to protect the participators because when there is no third party that puts power in the hands of those that know the ‘Whats’ and ‘Hows’. Bitcoin is safe and this knowledge is out there. You are your own bank. Records are protected by mathematical laws and are irreversible. The Blockchain technology protects its addresses and have histories on an open ledger, and is always available and transparent for anyone to confirm.