By Ephraim Oseji & Cynthia Alo
George Ayinde, also known as Nephilim is an investor and entrepreneur with a multidisciplinary technological, creative, and marketing background, and a long history in the crypto space.
He is also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of WEMOVE DeFi, an auto-liquidity generating empowerment token focused on the African market that’s building an ecosystem for a cryptocurrency-enabled economy. In this interview, George Ayinde, talks about an innovative digital approach that will see Africa blossom economically and stand out among other continents.
What is ‘Wemove?
Wemove is a digital currency that can be used as a store of value or to buy goods and services anywhere in the world in seconds by using an online public ledger with strong cryptography to secure online transactions without the need for a trusted third party or centralized institution. Wemove is geared towards becoming the African internet of money. WeMove is the embodiment of what it means to carry the genesis genes of civilization. It is our way of life, our very essence embedded deep in our diverse yet similar cultures; it is the call sign for the liberation, calibration, and healing of our generation so our “tomorrows” have a solid foundation to build on.
How secure is your platform and how do you intend to convince your potential investors bearing in mind that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) early this year banned trading in crypto currencies and enabling payments for crypto exchange?
I understand that a centralised body banned its centralised institution banks from working with centralised crypto exchanges, and research data has shown that this only drove up investment into crypto and DeFi by Nigerians. What the CBN did was to completely alienate itself from Nigerian crypto adopters who are already traditional finance skeptics and further buttress the bitcoin narrative that people should be the custodians of their own fungible assets not centralised financial institutions.
The ban gave rise to P2P (peer-to-peer) platforms, the very ethos to which bitcoin was created in the first place. Africans, not just Nigerians, have a massive problem with cross border settlements and remittances. If you are Nigerian and live outside the country, you’ll realise how worthless your retail banks are and crypto solves this issue in a lightning fast manner. You can buy goods and services from another continent in seconds without having to wait on a two to three day SWIFT, caps on how much you can send-receive, and all the 21 questions and restrictions from the banks for remittance. In my world, I have never had to wait for a transaction for a day. I do not understand it; it doesn’t compute in my head and with the plethora of crypto currency out there you get remittances in seconds.
Africans also put their savings into crypto as a means of avoiding inflation and this has contributed to the growing market in Africa. Everyone earning in local currency are worth a lot less at the time of this interview, thanks to inflation caused by the same institutions you revere; they made us all a lot worth-less. As for the MMM narrative, since 2009, twelve years since bitcoin was launched and all you can see is growing adoption. According to Chainalysis, Africa’s crypto market increased in value by more than 1,200% between July of 2020 and June 2021, with high adoption in Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Tanzania.
The same CBN that banned crypto launched its own CBDC, so it begs the question: was it done to once again try to force Nigerians to use their own crypto currency? The same way Twitter was banned so some knock off platform could be forced on the masses as a form of control of free speech? If this is the case then they have a rude awakening coming their way. You cannot force people to adopt your currency [laughs], it does not work that way, and besides the more educated people are about decentralised finance, the more they will ask informed questions about CBDCs like who controls the mint function of the currency?
Under what set rules will new digital currency be minted? Where is the Whitepaper? Why wasn’t the Whitepaper made public? Will the ledger of said CBDC be made public? In a country that prints the Naira on end, what will be different about this so called digital currency? How are the private keys stored and most important question of it all for adopters will be do they want to use another fork of centralisation as a store of value?
If African governments stopped wasting trillions on financial regulation and figuring out how to fleece its citizens at every turn and devote these resources to building and infrastructure, we would be transforming Mars already and there would be no such thing as scarce resources. As for the security question, I would refer you to the Decentralised Perpetual Liquidity protocol we are founded on.
What made you take this step despite the level of acceptance of digital currency in Africa?
Deep self-love that originates out of my profound connection to my roots. The Deep desire to see Africans on equal footing in every industry with the rest of the world is what drives this project. We have been marginalized and robbed enough, it is time every African has access to the tools necessary to thrive.
What are you doing differently?
We are an Africa first platform, we are leading the path for others to follow, this is not a race for medals or social anecdotes for bragging rights but one for the liberation, calibration, and healing of our generation through discourse, innovation, and financial inclusion. We are a platform base for other platforms and we hope to inspire more innovation in this space. What we have done differently is an efficient marketplace where crypto has a real-world utility.
The WEMOVE DeFi protocol will provide access to financial services where individuals and businesses can access appropriate, affordable, and timely financial products and services depending on their individual use case. These include decentralized banking, loans, equity, and insurance products. WEMOVE is creating an ecosystem for e-commerce- decentralized apps, a social remittance platform, Gamefi, and an African NFT platform like no other.
From what you said, Wemove will reduce rise in inflation and also increase financial inclusion in Africa. So far, what is Nigeria and Africa not doing right?
Nigeria including Africa’s financial inclusion challenges is a result of regulation by the same centralized institutions built to enable them. Until African politics and financial policy are mutually exclusive, the issue of financial inclusion will forever be a problem for centralized institutions.
