Despite the difficult business environment in Nigeria, entrepreneurs in the tech space have continued to thrive against all odds. They are providing innovative solutions to problems.
Among tech start-ups harnessing the power of technology to provide solutions is Kassy Olisakwe, the founder of Kassy’s Blockchain Agency – a start-up that builds blockchain applications for individuals and companies looking to move into the Web3 space.
Olisakwe, a 22-year-old senior blockchain developer who is also an Artificial Intelligence (AI) enthusiast and inventor started his business in 2021, and so far his business has grown with over 600 developers who are working under him from different parts of the world.
“I started years ago with freelancing and learning more about technology. I only started scaling it up in 2021 when I realized that I could leverage my services.
“I am still an employee myself. I work remotely in the blockchain space with a company that employs the exact same business model as me just on a larger scale,” Olisakwe says.
Apart from having a bachelor’s degree in neurosciences from Duke university and currently studying for his masters in computer science at Arizona state university, he also has a couple of Information Technology (IT) certifications such as CCNA & CCNP in Computer Networking, Comptia s+ under Cyber Security, JNCIA-cloud under juniper cloud technologies, CBP under blockchain development, machine learning and deep learning professional certification under AI & robotics.
“As an inventor that is deeply involved with AI and robotics I am working on creating an intelligent robot that understands and can relate with human beings on a deep level.”
The young IT guru believes that the blockchain industry is the next big thing as it is the next version of the internet to cryptocurrencies. “We are all familiar with its immense importance to the business world.”
Olisakwe noted that when you hear the term ‘blockchain’, think of it as a storage system that cannot be manipulated and that is extremely secure. “Imagine storing business files and smart contracts on it.”
“Today, a lot of wastage is generated wherever a company has to talk to multiple partner organizations. This involves paperwork, legal agreements, cross-border interaction, and trust issues with various versions of a legal issue that’s cropped up.
“Now, imagine that all these organizations had a single source of truth to which they referred, enter blockchain, with its guaranteed tamper-proof nature. And with this, many companies would be able to reduce delays, lack of trust, paperwork and so much more,” he explained.
The Anambra state indigene didn’t need much capital to start his business as he only used the right smartphone and an internet connection.
“From the money I got paid when I started as a freelancer and with the support from my parents, who understand current trends, I was able to scale up with advertisements on sites like Linkedin, twitter, facebook etc. So, basically I started without a capital.”
Some of the challenges he faces is the cryptocurency ban placed by the Central Bank of Nigeria that prevents Nigerian banks from interacting with cryptocurrency payments.
“Most of my customers pay directly with crypto and it’s not been easy navigating that terrain. Then the other regular problems like the hardship involved in using Nigerian debit cards to pay for foreign services,” Olisakwe complained.
Also, the high inflationary pressure caused by the Russia-Ukraine war is affecting his business as most of his customers who have end users have been affected. “Business is not booming in the end, so they will not see the need to expand.”
Speed and quality are the major things that stand his services from other blockchain businesses. According to the retired network security engineer and an avid gamer he doesn’t just spread projects across multiple people for ease of completion but drastically decreases the time it takes to build the solutions or tokens.
“A project that would take an average agency one month to build because of how every process has to pass through everybody for quality assurance, would only take me one week to build with better quality because all my developers work on their various aspects simultaneously while I tie all of them together with the technical know-how,” he adds.
In 2020, Olisakwe wrote a book titled ‘The Guide to Artificial Intelligence’. The book is about the creation of super-intelligent thinking machines and how it is possible for computers to be more intelligent than humans.
“I wanted to demonstrate that subsequently, vastly more powerful intelligences would be created only a few decades later. And such ‘genius’ machines will lead to options and opportunities for how humans will coexist with, and prepare for them.”
Olisakwe believes that AI is totally indispensable because its machines are already here, and they will remain long after human extinction.
“As early as the next five years, AI machines will take over 50 per cent of the job market. The way computers came into the picture and slowly took over our lives is the exact same way intelligent machines would.
“Tesla has already brought self-driving cars to the limelight, and in the next few years we wouldn’t need human Uber drivers. In China, no physical store has a human cashier as we speak,” he explains.
“Robots are already being trained in Law, Journalism, Surgery and many other fields in which they outperform humans by a mile,” he adds.
On the skills needed to start a blockchain business, Olisakwe says one needs to have a good knowledge of software engineering, deep knowledge about cryptography and smart contracts because they are the backbone of every blockchain application.
He advises other entrepreneurs to start their business early even though it might not necessarily work out at the beginning. “The issues you’re trying to solve before starting will always continue to compound. Nobody ever feels ready, if you’re not sure about your direction; find yourself a mentor in that space.”
One of life values that has made him who is today, is wisdom which is often under-appreciated in its importance.
“Wisdom is very often confused with words like knowledge or intelligence but the word wisdom is defined as the quality of having experience and good judgment and the resulting soundness of that action or decision.”
In the next five years, he hopes to have his Artificial General Intelligent robot which he is currently developing, to be in different parts of the world by 2027. “I see my blockchain business growing with the gradual expansion in the interest from the general public.”
He also sees himself celebrating a couple of technological patents most of which will have a hand in placing him somewhere on the Forbes list. For more information about his services, he can be reached via his company’s email address at www.kassyolisakwe.com.