How Nigeria can use crypto companies to its advantage

Episode 222 May 02, 2024 00:44:01
How Nigeria can use crypto companies to its advantage
Techpoint Africa Podcast
How Nigeria can use crypto companies to its advantage

May 02 2024 | 00:44:01


Hosted By

Chimgozirim Nwokoma Oluwanifemi Kolawole Bolu Abiodun

Show Notes

Our guest on today's podcast is Ray Youssef, CEO, NoOnes. We discuss Nigeria's recent clampdown on Binance and crypto and what happened with his last company, Paxful.
But before that, we highlight  a few stories from this week.
  • BuuPass acquires QuickBus
  • CBN stops Moniepoint, Kuda, OPay from opening new accounts
  • MTN Nigeria records first loss since 2021 IPO
Link to Insight of the Week:
Subscribe to The Modern Workplace/Equity Merchants/Techpoint Digest/ and  Intelpoint's newsletter/ 
00:00 - Intro
00:21 - Recap of the news
03:16 - Thoughts on the clampdown
08:10 - Did P2P really cause the fall of the naira?
12:21 - Did Binance make money from P2P?
14:44 - Is the Nigerian government justified in going after Binance?
17:29 - The real numbers for crypto in Nigeria
20:11 - Consequences of the clampdown
23:57 - The real crypto scammers
25:26 - The double-edged sword of licencing requirements
28:36 -  NoOnes' role
32:28 - The importance of P2P
35:15 - What went wrong with Paxful
38:09 - How NoOnes will redeem the Paxful failure
39:24 - Possible challenges for NoOnes
43:32 - Outro
Useful links
This episode was produced by Ogheneruemu Oneyibo
Email us your feedback at Visit for more stories.
Music - Beach by MBB -
Find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok @TechpointAfrica
View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Hello guys, welcome to the Techpoint Africa podcast. On todays episode, well be talking to Reyusev, the CEO of Noones about the recent crypto clampdown in Nigeria. Well also be touching on whats really going on with binance and what happened with its last company, Paxful. Before we dive into the conversation, just a quick recap of what you may have missed during the week in terms of tech stories. So the first one is Boopass, a kenyan travel booking platform that has announced acquiring Quick Bus, a bus ticketing platform with operations in Nigeria and South Africa. The second is the Central bank of Nigeria. Yes, the CBN, theyve directed moneypoint, OP, CUDA bank and pound pay to restrict new account openings. And this is coming after the EFCC directed banks to freeze 1146 bank accounts that are linked to unauthorized forex transactions. So the EFCC is saying to prevent further illegal forex transactions, please freeze these accounts. And lastly, we have MTN Nigeria. Yes, MTN Nigeria has recorded a 656 billion naira loss. That's huge. And that's not all. They also recorded a reduction in user base. So basically it has been a very difficult year for telcos. I think sometime last week they were talking to regulator about plans to increase tariffs. They want to increase these tariffs because they want to make up for the losses they've suffered during the year. This news about MTN Nigeria ties in perfectly with the insight of the week by Intelpoint. So intel point is telling us that 2023 is actually the first time MTN Nigeria recorded a loss since it ipo'd in 2019. That's all for what you may have missed during the week. You can go to Stockpoint Africa website to get a lot more stories because so many things happened during the course of the week. Let's get into conversation with Ray Youssef. Alright. Hello guys. Welcome again to the Techpoint Africa podcast. Today we have a very interesting guest. Joining us is Ray Youssef, the CEO of no ones. No ones is a crypto platform that helps you buy crypto and sell crypto from anywhere in the world. We will be talking a lot about everything that has happened in the nigerian crypto space. Thank you so much for joining us today, Ray. It's really a pleasure to have you on the podcast today. Yeah. All right, so let's just get right into it. So a lot has happened in the Nigeria crypto space since last year. In 2021, we had the ban on crypto and. Yeah. And it felt, oh, wow, okay. Nigeria is not crazy about crypto. That's fine. We moved to p two P, and it just became business as usual. Crypto guys continued that thing, and then in December, they lifted the ban on crypto. And then we're like, wow, okay, something good is actually coming out. The government now probably feels good about crypto. They want to understand it, learn about it. And then they started a stable coin project. There was the in era, and they were like, okay, let's see how it goes from there. Then in February, they dropped the bomb, and there was a huge clamp down on crypto platforms. Now, looking at that old trajectory, up until now, as a stakeholder in the space, how do you feel about that? How does it make you feel? [00:03:22] Speaker B: How does it make me feel? I feel a little bit, say, worried for Nigeria, but I do care about the people there very much. And the people of Nigeria are going through a lot of the same pain that the people of Egypt are grown. It's the country where I was born. And everywhere you see the same thing all over the global south, especially in Africa. It seems that the powers that be are very much scared of Nigeria and Egypt. If those two countries ever got right leadership did the right things, Africa would be free. And with Africa being free, the whole world is free. So let's talk about the crypto ban. Let's go over the history of it. A lot has happened, right? The sentiment in the nigerian government is now that there is a very small group of people they're really going after, and they consider these people economic saboteurs, and they have wrongly included all of the peer to peer people in that group, which is not right, because all of these peer to peer traders, the ones that trade on places like no one's there. Their concern is being able to trade within Nigeria and outside of Nigeria, maybe to the countries next door, because their banking system doesn't work for that. Even mobile money, even if a mobile money operator is in ten different african countries, you can't