Ore Afolayan is an expert with a track record of excellence in the fields of Marketing, Blockchain and Data Analytics. In this exclusive interview with top technology platform, Technext, he relishes his early days, and narrates his challenges.
His journey into those sectors is intriguing. He started out in Marketing, and learnt data analysis (Python) during the COVID-19 lockdown. He had developed an interest in utilising data tools to interprete and visualise marketing data and insights after the success of a marketing campaign. That was not enough to stop him from immersing himself in the explosion of Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. He fell in love with the idea of Decentralised Finance and he started to research.
“Due to the explosion of cryptocurrency, a couple of people made lots of money. However, many others lost money. This was a time to help people get access to real-time data that enables them make smarter decisions and not to jump on a coin because it’s pumping at that moment. So, I married the knowledge of data analysis with my new love in Blockchain, to form my latest interest; Blockchain Research Analysis.”Ore Afolayan
Before we, Technext, spoke to Afolayan, we saw he was recently featured in “22 LinkedIn influencers to watch in 2022”, and we knew we were approaching an individual of note.
On that, he says, “It was a really nice feeling to be recognised. I didn’t really know that people were watching.
“I was just showing up everyday, posting about Marketing and Blockchain, then boom, I was recognised. It basically talks about showing up and being consistent at what you love to do.”
There is an interesting allusion behind Ore’s widely used appellation – Mr Miyagi of Marketing. It came from the popular film, ‘Karate Kid’ that had Mr Miyagi as its main character. Mr Miyagi is a fictional karate master who taught kids how to fight karate, and deployed unique ways to ensure the kids understood what he taught.
“So, I thought: If Mr Miyagi could devise ways to ensure students understood what he taught, what if I used a similar name when teaching students Marketing, as I also went all the way to ensure my students understood what I taught.”
His journey into the world of crypto
Ore entered the cryptoverse in 2016/2017 during his MSc program at the University of Ibadan. A friend introduced crypto to him, but what induced him was the decentralised nature of the blockchain and the massive prospects it had.
“I was excited about the possibility of making your money work for you. The idea of passive income was interesting and I wanted to be part of something that was tipped to be big in the future.”
Crypto in Nigeria
Going by the statistics globally, cryptocurrency has fared quite well in Nigeria. Nigerians are listed as major active users of cryptocurrency. From payments for freelancer services to trying to beat bank charges to hedging earnings against inflation. However, Nigerians have experienced challenges along the way. Ore says:
“Government Regulation is the leading setback for cryptocurrency adoption in Nigeria. Since cryptocurrency isn’t a legal tender, it’s difficult to persuade the average trader to accept crypto as a means of payment. Not just that, the stiff CBN laws banning cryptocurrency in Nigeria makes it illegal trading cryptocurrency in Nigeria.
Those regulations and sanctions on crypto activities have had some adverse effects and consequences. One of them is Nigerian crypto companies incorporating abroad and leaving the shores of Nigeria to set up offices elsewhere. An example is Yellow Card, a bitcoin wallet app that abandoned Nigeria to focus on Cameroon, Kenya and some other West African countries.
“If the regulation and ban persist, it will become harder for freelancers to receive payments from their clients abroad. It will also affect the import and export of goods as payments will become a barrier at the point of Trade.”
Despite those hurdles, crypto and bitcoin continue to wax stronger amongst Nigerians as the days come by. Ore is in the impressive list of those that believe the rate at which crypto will scale economic development will be unreal.
“The prospects and possibilities of cryptocurrency are limitless. From receiving payment from all over the world to ordering goods from China and other manufacturing companies.”Ore Afolayan
Reni is a Blockchain research startup that aggregates data in cryptocurrency. With their insights, crypto traders/hodlers can make smarter financial decisions. They also do training and consultation and recently started a Web3.0 Writing Competition to make researches, studies, essays on cryptocurrency to be made available to members of the public.
Ore has also led TOA to emerge as Emerging 100 SMEs in 2019 (ConnectNigeria), Top 10 Marketing Firms in 2021 (worldleaders.com) and some other nominations and recognitions.
TOA Marketing is a marketing agency that helps businesses increase business profits and achieve business outcomes. They also empower youths with skills to be better marketers.
However, these giant strides and achievements cannot but come with their own challenges.
“In Reni, the challenges we are facing is; Finance, Resources and Knowledge Gap. For the gap, that’s why we are involved in training to enable people learn more about what they are investing in. The challenges experienced at TOA Marketing is; clients not having a long-term marketing plan. Just a quick customer acquisition strategy and rarely plans for retention.”
Checking through Ore’s social media profiles and activities, it is evident that he is a staunch proponent of the modish and highly controversial concept known as Web3. Web3 is a new form of the Internet that leverages concepts such as a decentralisation (interconnected system of networks) and tokens (coins, NFTs) and according to him, Nigerians can benefit from this technology because it helps hedge earnings against Nigeria’s rising inflation.
“So, instead of signing up to Facebook or any other social media app, you can use this technology called Blockchain to write and read data. Unlike social media platforms that are owned by a corporation or a Tech Bro (Mark Zuckerberg), this technology is not owned by anyone. We are all owners, writers and readers of this technology. Whatever changes we are effecting in one place in the Blockchain reflects across board. So, if you’re buying a coin now, anyone across the world can see what you’ve bought and the amount you bought. Not like, it’s between you and your bank.”
Ore Afolayan further disclosed that one of the difficulties he is facing in the entrepreneurial space is strict government regulations, accessibility to talents and funding and he looks forward to scaling Reni, forging more strategic partnerships, venturing into consulting and lecturing, in the nearest future.
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