NFTs at Work with Afropolitan's Eche Emole & Momint's Ahren Posthumus
In today's episode, we're talking about NFTs. Now, here at crypto@scale, we'd like to talk about the pragmatic use cases for crypto technology. And while NFTs, as a digital tradable asset, have had a lot of focus from an art perspective, we want to take our conversation about use cases a step further.
In today's episode, we're joined by Eche Emole, co-founder of Afropolitan, and Ahren Posthumus, co-founder and CEO of Momint.
Eche and Afropolitan are building a digital nation and using NFTs as a tool to build their community and to create a digital passport for its members.
Ahren and Momint are working to bring digital assets to the real world.Earlier this year, they launched SunCash, a blockchain platform using NFTs to crowdfund solar power projects in South Africa.
In this episode, we'll hear from Eche and Ahren about their respective companies, their vision for a crypto-enabled continent, and much more.
Discussed in this episode:
00:00 - Intro
04:58 - What are NFTs?
07:14 - How SunCash is using NFTs
10:23 - How Afropolitan is using NFTs
15:01 - Bringing digital assets to the mainstream
17:18 - Afropolitan's Web2.5 approach
21:37 - Why did Momint launch SunCash to address South Africa's electricity challenges?
23:38 - What does a crypto-enabled future look like in Africa?
32:01 - Recommendations
33:51 - Follow us on Twitter
[00:00:00] Eche Emole: “There was a tweet the other day that says, “What's your unpopular opinion about crypto?” I said, “It's a nice to have in the West. It's a need to have an Africa, but the best talent don't want to build to the poor.” The average person does not care about what blockchain, what this, what that. Does it work or does it not? For us, if we truly believe in this, then moving forward, we have to build this in a sustainable way that reflects our own reality as Africans, not somebody else's reality, but our own reality. We need to build platforms that make sense in our own context.”
[00:00:33] Justin Norman: Hello and welcome to crypto@scale. I’m Justin Norman, and in today's episode, my co-host, Gwera Kiwana and I are talking about NFTs. Now, here at crypto@scale, we'd like to talk about the pragmatic use cases for crypto technology. And while NFTs, as a digital tradable asset, have had a lot of focus from an art perspective, we want to take our conversation about use cases a step further.
In today's episode, we're joined by Eche Emole, co-founder of Afropolitan, and Ahren Posthumus, posthumous, co-founder and CEO of Momint. Eche and Afropolitan are building a digital nation and using NFTs as a tool to build their community and to create a digital passport for its members. Ahren and Momint are working to bring digital assets to the real world.
Earlier this year, they launched SunCash, a blockchain platform using NFTs to crowdfund solar power projects in South Africa. In this episode, we'll hear from Eche and Ahren about their respective companies, their vision for a crypto enabled continent, and much more. If you enjoy this episode, please hit that subscribe button on YouTube or your favorite podcast app and share with a friend or a colleague who you think may enjoy it as well. Crypto@scale is not investment advice, and it's for entertainment and informational purposes only.
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[00:02:47] Justin Norman: Eche and Ahren, thanks so much for joining us today. Please start with a brief introduction to your respective companies. Eche, let's start with you.
[00:02:54] Eche Emole: Hey, I'm Eche. I'm one of the co-founders of Afropolitan. Afropolitan is creating a digital nation to enable all Africans to build abundant lives. Our ideology one of abundance. We believe that no modern nation state in Africa was created out of reflection and choice. It was always through accident and force. So, this gives us a chance, the Internet enables us today to organize around shared values at scale. So, we are looking to launch the first ever internet country for the African diaspora.
The way to think about that when you hear that, is what does the Internet enabled us to be able to do today? We've been able to start new companies on the Internet, think Facebook, Google, YouTube, et cetera. We've been able to start new currencies on the Internet, think Bitcoin, crypto. Can we start a new country on the Internet? If you're down with that idea, if you're down with that possibility, that is what we're building here at Afropolitan and we're talking Africa and African diaspora as our use case, because we've never had anything that works at scale from a nation state experiment. So, we believe that it is better to start all over with a digital nation play and leverage that for a fiscal land play as well. So yes, thank you. That concept is called a network state.
