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  • Writer's pictureAkeju Abiola

CI Cryptosolutions: The Journey So Far

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

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The Journey so far

CI Cryptosolutions Pioneered blockchain solutions in a region that needed these solutions the most. It has had a growth trajectory encompassing multiple aspects of the typical cycles seen in differing technology companies.

When Blockchain technology started gaining popularity in the early 2010s, many were skeptical about the ability of this technology to take off properly. It would go on to enable innovations that were once thought of as fiction. With blockchain came Bitcoin, a digital currency that was immutable and largely immune to modern-day Points of failure seen in many financial tools. Other cryptocurrencies soon followed. This breakthrough paved the way for the birth of many companies forming a new age of the internet called web3 which is not dissimilar to the web2 boom seen at the close of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st.

While a lot of institutions were born around this new technology, not many had the foundations for lasting success. The need for proper foundations in the blockchain world arose, hence the birth of companies like CI Cryptosolutions, a company founded by seasoned players in the blockchain industry.

The mission behind CI Cryptosolutions was to be the bridge for many traditional and new institutions into the web3 world. While there was a major focus on financial applications of the blockchain, it became imperative that to achieve a truly decentralized society that is properly democratized; the blockchain had to be applied to multiple facets of society; hence, the reason CI Cryptosolution went beyond financial applications as time went on.

Bitcoin had already demonstrated that payments could evolve from fiat money controlled by centralized authorities to a digital payment system whose security and reputation depended on interactions among actors, transcending political borders. This meant that "money" could move from the control of governments into the hands of ordinary citizens. The rise of decentralized finance (DeFi) brought renewed attention to the blockchain. Lending and a host of other financial activities could now be done using digital currencies. The Initial Coin Offering (ICO) frenzy also proved that funds could be raised without traditional financial bridges.

CI Cryptosolutions started as a consultancy and web3 business support firm. It carried out consulting services to businesses from different jurisdictions and soon saw an opportunity in how digital assets were being exchanged in many places, especially in Africa. hence it founded a digital asset exchange that soon grew to be a blockchain-backed remittance product. This product was called “Naijacrypto”

Naijacrypto, the All-in-One Crypto Exchange

Naijacrypto platform shown on a mobile phone

Upon its launch, Naijacrypto became an instant sensation, especially within its immediate market, Nigeria. It distinguished itself from other crypto exchanges for several reasons. Its user-friendly interface, coupled with a responsive customer support unit, was a significant selling point. The product was in a league of its own. Naijacrypto pioneered the concept of stablecoin/fiat open order books in a semi-decentralized model. It also implemented this model in stablecoin-backed currency futures that became very popular among businesses with significant exchange rate risks. These innovations, along with other business-friendly features, propelled Naijacrypto to the spotlight, resulting in exponential trade volume growth.

The ambitious plan was to continue expanding and become the face of cryptocurrency exchange operations in Africa and attract investments from top global exchanges. Investment proposals indeed later poured in from prominent players in the crypto space. But not before an unexpected regulatory policy directive by Nigeria's Central Bank on February 5, 2021. The policy banned financial institutions from facilitating crypto transactions, severely impacting Naijacrypto's operations.

In the face of adversity caused by an impromptu policy, CI Cryptosolutions demonstrated its core strength—innovation. The company devised a quick solution that allowed customers to deposit, trade, and withdraw fiat while complying with the government's new regulations. This innovation included the creation of deposit and withdrawal agents, making crypto transactions resemble everyday bank activities. While many exchanges restricted withdrawals, manipulated rates, and compelled customers with Fiat holdings to buy crypto at exorbitant rates for withdrawal, Naijacrypto maintained regular rates due to true decentralization and ensured users had access to their funds. This customer-centric approach not only provided hope but also garnered trust and loyalty from users.

In February 2021, Naijacrypto launched operations in Kenya, followed by five more countries in March 2022, plus the US and the UK. The African countries included in this expansion are Ghana, Kenya, Cameroon, Burundi, Uganda, and South Africa. Naijacrypto also established a presence in Haiti, through a partnership with the Dash Foundation.

At the peak of its operations, Naijacrypto attracted interest from renowned exchanges like Binance and Huobi. However, it opted to accept an acquisition bid from an American blockchain startup, PowerDFI.

PowerDFI and the Uncompleted Merger

Naijcrypto and PowerDFI logo merging
PowerDFI and Naijacrypto merger

One will wonder why CI Cryptosolutions accepted an acquisition bid for Naijacrypto from a company that is less than 3 months old. Well, that’s because the mission of both companies aligned, and CI Cryptosolutions had a vision for the financial industry that bordered on idealistic. PowerDFI wanted to build an exchange platform where people could trade digital assets for less. There were two sides to the idea. On one side, the company aimed to onboard underutilized assets and, on the other hand, unlock the liquidity of these assets by getting people to buy and hold its units. Since they are tangible assets, they will yield interest, thus adding ROI for everyone in the value chain and thereby creating an ecosystem. The idea was appealing, hence the acquisition. However, a string of events, which included the bankruptcy of FTX and Blockfi which PowerDFI was heavily exposed to stall the full implementation of this partnership.

Although PowerDFI and CI Cryptosolutions had done much work building a utility exchange and forging new business relationships, which included an expansion into Singapore and Hong Kong, the PowerDFI-Naijacrypto acquisition did not reach its full potential.

Naijapay, the Crypto Payment Gateway

CI Cryptosolutions’s second product, Naijapay was a crypto payment gateway designed to ease crypto payments for small and large-scale businesses. With Naijapay, business owners can receive crypto payments for the sale of goods and services, but instead of receiving crypto in their wallets, they receive the fiat equivalents. At its peak, the business onboarded many small businesses, proving to be a viable business solution.

The CI Cryptosolutions OTC Remmitance Desk

Due to the network effects of running one of Africa’s largest Exchanges. CI Cryptosolutions was able to build a robust Over-the-Counter trading desk that helped bypass remittance difficulties for businesses. This desk is still fully functional and has grown by 27% in the last 8 Months. It utilizes blockchain-backed stablecoins and smart contract-written hedge tools to make corporate remittances smoother, cheaper, and free of liquidity restrictions.

CI Cryptosolutions: An Ongoing Journey

The web3 world has expanded drastically regarding

its applications to everyday businesses. Some schools of thought have expanded to include Artificial intelligence and machine learning in the web3 world. CI Cryptosolutions remains at the forefront of all evolving technology within the web3 world, possessing a team of developers, product managers, business strategists, analysts, and financial engineers who can optimize any business process using web3 tools.

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