Ingressive hosted its first Ecosystem Hangout in 2019 on the "Economics of Blockchain–Cryptocurrency, Fintech, and the Entrepreneur" at Venia Hub, Lekki Phase 1.

The hangout which was held on Tuesday, January 8, came as a precursor to the Blockchain tour that started that day and ends today.

Ingressive launched the Ecosystem Hangout in June 2018 to bring stakeholders in the tech ecosystem together to discuss the challenges and development of technology in Africa. Up to five hangouts held last year; one of them looked at the "Finance and Regulatory Techniques to Accelerate Startups and Businesses".

Recap of first Ingressive Ecosystem Hangout in 2019

Being a stickler for timeliness, the COO of Ingressive, Sean Burrowes, mounted the podium at 6:00 pm, despite the sparse population of the hall. But soon, more people sauntered in–they alluded to the notorious Lagos traffic as the reason for their lateness.

In attendance were representatives from Quidax, Luno, Kora Network, Flutterwave Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce and other blockchain enthusiasts and experts.

L-R: Ingressive COO, representatives from Quidax and Luno Nigeria 

The night's anchor, Burrowes, quizzed the representatives on the different aspects of the theme–from blockchain basics, the cryptocurrency-fintech nexus, to the obstacles of blockchain’s growth in Nigeria (and Africa) and the role of regulators in advancing blockchain uptake. The audience also had ample time to throw in questions. It was indeed a time for attendees to rub minds and glean knowledge from one another.

Key takeaways from the event

In no particular order, here are some things I noted from the event:

  • The obstacles hindering the growth of blockchain in Nigeria are different from the challenges abroad. Thus, it is local developers that would proffer solutions to our peculiar issues, not foreigners.
  • More investment should be made in human capital to increase the number of blockchain talents.
  • The use of different payment systems and processes across Africa countries is one of the impediments to the adoption of blockchain for intra-continental transfers.
  • Currently, there is no financial solution geared towards the unbanked running on blockchain network.
  • Generally, the problem for the unbanked includes an inadequate: infrastructure, trust in the digital financial system and education.
  • Cryptocurrency wasn't necessarily built for the unbanked. As such, it should be seen as a viable financial solution for all.
  • Cryptocurrency is not (only) an investment base, it is (also) a means of transferring value and fostering interoperable payment system.
  • Cryptocurrencies will gain more traction when more merchants begin to accept it.

There was a spicy conversation on the value of cryptocurrencies, bitcoin in particular.

The poser was, if bitcoin (cryptocurrencies) is set up outside of established fiat currencies, yet its value is pegged against these currencies, what really is the intrinsic value of bitcoin?

One of people that tried to answer the question was Dickson Nsofor, Founder of Kora Network. He said:

“The first thing to note is that bitcoin is not a store of value. The most important function of bitcoin is its ability to transcend border as a medium of exchange.”

The conversation continued into the networking session as we were served light refreshments.