At a hippy chill spot in one of the most popular areas on Lagos Island, there is an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) which seems a well-orchestrated business strategy. It’s pretty normal for a business like Dazey Lounge and Bar, Oke-Ira, Ajah, to have such a machine nearby just in case its customers need to withdraw cash to pay for services.
But, about a few meters away from this ATM lies something more sophisticated and unprecedented. Not everyone who walks past this establishment may take the Bitcoin ATM sign seriously, except they’re crypto investors or blockchain enthusiasts.
Inside a casino where young guys show what they’re made of in PlayStation 4 and where slot machines shimmer with colorful light, lies what’s unarguably the first BTM in Nigeria.
Outside the casino, Daniel Adekunle talks about his excitement to be the pioneer when it comes to Bitcoin ATMs in the country. But his excitement, according to him, is not enough reason to be so loud about the achievement. Which is why many people do not know yet that there’s a Bitcoin exchange machine enabling a vending business close to the Lagos Lagoon.
“Built For Africans”
Daniel Adekunle Omoshola (pictured above) is the founder and CEO of Blockstale – a firm focused on the principal development of blockchain technology through industry standard hardwares and intuitive software. The company was founded on October 17, 2017 by Daniel and his co-founder Adeyiga Oluseye Daniel, who’s currently the firm’s chairman.
The first thing he told WeeTracker on that breezy, relaxing Sunday evening in Ajah was that the BTM had been on ground since the first week of December 2019. I know there is scarcity of these machines in Nigeria, and that’s why we’re quietly filling the gap, for now, Daniel adds.
Through Blockstale, Nigeria’s first BTM issue was deployed on the 12th of January 2020. Daniel Adekunle came up with an Africa-focused design to include some components that are friendly to crypto users in the continent. It took approximately 60 days of logistics before the BTM was finally hurled from Shenzhen, China to Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.
“For about 3 years now I have been working on the blockchain technology and BTMs (Bitcoin Teller Machines or Bitcoin ATMs) hardware, software and firmware most especially. I had my people (Africans) very much in mind since they are a little rigid when it comes to innovation and personal interaction(s) with high tech devices”, Daniel told WeeTracker via email.
A January 2020 WeeTracker report showed that the country lacks Bitcoin ATMs despite being the hottest market for crypto trade in Africa. One of the issues raised as a cause is the security of these machines. Asides from their assemblage and maintenance, the pressing safety problem in the country could be discouraging BTM investments.
This is the main reason Blockstale wanted a design that would fit perfectly into the country’s security situation. Being customized for Nigeria availed the machine with additional components that are not obtainable from other BTMs. These include a door alarm system, a remote tracker and some bio scanners, all of which make it more theft and vandal-proof.
Security is a great concern considering where other BTMs in Africa are located. For instance, Ghana’s only two machines are installed in the office of Thunder Solutions – an Accra-based IT firm. While Botswana’s is located at the Airport Junction Mall in Gaborone, Uganda’s is at the Kampala Post Office.
To a reasonable extent, these locations are secure. Installing this BTM at Dazey Lounge and Bar is strategic because the establishment is open for 24 hours everyday. People troop in and out of the area virtually all hours of the day, as the building sits just along an ever busy two-lane road.
Launching a project of this caliber in Nigeria and Lagos checks all the boxes. The country is the most active market for crypto and the unofficial tech capital of Africa. Lagos, on the other hand, is the hotbed of entrepreneurship and innovation in Nigeria. Nevertheless, Ajah may not play sole host to Nigerian BTM for much longer as Blockstale plans to replicate their efforts elsewhere in Nigeria.
“We are bullish on some strategic locations in Abuja, Owerri, Ogun and Ibadan. In Lagos, we are likely to have machines installed at SPAR Lekki, Eko Hotel and Suites in Victoria, Ikeja City Mall and Leisure Mall in Surulere during this first quarter of 2020”, Daniel Adekunle disclosed. All of these locations are again, reasonably secure.
If all of this goes according to plan, Nigeria might become host to Africa’s largest population of BTMs – that means, in one country. Be as that may, recall that South Africa already has 7 installations – the current best record. As at press time, plans are en route to install a Bitcoin ATM at the Ikeja City Mall (ICM), despite Google Station being offline.