send from one country to the next. They're different networks, which is crazy. So people are just looking for a way to trade to start their business, and their trade is often good. It actually creates more circulation for the naira. But the nigerian government doesn't see those differences, and I understand why. Was there, in a desperate situation, when your currency falls by 40% in a single week, you have to scramble like something's going on. What happened? The Nigerians didn't just say, hey, we're gonna knock. We're gonna work only half the week now? No, they're still doing the same amount of work, just like the Egyptians are doing the same amount of work. So naturally, they said, hey, someone's attacking us. And they're right. But the attacks don't really come from within the country. They come from outside of the country. Colonialism never really left Africa. It just puts on a different disguise. Instead of coming with guns and chains. No, they control your money now. They punish you if you ever try to do something with money that you're not allowed to do. They have so many ways to control the situation. They do it in Egypt. They do it in Nigeria. They do it in Venezuela. They did it in Zimbabwe. They're doing it all over the world. So this first crypto ban happened three years ago. Question is, why did it happen? That's what started all of this. Everything that's happening now was that first time what happened? We need to understand what happened, right, if we're really going to have good feelings or the right feelings about this. The nigerian government saw remittances into Nigeria fall by 98%, and they were like, whoa, what's going on now? Granted, it was COVID happening at the time, and naturally that would cause some remittances to fall with people who weren't working as much, but not that much. And they said, hey, we need to just stop our banks, tell them to stop doing business with any of these crypto exchanges until we understand what's going on. The real loser in that scenario was actually western, because the Nigerians figured out, hey, wait a minute. Instead of my friends and family in California or London sending me money with Western Union and me getting the official price, right? So they sent me $100 to get the official price at the Central bank of naira. But if I got the unofficial price, the gray market price, it would be double the amount of naira. So they're like, wait a minute, I'm being robbed. I should be getting double the amount of naira for the amount of dollars this guy is giving, right? Where is those dollars going? They weren't even going to the nigerian government, actually. They were going to western Union. They were keeping most of that. So Nigerians said, forget about this. We're going to use crypto, and we're going to get the black market price. And that actually got more cryptocurrency into Nigeria, which is amazing. And people got more nairo. If you think about what was happening, the nigerian government shouldn't have stopped that. They should have said, hey, how do we increase this? Because now, instead of western union getting all those dollars, all that foreign money comes into the country as crypto. [00:07:11] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:07:12] Speaker B: And if we just tax them or put just some kind of regulation that is sensible, reasonable, we'll be getting more dollars than we ever were because western Union wasn't giving us those dollars. Our remittance community bringing foreign currency into the country, and we could keep it. If the nigerian government wanted to do something, like the best possible thing at the time, they would have done that. But they didn't do that because they really didn't understand what was going on. And now they said, hey, we're going to lift the ban because we think we understand the situation better. Yeah. Them switching over to remittance didn't really hurt us. They didn't take foreign affects out of the economy. It just hurt western Union. But, hey, okay, so let's remove the ban, but let's bring up a license. And the license costs like a million dollars or half a million dollars, billions of naira, which is crazy because it cuts all the little guys out. And there's so many brilliant small fintech entrepreneurs in Nigeria. [00:08:01] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:08:01] Speaker B: But it lets the big guys, like, Coinbase in, and that's how we. [00:08:04] Speaker A: So before we. Sorry. Before we go into the old licensing side of things, I just want to go back to what you said about bringing. How wide the nigerian government actually did this recent ban that they just did. The NAra was falling. They felt, oh, it's the crypto guys that are causing this fall. But then they clamped down on one of the major. One of the people they talked were the major players in this space, which is binance, and forced them to stop p two. P arrested some of their employees. And a lot of people like you have been saying, oh, this is not the reason why your currency is falling. They are not behind the reason why currency is falling. But some people don't understand why. Okay. After they did that, the naira started gaining value. So they said, these guys are the cause, right? Let's stop them. They stopped them. And then we saw the results of why they said they were stopping them. So what are we missing? There is. Are we really sure it's not the p two p that was causing the fall of the vary of the naira? [00:09:08] Speaker B: It's a great question. So we have to make a distinction right now in Nigeria. I have a lot of friends in Nigeria, a lot of political people work with government very closely. They're all telling me the same thing. There's a very small group, a cluster, a syndicate within Nigeria that was leveraging arbitrage in a very heavy and hurtful manner. To the naira solely to take a lot of profit. And a lot of these guys were using crypto. They were using peer to peer, but it was just one of their many instruments that they had. They were also using a lot of multinational corporation, european corporations and everything. And the nigerian government wanted