OPPORTUINITIES: Nigeria Should Be Innovators, Not Consumerist Spectators Of Cryptocurrency – Osunsanya
What attracts a 61-year-old grandfather and federal civil service retiree to cryptocurrency prospecting and investing you may ask? Well, the puppetry and traditional theatre artiste and ex-director of Performing Arts department, National Council of Arts and Culture, NCAC, Oludotun Osunsanya admits it’s his involvement in financial education, and his quest for a means to culturally engineer Nigerians and Nigeria, such that the country’s position amongst leading nation is guaranteed in the foreseeable future.
Before we can have a proper understanding of cryptocurrency and its usefulness, one must first have an understanding of the technologies behind it, the Distributed Ledger Technology DLT, and the Blockchain technology. People should be encouraged to study Blockchain in its right as a disruptive technology that is about to change the way we live forever.
Cryptocurrency is the use of Blockchain technology in the financial sector.
What are the inherent opportunities in cryptocurrency?
Inherent skills that our youths and those of youthful orientation and outlook can acquire to attain opportunities in the digital currency world, include: Blockchain Development, Blockchain Protocol Designed Deployment, The Writing of Smart Card Contracts/ Protocols, Blockchain Protocol Auditing; Design, Deployment and Administration of Exchanges especially DEXs and Training of Cryptocurrencies – when you are an acknowledged master, you earn the right to have your strategies copied for a fee. Meantime, Blockchain technology is also gradually converging with other technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality AR, Virtual Reality VR, and the Internet of Things IoT. Government should urgently up Nigeria’s status on the aforementioned technology so Nigerian youth can take advantage of those platforms.
How can Nigerians position themselves to benefit from the opportunities in cryptocurrency?
I want to warn us not to carry our consumerist propensities into Blockchain/Cryptocurrency era. Rather than spend our energy on being the best consumers of these phenomena, we should plunge deeper and train our citizens to get involved in producing them. This means, we need to see the building of structures to support education in Blockchain and related technologies. A few semi-formal ones are already emerging, and there are free opportunities on the internet. However, there is need for the National Universities Commission (NUC) to commence this new area of study in six Nigerian universities at the six geo-political zones of the country.
Blockchain technology will assuredly affect every aspect of life in the near future. There is need for the federal government to direct every ministry to set up a Blockchain Adoption Desk. These desks are not to compulsorily adopt Blockchain technology, rather to properly study the Blockchain technology, follow trends on the penetration of the technology in the particular sectors in which their ministries operate, analyze same and continually report to the federal government on whether or not to permit same in Nigeria. If yes, the Desk Officer should advise when and how. These officers should be collated into an inter-ministerial council for periodic review of their individual efforts and centralized report to the federal government.
Rather than the ban on digital currency (which only served to draw more converts to it and now takes days instead of minutes to trade crypto for Nigeria, and further exposed Nigerians to the market ill-prepared and susceptible to exploitation, the very thing government is supposed to protect them for) a detailed regulatory framework should be established to distinguish between cryptocurrency and tokens. Tokens will be more the realm of the Securities Exchange Commission SEC and require a significantly different set of regulations.
Blockchain technology have decentralized finance. This I suspect is the real source of the fear experienced by bankers and governments worldwide, that they may fade into redundancy and oblivion. Blockchain solved the problem of double spend that the financial sector became its favourite field of manifestation. The champion of this is the popular Bitcoin Blockchain. Other Blockchains have since emerged which brought additional benefits, most notable the Ethereum Blockchain. It introduced the concept of ‘Smart Contract’ – a machine-driven agreement between entities, humans and non-human. This has subsequently enabled decentralized finance De-Fi, so that virtually every service previously offered by financial institutions – banks, SEC, insurance, mortgage, lottery etc. – can now be offered in automated fashion by using machines and smart-contracts in conjunction. So, what more progressively-minded persons see is the evolution of the structure and functioning patterns of financial institutions. They will fade or survive strictly on the sanity or otherwise of how they react to this new technology.
Without needing a full adoption of Blockchain processes, banks should realize that two of their current modes of operation ‘dormant account’ and ‘charging maintenance’ have been made obsolete by the existence of Blockchain and should be dropped forthwith. How does an account with BVN link go dormant just because the owner has no need to withdraw the money in it? How sweet can it be that I deposit N1000 in an account and can only withdraw a lesser amount later just because it has been reduced not by my withdrawals but by maintenance charges?
To our youths, and all citizens who are youthful in orientation, while government leisurely puts its act together, go out there and conquer the Blockchain technology, and get prepared for the disruption that is upon us.