[00:04:07] Justin Norman: Thanks, Eche. Ahren, can you give a brief intro to Momint and SunCash?
[00:04:11] Ahren Posthumus: Momint is a blockchain company. We have a wallet that lets people own and trade digital assets, including digital currencies. We began specializing in turning legal contracts into smart contracts, and therefore putting real assets on chain, which I think is – and we were the first ever wallets in the world to enable free minting of NFTs. So, we started off with a lot of artists and creators, and we began specializing in turning legal contracts into smart contracts, and therefore putting real assets on chain, which I think is a big opportunity and a big efficiency gain for us as a society.
So, we've done some exciting stuff like work with Nelson Mandela's official warrant of arrest. We've fractionalized whiskey and coin investments. We've worked with the Monaco royal family. Our APIs powered Pepsi, [inaudible 00:04:55], and more, and we're just really passionate about Web3 technology.
[00:04:58] Gwera Kiwana: That's great. So, thank you so much. It's really good to have both of you on the show. Really, thank you for taking the time. We'll start the discussion with really explaining what NFTs are and why are they an area of focus for really, there was a lot of hype in the last couple of years, and why hype has died down slightly, but why is it an area of focus for your respective companies?
In past episodes, really what we tried to do, we tried it in the show is make information approachable. In past episodes, we've actually asked ChatGBT to provide definitions. So, actually been hanging out with a seven-year-old a lot lately. She's talking about NFTs and trying to explain it to her. After a couple tries in ChatGPT, I asked it to explain like I'm a seven-year-old. What is an NFT? NFTs or non-fungible tokens serve as unique digital certificates of ownership. They are used for various digital items such as artwork, music, virtual real estate, and even things like in game items, or a proof that someone is who they are. Similar to how each person has their own special toy or tool that serves a unique purpose, NFTs can also have utility. That's called a utility NFT.
Utility NFTs go beyond just proving ownership. They have an additional functionality or benefits tied to them. For example, let's imagine a game where you can own virtual pets. With a utility NFT, your pet could have special abilities, or exclusive features that other pets don't possess. It's like having a superpower or a rare trait that makes your pet extra special within the game. In addition to gaming utility, NFTs can also be used in various other applications. They can grant access to exclusive content, private membership and privileges, or represent real world assets. So, like concert tickets, or digital collectibles, to unlock unique experiences.
Utility NFTs are exciting, because they combine ownership with practical usefulness, enhancing the value and enjoyment of digital items in different contexts. As the entity ecosystem continues to continues to evolve, utility NFTs open up new possibilities for creators, businesses, and consumers, creating a world where digital ownership extends beyond simple possession and becomes an interactive and enriching experience. So, I hope the seven-year-olds listening to the podcast today can agree with that.
I’ll start with you Ahren, can you give me a score out of 10 as to how well that was described, and maybe explain also your use case and how you are using NFTs in your work.
[00:07:14] Ahren Posthumus: I think it started off incredibly strong. Actually, not that it ended off weakly. Utility component was really great and great that it covered that as well. But when it started off, it just said, it's a digital certificate of ownership. I think that's the best starting point for anyone to understand what an NFT is. It's a certificate of ownership. If you own a house, you have a title deed, and that lives in the deed’s office. If you own an NFT, it's a digital certificate of your ownership for whatever that NFT is pointing to, and that lives on the blockchain.
I deal with a lot of older individuals and people and I find that when you just use analogies in the real world that people are used to, it becomes a lot easier for them to understand. How this is applicable to our use case, specifically, is we basically give you a certificate of ownership for a solar installation that you've bought into, and the really big thing that we were looking for is the 10x solution. I see a lot of people talking about NFTs for ticketing solutions. And yes, I do think that those are better. But are they really 10x? Maybe? I think this is a case where they are 10x, because the NFTs can represent and transfer your ownership in a much more secure and efficient way than like a central bank or a fund for example. It's all automated through smart contracts, so we don't have to rely on humans making human mistakes. We don't have to fill out forms and papers anymore. We've moved beyond that.
