‘African market is fertile for the adoption of cryptocurrency’
Recently, African Blockchain Lab announced $6million in Series Pre-A investment to fund the launch of VIBRA, its crypto wallet, in a bid to drive the adoption of digital assets in Africa.
In this interview, Vincent Li, co-founder of African Blockchain Lab, speaks to BusinessDay on the rationale behind the announcement and the company’s projections in 2022.
What is your assessment of the financial ecosystem in Africa?
The financial ecosystem in Africa is evolving and developing at a promising speed. On one hand, the traditional financial products and services are fairly sophisticated. They serve well for a certain proportion of the population that has basic financial needs. On the other hand, there are more innovative financial solutions on the continent to fill in gaps and ensure cost effectiveness, stability, and overall efficiency of the existing financial solutions. Crypto is definitely one of the best solutions to close the aforementioned gaps.
How would you describe the growth and adoption of Crypto on the continent and how does it advance financial inclusion and access?
Frankly, it is limitless, as a result of Crypto’s ability to tackle some fundamental issues that the continent seems to be facing. The flexibility and trust that Crypto naturally possesses enables the fast adoption and substantial organic growth, which indeed enhances the overall financial inclusion and access. One of VIBRA USPs ‘simple-to-use’ resounds because such simplicity can surely advance financial access on the continent, by eliminating unnecessary barriers.
How is Vibra positioned to make crypto a mainstream product for African consumers?
Considering that crypto adoption in Africa is sustainable for a more inclusive financial ecosystem, I can highlight two ways in which VIBRA changes the game around here. The first one is that it makes the keywords ‘simple’ and ‘easy-to-use’ more realistic within the crypto space. Several crypto exchanges are not yet able to simplify the processes for mass adoption. Secondly, each upgrade will ensure that VIBRA becomes an all-in-one crypto platform that is worthy of note among crypto enthusiasts in Africa. This is being achieved through the best of talents, shared values, and a focus on creating competitive advantage with VIBRA USPs.
How will the $6 million funding help drive digital and blockchain technologies in Africa?
This is the Pre-A round of investment fund to launch VIBRA crypto wallet. The investor group foresees enormous growth opportunities, as the African market is exceedingly fertile for the adoption of cryptocurrency. The new financing will be utilized to support Vibra’s product development and initial launch in Africa, starting from Nigeria. In view of the booming crypto adoption in Africa, VIBRA provides the easiest and safest way for every African to learn, trade, and invest crypto. Its well-crafted user experience, simplistic and localized interface gives it an edge over competitors.
How is Vibra leveraging strategic partnerships to deliver projects and innovation to Africa?
So far, it is quite promising. The Pre-A round of investment funds has shown that the project is noteworthy. With every chance I get, I like to brag about the support of its current partners. It will remain my mission to ensure that VIBRA delivers world-class innovation and experience to the African continent. Nigeria happens to be the first country on the roadmap and so far, it has been an extensively awesome journey.
What prevailing realities have you noticed in the blockchain space in Nigeria and Africa recently?
Although the adoption of crypto in Africa is still at an early stage, Africa seems to be adopting the Blockchain technology (cryptocurrency) faster than its global counterparts. The willingness of Nigerians and the African community to explore blockchain technology is very high. I foresee a high adoption rate and more demands on/for crypto related solutions. Additionally, support services have to be placed as priority whereby the community can collect necessary information and knowledge in a handy manner.
What are the advantages of adopting blockchain technology in Africa?
There are various benefits. The transparency, which the blockchain technology provides, reduces counterparty risks and enhances trust, which are some of the key concerns when assessing financial solutions. The adoption of blockchain technology is even more attractive in Africa because the currency is volatile and cross-country transactions around here can be costly.
Where do you think Nigeria will be in the next five years in terms of the massive adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrencies?
Nigeria is one of the early adopters of the blockchain and cryptocurrencies, among other countries within the continent. In five years, I think it will remain the major driver of massive adoption, which will attract smaller players in the region. The giant of Africa will equally become the major innovator of further development of the technology, in order to build a broader ecosystem.
How is Vibra advancing digital financial literacy in Nigeria and across Africa?
It gives me great pleasure to join other stakeholders in the industry to promote and contribute to the adoption of cryptocurrency in Africa. We have incorporated a massive learning program to educate crypto newbies and enhance experts across Nigeria. The ‘VIBRAin Academy’ makes a strong impression because it is well structured and consists of online classes, regular activities, and offline materials to enable every participant to leverage blockchain and crypto related technologies.
What is your advice for upcoming entrants in the crypto space?
It is important to remember how to nurture. Crypto development in Africa is still in the early stages. It is never too late to enter the crypto space as today is equally ‘perfect timing’ to join something as revolutionary and disruptive to the traditional financial sector as cryptocurrency. There will be more exciting projects within the crypto space. In the meantime, the coins, as numerous as they are, are only one of many use cases of the Blockchain technology. I can advise crypto newbies to actively learn about crypto. Aim to find out the suitable use cases for yourself