Saturday

2023: Age and certificate forger Bola Tinubu says he is the 'quality' Nigeria is looking for

CC™ Politico News

All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential aspirant, Bola Tinubu, has disclosed that if given the support to become Nigeria’s president, he will unite the country’s different ethnic groups.

Speaking at Ataoja’s palace in Osogbo of Friday, as part of his consultation tour of the country, he said Nigeria needs a man that can harness the nation’s diversity for prosperity.

The former Lagos State Governor said managing resources is his specialty, adding that the urge to serve made him apply for nation’s presidency and will not let Nigerians down.

He adds, “I am the quality Nigeria is looking for to make the country a very great, prosperous and united, not only in Africa but worldwide.

“Having reviewed the Constitution, I ask myself who is better than me, this prompted me to come out, consult, and be ready to serve the country.

“I have been going round the country, I offer myself the opportunity to become the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I have informed Buhari of this, I told him that I want to step in his shoe and not break a toe. I told him that I want to serve my country to the best of my ability”.

Tinubu added that he will rejig Nigeria such that quality education and job opportunities would be available for Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic nationalities or religion.

“We need a lot of jobs, solid education for our children, we need progress for our country.

“We want somebody that can bring that… what we have in our old national anthem that “Though tribe and tongues may differ, in brotherhood we stand”.

“We must be solid in that belief. We must know that it is the same blood that is running in our veins irrespective of tribe and faith.

“We must have a good attitude for progress and prosperity.

“You must find courage, determination, perseverance, you must find that fellow who will love you, respect you and prioritize national development,” he said.

Speaking on his ability to deliver, Tinubu said, “I am not applying for the job of grave digging, race running, or horse riding. I am not applying for a job of bricklaying.

“I went to school to study accountancy and management. I am applying for a job that demands using my brain, intelligent thinking. I am ready to do things right.

“The job I want to do for Nigeria is for the country to be greater and be proud of our sons and daughter. We want to leave a legacy of unlimited success”.

Responding, Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olaonipekun said having seen that Tinubu is outstandingly fit, stressed the need for Yoruba nations to stand by him for quality service delivery.

“I have personally seen that you are fit to run the country contrary to insinuation peddled around, you are good product for Nigeria’s prosperity and your vision to rule Nigeria shall come to pass.

“You have nurtured quality men, you gave us one in Osun in 2018 and I know you will not let Nigerians down. Osogbo is with you on this project”, he said.

Friday

Panic in Russia as NATO deploys troops; West imposes ‘severe’ sanctions

CC™ Global News

NATO shifted some of its troops on Friday in order to be able to respond swiftly if needed, as Russian attacks on Ukraine continued unrelentingly and Western countries and alliances imposed tougher sanctions on Moscow.

NATO is deploying units of the rapid reaction NATO Response Force (NRF) on land, at sea, and in the air to respond quickly to any contingency, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, as Russian continued its attack on Ukraine.

He did not initially state where the troops would be deployed, in comments that followed a video conference with NATO leaders, but sources learned that ground troops could be sent to Romania.

Meanwhile, NRF units are due to head to Norway, for an exercise, in the first deployment of parts of the NRF in the course of deterrence and defense of the alliance area, Stoltenberg said.

The NATO members said the measures were “preventive, proportionate, and non-escalatory” in a statement.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told the emergency summit that the eastern members of the alliance needed more troops following Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

As he spoke, the first British soldiers and trucks carrying additional equipment reached Estonia to reinforce the NATO battalion there.

A convoy with six battle tanks and other military vehicles reached the Tapa military base, the Estonian army said.

London is set to send 850 soldiers and equipment to Estonia, roughly doubling the British contingent there.

Other NATO members also announced new deployments to strengthen the Western military alliance.

Italy said it was making around 3,400 additional soldiers available on the alliance’s eastern flank, while Denmark announced it was ready to contribute 20 more F-16 fighter jets to help secure NATO airspace.

Also on Friday, Russia banned British aircraft from using its airspace, in a tit-for-tat response a day after London barred Russia’s Aeroflot airline from flying to Britain.

Poland and the Czech Republic followed up later by saying they would also close airspace to Russian planes.

Friday also saw Western countries impose tougher sanctions amid Moscow’s unrelenting attacks.

Washington was the latest to announce sanctions targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, on Friday after penalties imposed on the two earlier by Britain and the European Union in response to Moscow’s invasion.

