Interview With Kobocoin Dev

The Kobocoin dev was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to give “The Dood” an interview. I sincerely thank him for giving me this opportunity to share his story, and also for taking the time to answer my questions. I also should disclose that “The Dood” does hold a small amount of Kobocoin. With that said, please enjoy this interview with the Kobocoin dev.

Kobocoin

First off thanks for taking the time to answer the questions for this interview. I really appreciate it. I recently moved servers, and lost 3 months of old blog posts, and this will be the first interview on the new blog. Thanks for giving me the time and opportunity to help get the word out about Kobocoin.

Thank you as well for the interview. It’s really appreciated. Exposure is definitely required in such a fast-moving industry. Kobocoin is going through a period of rapid development and it’s great to be able to take that news to the wider public. Kobocoin was recently listed as one of the African FinTech 100. These are among the most innovative and disruptive startups in Africa. We’re also one of the nominees for the African FinTech Awards. http://www.fintechafrica.co.za/fintech-100.html. It’s good to get that news out there, so thanks!

And sorry about the data loss. I recently went through the same thing when I lost a server, but thanks to GitHub I was able to recover everything quickly. Ironically, the data loss and rebuild has made the KOBO mobile wallets more stable and reliable. It was a good test of a backup/restore strategy. I only lost 1 night’s sleep and 2 pints of sweat, so not too bad.

So if you don’t mind, could you please tell the readers a little about yourself and your relationship to KoboCoin?

I’m the dev for Kobocoin. I’m not really an über-coder like most devs. I’m a community member with a vision of mainstream cryptocurrency adoption and I do have a day job. Crypto is an industry where I’m constantly learning new stuff. I’ve been involved with cryptocurrencies since mid-2013 when I started investigating bitcoin. I became a Litecoin miner for some time, then decided to look into other altcoins and discovered a lot of innovations taking place outside the bitcoin ecosystem. I used to make a lot of noise on forums about cryptocurrencies not being user-friendly enough, and being unfairly hoarded by the few. I also used to bang on about tech developments being nice for the crypto community but not something the wider public understood, or even desired. Kobocoin is some ideas I have about the industry in one cryptocurrency but released in the hope of adoption by the wider public.

I read that there was no ICO/IPO/or premine. How many people are currently involved with the project and is it entirely community supported?

At the moment it’s a one man project supported by a very loyal community. We also get a lot of support and encouragement from other projects, which is always appreciated as well.

Doing a little research on your coin, I see it’s geared towards the people of the continent of Africa. How did you come up with the idea for the coin, and was it born out of a necessity that you saw needed to be filled?

I’d had the idea for an African cryptocurrency for some time after I’d seen how cryptocurrencies work and discovered their mobile capabilities utilising QR codes. Africa is by far the largest mobile FinTech market on the planet. It’s so far ahead of the rest of the world that its mobile FinTech is being exported globally. I believe that the current offerings have barriers to entry that Kobocoin doesn’t have. They also charge a lot more than you’d probably expect. It’s said that 80% of Africa doesn’t have a financial history of any kind. I grew up in Nigeria. I never had a bank account. I never even considered opening one. Kobocoin would definitely have suited me. Participation doesn’t require a financial history of any kind. All that’s required is a wallet and some KOBO. No registration necessary, no subscription required, no questions asked. Mobile, web, or desktop. That’s it. Smartphone growth in Africa is booming. Kobocoin is ready to bring the next level of mobile FinTech home to make a difference.

Now Africa is the second largest and I believe the second most populated continent on the planet. It covers over 54 individual countries and also the Western Sahara. Is the coin geared towards any particular group or groups of African people or for the entire continent in general?

Kobocoin is a global cryptocurrency with an African heritage. It has a West African outlook in terms of the original concept, the naming of the 4 denominations, and the maximum number of coins that will ever be produced. I wanted to make sure that we Africans have our own cryptocurrency ready to adopt when the time comes. The names used for the KOBO denominations were carefully selected. They have been used in Africa, and the world over, for centuries of trading. Kobocoin as a currency can be easily adopted, globally, without getting lost in translation. In fact the most mobile wallets have been downloaded from Saudi Arabia and China. There’s also a lot of interest from the Philippines.

Do you see the coin as direct competition with services like Vodafone’s M-Pesa and BitPesa for remittances ? Also could you tell the readers how Kobocoin differs from these services?

Yes, and no. I’ve dabbled with Kobocoin being used for remittance but, at its heart, KOBO is meant to be used as a peer-to-peer currency. It is built and intended for person-to-person, face-to-face transactions. The idea of remittance to Africa is a great one. It’s an $80bn+ market, and perfect for the low costs of cryptocurrency transmission. In that respect we are more aligned with BitPesa than M-Pesa. But we’re hoping for a more direct means of remittance transport. I’d like to see individuals using the KOBO wallets themselves rather than relying on any third party services acting as an intermediary. In reality, there are so many conditions necessary to achieving a presence in the African remittance space. The main one for any cryptocurrency is trading volume. Without it, remittance is a dream.

I’ve read that parts of Africa are a little slow to adopt new technologies and also cryptocurrency in general. Is this trend changing and do you see Kobocoin as an easy solution to introduce more of the people of Africa to cryptocurrency?

I can’t say I see that changing more quickly than it is already. It’s easier for people in the West to try out new tech with the disposable incomes they have. One thing I know about back home is that money is not to be played with. I don’t see that attitude changing very quickly, but in saying that you also have to remember that Africa is the world’s largest adopter of mobile FinTech, by a very wide margin. So you have to question who is actually being slow in adopting new technologies? Kobocoin, with its human friendly naming conventions, will definitely make it easier for people to relate to the concepts of cryptocurrency, their subdivisions, and lack of a middleman in transacting. It’s a very easy entry point into a highly complex industry.

