Abiodun AjayiBlockchain and Cryptocurrency Strategist

Club Swan, a global lifestyle club designed for cryptocurrency enthusiasts, has launched new services to address challenges faced by Nigerian cryptocurrency entrepreneurs. 

Innovation in payments first came with the advent of paper money to replace bartering. The second wave of innovation continued with the issuance of credit and debit cards.  Now, through technology, we are on the third wave of payment innovation: the blockchain and digital currencies. 

To provide recent historical context, in the late 1990s, many believed mobile phones were too expensive for a large majority of people in Africa. Lack of infrastructure meant that it was unthinkable to just set up a mobile telecommunications market. However, in 1998, Mo Ibrahim saw an opportunity and developed a business model to meet the needs of Africans. This triggered development across the continent and created thousands of jobs. The telecoms industry in Africa is now worth over $200 billion. 

Today, cryptocurrency has initiated an entrepreneurial boom in Nigeria. A report by Chain Analysis showed that in 2020, Nigeria ranked first among African countries in peer-to-peer payments. Up to $139 million was traded in peer-to-peer payments in 2020 according to the report. 

Cryptocurrency activity in Africa. 

The basis of this adoption is the need for viable alternatives to challenges we face in global payments. 

Nigeria has become a hotbed for Decentralized Finance (DeFi) and has unleashed a vibrant crypto and blockchain community alongside a teeming population of digitally native youth who are unabashedly united to participate in the third wave of payment innovation. 

To a large extent, the situations we see in Nigeria are indicative of the trends occurring generally in sub-Saharan Africa. Simply put, there is a wave of enlightenment and Nigerians are willing to test and figure out new ways of doing things facilitated by technology. 

When oil revenue plunged in 2020, a dollar shortage ensued which devalued the Naira.  As of March 2021, the inflation rate in Nigeria hovered around 18%.  Aspiring business leaders are now dealing with the fact that current financial options available simply can’t keep up with inflation.  Hence, many entrepreneurs have turned to crypto as a viable option.

Challenges faced by Nigerian entrepreneurs

  1. Participating in Global eCommerce 
  2. International Settlements 
  1. Participating in Global eCommerce

Cryptocurrency allows entrepreneurs to transfer and receive money from anywhere worldwide. However, some face undue obstacles when payment firms place limits on Nigerians. 

Crypto has enabled Tola Fadugbagbe, a businessman who moved to Lagos 10 years ago to grow his business. Today, he sources his mobile phones from east Asia and he finds it easier to make payments to his east Asian partners in bitcoin.

Crypto has created a paradigm shift in the way people start to think about emerging markets and creating new business opportunities. The success of cryptocurrency can be attributed to the fact that business owners need alternative ways to conduct trade in a seamless fashion. 

  1. International Settlements

Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology have made it possible for individuals to conduct business virtually without any intermediaries, thereby enabling companies worldwide to reach out to customers across international borders. In the past few years, merchants have leveraged for cross-border payments. According to Lagos vendor Abolaji Odunjo, “making payments with Bitcoin makes transactions easier and reduces costs.” 

Crypto advantages for Nigerian Entrepreneurs 

Expanded payments opportunities 

Since the dawn of civilization, payment for goods and services has been ever present. However, it has gone through innovation over the years. From the earliest exchange of goods by barter to the advent of cryptocurrencies.

With crypto, there are expanded payment opportunities. This makes transactions easier and more efficient.

Trusted transactions 

Cryptocurrency transactions are based on blockchain which is publicly accessible and transparent. The transactions are relatively secure and fast.   

We Nigerians know, the quickest way to build trust is to give customers the quickest response time as we prefer quick service delivery. The entrepreneur or business owner that can provide the shortest time between when the customer makes payment and when the customer receives value ultimately wins the heart of the customer. 

Disadvantages of crypto for Nigerian Entrepreneurs

No reliable methods to off-ramp large amounts of crypto to fiat 
 

When it comes to large funds of $2000 and above, only one reliable service is available to Nigerians. Unfortunately, this service is designed mainly for peer-to-peer transactions, which come with their own set of challenges.

Club Swan provides a reliable bridge 

As mentioned earlier, Club Swan is a global lifestyle concierge membership club designed for cryptocurrency enthusiasts.  Members can take advantage of their payments platform that enables the use of cryptocurrencies alongside traditional currencies. Club Swan created the platform to address the obstacles many legitimate entrepreneurs face when using digital and legacy currencies. 

Not only does Club Swan enable its members to use crypto to off ramp to fiat currency and use fiat to purchase crypto currency from its inventory, it also provides an option for its members to receive the Club Swan prepaid card that can be used globally. Moreover, members enjoy expanded flexibilities when it comes to spending as the platform supports three major global currencies. For entrepreneurs that travel extensively, Club Swan provides dedicated concierge, travel and lifestyle services for its members.  This includes but is not limited to discounted hotel and airfare and access to exclusive luxury events.  Best of all, membership is open to Nigerians and services are geared toward Nigerian entrepreneurs.

To become a member of Club Swan, go to https://clubswan.com and select the membership tier that suits your needs.   All members are vetted through their Know Your Customer protocols and upon successful completion, entrepreneurs can now fully participate in the third wave of payment innovation.

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