Russia responded by criticizing the sanctions on Putin and Lavrov, slamming these as a sign of weak foreign policy.

In further efforts to cease hostilities, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) formally ended Russia’s accession negotiations, it said in a statement.

The organization said it would continue to reconsider its co-operation with Russia in the days and weeks ahead, while also weighing how to better support the Ukrainian government.

The move came after the 47-country Council of Europe, Europe’s human rights watchdog, suspended Russia with immediate effect.

Individual countries also adopted their own measures, with the Spanish government withdrawing the country’s ambassador to Ukraine.

The pro-Russian president of Serbia, Alexander Vucic, has been critical of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“We consider it a grave mistake to violate the territorial integrity of a country like Ukraine,” Vucic said in Belgrade on Friday evening.

At the same time, he said that his country would not be imposing sanctions on Moscow.

Ambassador Silvia Cortés will be taken to Poland in a convoy of vehicles together with around 100 other Spanish citizens, Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares told Spanish media on Friday.

The invasion has opened the eyes of many EU states, according to Latvia’s prime minister Krisjanis Karins, who said a period of naivety had come to an end, in comments to Latvian news agency Leta.

“Many European countries have lived under the illusion that everything can be negotiated if they find the right words to say to Putin and if they are patient,” Karins said, referring to the Baltic states’ long-standing admonitions to its EU and NATO partners.

But with a “brutal war” unfolding in Ukraine, Karins said, the same countries now understand that these were only empty hopes.

“For a long time, the world did not want to accept the obvious. Now everything has changed.

“Putin has lost all trust and support within the democratic world,” Karins said.

At the close of the day, U.S. President Joe Biden reiterated Washington’s support for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“I commended the brave actions of the Ukrainian people who were fighting to defend their country,” Biden said in a statement following their call.

“I also conveyed ongoing economic, humanitarian, and security support being provided by the United States as well as our continued efforts to rally other countries to provide similar assistance,” U.S. President Joe Biden assured Zelensky.

Washington also dismissed Russian offers of talks with Ukraine.

“Diplomacy by the barrel of a gun, coercive diplomacy, is not something that we are going to take part in,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, adding this would not aid peace efforts in a real, genuine and sustainable way.

Diplomacy cannot succeed in a context where “you rain down bombs, mortar shells” and “your tanks advance towards a capital of 2.9 million people,” he said.

Meanwhile, people worldwide took to the streets to show their solidarity with Ukraine.

Buildings and monuments were lit up in the blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag, including starting Friday evening the Eiffel Tower.

In Germany, rallies were announced for the weekend in cities including Berlin.

In Stockholm, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg showed her support during Friday’s climate protest.

Along with others, the 19-year-old stood in front of the Russian embassy.

She held a small sign in the blue and yellow national colors with the inscription “Stand with Ukraine” in her hand.

Wednesday

Hongqi L5, Chinese car that costs twice the price of Rolls-Royce Phantom

CC™ MotorWorld

By Dapo Adegoke

Would you ever imagine that a Chinese vehicle would ever rival a Rolls-Royce or post a higher price tag? I know you don’t. But the reality on ground is that Hongqi L5 has proved us wrong.

The 780,000 dollar ultra-luxury Chinese car would give the Rolls-Royce Phantom a good fight anywhere, any day, in terms of luxury, performance, safety and even prestige.

The Hongqi L5 offers peak luxury and comfort, just like the Rolls-Royce but it is only a matter of time that the world would know that the Hongqi L5 is the new definition of luxury.

A little history about the Hongqi L5 would put things in the right perspective. Hongqi L5 is a luxury marque based in Changchun China. It started auto production in 1958 and holds the record as the first car independently produced in China. The auto company is China’s oldest car manufacturer.

While the Rolls-Royce Phantom cost about 460,000 dollar to acquire, this Chinese ultra luxury car cost about five million Chinese Yuan (780,000 dollars) to acquire, making it one of the most expensive cars in the world presently.

The truth is that the price tag did not come for nothing. The Hongqi L5 is loaded with array of features like never seen before and the ride comfort according to the manufacturers is out of this world.

A well crafted interior that is quiet and tasteful are some of the unique qualities of Hongqi L5. It comes in befitting black color.

From the side, the Hongqi L5 looks like a Rolls-Royce with its stretched wheelbase. The classic design can not be mistaken from any point and gives you an instant impression that the car is designed for kings and those who have arrived in the society.