I would love to see a day when we no longer have to cash out cryptocurrency, and can pay and get paid in cryptocurrency without the use of government backed fiat. Do you see this happening sooner in parts of Africa where many people don’t have bank accounts, and how do we get to the point where none of us depend on government backed fiat currency anymore? Do you think that’s even possible?

Yes I do. Barter is very important back home. If something has value, then people are happy to exchange it for what they need. In this respect I think Africa could lead the way with cryptocurrency adoption in the near future. I personally feel that fiat money is not as important to people as what it does for them. If you can replace fiat with another form of ‘trusted’ value transfer then people will be more than happy to adopt it. Remember that M-Pesa itself was borne out of people spontaneously using airtime as a proxy for money transfer. Kenyans were transferring airtime to their relatives or friends who were then using it or reselling it. This shows that people are happy to use whatever is of value for their own purposes or goods and services. I believe that once people accept the intrinsic value of cryptocurrencies you’ll see a rapid rate of adoption and usage. Statistics say 80% of Africa is unbanked. Kobocoin, and cryptocurrencies in general, offer a direct route to mobile FinTech without the hurdles.

There are so many altcoins now and I think that is a good thing for the most part.
Competition creates innovation. Do you care to talk about any of the differences that separate Kobocoin from other altcoins on the market? Any special wallet innovation that you care to tell the readers about and why they might want to use Kobocoin or its wallet over other products currently available?

Kobocoin is optimised for mobile phone usage. It’s one of the faster cryptocurrencies available and is actually 4 currency denominations in one. The main unit is KOBO, followed by MANILLA (mKOBO), COWRIE (uKOBO), and finally MANSA (satoshi). These human friendly subdivisions allow for KOBO to be easily used as a microtransaction tool. It’s one of the few cryptocurrencies with Android and Blackberry wallets currently available and in daily use already. It has the global infrastructure to ensure 24×7 reliability. I’m also in the process of building the Javascript client libraries to allow a new breed of web and mobile wallets to be developed. We already have an address-to-address private messaging sidechain and I’m looking into how new sidechains can be used to further extend the capabilities of the blockchain. And don’t let me forget that KOBO can also be used for twitter tipping (which is how we first met!). I’m hoping that KOBO tips can one day be exchanged for phone credit or any other necessities over the internet.

One of the things I discovered while researching the coin is that there was no ICO or premine and there will only be 350,000,000 max coins created. If I read correct the coin is now past the POW stage and is strictly POS. Last I checked the coin was fluctuating between 200 and 500 satoshi, any comment on where you see future valuation of this coin? Do you think it’s currently undervalued?

Do you really expect any dev to say their currency isn’t undervalued?? Yes, PoW ended 1 month after launch. It was quite an exciting time; we achieved some massive unexpected hash rates that month. It’s now pure PoS with 10% reward per annum to encourage long term stakeholding. I personally feel that the important thing for any cryptocurrency is not the unit price but the trading volume. Without a large enough trading volume the currency doesn’t have any stability. Without stability it won’t be seen as a reliable and trustworthy store of value and, as a consequence, will struggle to gain adoption. As a wish upon a star, I’d like to see the KOBO daily exchange volume hit a minimum of $1m for a 6 month period. That would definitely mean stability!

Final thoughts? Anything you would like to tell the readers about the coin or wallet that hasn’t been answered in the previous questions ?

There are many developments on the horizon for Kobocoin. The new Javascript libraries being released very soon are only another step in building a cryptocurrency ecosystem that’s custom built for the needs of African continent. There is a Kobocoin platform in development that will allow easy access to the blockchain and also allow interested parties to build services on it.

I see Kobocoin is currently available from yobit.net and coinexchange.io. Are there any other places we can purchase Kobocoins or any exchanges you are currently in the process of negotiating with that you are able to talk about?

I’m in the process of talking to a few other exchanges and the sounds are positive so far. I really want to roll out more services on the blockchain and continue with spreading the Kobocoin message. With the current marketing and twitter push I’m hoping to expand the community. When we do hit the larger exchanges we’ll have the volume to keep everybody happy.

OK, one last question! I ask all my interviews the same last question. Where do you see cryptocurrency going in the future? Any thoughts, visions, or predictions you might want to share about the future of cryptocurrency in general?

I see banks and cryptocurrencies existing side by side just as online shopping exists side by side with bricks and mortar. I don’t see the death of either. I see Africa lead the way in mobile cryptocurrency adoption with an explosion out-of-nowhere that no-one is expecting, or ready for. And, in general, I think BRICS will lead the way in crypto adoption.

Bloggers note: For anyone that doesn’t know, BRICS is an acronym that references the emerging national economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa

Well that’s it… I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions and share the Kobocoin story with my readers. I’ve been playing around with the coin for about a week and absolutely love it. The Dood’s a big fan of POS, and I think that’s a great feature for any coin, especially for people who hold any amount of cryptocurrency and not just cash out as soon as they recieve it. I’ll certainly be using the coin more in the future. Best of luck to the Kobocoin team, and with all your future endeavors!

Thank you. And welcome to the KOBO community!

Thanks!

Again, I’d really like to take a second and thank the Kobocoin dev for taking the time to answer my questions. The Dood really enjoyed this interview and hope you , the reader, also found this informative and useful. Again, in the spirit of disclosure, I do have a small amount of Kobocoin, and plan on purchasing more in the future. This is not meant as investment advice. To find out more about this interesting coin, and do your own due diligence, check out the following links.

The Bitcointalk Announcement Page.

http://kobocoin.com/

Coin Market Cap

Git Hub

Twitter

Now available at: coinexchange.io and yobit.net

Kobocoin

Kobocoin

 

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