If the BTM can run in a near-remote location in Ajah, then having it at the ICM should be no problem, we gather. Having all these machines in the country will go a long way in making cryptocurrency trade and investments more trusted and pronounced. It makes it as easy as withdrawing or transferring money in a regular ATM, without having anyone on WhatsApp or Instagram do it for you.
Worth Every Dime?
Though Daniel prefers to keep what it cost Blockstale to get the first BTM well under way, he admitted that anyone looking to pull one off should range spending between NGN 5 Mn (USD 13,755) and NGN 6 Mn (USD 16,506). That cost is dependent on the location and the agreement between the operator and the store/business owner.
“We are really excited to welcome more tech companies into the BTM space as Blockstale has made history in Nigeria and Africa at large. We hope this great innovation structures our economy and opens more opportunities to our youths and other business owners,” the entrepreneur said.
A disturbing number of people believe BTMs to be money laundering tools, hence the shaky trust conundrum. Blockstale took it upon itself to prove that they are not by setting algorithms to enable the machine conduct proper KYC (Know Your Customer) to any level per user. The device can carry out phone number and ID verifications, and set a limitation on purchase per user, depending on their KYC.
The BTM is also equipped with an intelligent monitoring system that alerts in cases of unusual transactions. It has been designed to allow for 2-way operations, which means users can buy as well as sell Bitcoin using their Naira. Many Bitcoin ATMs out there can only do one of these two. However, Blockstale’s BTMs will not support card payments, only fiats and transactions can be initiated using a mobile app.
How It Works
For the buying process, users can locate the nearest Blockstale BTM, opt to buy Bitcoin and click the amount to buy. They scan their Bitcoin wallet on the machine and then input cash notes.
When the cash notes are validated, the purchase is confirmed and BTC is sent instantaneously. If the user is buying below USD 100, the machine will conduct just the basic KYC.
For the selling process, the user clicks on Sell Bitcoin on the machine, inputs the Naira value to sell, machine print QR instruction, sends BTC and waits for a 3-confirmation sequence. After this, the user clicks on the Redeem button, and scans the last QR on paper, after which the BTM dispenses cash.
Kofi Genfi, CEO of blockchain-based fintech startup Mazzuma – which also enables crypto payments, believes that a Bitcoin ATM will increased the adoption of digital currencies in Nigeria.
“Nonetheless, crypto use will thrive more if there is an introduction of Altcoin ATMs to serve people who have digital assets such as Ethereum, Dash, Ripple, Zcash and Monero, among others”, he told WeeTracker.
How to stop trolls from taking over your Zoom call
Zoom is an easy-to-use videoconferencing tool with a generous free tier. With people around the world isolating indoors to protect themselves against the spread of the coronavirus, it has never been more popular.
But its popularity has also attracted trolls. The phenomenon of “Zoombombing,” in which an uninvited guest uses Zoom’s screen-sharing feature to broadcast porn and shock videos, has been on the rise. Most Zoom meetings have a public link that, if clicked, allow anyone to join. Trolls have been collecting these links and sharing them in private chat groups, and then signing on to other people’s calls to cause mischief.
There’s an easy way to stop this from happening, but Zoom makes it needlessly difficult to find. If you schedule a meeting from the web interface, you won’t see the option to disable screen sharing. Instead:
- Click on “Settings” in the left-hand menu
- Scroll down to “Screen sharing” and under “Who can share?” click “Host Only”
- Click on “Save”
Once you save your settings, future meetings that you start will have sharing disabled by default.
If you forget to change the setting before you start your meeting, there’s a way to modify your settings after it starts:
- Once your Zoom meeting is running, click the caret to the right of the green “Share Screen” button in the center of the bottom row of icons
- Click “Advanced Sharing Options…”
- A dialog box will pop up allowing you to switch screen sharing availability from all participants to the host only.
And what if you’re creating a meeting from your mobile device?
To disable screen sharing after you’ve started your meeting:
- Tap the More (…) button at the bottom right corner of the screen
- Tap “Meeting Settings”
- If you’re using an iPhone, scroll down to “Allow Participants to Share” and switch the toggle off. If you’re using an Android phone, find “Lock Share” and switch the toggle on.
3 Things To Do Stay Safe On Houseparty App
Following the novel coronavirus pandemic that has forced many countries across the globe to announce a lockdown, people have been exploring different ways to keep in touch with friends and family.
One of the apps that have come to the rescue for many is the Houseparty app. Houseparty is owned by Epic Games, the company behind popular battle royale game Fortnite.