The Hongqi L5 is powered with a 6.0-litre V12 engine which delivers power of 402 horsepower. Weighing almost 3.2 tons, this powerful car comes standard with All-Wheel Drive, AWD.

Tuesday

2023: Nigerians in Diaspora mobilise against career politicians


CC™ Politico News

By Clifford Ndujihe

To halt what they deemed the downward slide of Nigeria into socio-economic and development abyss, some Nigerians in the Diaspora have vowed to ensure that a career politician did not succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.

According to them, it is time for career politicians to take a back seat, and entrepreneurs must be supported to take over in the new era of “politics of the unusual.”

Meeting on the banner of Nigerian Patriotic Quest, NPQ, the concerned Nigerians across the world took the decision at a physical/online meeting held in Washington DC, United States of America on February 18.

In a communique by their Coordinator, Mr. Ahmed Ja’Usman Tijani, they said their desire is to “change the negative trajectory of Nigeria’s politics. There could be no better time to address these issues than now, as the nation gradually enters another season of politicking and horse-trading for the 2023 elections.

“The 247 participants at this inaugural meeting were drawn from various advocacy groups across the united states, the UK, Continental Europe, and Nigeria.

The participants were fervent in their conviction that Nigeria can no longer afford to continue on the path of political decadence that have blighted the promises of this nation in the past decades.

“The participants, also unanimously declared, that as stakeholders in the destiny of this nation they can no longer stand aloof, while some unsavoury characters continue to decimate and destroy the glory and prospects of this nation.

“A number of participants in diaspora stated that they were forced to flee Nigeria because of the inanities and destructive politics which have brutally dimmed the potentials of both Nigeria and Nigerians.

“We believe that working together, with all Nigerians, we can begin the arduous, but not insurmountable task of pulling this nation back from the path of self-destruction. There is no more time, this task must start with the forthcoming general elections in 2023.”

Going forward, they noted that leadership failure caused by the stranglehold on the reins of power by the old class of career politicians was the reason for Nigeria’s stunted growth.

“This set of leaders have failed to use the instruments of power to build the nation, but are only interested in acquiring power for the sake of power. This has been the bane of Nigeria and it is disheartening that such characters are already parading the national space, with the intention of attaining power at various levels come 2023 in order to continue their destructive politics of self-aggrandizement.

“Nigeria cannot afford to tow this path again. It is time for a new leadership to emerge. Until we retire the career politicians, who have created and used ethnic and religious divisions to attain and perpetuate themselves in power we will continue to wallow in poverty and underdevelopment.”

Consequently, they said: “it is time to build a new vanguard of leadership which is totally anchored on competence and track record of verifiable achievements.

“It was agreed generally, that in this nation they are personalities that have created massive values through dint of hard work, managerial acumen, and unbridled spirit of entrepreneurship.

“These men who have created something out of nothing deserve to be pushed forward at this time in order to rescue Nigeria from the edge of the precipice. “


AGENCY

Saturday

Friday

FLASHBACK: WHAT DO YOU WANT ON YOUR TOMBSTONE?

CC™ Perspective - By Yahaya Balogun

"We must always find a way to get into GOOD TROUBLE; speak against all evils, and do the right thing at all times!" - John Robert Lewis (February 21, 1940 – July 17, 2020). 

John Lewis believed in the courage of his convictions. He followed his mind and he conquered his fear and left a great legacy worthy of emulation. - Yahaya Balogun. 

"It's time to prod our minds and look at ourselves in the mirror; ask ourselves the questions: are we going to be part of the problems, or are we going to be part of the solutions? History will judge our decision, action, and inaction" - Yahaya Balogun.

In 1963, John Lewis was, at age 23, the youngest person set to speak at the March on Washington. John Lewis gave a resounding speech of his life during the protest for civil rights in the United States of America. John Lewis was a man of peace, and a conscience of the US Congress and the world. Historically, no one has under any circumstances, stop an idea whose time has come. There's always a reward for every action or inaction. John Lewis was arrested more than 40 times during the civil rights movement in the US. He was brutalized, jailed, and dehumanized. But John Lewis remained steadfast, and never get discouraged. The historic movement he participated in paved the way for the recognition of the dignity of African-Americans.

