Cryptocurrency is a digital currency built with cryptographic protocols that make transactions secure and difficult to fake.
The most important feature of a cryptocurrency is that it is not controlled by any central authority: the decentralized nature of blockchain makes cryptocurrency theoretically immune to the old ways of government control and interference.
Few people know, but cryptocurrencies emerged as a side product of another invention. Satoshi Nakamoto, the unknown inventor of Bitcoin, the first and still most important cryptocurrency, never intended to invent a currency.
In his announcement of Bitcoin in late 2008, Satoshi said he developed “A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.”
His goal was to invent something; many people failed to create before digital cash.
Today cryptocurrencies have become a global phenomenon known to most people. While still somehow geeky and not understood by most people, banks, governments and many companies are aware of its importance.
All though there have been countless reports of cryptocurrency scams, the number of young people interested in the trade of digital currencies keeps increasing.
Techpreneur Magazine caught up with one of Ghana’s avid cryptocurrency nerds to shed more light on the mystified digital currency.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
Well, Emmanuel Osei is my name; I am known as Karisma in the online/network marketing sphere. I believe this is not a “Myself” essay so let me keep the bit about myself short and simple. Basically, I am a relentless dreamer and a go-getter.
About what I do, I am happily unemployed currently, and when I say I am unemployed, I mean I am an entrepreneur. I am into blogging: the owner of smartincomeoffice.com, Karisma Media; which consists of Ghana Nigeria Rivalry, Karismaonline, among others. I am a ‘cryptopreneur’ (a trader of, and investor in cryptocurrencies), a business and investment coach, a vlogger, music artiste- well let me just say I do a bit of almost everything, hehe.
I resigned from my job in the shipping industry in January 2017 to pursue my passion, which is all the above, and it has been an interesting journey.
When and how did you get into cryptocurrency mining?
Since senior high school days, I have been involved in online marketing, network marketing, online investments, and related schemes.
I research a lot, and my ‘online opportunities senses’ are very sharp. I am aware of almost every online opportunity that springs up.
As I said, this is courtesy of my intense research, and also coupled with building a network with like-minded persons.
I got to know about Bitcoin, the first-ever Cryptocurrency around 2011, but like many others who knew about it then, I never took it very seriously. I remember coming close to spending $20 on Bitcoins that time; that could have bought close to 70 Bitcoins then. That obviously is a lot of money now, as 1 Bitcoin is currently close to $10,000! One Bitcoin was around only $0.30 then!
Another reason that deterred me from purchasing Bitcoin at that time, was that there were no Digital currency merchants in Ghana trading Bitcoin.
It was, therefore, difficult to purchase Bitcoin at that time, if you were a Ghanaian resident. It was still possible though, through other means.
So that is how I got to know about Bitcoin and all other Cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Monero, Monaco, Tron, Verge, Nem and co.
My inquisitive nature online exposes me to a lot of opportunities. It has its bitter side too; scams! I don’t mine cryptocurrencies though; I trade and invest in them. Well, mining Cryptos is investing in them as well, so it is technically the same thing.
In Cryptocurrency mining, you either invest money with Cryptocurrency mining farm owners to purchase mining shares. They mine for you with their rigs and pay you returns based on how much you invested. You can also choose to purchase your own mining rigs, which are expensive though, and mine yourself. There are some altcoins (other cryptocurrencies aside from Bitcoin), which could be mined on phone, however.
What does Ghana’s cryptocurrency space look like right now?
Over the months, Bitcoin got very popular in Ghana due to its dramatic upsurge to $19,000 per Bitcoin around November- December 2017.
Everybody wanted a piece of Bitcoin; even those who had no in-depth idea of what it was. Then came a usual crash at the end of December 2017 right through to January 2018, when Bitcoin crashed from $19,000 to $5,000!
A lot of such newbies lost interest and coiled back into their safety nets, embracing the false brouhaha that Bitcoin is a bubble.
There is still a long way to go in Ghana when cryptocurrency education is concerned. Most only know about Bitcoin, but there are over 1,500 cryptocurrencies. The desperation to learn more about cryptocurrencies fizzled out after the dip in Bitcoin. The masses got scared and exited; the newbies especially.
Paint a picture for us how cryptocurrencies work?
Well, the definition of Cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses cryptography to secure its transactions, to control the creation of additional units, and to verify the transfer of assets.
That was the initial plan, but over the years, there have been more innovations, thus not all ‘cryptocurrencies’ are currencies.
A lot now were only developed via ICOs (Initial Coin Offering), via fundraising, to solve other issues in the Blockchain sphere, or issues pertaining to life in general. Examples of such altcoins are Crypterium, FunFair, Arcblock, etc.
All these are not currencies; they have their uses. To send and receive crypto, you need a wallet and address of the particular crypto. For example, to send and receive Bitcoin, you need a Bitcoin wallet and a Bitcoin address. The most used and secured online Bitcoin wallet is Blockchain. So you sign up at Blockchain to create your wallet, then do your transactions using your address. Your address is basically your account number.
I emphasized “online wallet” because there are offline wallets, which are more secure since the probability for them getting hacked is close to nil.
Offline wallets are however not free, you need to purchase them. An example of an offline wallet is the Ledger Nano S Crypto wallet.
What do you need to consider before investing in cryptocurrencies?
Most importantly, not all cryptocurrencies are legit. There are fake ones. Any coin not yet listed on coinmarketcap.com is not yet a certified cryptocurrency, so you can’t trade it yet on a certified cryptocurrency exchange. Coinmarketcap.com harbors all certified cryptos. Other things to consider are the coin’s market cap (volume), which you will find at the coin market cap, its usefulness, etc. The fact is most of these cryptos on the coin market cap are useless. Investors mostly pay attention to the top 100 to 200 coins. On rare occasions, coins way below the top 100 perform unexpected wonders too. It is all a matter of risk-taking.
How safe is cryptocurrency as compared to traditional currency?
Well honestly, Cryptocurrencies are very, very volatile. $1,000 invested in a crypto today could easily reduce to $200 the next day or two. Conversely, $1000 invested in a Crypto today, could increase to $5,000 the next day. There is no assurance, it depends on your risk-taking level.
What is your preferred choice of cryptocurrency and why?
I prefer decentralized cryptocurrencies. A decentralized cryptocurrency is a crypto the government has no control over. That was the essence of Bitcoin in the first place. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, BitcoinCash, Electroneum, etc, are all decentralized coins. An example of an altcoin that is not decentralized is Ripple, which was developed for the banks.
What is the future of cryptocurrencies in Ghana? Do you think Ghanaians will finally embrace it?
Most Ghanaians will embrace it if the government does.
Dr.Paa Kwasi Ndoum is the only Ghanaian politician who has openly embraced Cryptocurrencies thus far, at least to the best of my knowledge.
What does blockchain technology mean for our society as a whole?
Freedom from currency manipulation by the central governments and global elites. A bridge between the poor, middle class, the rich, and the wealthy. One wouldn’t have to carry huge sums of money around; all it would take is just snappy Bitcoin transaction. The transaction fees involved in Cryptocurrency transactions are incredibly low, as compared to Bank charges.
You could send $10,000 worth of Bitcoin and spend only 70 cents as a transaction fee! On the other side, hackers have become a problem to Cryptocurrency transactions.
But this can easily be solved if the world embraces it. Our governments are however scared, since embracing decentralized currencies would spell a collapse of the traditional banking system.
Any final thoughts?
Ans: Cryptocurrency investment is lucrative but take calculated risks. It is possible to go from being a millionaire to being homeless in Cryptocurrency trading and investments if care is not taken. Cheers!