Houseparty is a social networking service that enables group video chatting through mobile and desktop apps. Users receive a notification when friends are online and available to group video chat. On average, users spend approximately 51 minutes a day on the app in a group or one-on-one chats.
Recently, accusations surfaced on social media that the platform has led to other online accounts being hacked. Many uses alleged that their other online accounts including Netflix, eBay, Instagram and Spotify were being hacked thanks to the Houseparty app.
When signing up to Houseparty, users are able identify friends using phone contacts, as well as connect to Facebook and Snapchat to find and invite people on the platform.
The thing that really sets Houseparty apart from other apps is hinted at by its name. Anyone who’s friends with someone else in a chat can join – meaning that you’re likely to run into strangers – and it is not necessarily easy to lurk without being noticed.
Reacting to the hacking allegations, Houseparty put out a tweet to users saying all accounts are safe and that it does not collect passwords for other sites.
In a statement, the service said it has found “no evidence” of such a breach.
“We’ve found no evidence to suggest a link between Houseparty and the compromises of other unrelated accounts,” a spokeswoman said.
“As a general rule, we suggest all users choose strong passwords when creating online accounts on any platform.
“Use a unique password for each account, and use a password generator or password manager to keep track of passwords, rather than using passwords that are short and simple.”
In case you are one of those using Houseparty to stay social during this period of the coronavirus lockdown.
Lock sensitive chats
You are instantly on and live the moment you open your Houseparty app. With the way the app is structured, it means that anyone can join your for a conversation. The idea is like wandering into a houseparty and trying to see who is willing to have a chat. This same structure applies to everyone you are chatting with too so you could be in a serious conversation and without changes, another friend opts into that chat too.
To avoid this, the first thing you should note is to be careful of who you add on the app. Secondly, it is important to lock any conversation that you don’t want unexpected people jumping into. You can do this by clicking the little lock icon at the bottom of the chat once everyone you want to be online is available, but you need to remember to do that every time.
Turn off your notifications
As stated earlier, the minute you log on the app, Houseparty sends out a notification that you are online. As a user of Houseparty, you will both be sent plenty of notifications and have plenty of notifications sent about you and both can be very annoying. You can control your notifications by opening the app and clicking the smiley face in the corner of the screen – there, you’ll see the option to “Manage Notificatications”, and clicking that gives you the ability to stop them being sent when you open the app or being sent to you when somebody else does the same.
Another option to explore is to turn off notifications completely. You do this on both Android and iOS, but that will mean that you won’t even receive a notification if someone calls you, and you’ll still be sending out notifications to other people, too.
You can also change these settings on a per-person basis. If you scroll down a little on the notifications screen, you’ll see the option to “mute” or “ghost” any given person. Ghosting them means that they won’t see when you come online while muting somebody means you won’t get notifications when they come online.
Many people are unaware of this feature but one of the most useful features on Houseparty is that you can choose to sneak in. If you hold down the app icon, you’ll get the option to “sneak in” to Houseparty, meaning that you’ll open it up and be on the app without sending a notification to everyone.
Minecraft just unlocked free education content as a COVID-19 distraction
With the COVID-19 outbreak, a lot of things have ground to a halt, including education in some places. Schools in many regions of the world are closed until the worst of the outbreak is over, with some universities and high schools switching to online instruction. In order to help keep the wheels of education turning, Mojang and Microsoft have launched a free collection of educational content for Minecraft on the Minecraft Marketplace.
“Educators around the world are doing everything they can to provide digital lessons for the half a billion students who are out of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mojang’s Sofia Dankis wrote on the Minecraft blog today. “This is not an easy task and we want to do our part to help keep young minds sharp and stimulated.”
Mojang has uploaded some lessons from Minecraft: Education Edition to the Minecraft Marketplace, which are free to download for everyone who owns the Bedrock Edition of the game (sorry, Java players). The lessons from the Minecraft team include the International Space Station and The Human Eye, but those Mojang-crafted missions make up only a small part of what’s on offer.
That’s because Mojang has also made 10 lessons from Marketplace community creators free as part of this promotion. The lessons give players the chance to explore Greek history, marine biology, bees, and even fractals, so this collection of 12 lessons covers a pretty wide range of topics.
All of them are free to download from the Marketplace until June 30th, 2020, giving you a little over three months to claim them. The full list of lessons can be viewed over on the Marketplace, and they’re compatible with any device that runs the Bedrock Edition of the game.
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