It seems time has come to systematically put an end to racial profiling and systemic racism in the United States of America. Thanks to the modern well-informed, articulate, and decent American millennials. The American millennials are morally reading American history in congenial ways to turn surreptitious hate to love in the United States. John Lewis was a moral fiber and a quintessential fine man. John Lewis was an epitome of moral values and principles. Values are principles, standards, or qualities by which we live our lives; our values shape the person we become, and our actions to our neighbors and humanity reflect those values. This is the definition of John Lewis in the conscience of his contemporaries in the US Congress.

John Lewis was a liberated man. A liberated man is free, fair-minded, fearless, and humanistic. A liberated mind is not concerned by the noises emanating from the cyborg market, or enemies' territory! A liberated soul is mindful of his association and carefully chooses his friends and acquaintances. He is conscious and informed of what he does to other people. All his actions are from the repository of good ideas for man's humanity to man. A liberated man is a complete man with mindfulness, emulative values, consistency, and love.

The mind of a good man is concerned about how to enlivening and stimulating the souls of his neighbors and adversaries alike for their success and happiness altogether. A man with a purposeful mind is focused and anticipatory about the results of the good he has invested in himself and other people. The ROI-return on investment of the good a good man has done to fellow human beings is the undiluted joy in his heart. The integrity of man is known when his character comes to fore. He keeps true and never gets ashamed of doing what's right or best for him and humanity. The value of a liberated man defines him and shapes the kind of person he becomes in life and after that. A liberated mind has zero-tolerance for pretense, hatred, idiocy, and other negative nuances of life. He pays close attention to discern the evil-minds around. He is not perfect, but his fallibility makes him reasonable and humble when he realizes his mistakes or wrongdoings.

A man with a liberated mind fights fearlessly with no opportunistic expectations and grandstanding. His encumbrance (burden) is his deafening silence in the face of oppression and tyranny. A complete man shares his beliefs, virtues, integrity, principles, and missions with unblemished vigor and robustness for the common good of all. A whole man doesn't mind the short-term consequences or rewards for his act of goodwill, but he's fixated on the imports of his deeds to benefit him and humanity.

On the other hand, a warped mind is a reservoir for uncanny men to deposit resentment, vices, hatred, and manipulations. One of the most significant damages unnatural man has done to society has been his refusal or nonchalant attitude to discover his value through mindfulness. Uncanny man is very narcissistic, jealous, opportunistic, mindless, and resentful of others. He is always in penchant rivalry or competition with others rather than with himself!

Every man has roommates (negative and positive minds). A resentful man listens continuously to his roommate's negative voice (i.e., the blistering spirit of hate and resentment). The sound of roommates is mutually complementary if they agree with each other. Uncanny man has no compliment or encouraging disposition towards the other man making progress. He is always striving for the unwinnable war of envy, and needless struggle with his midget mind to falsely outpace himself.

The completeness of a man is embedded or assembled in his subconscious mind. When a man rediscovers himself, he is liberated from the existential invasion of his mind by the selfish figures of the affluence, bad friends, and influential people around him. He is immune to antisocial behavior and societal vices. A liberated man is ensconced in constant self-evaluation and rediscovery. Through self-discovery, a liberated mind becomes a renewed man and predisposes to self-consciousness. A liberated man only believes in what will be engraved in his tomb after he kicks the bucket-greed, hedonism, resentment, extremism, opportunism, jealousy, bigotry, and hatred, not in his personage or lexicon. He always enjoys constant happiness, and the inner tranquility and peace flowing ceaselessly from the (subconscious) base of his mind.

Collectively, the common humanity that is in all of us should rise now. People must be morally engaged to join other people of goodwill to fight corruption, diseases, unhealthy competitions, hatreds, terrorism, religious and ethnic bigotry, jealousy, and deliberate divisiveness in our society. To bring peace to our environment is better than engaging in the negative nuances that can bring war, hatred, and disorderliness for our mutual destruction.

Generally, life is not fair and just, but it's beautiful to an only, thoughtful, and mindful mind. What divinely unites humanity (Love) is more than those defeatist nuances (racism, bigotry, hate, war, jealousy, false-religiosity, resentment, etc.) that divide the world. Your existential legacy should be your responsibility now before you expire. What man needs now is to rediscover himself through mindfulness; do self-talk; reinvest in moral armament to bring inner peace to himself, peace to his neighbors, and peace to the world.

John Lewis came; he saw, but he has left humanity an existential assignment of grace and decency. Our performance in the assessment will determine what people and posterity are going to jot down on our catacombs when we expire or kick the bucket.