to find out who these people are and to stop. And they said, okay, we think they're also using crypto peer to peer. And they were right. They were also using those things as well. But the vast majority of all peer to peer traders are good, honest traders. They don't want to hurt the naira, they want to help the naira, they want to hurt their country. These are people that are just using things for remittances, like I told you just a little while ago, payments building corridors between other african nations. But the nigerian government knew that these very damaging players were out there somewhere and they didn't know how to find. But it was a desperate situation. So they said, hey, it's these peer to peer guys. Something's going on. And binance did have a role to play in all of this, actually. Look, four years ago, CZ came to me and he said, I want to buy your company. And I refused to sell it to him, right, because I think peer to peer should be not in the control of one huge centralized player. He said, okay, I'm going to copy your platform. And that's what he did. Even though he copied the code and did a great job, he did it in a way I would not have done it. I would not have instituted peer to peer in Nigeria the way Binance did it. They were doing it solely for profits, and that's it. They failed to put in very simple controls that would have kept those really big destructive players out of the picture. I would not have done it that way because I know how these big, these syndicates work, whether they're from Nigeria, whether they're from China. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of these syndicates were actually from China that were just trying to leverage arbitrage like crazy at the cost of nigerian people or from Europe or from wherever. I'm sure some of them are nigerian as well. This is really big destructive plays that Binance never put any checks into. And you can see them do the same thing in their leverage business. On their exchange, people get liquidated. No one knows why. They can prey on their own users was a completely centralized operation. I don't do things that way on no one's. We believe in fairness and transparency, and it's pretty easy to see who. Who are the bad guys and what they're actually doing. Kicked them off the platform was, look, the worst thing, the thing that I will never allow is any government coming to me and saying, we want all the private data of all of your users in this country, because they want to go after those people. They don't know who the good ones or the bad ones are. They're just going to try to hurt everyone. I will not allow that. I will not sell the people out. And you don't have to if you just do the right things and put purpose over profit, integrity over profit. Binance didn't do that. That's why they're paying that price. They have a very kind of money hungry, chinese lustful arbitrage style of going at things. [00:12:10] Speaker A: That's actually really interesting. Yeah, a quick one. If you're listening to us on Spotify or Apple podcasts, please leave us a review. Some people said the p two p wasn't exactly a money making venture for binance. And also looking at it, I couldn't really see. Maybe we didn't look closely enough. When I want to buy crypto and I send the person the naira and then I get the crypto, I do not really see how they end up making money with peer to peer. Was there something we've not been looking at? Is there a way they've been actually generating revenue from p two p? [00:12:45] Speaker B: Oh, yeah, man. I sat down with CZ a few months ago, went to my favorite place, and he sat down, he said, hey, man, we're all in the same boat. They're coming after all of us. And I asked them a question. I said, yeah, when you copied my peer to pee thing, you weren't making any money in the beginning because they were charging zero fees, but now you guys are. And I looked at them and I said, I think peer to peer is one of your top earners. Top three, definitely, but maybe top two. And he looked at me and he goes, yes. We don't show our volumes, though, because we want to avoid regulatory scrutiny. So peer to peer is one of their biggest earners. The only thing that probably makes them more is their leverage business, because they can choose who to liquidate. But peer to peer is massive. It's one of their biggest earners. And if the african peer to peer traders stopped using binance, finance would be done, their cash flows would drop dramatically. I tell you that right now at no one's, we show all of our volume, everything for the, every currency in the world. We show all of our liquidity. We show our proof of reserves. In fact, we take the entire CEO dashboard and show it to the world. At Binance, they don't show any of that. And there's a reason for that, right? You're either transparent or you're not. And that's, again, one of the mistakes that they made. We believe in complete transparency here. My CEO dashboard is available for the whole world. Everything is on there, even our conversion rates, because this is the only way we're actually going to win this thing. Guys. Peer to peer means not just having one big company in charge of everything. I don't just want CZ to steal my idea. I want everyone to steal my idea. I want you to steal my idea and start a peer to peer marketplace. I'll help you. And that's how we grow this together. Was the truth is literally trillions waiting here of money to be moved around the world. And that creates jobs, that creates value, that creates prosperity. And that's what this game is all about. At the end of the day, that's why we're really doing all this, because we all want to get rich together. [00:14:43] Speaker A: So does this justify how the. Based on everything you've said about binance and some of the checks that they didn't put in place to stop some of these bad actors, does this justify how the nigerian authorities have gone after the company and the entire crypto space, by extension? [00:15:03] Speaker B: Yeah, man, I can't. I'm not a judge. I can't say, oh, yeah, it justifies them. Look, I want Nigeria to be all right. I don't want 