Njoku Emmanuel is one of the brightest young minds in the African crypto space. Apart from the remarkable fact that he is one of the most sought-after blockchain engineers in the world, the 19-year-old is a founder and CEO of Lazerpay, a crypto payment gateway startup launched in October 2021 to massive reception and acclaim.
A phenomenal feat by any measure, but particularly outstanding considering his background. Seeing a teenager push barriers and build something iconic at a tender age is not easy to come by, especially here in Africa. But Njoku says the age tag is not a restriction.
“I don’t think my age can restrict me. People doubt that I can pull off certain things because of my age. I believe that you can achieve anything regardless of your age. That’s how I prove people wrong.”
In an interview with Technext, the blockchain and coding Whizboy shares his experience and what he hopes to achieve with Lazerpay.
Njoku started computer programming in 2015, at 13. But his journey into the blockchain world started in 2019 when he attended a hackathon project held in Lagos. And, since then he has worked with local and international blockchain companies like Kwivar, Instadapp, Avarta, Project Hydro, Xend Finance, Nestcoin, MakerDAO and others.
According to the young lad, among other qualities, decentralization and immutability were some of the reasons he fell in love with blockchain technology.
It is believed to be a necessary innovation that can accelerate crypto adoption in Africa. Lazerpay is not only solving payments for businesses but also provides them with easy access to decentralised finance (DeFi) features such as lending and staking.
Traditional currencies like the naira and cedis weren’t built to solve cross-border payments, Njoku believes crypto is the only solution to that.
“With Lazerpay, the complexity of setting up a structure to accept crypto payments is handled entirely by us. As a business owner, you only need to set up your business on Lazerpay and choose to integrate or collect payments through your branded payment links.
I believe that if we can create more use cases and utilities for crypto it’ll make a difference in Africa.”
He also disclosed that he has other investments outside Lazerpay. He has invested in startups like Klas, Quabbly, and a few others.
There is a talk of unhealthy competition among influential crypto figures in Africa, which in the opinion of many, has made African crypto projects struggle to compete on the global stage. Njoku Emmanuel believes competition drives innovation but it should be in a healthy way.
“I believe competition is what drives innovation. The market is huge… How do we achieve mass adoption in Africa if only Lazerpay is on the market?”
How to start
We are sure readers of this story are now inspired by our Nigerian Mark Zuckerberg‘s exploits in the world of tech. Are you thinking of a way to start, create a career in tech and build something monumental like Njoku has done? He has some tips for us.
Njoku Emmanuel says the tech space is huge and the first thing to do is to believe in yourself.
“People said a lot about me when I was growing up/starting out (parents, church members) but I had the conviction to keep going. Believing in yourself as a young person will help you grow. You are the only person that can motivate yourself.”
The second thing to do, to have an outstanding tech career is to have a substantial understanding of the basics.
“Learn the basics e.g in Chemistry, you have to understand atoms first. Basics help you understand “why”. Learn stuff from first principles. That’s one of the mistakes I made: Ugochukwu Aronu made me understand that learning stuff from first principles helps you grow faster.”
Then, Njoku believes learning never stops and you need to talk about what you do a lot. Put yourself out there, in strategic places, attend blockchain and tech events to network, gain connection and exposure.
“Apply what you learn to solving real world problems. At least try before saying “no” even if you’re not great at something – either it works or it doesn’t. Ask for help/ ask questions from those with experience when you have tried and can’t figure it out – that’s how to grow in the tech space. Asking for help is better than saying “no” and giving up.”
Emmanuel Njoku is writing his name in the illustrious history book of Africans. He has grown from being a sensational young blockchain engineer to a founder of a blockchain startup with prospects.
In the coming months, new product features like crypto banking infrastructure for businesses and individuals, redefining crypto payment experiences and making crypto seamless for the average man are some of the developments expected from Njoku and Lazerpay.
He also joked that he would be getting married soon, we expect the unveiling of the lucky lady.
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