“We can’t have mass adoption of cryptocurrencies without regulation” — Obi Emetarom on crypto adoption

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Published: 2022-06-17

The relative anonymity that may be achieved when making financial transactions is one of the most appealing characteristics of cryptocurrencies. The capacity to execute transactions without the involvement of intermediaries is a significant benefit but also gives governments and regulators a cause to oppose its use.

Obi Emetarom, CEO and Co-founder of Appzone, a company that provides financial services, is adamant that regulators are necessary for the widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies. While many users are opposed to any form of regulation for cryptocurrency transactions, Obi Emetarom is adamant that regulators are necessary.

During a fireside chat that took place on Saturday, May 21, 2022, at the Techpoint Africa Blockchain Summit, he made the following statement: "Anyone hoping that there's going to be a world where you have adoption of cryptocurrencies without regulator's endorsement should forget about it." It's not going to happen; the only time something like that could take place is if there were no governments around.

People in Nigeria are aware of the regulatory concerns that surround cryptocurrencies, the most well-known example of which is the direction issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria to Nigeria's financial institutions to stop enabling bitcoin transactions. The country's Securities and Exchange Commission additionally issued guidelines for the issuing and custody of digital assets in May of 2022. These recommendations were published.

Diverse reactions have been elicited in response to these moves. Users in the country have turned to P2P channels in order to execute transactions in the wake of a directive issued by the CBN to various financial institutions. On the other hand, the rules that were issued by the SEC have been praised as an essential step toward the mainstream use of cryptocurrencies.

Putting the power of the blockchain to work for financial institutions

With its first year of business beginning in 2008, Appzone is one of the most established financial infrastructure firms in Nigeria. It at first accepted only fiat currency as payment for its services, but more recently it has begun accepting stablecoins instead. Emetarom explained the rationale behind the decision to relocate.

" Based on what we observed, the architecture for fiat-based payment procedures is flawed and has an excessive number of problems. We did some research and came up with the idea that if you build a processing network that is peer-to-peer oriented, you can get a really fluid payment process by having all of the nodes link directly with one another. Additionally, it is significantly more scalable than what we now have.

During the Techpoint Africa Blockchain Summit 2022, Obi Emetarom spoke on the topic of the acceptance of cryptocurrencies.Obi Emetarom speaking on cryptocurrency adoption at the Techpoint Africa Blockchain Summit 2022

Emetarom revealed that the banks have been receptive to the shift, despite the widespread perception that financial institutions are resistant to it. However, this openness has not been without some degree of reluctance.

When we first began, it felt really absurd. In the beginning, the response was one of enthusiasm about the possibilities but skepticism about the technology, which is why we had to conduct a lot of proof of concepts ( POC). We believed that once we captured one or two of the larger players, the rest of the competition would fall into place, but this did not turn out to be the case. However, despite the fact that banks can be slow due to their structure and the bureaucracy involved, there is a great deal of excitement about it. Of course, fintechs are different. They are more quick, and all they want is the ability to increase their productivity.

What is ahead for alternative cryptocurrencies

Stablecoins are a useful tool for mitigating the risks associated with the inherent volatility of cryptocurrencies. Emetarom is of the opinion that stablecoins and alternative cryptocurrencies each have their own unique applications.

" You need to think of altcoins in the same way as securities, almost like shares in a business. Even though they might not be used for making payments, there will almost certainly always be people trading on the exchanges. People are going to engage in initial coin offerings. It is possible to lose money investing in an initial coin offering (ICO), just as it is possible to lose money investing in a publicly traded firm.

Creating the groundwork for the transition to a cashless economy

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In addition to promoting financial inclusion, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said on numerous occasions that it wants to move toward a cashless economy; nevertheless, this endeavor has not been very successful. Cash is still used for the majority of financial transactions in the country, and Emetarom believes that switching to digital currencies could help speed up the process of transitioning.

The reason you still have cash is because fiat currency has a physical component that you are unable to do away with, but there is a simpler method to transition to a digital economy. Simply make the switch over to digital money. When this occurs, full financial inclusion will exist since everyone who utilizes a digital currency will effectively have a form of bank account via which they may access financial services. On top of that, you now develop finance that is automated and decentralized, making it possible for everyone to have access to financial services.

In addition to the elimination of the usage of fiat currency, he fought for the interoperability of various financial instruments and worked to ensure that digital financial solutions are as simple to employ as the systems that are currently in place.