220 million people to suffer and get poor for what? Some guy in China can make a lot more money. That's not cool. It's not cool. That guy is american or european or whoever, or even another African. People in Nigeria need to watch out for themselves. The government Nigerian needs to watch out for Nigeria first. But let's face it, the people close to the central bank have been leveraging arbitrage for years with their connections. They call it round tripping, right? They buy dollars cheap and they dump it on the black market, further hurting the price of the naira. Right? They want the spread to be big so they can make more money, so they can leverage that kind of arbitrage. But if a big. If another company tries to do it. Okay, fine, I can understand that they're not hooked into the political structure, but look, binance has been a net positive for the world. The reason the Americans are going after them is simple, is because they gave people in the global south, me and you and all black, brown and yellow people, all of us normal folk, he gave us a universal payment system that we can actually use. Like finance has a wallet they can use internally, which is very powerful. But when you add it peer to peer, then it became really dangerous. And that's why Uncle Sam went for them. It was because of the peer to peer. It wasn't because CZ was doing all these shit coins. They didn't care. Uncle Sam doesn't care if Africans are losing money on all these shit coins and meme coins. They don't care about that. What they really care about is a, wait a minute. Africans can trade with each other now? No way. We have to keep the inter african continental trade at less than 1% of the Africans start trading with each other, they're going to get rich real fast. Then they won't even need us. They'll have their own currency. Maybe it's bitcoin. Maybe they start their own afghan dina or peso, like Qaddafi or whatever. No fucking way. Shut this down. That's why they went after binance. And I've been doing. I started doing the same thing ten years ago. I bought the first bitcoin in pure two Africans was. That's what African is in. The african people showed me, hey, Ray, you're not that smart. Look at what. How we're using it. And I was like, oh, my God, these people are amazing. They. They showed me what it's actually really good for. This is the real reason here. So I don't want to see binance go down. I don't want to see anyone. I want people to have as many options as possible, but I want the people themselves to understand the real game that's happening here. Nigeria is and has always been under attack. [00:17:26] Speaker A: That's really interesting. Really interesting one. And again, going back to the users in Nigeria, the users of the peer to peer. So one thing that really caught my attention during this whole thing was the amount of people actually trading crypto in Nigeria, people who actually use crypto in Nigeria. So I had a lot of people, I think a former FTX employee was saying, oh, Nigeria had a lot of users, but the volumes are really low. It's not possible that the government is blaming binance because there isn't really that much money going through finance by Nigerians. We saw a lot of people say this, but we've been led to believe that, oh, Nigeria is huge on crypto, right? Adoption is huge, volumes are huge, numbers are huge. But now I'm seeing a lot of things going around. Right. Are we mistaken? Is it really not as big as we think or a lot of people using it, but the volumes are really low? [00:18:21] Speaker B: We are mistaken. But truth is that it's so much bigger than what we think it is, man. [00:18:28] Speaker A: Really? [00:18:28] Speaker B: So much. Yeah. It's crazy. It's insane. People don't understand, like you say. Oh, yeah. Nigeria leads bitcoin and cryptocurrency adoption worldwide. And it does. But it's even crazier than people think because officially, cryptocurrency volume in Nigeria is at $59 billion a year. And that's just all the official volume. [00:18:50] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:18:50] Speaker B: Meaning everything that's happening on centralized exchanges that can be tracked on the blockchain. Yeah. 59. Let's say, 60 billion. Yeah, that's a joke. The real volume is ten times more than that was. That's peer to peer. And that's not just volume that's happened. Most peer to peer doesn't happen on finance, PDP or no one's or any of these other platforms. Most peer to peer happens. [00:19:14] Speaker A: What's up? [00:19:15] Speaker B: What's up? Telegram. [00:19:17] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:19:18] Speaker B: The coffee shop. Everywhere on the streets, man. That's where most peer to peer is really happening. And in fact, I'd even say 60 billion going through those centralized exchanges. I think most of that is actually peer to peer volume. They're covering up tubes. Nigerians are very crafty and have ways to use things for things they weren't, you know, necessarily meant to be used for. Peer to peer is ten times. Peer to peer is probably like a half a trillion dollar business inside Nigeria alone. That's the truth. It's so much bigger than where we thought. Finance doesn't publish their volumes. They want to avoid regulatory screening. They don't want Uncle Sam or the nigerian government knowing how much really flows through peer to peer on their system. And what's happening on their system is a joke compared to what's happening off their system on telegram and WhatsApp and in reality. [00:20:11] Speaker A: So I think, to me, I think the way the nigerian government now is now going about it now probably would make things worse, because if there are some people who are already on those centralized platforms and then you stop them from using those centralized platforms and then they go off, you are taking a lot of those possible revenue outlets and you're taking it off centralized platforms, and people start using more people size than WhatsApp, and now those are the places where you can't track stuff. So I think these are some of the consequences this whole clamp down will have, right? [00:20:45] Speaker