May John Lewis's gentle and wonderful soul rest in perfect peace.

Monday

The Psychology of Power: A Nigerian Experiment

CC™ ViewPoint

Power is "the ability to satisfy one's wants through the control of preferences and/or opportunities" [Kuhn, 1963] In writing this particular piece, I intend to delve into the issue of the power of psychology as it relates to the psychology of power. I have always been one to believe that you must claim in other to possess and once you possess, you must establish your position in the scheme of things, through personal conviction and resolve…that can only be sustained by an irrefutable air of palpability, requisite for the maintenance of that ‘power’ you now possess. But now the game has just begun. 

Why? Simple, your claim on power must remain forever productive, workable, adaptable, attractive and progressive that inevitably, it begins to shape decisively your ‘domestic’ and ‘foreign’ sphere of operation; and just what do you intend to accomplish by this? Shape your immediate and larger environment of course! As a student of philosophy and psychology, I have always been fascinated by the affinity of westerners for political expediency over morality.

 Yes, the end as they say does justify the means. How exactly do you get what you want in the midst of so many competing and sometimes conflicting ideas, philosophies, principles, ideologies and interests. Simple, or is it! The intricacies and complexities of human behavior and nature require more than anything else, the utmost in psychological and emotional aptitude/intelligence when dealing with foe and friend alike. I have always been one to take the approach of figuring out who my friend or foe is so as to better lay out a plan of 'attack' or 'defense' as the case may be. Actually, I believe it is also prudent and advisable to have a 'neutral' strategy as part of one's modus operandi. This then brings us to the issue of The Psychology of Power. What exactly is it and how does it manifest itself. Also, another rather logical question to ask would be how does it manifest itself in a particular setting? Be it politics, relationships or daily life. 

I intend to stick with how this phenomenon manifests itself in the ‘political sphere’. Why? Because everything is politics and politics is everything! The ‘Nigerian laboratory’ would seem to serve as a viable medium for such an ‘experiment.’ In doing this, I will stick primarily to the three main nationalities, HausaFulani, Igbo and Yoruba that for all intents and purposes have dominated the Nigerian political landscape (albeit to varying degrees) for close to a hundred years! For close to 50 of Nigeria’s 61 years of independence, the Hausa-Fulani (through their leadership apparatus) have ruled Nigeria (note that I said ruled and not led).

Why where they able to do this? Simple. They incorporated another formidable Nigerian sectional interest (the middle-belt, comprising the Tiv and others) into their fold, as they, and not the Hausa-Fulani possessed (at least at the time) the skilled military personnel (mostly combatant) requisite for the control of their immediate and larger environment. Thus the theory of the ‘monolithic north’ was sold to the rest of the country (the south) and rehashed (rather successfully) along with the much-vaunted ‘indivisibility of Nigeria’, to the Yoruba towards a ‘successful’ prosecution of the bloody civil war. The truth is, the north (the Hausa-Fulani in particular) saw the defeat of Biafra as the defeat of the whole south. That, however was where they were wrong! That, without question has been the bane of the Hausa-Fulani political set-up till today. The north mistook power gained through military conquest for real power. 

They also failed to take into cognizance the political wizardry of Chief Obafemi Awolowo in not getting the Yoruba dragged into a war they were not ready for…thereby positioning the Yoruba to be in a unique position politically once the war was over. Chief Awolowo knew from the onset that the decks were stacked against the south in the event of a military conflict. He had worked so hard and was continuing to work tirelessly to position the Yoruba through education, commerce, technology and industry, the true hallmarks of power…real power that is! He was therefore not going to let the inordinate and misguided ambition of a neophyte like Ojukwu, lead to the destruction of everything he had worked so hard to build. 

One could therefore say that the late Yoruba sage and tactician chose political expediency over 'morality' when it came to the survival of his people (since most Igbo claim till today he left them high and dry by not going along with the east at the time). The north also underestimated the will and resilience of the Igbo people. It is amazing, even till today how quickly the Ndigbo recovered from a devastation of such magnitude, as was the Nigerian civil war. They (the Igbo) however had no choice. It was either grow from the ashes or die! And grow from the ashes they did!