You buy a SunCash certificate, which represents your ownership of a solar installation. You own that solar installation, so when it earns money, that comes into your blockchain account. If you wanted to give that to a friend, or if you lost it in a bar bed, or if you want to sell it, you can transfer that super easily. You don't need to call up your lawyers and do session agreements or any of that. It makes it really, really efficient, quick and easy to do.
Specifically, in South Africa, people can now collectively invest in owning the solar installations and earn the revenue that those installations generate. There's a super high demand for energy in the country, of course, and the government just hasn't lived up to it. Eskom, our national energy provider, has completely failed. So, we needed to find a solution to that problem and this was a really great way to do it, and we've been super inundated with the response. It's been incredible to see the power of the community. When people come together and we all agree this is a problem worth solving, this is the underlying technology that lets us do it in a way that's transparent and secure. Transparency is really important, especially on a continent where corruption is always front of mind. So, having payments that are transparent and auditable and traceable legal contracts – the ChatGPT example, it said it can have special traits, like a superpower, health bar, strength, whatever. We leverage that functionality to go well, here's its special trait, is a legal contract. It lives on interplanetary file system, so it's immutable. We can ever change it, but it's transparent, you can always see it. And we attached project information and a bunch of other stuff there. Give it a score, maybe seven. That's a little bit long.
[00:10:14] Gwera Kiwana: What about you Eche, can you give it a score, and maybe also explain a little bit about your approach to NFTs for what the impact that you're trying to have.
[00:10:23] Eche Emole: Yes, I'll give it about seven too. I think it was a little bit longer, which is the problem in crypto, to be honest. Our use case, obviously, we're looking to build, really a new country. When you're looking to do that, you have to think about the mythology of your country. You have to go to nation building. I think for us, we decided to tell that story initially using art. So, when you think throughout history, when you've heard of the Renaissance, it's always art based first, and then the progression in society starts from that. It's one of the reasons why I've been a huge fan of the opportunity that NFTs have had, because it shows to culture.
For us, we're like, “Hey, we want to build a new country. We have a new set of values. We have a different foundation. How do we show people we are in a different type of time?” For us, we're like, look, we're going to start off with art passports. These passports are supposed to put in the sand. This is our mythology around our nation. Obviously, we can’t know where we're going until we have a firm understanding of where we've come from. A lot of the time, art helps tell that story.
For us, we leverage NFT art passports. We released about 500 of them for the first 500 citizens, founding citizens at that. They were able to make a purchase for this. But like Ahren was saying, it was all public and on chain. If you're going to start this new country, the principles and values that we're looking to leverage are principles of accountability, transparency, immutability, and just being able to track where everything is. I think the foundation of this new government or governance system, we wanted it to be on chain trackable and transparent to citizens at scale. Then, on the flip side of it, what I've loved especially because we have a lot of creatives, obviously, in the community, was how they also get paid.
One thing we've always been great at doing even as Africans is creating value, but we've been poor at capturing it. Whether it's an artist who's created this artwork, and then when it's time to pay him, PayPal doesn't work in Africa, or Stripe has blocked you in Africa, or whatever else is not allowing you to get payments or your dollars, it was beautiful to see that once we got done with our passports, because of how the smart contract was encoded, the payments just went out into the wallets, and it took seconds. Nobody needed to call HR or call accounting or call Bank of America to plead your case and show them that your mother's name is Fredericks. It's like please, it was just duck.
So, for us, the use case for this from a foundational level where you are showcasing to people, these are the values that we're going to abide by in this digital nation, decentralization, accountability, transparency, immutability was laid out through our NFT passports. So, that was our own thought process.
[00:13:00] Ahren Posthumus: I think Eche is making a really important point there, and I think us as Web3 enthusiast, we always get really roped into the values and the ecosystem, the community, all of these things, which are really important. But the thing that you just said about the payments is so huge, and I can't believe people haven't realized this. We just did our last solar cell payouts. We paid out over 300 solar cell holders, and the total cost of that transaction was less than $2. Try and find another system elsewhere in the world, PayPal or whatever else, they can do split payment to that many different people within 30 seconds at that cost. It just, it doesn't exist. They'll shut down your account. Straight up.