B: Absolutely. They're essentially forcing education is really what's happening. They're saying, oh, Nigerians, you can't do this. Well, you tell a Nigerian not to do something, they're not going to just stop. They're going to find a way to do what they need to do. They're going to educate themselves, or self starters, and that's what's happening in Nigeria. Nigeria is a very hard market to regulate. Nigerians are just natural entrepreneurs. They'll find a way around everything, and they're educating themselves. Now, this is how I do, peer to peer, okay? This is how I discover liquidity. And this is, you know, how I actually do the trade online, offline everything. And they're just making it harder and harder to regulate this whole system, this new economy. And they're missing a huge opportunity, because if the nigerian government went to their peer to peer traders and said, hey, we understand that you guys are a superpower inside the country. You can make money flow all over Nigeria, out of Nigeria, into Nigeria. We want you guys to help us. We want you guys to do your patriotic duty to keep the price of the naira strong. And we want you guys to make profit, too. We don't want you being harassed by cops like the SARS. We don't want the bank shutting down your accounts. We don't want you to feel like a criminal. So we've come out with this very simple peer to peer money transmission license light. Just declare what you're doing, tell us what your volumes are. You pay a little tax here and give us your promise that you're going to make sure to get more foreign currency into the country and not go out, because that's the main thing. That's what keeps the price of the naira stable. Promise you, if the government of Nigeria did that, it would completely change everything. They would have a massive inflow of real hard money coming in. They could collect attacks on all the crypto into the country, and they could take that and turn into dollars, euros, Yen, whatever they wanted, and the nairo would be stabilized. And Nigeria is the only country in the world that can do that. But you got the best peer to peer traders in the world, bro. I wish Egypt could do that, but Egyptians are smart, they're good, too. But the Nigerians are, like, different level, man. You guys have a look at an army of these amazing people. You need to use it, bro, because if Nigeria did that, it would be the first time in human history that a country was actually able to use its own internal resources, not just in the ground, but in the brains of their people to stop this inflationary death spark. It would be a huge victory for you. [00:23:14] Speaker A: I think that's a really good advice for regulators, and I hope they see this and they hear it and find a way to. Because like you said, it's. It could be huge for Nigeria, actually. Because if you have $58 billion coming in as crypto, which is already more than what comes in through the regulated rails, through traditional means, I think remittance in Nigeria in 2022 was, I don't know, 2020, $3 billion. But then crypto is doing more. Right. That's a really good outlet to make money, make revenue, see more effects coming. Yeah. I hope they hear this and I. [00:23:55] Speaker B: Hope this is another important point. [00:23:57] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:23:58] Speaker B: People talk about Nigeria and crypto, and I mentioned crypto and I mentioned the huge volumes. You know what they say, oh, it's a bunch of scammers all scammed. No, it's not, honestly, if anyone's getting scammed, Nigerians getting scammed by the Chinese, Europeans and all these other scams are coming outside of Nigeria. They're just going to prey on Nigerians because they're very trusting people. But what's happening inside crypto Nigeria is very special because the majority of the stuff is peer to peer. It's not speculation. It's not Nigerians buying some pepe coin or dogecoin or some garbage shit coin. Most of it is peer to peer. That's the amazing thing about Nigeria. It's like the exact opposite of the use cases of every other economy out there. And it's the biggest, which proves the point I've been saying for the past ten years. The biggest use case of bitcoin and cryptocurrency is to remove the chains of financial apartheid, to allow the money to move around as a true medium of exchange. That's what's going to make us all rich, because it's going to put all these young people to work. It's not just a store of value or any of that junk that you hear from the best. And Nigeria proves that. That's why I keep saying Nigeria is ground zero for the peer to peer revolution. It is literally the most important place in the world, and you guys are living at least five to 20 years in the future, honestly. So nice. [00:25:25] Speaker A: And another thing the nigerian government is doing, again, to impair or like a stop this. This thing that might be a really huge revenue generation outlet for them is increasing the amount of getting a crypto license in the country, increasing the paid up capital, which is absolutely insane. [00:25:46] Speaker B: Right? [00:25:46] Speaker A: So what I've seen some people say that it's actually a good thing, right? So if you're going to be in a space where you owe people's money, you keep people's money, where you control a lot of people's finances, you have to, to a level, be able to prove that, okay, you can do it well, and you will not one day just run off with people's money. So I think, for me personally, I think it's a double edged sword. Yes, we need it to be cheaper, but then again, we need the players to be able to prove that they can. Actually, because we've heard stories, the FTX thing just happened in Nigeria, too. We have the Patricia thing going on. For me personally, I think it's a double edged one. [00:26:27] Speaker B: What do you think setting up proper regulations is like building an engine or putting a car together, right. There's a way to do things right. There's a way to break up duties in an engine, right. Different parts of different things. So you can make a distinction and say, hey, are you a