Africans prefer to keep money outside the banks and who can blame them? It is not an illiteracy issue as touted by the banks but one of bad policy, service charges, and punishing regulation on how we can spend our hard-earned money, and the general population have concluded that it is costly and inefficient to keep money in a bank.
The entire world is experiencing a colossal shift towards decentralization and its use cases, in the world of finance; the traditional model is no longer sustainable and will only last for as long as these institutions can lobby politicians to do their bidding. Decentralized finance has flipped the model on its head, delivering a new world of financial products, built using smart contracts that allow consumers to switch between providers in a matter of seconds, all at the click of a mouse. It is not that the WEMOVE protocol is just better — it’s simply fundamentally different. In the old world of retail banking, you have to trust the people that run banks.
This trust is expensive to everyday Africans- everyday people. In the new world of decentralized finance, we trust the code that provides our financial services. Code does not care about your tribe, ethnicity, religion, or political party. A set of rules in a smart contract is all that governs. Africa has missed the industrial revolution and all its glory, that era evolved into a digital revolution that gave birth to a disruptive fourth industrial revolution, and centralized Institutions as we know them will never be the same.
What do African governments stand to gain if they adopt a crypto-enabled economy?
I created the Katalyst Africa platform for this purpose years before WeMove. It is going to be a biannual global gathering of all things disruptive and future tech that elected officials, tech entrepreneurs, startups and the general public from the cardinals of Africa will attend; there we will discuss the Africa agenda and how these emerging technologies can further empower the next generation of Africa. As for what the governments stand to gain, I believe they would regain some degree of trust from the same people that elected them to govern.
The next generation of Africans will adopt the technology in ways we can only dream, with or without centralized institutions and whatever system of control they want to put in place. Each time I read of government’s regulation and control, I ask: why regulate a fair system and who watches the watchmen? The time and money wasted on panels and endless debate by officials should be used to build transparent systems on the blockchain.
The government use cases of blockchain technologies are endless; from administration to project execution, pension funds to salary payments and budget allocation to ministries, most important idea in my opinion would be of fair, transparent election use case but that is not a conversation anyone wants to have.
Education on the best practices for crypto will negate security risks, practices like doing your own research, auditing code, multi signature wallets, hardware over hot wallets, how best to store your private keys and equipping oneself with knowledge to avoid the the numerous cyber attacks that even centralised systems are prone
Also, WeMove is built on user public-key cryptography, an innovative approach to bookkeeping to achieve the authorization, balance verification, prohibition on double spending, delivery of assets, and record inalterability. It happens in near real-time at a minimal cost. That in itself is the first layer of security users have, knowing that every transaction is public and immutable. As a DeFi project at its core, we have chosen the most secure Automated Market Maker, Yield Farming, and Staking platform in the world called PadSwap simply because of the safety measures they have put in place to protect investors from having funds stolen from them by platform developers like myself.
At launch, we will be donating our liquidity tokens to a Decentralized Perpetual Liquidity Protocol (DPLP) farm which means we will no longer have access to said liquidity and cannot rug pull the funds. This method also allows community members to be able to farm this liquidity, ensuring that it is decentralized. The DPLP farm has a 10% in and out fee. 7.5% goes back to the liquidity pool, and 2.5% goes to the vault. This ensures that there will always be liquidity to farm and incentivizes more extended-term holding. More importantly, this means that WEMOVE will always have the liquidity to trade long after I am dust.
Also, as an African DeFi platform focused on empowerment, we will also be engaging our community with a lot of crypto education and certifications through our Edutech platform. This way we can teach newbies foundation 101s’ of crypto and the best practices on how to secure their digital wallets, private keys, and protection from phishing scams.
How will the subscription to WeMove by Africans scattered across the globe shape Africa’s future?
WeMove is building an efficient ecosystem powering the exchange of goods and services, not just for financial speculation, where everyday Africans home and abroad can easily use cryptocurrency to purchase services and products; that is, to use it also as a medium of payment for a diverse assortment of easy-to-use and intuitive products and services that will be deployed on our platform, putting the token to use the way satoshi intended crypto to be used ¯ as peer-to-peer currency, putting it into the hands of non-technical people who wish to conduct business using non-government-issued currencies and as a hedge to Africa’s ever rising inflation.
What is the way forward?
The way forward is to educate generations to come on digitization, sustainability, disruptive technologies, and how to safeguard our digital assets because digital currencies are primed to reinvent trade between African countries and the rest of the world.
WEMOVE is providing solutions to everyday people by offering an efficient ecosystem powering the exchange of goods and services, not just for financial speculation via DeFi. A platform where everyday Africans home and abroad can easily use cryptocurrency to purchase services and products; that is, to use it also as a medium of payment for a diverse assortment of easy-to-use and intuitive products and services that will be deployed on our platform, putting the token to use as a peer-to-peer currency, putting it into the hands of non-technical people who wish to conduct business using non-government-issued currencies and as a hedge to Africa’s ever-rising inflation.