 The recovery of the Igbo (no doubt due to their ingenuity and adaptive nature) was more than facilitated and enabled on the one hand by the infrastructure and institutions Chief Awolowo had built in the old western region (talk about an irony of all ironies), and on the other by the hospitable nature of the Yoruba towards their brethren from the east; as the north for the most part still harbored intense hostility towards them for the events leading up to and during the civil war. Politically however, the Igbo were in a state of flux and have been ever since. With the end of the civil war, the stage was now set for the power play to begin. 

The north, either as a result of a lack of political sophistication or plain lack of foresight, rather than seize the opportunity presented by their 'ascension to power', instead bungled the opportunity. An opportunity that will never come their way again…at least not the way they had it for 50 years! Not only did they not influence their larger environment, their claim on power (the military and a moribund aristocracy) was unattractive, unworkable, utterly unproductive and so regressive that it was unable to influence its own immediate environment…hence the abject poverty in the north and the resultant relative backwardness in comparison to the south. To make matters worse, their descent into the abyss of religious bigotry might yet prove to be the final nail in the coffin regarding the political and economic future of the north. 

On the other hand, while the northern power structure persisted with its defective plundercracy (in cahoots with quite a few individuals of questionable character and integrity in the south, the southwest in particular, of course), the sense of adventure that had always been part of the southern psyche, continued to manifest itself by way of greater accomplishments in the fields of education, the arts, sciences, business and industry. The reasoning (and quite a proven one at that) being as Sir Francis Bacon once said, ‘knowledge is power.’ This is why real power will never reside in the north! The capital of Nigeria can be moved to Gusau for all they want, it will never improve the lot of the average northerner in as much as the mentality of the leadership structure in the north remains the same. 

As the example of the Jews has shown and continues to show, a good head is a function of a developed mind…and a developed mind will forever be a veritable source of innovation and creativity, the indisputable hallmarks of true and sustainable growth; it is he who values and encourages such a concept that inevitably is able to influence his immediate and larger environment. The Jews make up only 3% of the American population but control the entertainment industry, the law and medical professions, business (in particular banking) and industry…the list goes on. Mind you, the U.S. has never had a Jewish president! 

The stage, I believe is set for a politics of coalitions in the Nigerian political arena…coalitions that will be shaped by the pervading north-south dichotomy. The bottom line…control and manage your resources (both human and natural) in addition to your immediate environment, and you will unquestionably influence the larger environment. Also, it is imperative that political expediency be your guiding principle when deciding who to align yourself with...remember, no one can go it alone! Hence, when you align yourself with a group, they must have something tangible, workable and complimentary to bring to the table. Shared (but workable) interests, principles and ideals are without question the recipe for true growth and development. 

This is The Psychology of Power! “Everybody strives to become master over all space and to extend its force (its will to power:) and to thrust back all that resists its extension. But it continually encounters similar efforts on the part of other bodies and ends by coming to an arrangement ('union') with those of them that are sufficiently related to it: thus they then conspire together for power. And the process goes on”…. [Nietzsche]. 

Saturday

Crypto is the next step toward a cashless society


CC™ Financial News

Julian Hosp

It will take some time for consumers to warm up to crypto, but education is the key to its mass adoption. 

From QR code payments to mobile banking apps, consumers worldwide are increasingly reliant on digital payment solutions, especially as mobile technology becomes more ubiquitous. Government-led efforts in driving cashless economies have been a key factor, with countries such as Singapore or the Philippines seeing their central banks driving the adoption of contactless payments during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, usage rates for digital payments platforms have recorded promising growth, even as high as 5,000% in the Philippines alone.

This unprecedented rise in cashless payments is also paving the way for the broader adoption of crypto, with the number of crypto users worldwide hitting around 106 million in January. While this marks an impressive 15% month-on-month growth, it is still just a drop in the ocean when compared to the 4.7 billion people who have access to the internet.

But as crypto continues to command headlines, what will it take for mass adoption to happen?

A new model of financial accessibility

Today, billions of people worldwide are unable to access even the most basic financial services via traditional means, and thus are unable to save or manage their money securely. In times of economic devastation, such as this past year in which global economies have been staggered by the impact of COVID-19, the vast gap between rich and poor has become abundantly clear. The global pandemic has only perpetuated the absence of inclusive financial infrastructure, which has led to approximately one-third of the global population having no financial safety net to fall back on.

