The Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of DexAge, a cryptocurrency exchange platform, Precious Kenneth Wogu, in this interview speaks about the need to create more awareness on cryptocurrencies. Emma Okonji presents the excerpts:
Many Nigerians are reluctant to invest in cryptocurrency for fear of losing their money to fraudsters. How do you intend to assuage this fear?
I laugh when I hear people express their fears about losing money to cryptocurrency business because the missing link to all of these fears and negative postulations is lack of proper education about cryptocurrency business, and the political will of government to implement the right policy that will better drive cryptocurrency business in Nigeria. My advice to the average Nigerian who wants to invest or trade in cryptocurrency is to hold on and get some education first about cryptocurrency. There are lots of free educational resources on the net, some free seminars are being organised by different groups like SIBAN. Cryptocurrency is not Ponzi, and Nigerians need to take out time to educate themselves about cryptocurrency. The future belongs to those who prepare for it today. Blockchain and its many spin-off is the fourth industrial revolution. We can only get it right in Nigeria through the right policies and education.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) does not encourage cryptocurrency as a legal tender yet most nations of the world still believe in it. How do you intend to convince Nigerians on its adoption?
I am aware that CBN has set up a group with industry players to understudy cryptocurrency and its use cases in Nigeria, which is commendable because it is a step in the right direction. In most developed and developing countries of the world, cryptocurrency is neutral, not a legal tender nor has it been banned. Japan, for instance, has fully legalised cryptocurrency like Bitcoin as a medium of exchange used in financial transactions. So we will get there in terms of regulation, policies and education. The essence of digital currency is to ensure financial inclusion, bring the unbanked into the space and bring cost efficiency in financial transactions. We will create the platform for this and in terms of credibility, we will always demonstrate that through the use case value creation.
We have over 200 Cryptocurrency platforms globally and still counting, with few of them already operating in Nigeria. What makes DexAge different from others that will attract customers to its platform?
We have a user-centric strategy where all platforms will be driven by the social web. So in our ecosystem, which includes a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) trading and lending platform, our chat on Decentralised Application (DApp) and decentralised hybrid exchange, are all crafted to create opportunities and to empower users. So the key words for us are opportunities and a unique user experience.
One major risk that is common to most cryptocurrency platforms is that they are controlled from a centralised architecture, and in the event of online attack, the entire system becomes paralyzed. How do you intend to address this challenge?
DexAge is building a hybrid decentralised, trustless, permissionless exchange. What this means is that trading transactions on our platform is 100 per cent controlled by users. No hacking, loss of fund, account closure like a couple of exchanges that have abitrarily close Nigerians owned account when there is no case of fraud or money laundering. So we are providing a complete unique user experience on our platform that addresses such risk.
What are the benefits of cryptocurrency to economies and individual customers?
The benefits are numerous and are not limited to data security, cost reduction, time efficiency, seamless transfer transactions among others. What all of these means is that someone can transfer money to another person from abroad and the person receives it instantly. Unlike the old several days with conventional money transfer, the Blockchain distributed ledger system, which cryptocurrency is a use case, is immutable, and data can’t be tampered with, which makes data integrity 100 per cent secured. So, just imagine what this will mean for our society and individuals, its benefits are all encompassing, and it’s like the internet in year 2000 and that is why it’s called internet 2.0 and fourth industrial revolution that is designed to recreate our world and change the way we live.
How will commercial banks align with Blockchain technology that is driving cryptocurrency?
The decentralised ledger system is a technology that is disrupting the business model of commercial banks, not only in Nigeria but globally. So banks are faced with the ever growing threat of declining revenue and what they can do to quickly address this, is to re-define their model and partner the Fintech firms, so as to reduce operational cost and ensure 100 per cent data integrity. Banks have to come up with service offerings that meet their customers’ aspirations. Going by recent statistics, nearly half of all Western banks in one form or the other, have embraced Blockchain technology whether in trade financing, lending, data warehousing, or remittances, because of its tremendous value in cost reduction, time efficiency, data integrity, clarity to a complex process and more. Of late, Facebook has joined the fray with service offering that directly compete with banks. Our chat DApp is a platform where people can freely chat and transfer our tokens to family and friends once it’s released to the public and going forward there will be a feature that allows people to transfer small funds, and these make us open for collaboration.
How will DexAge enhance bilateral trade between Nigeria and other countries?
That we will do through our unique service offering from our hybrid decentralised exchange, to p2p trading and lending and chat DApp. All these offerings are for the global market, but like it is said, charity begins at home, we will have a traction right here in West Africa Nigeria, before going up market to other regions with specific marketing strategies for each region. We believe so much in our use case value and it is fostering bilateral relationship with different countries.
Most times, customers get swindled in the process of trading cryptocurrency. What are the strategies put in place to protect customers when trading on DexAge cryptocurrency platform?
It is not only a case of been swindled, it is also a case of an exchange where people who are trading are being hacked and they lose their money. The solution to all of these is when a trader is in control of their funds 100 per cent and this is exactly what our decentralised hybrid exchange does. Bad actors are in the space and all sort of stuffs are happening and traders hard earned monies are disappearing. Besides this, we also have as a security measure put in place for verification and authentication.
Fluctuations of rates are rampant with cryptocurrency. How can you advise customers on the best moment to trade on cryptocurrency?
Volatility in assets prices is fairly normal and it is part of the dynamics. So saying there should be no volatility is akin to telling a farmer there should be little or no rain. A derivative trader will tell you the more volatile an asset is, the more valuable it is. Volatility is not restricted to cryptocurrency alone, though is high with crypto. So my advice to potential customers and traders is to get a good trading education on cryptocurrency.
What are the core features and values of DexAge cryptocurrency?
We are moving towards a decentralised, disintermediated and autonomous society, were the middle man, mistrust and others are being taken out. The meaning of DexAge is simply decentralised age, so we are giving back to the people the power to be in control of their business through our hybrid decentralised exchange. We are implementing smart contracts for our lending, p2p trading and chat DApp so that customers don’t need to trust the other man to act correctly, because all agreements are already embedded in the smart contract. Our core value is about delivering value to the man on the street to make his life easier and better.