custodian? Are you going to hold people's money? If you're going to be a digital asset custodian, we need to know that you're serious and you're legit and have the funds to back this up. And that can be a separate license. Right? Oh, you want to be digital as a consortium. Okay. Did you want to run an exchange? Okay. You need to get both those licenses, and to get the digital asset license, you need to put down a huge down payment. You show us a huge corporate record. You need serious stuff that only big companies will be able to do. But maybe that's good because they're going to be holding on to people's money. Yeah, you don't want people to run away people's money like Patricia did or any of these others. Yeah, great. Do that. But at the same time, wait a minute. What about all of these peer to peer traders here that have built these businesses from the ground up? They don't want to hold on to people's money. They just want to do conversions, just like those agents on the street. If you went to every guy, those guys with a little green umbrella, yeah, that changed money, cash for mobile money, you went to him and you say, hey, man, you need to put a half a million dollars or 10 billion naira down here to continue your business. And you fill all these things, be like, oh, my God, you just killed that old business. So we can't. We need a different license for a different function. Right. If you want to be a digital asset custodian and an exchange, okay, you need these two licenses. If you just want to be a guy that's going to move money peer to peer, but not custody, the funds provide conversion. They need this license. You can call it the peer to peer license or the hawala 2.0 license or whatever it is. But Nigerians who see these traders is more like the mobile money or Pos people, not as the big coin bases of the world. You can't regulate Coinbase and a Pos person on the street the same way. [00:28:31] Speaker A: It's the same way. True, true. Absolutely. All right. You've said a lot about removing the financial appetite and things like that, giving people the ability to move money across Africa. Moving money basically anywhere they want. Right. And we are currently heading a company that does that. Where does no one come in all of this? Right. In a space or in a country where the government wants to clamp down on all these things. Right. How does no one help people continue to do this easily and securely? [00:29:07] Speaker B: Yeah. So it's a loaded question, brother, but I'm always looking towards the future. Ten years ago, everyone that Africa was going to lead cryptocurrency and bitcoin adoption, everyone laughed. They said, oh, you're the Africans. Only make $2 a day. They won't be able to figure it out in Nigeria, were you talking to nigerian princes and all this garbage? But now, in just five years after I said that, it all came true, and now it's going even farther. So let's look another ten years into the future, right? What's going to be happening? Let's look at binance, finance, Facebook, any of these, like, big communities in the world, like, Facebook has over a billion or maybe 2 billion users, I think billion and a half. Finance at 120 million. They're basically turning into network states, right? You join this community and you get access to communications, you can discover other people and services. And in the case of finance, you even have a wallet. It's giving you financial tools. I can send and receive value within this network to all the other people, maybe my neighbors. Great. And then they added peer to peers. Wow. Now I have access to liquidity. Everywhere else, it essentially becomes a network. Staples. It does all that, gives you all the value that your government really should be giving you. 99% of governance. Like, the only real reason you need a federal government, the centralized government, instead of just a local one, is because of money. Someone has to guarantee a working money system. And finance was starting to do that. That's why Uncle Sam went after Facebook, tried to do the same thing when they introduced Libre and have their own digital currency on, they got shut down. Uncle Sam's like, no way. You're not gonna replace us. Yeah, they were seeing CZ. Oh, God, this yellow guy, this chinese guy is trying to replace us and become a trillionaire. No way we're gonna shut that down. And they actually made him shut down. They, on his post in Twitter, he said, hey, I'm not doing any more tokens. I'm just doing education now. And that was part of the deal. But sees, he's smart. He's always gonna be involved in something, at least funding things in the background. We know the trend. These network states are doing the job that our governments fail to do. And you know the western powers don't like that, right? So whatever they don't like, we have to do a lot more of, right? They don't like that. We're gonna do ten times more then. That's why I started. No one's. I want to start the world's free first peer to peer, the centralized Republic, a real network state that gives us what? Communications, a universal wallet, and a peer to peer marketplace. Those three things, that is. Those are the secret ingredients right there. A table stands on three legs, right? At least, just like WeChat did it for China, they made a super app for an entire country of over a billion people. No one's is going to be the super app for the entire global south. 