With crypto wallets, however, anyone can transfer their crypto internationally without needing to maintain a minimum balance in their account, as long as they have an internet connection. As crypto applications are built on decentralized blockchains, transactions are performed on a peer-to-peer basis in the absence of traditional intermediaries such as bankers or brokerage houses. This results in significant savings in transaction costs, as traditional cross-border remittance fees for small amounts can be as high as 7% after taking into account intermediaries’ fees on both the sender and recipient side. Meanwhile, the same fees for cryptocurrencies are often less than 1 percent — regardless of transaction amount.

Furthermore, highly decentralized platforms are permissionless, meaning that anyone with a crypto wallet and internet connection can lend, remit or trade their crypto without validation by a central authority or intermediary. Instead, transactions are executed by smart contracts, which automate them as long as pre-encoded conditions are met. Beyond the cost savings, consider the time savings as well. Remittance transactions can take several days to be processed, whereas cryptocurrencies can be transferred in mere minutes.

However, most crypto platforms still ask for some form of formal identification as part of their identity verification and Know Your Customer (KYC) process. This can range from a phone number to photo ID to proof of residential address. Some platforms adopt a multi-tier approach in which the more information that users provide, the more services they can access. While necessary for KYC and Anti-Money Laundering compliance, this poses barriers to users who do not own any formal identification documents.

Having said that, some decentralized exchanges, or DEXs, still honour the principles of anonymity and trustless working by not enforcing KYC on their users. The elimination of account verification and waiting time for approval has drawn many towards these types of DEXs — such as PancakeSwap, Uniswap and DeFiChain’s DEX — and has made finance truly accessible and inclusive for all.

Beyond simple transactions, recent innovations in the crypto space promise a much more equitable financial system where the unbanked and underbanked can access more means to build wealth. While DeFi products, such as token holding and staking on a DEX, might be a little too advanced for this group of users at the moment, simplified centralized decentralized finance (CeDeFi) services and improvements in financial literacy over time will help to open the door to these inclusive wealth creation opportunities.

Education is key to crypto adoption at scale

Widespread adoption of digital payment technologies, such as QR codes and biometrics, is definitely a promising sign that consumers have become more digitally savvy than ever before. In the Asia Pacific, more than 90% of surveyed respondents said they would consider at least one new payment method in the next year.

In addition to new payment technologies, the proliferation of retail investing has led to a paradigm shift in the investment landscape, with trading activities doubling over the past year. User-friendly platforms such as Robinhood and their well-known crypto counterparts — such as Coinbase — have made investing much more accessible to non-institutional investors.

This historic rise in cashless payments and retail investing saw the public gain more exposure to different asset types. However, in the United States, a staggering 84% of adults are either uninterested in cryptocurrencies or have never heard of them. While this could be attributable to the seemingly intimidating technicalities involved, we are now in a good place to gradually transition towards a more crypto-forward society.

For now, there’s much more to be done to help mainstream consumers gain a better understanding of crypto. Crypto projects, for one, would do well to invest more resources towards creating educational content to bridge the knowledge gap — whether through guides or detailed explainers. Meanwhile, taking on a more transparency-focused approach that looks to debunk misconceptions and ensure that users are aware of the risks associated with crypto, will enable those users to navigate their entry into the space with greater ease and confidence.

Crypto is the MVP in the cashless drive

As conversations on cryptocurrencies evolve, governments are taking note. While cash will not be eliminated any time soon, as many as 86% of central banks around the world are looking into central bank digital currencies in their quest to go cashless. The world’s first central bank digital currency (CBDC) — the Sand Dollar — was announced by the Central Bank of the Bahamas way back in 2018 and officially launched in October last year. The technology team behind this project was led by U-Zyn Chua, who went on to co-found DeFiChain.

Although CBDCs will be regulated by a central authority, their adoption will send a profound message to market participants on the legitimacy of digital currencies. The introduction of CBDCs is thus a much-needed springboard to catalyze large-scale crypto adoption.

In the short term, crypto is not going to replace the existing financial system, but will instead carve out its own ecosystem that is fit for a new generation of digital-first, financially savvy users. While it will take some time for consumers to warm up to crypto, the nascent technology will prove its worth in due time by offering cheaper, safer and more inclusive financial services for all.

Julian Hosp is the CEO and a co-founder of Cake DeFi, a platform dedicated to providing access to decentralized financial services and applications. He is also the chairman of DeFiChain, a DeFi platform built on the Bitcoin network. Julian is an active speaker for the Washington Speakers Bureau and an adviser for the EU’s blockchain groups. Julian graduated from Medizinische Universitat Innsbruck with a Doctor of Medicine in human medicine.

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