Technology news platform, Technext, held the maiden edition of the Technext Coinference on Thursday, December 9th at the Pistis Conference Center in Lekki, Lagos.
The event, with the general theme “Reimagining crypto as the future of finance,” gathers brilliant minds in the Nigerian blockchain sector to have essential discussions about the future.
In his welcome address, the content chief at Technext, David Afolayan, reiterates that it is important to have such a conversation around digital currencies as it is the new approach to trade and central to our survival.
“We need instruments to achieve conveniences, and trade is that instrument. Trade has taken different forms, and now we are lucky to be at the foothold of that change where digital currencies are replacing fiat money and we can transact without borders,” he said.
He also noted that the rules guiding trade many years ago are no longer applicable and many people are not finding that convenient. To address these concerns, innovators, enthusiasts, and regulators need to have a conversation and providing that platform is what the Coinference is about.
The hybrid event brought together individuals and institutions from across Nigeria and beyond. Stakeholders, enthusiasts and regulatory officials were also present at the event.
Keynote address and panel session
While delivering a keynote address at the event, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, states that the event captures the mutual desire of the government and its citizens to explore innovative methods towards achieving economic recovery, growth, and development.
According to the minister, the government remains enthusiastic about the numerous possibilities the crypto industry provides despite the growing restrictions.
“So far, I hope I’ve demonstrated that both citizens and governments see the benefits of cryptocurrencies and share a mutual belief in them. I believe it is crucial for all stakeholders to view each player as a key teammate in forging a path toward a healthy crypto space in Nigeria. “Minister of state budget and national planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba
He noted that cryptocurrencies could be the biggest disruptor in finance and governance the world has ever witnessed. However, the government needs to ensure fair regulation of the sector.
He noted that contrary to what many people think, regulation of the industry doesn’t mean “a giant hammer slamming down on the activities going on in an industry,” but rather to optimize conditions for growth, tailored towards the industry.
The event also had insightful takes from innovators in the blockchain industry who addressed lingering questions and myths around the sector in a panel session.
The first panel discussion was moderated by Nigerian tech journalist, Abubakar Idris. It involved Uzoma Dozie, CEO of Sparkle; Buchi Okoro, CEO of Quidax; Dickson Nsofor, CEO of Korapay; Austin Okere, Founder of CWG; Nkemdili Uwaje, CEO of Future Software; and Chimezie Chuta, Founder of the Blockchain Nigeria User Group.
The session was focused on untying the regulatory knots in the space, and a key idea that was mentioned by all speakers was the pace at which cryptocurrency is changing the financial system.
Sparkle CEO, Uzoma Dozie, spoke about the difficulties of scaling crypto because it is currently one of the fastest payment systems in the world. He reiterated that the Nigerian CBDC, eNaira, is not going to compete with card payments as it will only be one of the many available payment systems.
Buchi Okoro, CEO of Quidax, elaborated that the central bank’s development of eNaira is a step towards meeting stakeholders halfway and will encourage digital liquidity.
He explained that in the same way that WhatsApp can’t replace hugs and physical interactions, cryptos can’t replace fiat cash. Both currencies can only collaborate to bring better lives to the people.
In the end, the panellists agreed that the government needs to avoid what Austin Okere termed ‘dumb regulation’. They insisted that the regulatory bodies need to stop regulating out of fear but out of fairness and the common good.
Keynote address by Patricia CEO
Patricia CEO, Hanu Fejiro Agbodje, while delivering a keynote address on Blockchain for Africa: The endless possibilities, illustrated how Michael Faraday did not envisage that one day, Elon Musk would use his creation, electricity, to power his vehicles.
According to him, the world is still in its very early days of blockchain technology. It is one that people will constantly try to understand and use in various ways.
“We have been succeeding in this industry with zero support. Imagine if we got support from the government. We can win and we will win as long as we continue to strive,”Patricia’s CEO, Hanu Fejiro Agbodje, CEO Patricia
The second panel comprised experts like Emmanuel Babalola, Africa Director at Binance and Interim CEO of Bundle; Modibe Matsepena, Senior Associate of Growth in Africa at Paxful; Founder of Aza Pay, Jacqueline Madu, and Bitmama CEO, Ruth Iselema.
Owing to the popular belief that crypto transactions are not traceable, users wanted to know the veracity behind that claim.
Buchi Okoro replied that Bitcoin is not anonymous. Bitcoin is pseudonymous.
“When you track patterns on ether scan and blockchain explorer, you can actually see every transaction that’s happened on the blockchain up until the very first production of that bitcoin,” he says.
You can read up further on the Questions and Answers session of the event here
Further highlights from the event were the brand moments, where companies and organisations playing in the Nigerian crypto space gave insights into their various innovative products aimed at making the Nigerian blockchain industry a success.
Most of the conversations from the event centred around regulations and what the future holds for the crypto space in Nigeria.
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