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Meet Daniel Adekunle, designer of Nigeria’s first bitcoin ATM

Despite the Central Banks of Nigeria’s refusal to recognise bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as legal tenders in the country, the number of people in Nigeria that buy, sell and transact using cryptocurrency is increasing daily.

With the increasing adoption and potential to make wealth from the crypto market, some entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the opportunities.

One of such entrepreneurs is Daniel Adekunle, chief executive officer of Blockstale – a bitcoin teller machine vendor tailored specifically for Africa.

The young entrepreneur designed the first Bitcoin Teller Machine firm in the country that is pivoting the technology to enhance businesses in Nigeria.

He designed the machine in Shenzhen, China, and flew it to Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial centre.

Daniel and Adeyiga Olusaye, his friend, founded the business in 2017 for Nigeria’s bitcoin investors.

Unlike ATM, Bitcoin Teller Machines (BTMs) do not accept cards, whether they are debit, credit, master, or visa cards; they only accept cash.

Through Blockstale BTMs, Nigerians can find simpler ways to enter into the crypto market even without much technical knowledge as the technology has simplified the process and reduced the challenge of selling and buying the commodity.

“I know there is a scarcity of these machines in Nigeria, and that’s why we’re quietly filling the gap, for now,” he says, in an interview with Weetracker.

“For about three years now, I have been working on the blockchain technology and BTMs hardware, software and firmware most especially,” he further says.

But according to Adekunle, it is bitcoin only that can be traded on the BTM currently as other altcoins cannot be traded.

The young entrepreneur says he plans to expand his operations beyond Ajah, Lagos, to other parts of the metropolitan city before the end of the first quarter in 2020.

In the long run, he plans to deploy Blockstale BTMs across major cities in the country.

He says that his BTM has some tracking devices such as cameras and alarm systems that are built in to address security concerns of the machines deployments.

“Security was my very first concern and part of the reasons I built these machines from scratch— because of the components we have in the machines,” he says.

“We added trackers, door alarm system, and camera to contain the issue of security to a level,” he further says.

“We are still working on more components but as it is, these machines can work anywhere in Nigeria and Africa so long there is power and internet facilities,” the young entrepreneur adds.

On what it cost averagely for him to get his first BTM designed and deployed, Daniel admits that it cost between N5 million and N6million.

He notes that the actual cost depends on the location and the agreement between the operator and the store owner.

“We are excited to welcome more tech companies into the BTM space as Blockstale has made history in Nigeria and Africa at large. We hope this great innovation structures our economy and opens more opportunities to our youths and other business owners,” he tells Weetracker.

Lots of Nigerians see BTMs as money laundering tools, but Daniel has taken it upon himself to prove that it is not by setting algorithms to enable the machines to conduct proper Know Your Customer (KYC) to any level per user.

“The device can carry out phone number and ID verifications, and set a limitation on purchase per user, depending on their KYC,” he says.

 

Josephine Okojie

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