• Saturday, June 22, 2024
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We are revolutionising the finance architecture through P2P technology—Youssef

Ray Youssef-2 (1)

Ray Youssef, an entrepreneur and CEO of NoOnes, a financial communication app aimed at connecting the Global South to the world’s financial systems via peer-to-peer technology (P2P), in this interview with ANTHONY NLEBEM, spoke about the pressing need for financial freedom through equitable access to finance in the regions of the Global South. Excerpts:

What is the inspiration behind founding a financial communication app?

The inspiration behind founding a financial communication app stems from life’s journey—a journey marked by witnessing inequality and the challenges faced by those starting life at a disadvantage. Recognising that the prevailing money system exacerbates these disparities, the realization dawned that peer-to-peer (P2P) technology and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin could offer a solution.

Motivated by the desire to address these issues in the Global South (GS), the mission is fueled by proving sceptics wrong and effecting meaningful change. Coming from the Global South myself, I am deeply inspired to advocate for a shift from mere integration to true independence. This entails promoting self-reliance and collaboration within the GS, rather than perpetuating dependency on Western systems.

Financial inclusion is a significant challenge in many regions of the Global South. How do you intend to address this issue, and empower individuals with limited access to traditional banking services?

Inclusion is about access, and anyone with Internet access can use our app to take advantage of over 450 payment methods. The whole point of NoOnes Nation is that we want to side-step the need for people to access the traditional banking system. That is why I got involved with Bitcoin in the first place. I saw the problems of the unbanked and how they were left behind. Transparency and security are critical concerns in the fintech industry.

How do you ensure the security of users’ financial data and communications while fostering trust among its user base?

Ensuring the security of users’ financial data and communications while fostering trust among our user base is paramount. While transparency may seem like a buzzword in today’s business landscape, many companies merely pay lip service to it, using it as a shield against distrust.

At NoOnes, however, transparency is ingrained in our strategy. We view our customers as partners, which is why we commit to sharing 50% of our revenue with them. This level of openness is essential in building trust.

Our goal is to cultivate a NoOnes nation, and trust is the cornerstone of this endeavour. We believe in revolutionary transparency, where we pull back the curtain to reveal our actions and decisions. By allowing our users to see everything we do, we aim to foster a sense of trust and confidence in our platform. This transparency builds a strong foundation for our relationship with our users, ensuring their security and peace of mind.

Any collaborations of integrating the Global South into the world’s financial systems?

Our collaborative efforts to integrate the Global South into the world’s financial systems encompass a wide spectrum of stakeholders, including users, traders, businesses, and government entities. While we remain open to partnerships with entities in the West, we are steadfast in our commitment to forging our own path. Rather than adhering to a Western template or replicating systems that have historically stifled progress in the Global South, our focus is on fostering independence and empowerment within these regions. Our approach prioritizes the unique needs and aspirations of the Global South, steering away from mere integration and towards a future of self-reliance and sovereignty.

How do you leverage blockchain technology to facilitate financial communication and transactions, particularly in regions where traditional banking infrastructure is lacking?

We utilize blockchain technology to streamline financial communication and transactions, especially in regions where traditional banking infrastructure is deficient. Our approach prioritizes security, accessibility, and affordability, offering heightened protection measures, lowered costs, and compatibility with mobile devices. Through our platform, users can seamlessly conduct cross-border transactions, leveraging over 400 payment methods for the peer-to-peer exchange of money and goods. This empowers individuals in underserved areas, promoting unparalleled financial inclusivity and convenience.

How does your app differ from other financial communication apps and what specific features does it offer to its users in the Global South?

NoOnes’ app sets itself apart by emphasising community participation and a people-driven ecosystem, prioritising giving back over profit. The app fosters a new financial architecture, focusing on transparency and sustainability, and aims to circumvent the need for traditional banking systems.

We are creating a new financial architecture, an ecosystem that is self-sustaining, people-driven, rather than profit-driven – giving back 50%. We are not another business trying to take money out of Africa.

How do you navigate regulatory challenges and compliance requirements, especially when operating in diverse regulatory environments across different countries in the Global South?

We navigate regulatory challenges and compliance requirements by leveraging our team of experts who possess in-depth knowledge of local regulations and nuances. We prioritize hiring individuals who are native to the regions we operate in. For instance, Kenyans will moderate Kenyans, and Nigerians will moderate Nigerians. This localised approach allows us to understand and address local problems effectively. As a Global South company, we do not have a central headquarters dictating our actions. Instead, we rely on decentralized decision-making to ensure compliance with diverse regulatory environments. This strategy enables us to navigate regulatory complexities successfully and operate seamlessly across different countries in the Global South.

User experience plays a crucial role in the success of any app. How do you prioritize user-centric design to ensure a seamless experience for its diverse user base?

We talk to our customers every day. We are not building our company to maximize profits. We are building it to fulfil our goal, which is to turn the GS into an economic powerhouse. There is no Head Office in NYC or London asking us to send back bigger profits each quarter. We listen to our users on the ground – some of them work for us, helping us to educate other users. We are in constant contact and that means we tweak the product based on real-time feedback from the people that matter

Contributing to Financial Inclusion in the Global South region?

NoOnes is committed to advancing financial inclusion in the Global South region, and our journey begins with the NoOnes app. However, this is just the beginning of our comprehensive approach.

Firstly, we prioritize education in the GS, ensuring that individuals understand our mission and how we aim to reshape the economic landscape. This involves delving into the economic history of Africa and recognizing the barriers that have hindered progress, even post-colonization.

Secondly, financial literacy is crucial. We empower individuals by providing knowledge about money and how to generate it. This commitment is underscored by our decision to allocate 50% of our revenue towards supporting the GS community.

Furthermore, we envision an ecosystem that fosters self-sustainability. Beyond revenue sharing, we create opportunities for GS residents to establish their own businesses. We encourage healthy competition, promote open-source initiatives like CivKit, and drive growth by reinvesting resources into the community.

Ultimately, our goal is to catalyse the GS’s potential. By fostering a fair and transparent financial system and facilitating peer-to-peer trade, we aim to unlock Africa’s economic prowess. As the continent flourishes, the world will marvel at its transformation, fueled by newfound opportunities and empowered individuals.