6 billion more humans, there'll be 12 billion soon. It's going to give them communications, it's going to give them a universal wallet and a peer to peer global marketplace where anyone can trade anywhere without permission. You put those things together, whoever does that first literally saves the world and a lot. But I'll take that. [00:32:20] Speaker A: Wow, that's. That's really ambitious. [00:32:22] Speaker B: And the world is ready for it, brother. [00:32:24] Speaker A: Yeah. Yeah. [00:32:25] Speaker B: First time in human history. Think about it like this. It's not so much about bitcoin or crypto. Bitcoin and crypto are just parts of the peer to peer review. The peer to peer revolution started with the Internet 25, 30 years ago, more. And then we had all these mobile phones, right? Peer to peer little devices that we can hold in our hands. And all these peer to peer startups disrupted everything except finance, until we got peer to peer electronic cash, bitcoin, and now it's okay. Yeah. This is a big part of the thing. But it's not everything. There needs to be a way to actually trade. And that's where these peer to peer marketplaces, like what no one's asked comes in. But then it allows you to trade everything using cryptocurrency, using bitcoin and USDT. I can trade money in a gift card, in a bank account, in cash and mobile money. I can trade my goods and services across the world. I can trade. I can trade anything. This is the only thing that has been missing. But now we have all the pieces in place to put this machine together where all of us can work together to build these peer to peer financial quarters and give us a new financial system. Every african leader has always been asking, where is this new financial architecture? We were promised this swift banking system doesn't work inside Africa. It's even more broken, like we need. You've been promising us this. Where is it? And then the French. You saw Macron when Ruto said, asked that question, he looked over him like this. You thought we were serious, that kind of look, right? Yeah, they weren't serious. They're just trying to keep us going along because they want us to stay poor. We're tired of staying poor. Why should Egypt be a poor country? Why should Egyptians have no jobs and have to leave their country to go America or somewhere else? Why should Nigerians have to joppa out when it literally has the most educated and talented workforce of 220 million people in the world? Like, what's going on, man? The people of the global south have gotten very wise these past 20 years, and they have leapfrogged over all of the week old tech. We're tired. We're tired of the same old bullshit. We're not going to see our lives wasted like our mothers, our fathers. No way. Now we're gonna put it all together. And that's what no one's is. It's a way for the people to all come together. And it is group effort. Like, you think about the values of the company and I can tell you about. I'll tell you about that later. I'm sorry. [00:34:47] Speaker A: Yeah, no problem. Yeah, yeah, I figured we can. We'll probably even have to maybe talk again some other time. There's still. There's a lot to talk about, especially the fact about how this whole crypto revolution goes beyond just bitcoin and meme coins and it's probably even surpasses finance in a way. And. Yeah, so there's a lot. There's a lot to uncover. Yeah. But my for now, my final question will be, you've been in the space for quite some time with Paxful and all that. What were those things that went wrong with Paxful that you're going to try and curb now? It's no one's. [00:35:28] Speaker B: Yeah, with Paxwell, I really should have gotten out of it much sooner when I saw that my co founder and the other people he brought in our values did not match. Our value system was the exact opposite. And I'm very forgiving person. I try to work with everyone, but if someone's heart isn't the same as yours, they're never going to put the same things that you value. For example, at no one's, our first value is everyone eats, meaning we take 50% of our profits and we give it back to the community. With rewards, with affiliate payouts, with hiring teams of advocates and ambassadors around the world, with bitcoin, sats, faucet. Like it goes back to the community instead of giving it to Facebook and Google and all those companies. We're taking a bet on our people because we want everyone to be rich. That's the whole point of this. My old company was different. They didn't believe that everyone eats. Instead, he said he saw money, okay? He bought a yacht, he bought a Ferrari, okay? Good for him. That's not me, bro. And that's never gonna be me, and he's never gonna be like me. So I broke that all. It did not make sense. Everyone must eat, not just a few people at the top. That's disgusting. That's what got us into this mess in the first place. And it's very short sighted. Okay? You want. You're ambitious, you want money, good. Allah wants us all to be rich and have money. But if you're very short sighted and short term focused, you're not ever gonna make the kind of money like real do all the money that's really waiting out there. You must have a long term perspective. And I am taking the crazy bet that if we get everyone around us rich, it's gonna create a lot more money. It's gonna create a lot more work. Imagine a billion young people in the global south getting jobs and building roads, wells, schools. You're gonna have cities like Dubai popping up all over the place. And then there's gonna be a lot more wealth in the world because human work creates wealth. That's what I believe everyone needs. And to do that, you need to be. You need to educate people, man. Like, for some people, education is just a buzzword. They'll use. Oh, yeah, give somebody. I believe in real education. [00:37:42] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:37:43] Speaker B: I have built 13 schools across Africa and the global south these past ten years. I want to build 100 schools. I've been doing it since day one. I've done university tours, campus tours are going to be doing that with no one. So a huge portion of our budget goes back to education because we actually believe. And my former partners did not. They were just, oh, yeah. [00:38:02] Speaker A: Now you're going to really vet people you work with. Now, how is that with no one? How are you doing that? No one's finding people that have the same heart as you. [00:38:12] Speaker B: Yeah, it's pretty easy to say, tell if you may. You require them to do the things that are important. Like, I'm the CEO. I'm really the chief advocate CEO. Just as american corporate title. I'm the chief advocate. And the chief advocate is boots on the ground, man. I go to the places. I go to our customers, I talk to them face to face, I listen to them. And I told all