[00:13:39] Gwera Kiwana: Eche, you’ve mentioned something about how art was a driver of the Renaissance movement and NFT art really, has been a driver of making – bringing all this ecosystem buzzwords that I was mentioning that we were kind of consuming in the shadows and part of the shadows in the past. But NFT art is what actually propelled a lot of crypto to the mainstream lately. Still, it's kind of died down, and it was seen as almost, in the early days, kind of frivolous with 100,000, millions of dollars for a photo of a monkey. I'm glad that the dust has settled and we're actually now starting to see use cases like yours.
I want to refer to a quote from Chris Dixon who is partner at a16z. He said, actually, this was in 2010. and he was referring to social media. He said the next big thing will start out looking like a toy. So, this is actually proven too, right? Like I said, on social media, and its rise to mainstream adoption and influence. Back then Facebook looked like a fun toy you could poke people with. Now, Facebook influences elections. We're still not seeing sticky adoption in the mainstream. But you two, the work that you both are doing is a testament to the fact that NFT utility is Africa’s kind of like the perfect place to do that. A hotbed for that kind of adoption.
First of all, great to see the work that you guys are doing. I’d love to now, maybe, move on to some of the challenges and the opportunities that you guys see in the space.
[00:15:01] Justin Norman: Yes, to piggyback off of what Gwera just said, the question that I have, the name of the show is crypto@scale, right? How do we bring crypto into the mainstream and the degree to which NFTs may be a tool to do that? So, Ahren, for you with SunCash, I've noticed that you're referring to it as a digital asset versus an NFT, right? So, I'm curious to get your perspective on what it means to bring this sort of opportunity to the mainstream, what the profile of crowdfunders looks like, and how you thought about bringing it to market to the everyday South African who's interested in backing this digital asset, and why you've chosen to call it that versus NFT?
[00:15:36] Ahren Posthumus: Yes, so it's a good question. NFT, there's multiple reasons for it. There's one situation that sort of sticks with me my whole life, is when I was studying accounting, and my lecturer on first accounting lecture that we had, he came to the front, he explained debits and credits and how they work. And then he went, and the reason why we call them that is because it excludes 99% of the population from our conversation. That really stuck with me. I think the same is really true for NFTs. It excludes a bunch of people from the conversation. It's an overly complicated term. I think you find three groups of people, right? The first group of people is people who know what it means and they really love it. They're into it, they're probably us. They're probably your listeners, right?
You have the other group of people who have this massive negative sentiment around NFTs because they've just been ingesting what the news has put out, or they've generated this really negative sentiment to the term NFT. Even though it's a very wide term, you get NFTs that are just pictures of rocks, where I said, and you get NFTs that are crowdfunding soda or giving people IDs. There's a very wide range there. Then, the third group of people just don't care, right?
Yes, you're right. We don't mention NFTs much in our public marketing, and that's because majority of people don't really care. I think, Eche, you were was saying it before the call, people don't need to know how things work behind the scenes, but you know what t can do for them. So, instead of trying to educate people on what the technology is all the time, which we did do a lot in the beginning, we've got a whole YouTube series, Metaverse, all of that. We decided just to show people what it can do for them, and what the technology, how it can benefit their lives. Once they see that, they're very quickly going to learn it on their own, or understanding the underlying technology, or making use of it, and t that's how my view and how we're going to scale this thing.
[00:17:18] Justin Norman: Eche, for you with Afropolitan, we were talking before this call about sort of your Web 2.5 approach and you're seeing Afropolitan as an opportunity to onboard people into the crypto ecosystem as well. I get the sense that Afropolitan is maybe more of a crypto native initiative, but that's not necessarily the longer-term vision. So, can you talk a little bit about the role of NFTs in bringing people on board? Then, what that sort of blend looks like to get more people into the ecosystem through Afropolitan?
[00:17:45] Eche Emole: Yes. So, I think it's even reimagining what citizenship looks like, what does your next generation passport even look like? For us, one of my issues, I think it was a tweet the other day that says, “What's your unpopular opinion about crypto?” I said, “It's a nice to have in the West. It's a need to have an Africa, but the best talent don't want to build to the poor.” So, that was just my most unpopular take, and what I've seen across the ecosystem is you're seeing projects get built, and like you said, Ahren, why are you interested in making people care so much about technology? The average person who does not care about what blockchain, what this, what that? Does it or does it not?
