Danny Oyekan, founder of Dan Holdings and global social payments application Coins App, has spent years building social payments and blockchain solutions in Africa and around the globe with the goal of entirely borderless payments.
You’ve been involved with Bitcoin since 2012, how did you initially discover this cryptocurrency?
I discovered bitcoin early on through playing video games. I became very interested in the growth of virtual worlds and realized that there is potential to create virtual economies within them. From there, I started looking at how I could help create change within my own community and abroad using cryptocurrency and founded Dan Holdings. Dan Holdings makes investments in cutting-edge technology such as blockchain and develops inhouse technology that helps global communities send crypto to one another in an easy and straightforward manner.
Most recently, our team launched Coins App, an application that provides users in emerging markets with the freedom to store, send, and receive digital currency efficiently across borders. The digital wallet, currently available on IOS and Android, supports four cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dollar Coin, and NGN Coin, with on and off-ramps via bank transfer, debit/credit cards, and other cryptocurrencies. Coins App is one of few digital wallets in the region to offer instant transactions with no hidden fees.
We’ve also been working on other applications that will be complementary to Coins App such as a social messaging component and a virtual debit card that will allow users to send payments and make purchases with their crypto funds online.
You’ve stated that DeFi’s best use case is in Africa, could you elaborate on your ideas behind this?
In my experience of launching and growing Coins App over the past few months, I realized that it was not easy for every user to successfully fill out our KYC requirements for privacy reasons. The decentralized finance infrastructure would assist in cutting down some of those requirements and allow everyone to own and operate a cryptocurrency wallet. DeFi can also help the 31 percent of the global population (60 million individuals in Nigeria alone) that are unbanked, by providing them access to a DeFi mobile application as their banking system.
As the recent #EndSARS protests against police brutality sparked the Central Bank of Nigeria to ban certain bank accounts of those sending funds to assist protestors, individuals starting looking at cryptocurrency, specifically bitcoin, to move their funds.
You’ve built Coins App as a Global Social Payments Application, could you discuss what this is and the regions you are currently targeting?
Coins App allows users to send and receive peer to peer payments as well as buy, sell, and store a variety of digital currencies. Transactions within the app are seamless, and withdrawals and deposits can be processed via bank transfer, debit and credit cards, or cryptocurrency. All digital currency exchanges and all transactions within the ecosystem are free.
Coins App is geared towards emerging markets and is currently available in five African Countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda. In 2021, Coins App is set to expand across more than 50 countries, starting in Q1 with Egypt, South Africa, Mexico, United States, and countries in the Middle East. Coins App aims to be a global application that will allow anyone, in any part of the world, to purchase and send cryptocurrency across borders.
You’re currently living in the Caribbean on the island of Barbados, can you tell us about the digital assets ecosystem on this island?
I recently moved from the Island of Barbados to Dubai, however, I can say that the island is fairly new to digital assets but rapidly growing in adoption rates. Currently, many Caribbean nations are working to develop Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC), which would drastically increase crypto adoption rates. The main barrier to adoption in the Caribbean is that there is not a direct fiat gateway for individuals to seamlessly purchase bitcoin and other digital assets, but I have hope that this will change in the near future.
Could you share with us the genesis story behind the Blockchain Company Dan Holdings?
After the 2017 bitcoin bull run, I created Dan Holdings as a way to be hands-on and create products and services that would benefit the individuals with limited access to the traditional financial system and the overall industry. I saw how promising cryptocurrency was for everyday use and I wanted to support entrepreneurs who were developing tangible technology that would help people become financially independent. I was initially interested in supporting the space through the Dan Holdings investment arm, Dan Ventures, but I knew that I wanted to get more involved with creating products myself while still supporting businesses and entrepreneurs in the space in their endeavors.
Today we are focused on developing our own inhouse solutions such as Coins App, our peer to peer payment solution, among other forthcoming projects, like a messaging application that will be compatible with Coins App and other products and services that facilitate easy access to and transfer of digital currencies.
What type of projects does Dan Ventures invest in?
Dan Ventures is exclusively focused on investing in companies that are advancing the blockchain and emerging technology space as well as various cryptocurrencies and tokens. Some examples of these investments include Tokenise, BlockMarketCap, and Propertyze.
When reviewing fintech and blockchain projects to potentially invest in, what do you look for?
When I am looking to invest in a potential blockchain project, the first thing that I look for is the founder’s background. I believe that you can learn a lot about a company by first looking at their leadership and the experiences that they bring to the table. Aside from that, I look to ensure that the opportunity is unique and beneficial to the overall blockchain landscape. There tends to be a lot of similar projects in the fintech space so I personally look for opportunities that are one-of-a-kind and have tangible use cases for users.
Is there anything else that you would like to share about Dan Holdings or Coins App?
Dan Holdings is working on many exciting product updates and projects that are set to launch early next year which we believe will greatly advance financial systems globally, specifically in emerging markets. We have been greatly focused on developing Coins App, our payment solution, and in the coming year we are working to develop compatible products and additional features that will provide secure and easy access to digital currencies and financial tools. Our geographic efforts have been centered in Africa this year and we look forward to expanding our reach to a global audience very soon.
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