the chiefs and no ones, I told me, if you're a chief of this company, you got to be boots on the ground. You cannot be afraid of the customer. They're not just a user. There are citizens. Think of it as you're almost representing them. You've got to listen to them. You've got to be boots on the ground from day one. Absol freaking lootly. So when you pass that to people, you see how many people are really willing, able to do that. Some people are too scared to even go near the customer. No, I need a security guard. What are you afraid of? This is your customer. People that depend on you. And we just challenge people in the right things. And the right people step up and we've got a great team. And most of our team is from the global south. Right now, we want Ghana to be our corporate hq. I would have loved it if it was Nigeria. But eventually. [00:39:18] Speaker A: No worries. I understand. I totally understand that. Yeah. What my final question will be, you've said a lot about what your ambitions are for no one's, but what are those things that you think could stand in the way? And how do you plan to surmount these challenges? [00:39:37] Speaker B: Brother? Being a CEO is always hard. I came out of retirement for this because I see the biggest opportunity in the world here. And I know we're going to be successful. The more successful we're going to be, the more resistance we're going to get. That's when the man, quote unquote, is going to start really looking at us. And I'm like, what are these guys really doing here? And I'm very transparent and vocal with my plans. Once they see this stuff is actually happening, getting traction, they're gonna start coming after. And that's why I have to make sure that the system can survive. Even if something happens to me and something happens to no one's, like, we can't stop peer to peer, cannot stop an army of mosquitoes. How am I gonna do that? Yeah, it's simple. And I've been thinking about this for a long time, for the past five years. But I saw this coming five years ago. I knew what was gonna happen. I knew America was going after peer to peer traders. Local bitcoins, which was our first competitor. They arrested 20 of their people the same way they're going after binance right now. And it's the same reason why, really, I wanted to shut Paxil down. It didn't make sense. It's a company that's going to get people in trouble because it's operating in a region where the government is against you. That can only end one way. So what do we do to make sure that we can survive? That's why I started a decentralized protocol called Civilization toolkit, built on top of bitcoin, where anyone can create their own peer to peer marketplace as easy as building their own blog. And no one's will be the first to support it and build on it. And I encourage the entire community to come in and build on it, too, and compete with me. Steal my ideas. Steal all my ideas. Let's blow peer to peer up, man. Because this is the humanities only shot to actually win this thing, and it's not something new. The peer to peer revolution will not be televised. It's been happening on the streets since the days of the Internet. And who's the ones are gonna finish it? It's not those white boys in Silicon Valley or those rich Europeans in Bavaria or some rich in Chinese. No, it's the people of the global south, especially in Africa. You guys have taken the lead. You're showing everyone in the world what cryptocurrency is actually good for. It is a little piece in this peer to peer machine. And the most important ingredient is not any bit of technology, whether it's a web browser in the Internet, bitcoin, or cryptocurrency. No blockchain. No. The most important ingredient is the natural resources, meaning the people that are going to drive this forward, what have they been educated with? What have their hearts been fortified with what do they. Are they really doing this for? This is what the people of Africa have that no one else seems to have. Like, you guys have it. So I'm counting on you guys to complete the peer to peer revolution, brother. No pressure, though. [00:42:34] Speaker A: Yeah, yeah. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. Yeah, we'll do that. Really interesting stuff you're doing and help. The government sees the importance of peer to peer. And not just the nigerian government, but I think the whole of Africa, because being able to work together as a continent, like you said, is really important. And, yeah, I hope they see this. I hope they hear you. And it's sad, right, when you think about it, like, everything going on right now and what they could have actually made of it, but I hope they see this and really do something about it. Thank you so much, Ray, for your time. It has really been an interesting conversation with you. I hope you enjoyed it as well. [00:43:19] Speaker B: Definitely, brother. It's been awesome, man. Just remember, bro, your generation is going to see all this happen, and you're going to be a direct part of making it happen, brother. [00:43:28] Speaker A: All right. All right. Thank you so much. I really had fun on this. Thank you so much for listening to this podcast. Please make sure to leave a review on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. This helps other people to find our podcasts, and we really appreciate if you could do that for us. Bye for now.

Other Episodes


March 22, 2022 00:53:04
Episode Cover

Do we need tech worker unions? #HorribleBosses

Watch Peace Itimi's interview with Ebun Okubanjo - Read all articles and reports referenced in today's episode - Email us your feedback...


Episode 193

September 28, 2023 00:54:45
Episode Cover

Exits and shutdowns in Africa's startup space

This episode is also available on YouTube -   On this week's Techpoint Africa Podcast, our reporters discuss an acquisition, a shut down, and...


Episode 142

November 07, 2022 00:53:26
Episode Cover

Using technology to aid Nigeria's electoral process

This episode is also available on YouTube - on the Techpoint Africa Podcast, our Managing Editor, Emmanuel Paul sits with Joachim Macebong, Senior...