So, for us, after last year, and just reflecting coming to the new year, it was like, how are we going to – if we truly believe in this, because it was also a come to Jesus moment, because there are a lot of drifters in this space. But I'm like, if we truly believe in this, then moving forward, we have to build this in a sustainable way that reflects our own reality, as Africans, not somebody else's reality, but our own reality. We need to build platforms that make sense in our own context. For us, we've chosen to leverage culture because Africans, by and large are cultural people. We love music, we love fashion, we love food, or whatever. But it's leveraging preexisting behavior to onboard people into crypto.
So, I'm excited because we have our product actually launching by the end of August. It's going to be called Afropass. But our whole take on it is okay, you have this membership, and NFT does a citizenship NFT. Now, it lives within the platform. Now, you can use that to get access. Because what it really is a passport, it's an access to entry. Today, it could be access to maybe a membership club or to an event, or to particular type of group. Tomorrow it could be entry into an actual nation. It can later end up in a feature that makes sense.
For us, even if it's crypto on the back end, or blockchain, or back end supporting all that, that's where it needs to be, in the back end. It should not be in the front. The average person shouldn't need to know about transactions per second. When I use Apple Pay, I don't know anything about the integration to the back end. I'm not privy to that Goldman Sachs or markets integrations. It just works and if it doesn't work, I use something else.
So, I've never understood – I have a theory as to why we've had this issue in crypto, and it's because I believe the nerds, the true nerds got to it first, versus the creatives and the designers. Now, we need to have a shift, right? Where these values back up, where the designers lead the charge, and then the engineers come back in the back end, and I think we need to have that conversation. But for us, it's a sustainable way of actually onboarding people into crypto at scale, where it's a blended Web 2.5. Hey, if you want to make payments and crypto, awesome. If you want to make payments in USD or fiat, awesome. But we can show you the advantages of crypto. Maybe you qualify for DeFi loans now, which is something might not be easy for you to get if you're at Wells Fargo, if you're going to Trust Bank in Nigeria, or wherever. You're not even getting loans from your banks, right?
Again, it's about showing people this utility as they are onboarded, and then everything else speaks for itself. So, for us, NFTs gets you into the door because this is your membership. But eventually, you're now seeing a platform that allows you to then qualify for additional other services, where you're like, “Oh, I'm not able to get a loan from my bank, or I'm not able to get a loan from this other institution that has most of my record. But I qualify for DeFi loan from this platform”, that is something that has actual utility in your life at source. That's the way we're thinking about it.
[00:21:23] Justin Norman: I'm just going to interject really quickly before I pass it off to Gwera. I think it's just quite funny that you guys are leveraging culture, right? Africa, and then in South Africa, and people just want electricity. Going with what's top of mind to people.
[00:21:37] Gwera Kiwana: Yes. I think, having been in SEA of quite a few times in the last year, I didn't really understand the dire need for electricity. Ahren, can you explain a little bit more about that driver for you to actually go after electricity?
[00:21:48] Ahren Posthumus: Momint had done a couple of really cool projects. We did proof of reserve for gold on chain using our APIs. We did a rare coin collection that was fractionalized so people could buy into that coin collection. Nelson Mandela's warrant of arrest, et cetera. Myself and my co-founder were really – look, I'll be honest. Okay, let me let me be really, really, really honest. We sold a painting, Digital Twin. So, there's a painting with an NFT and it has a membership attached to it for $300,000. We reflected and went like, “Wow, we should be really stoked right now. We should be happy.” And we weren't really, because we were like, “What have we done for the world? What good have we brought into the world? Is this really the strongest utility that we can create?”
We realized, we're trying to build a technology company in a country that is failing to even have power. Technology relies on power, right? Then we had the idea of, okay, well, why don't we fractionalize a solar installation, and let's go in that direction. And things have just been falling in place ever since. There's 125% tax rebate now for solar investments. We’ve just got word from our lawyers that are solar cells are actually applicable for the tax rebate as well. So, every fractional buyer will actually get a tax benefit as well.
That was really the drivers, just do something meaningful. I think we're also living in a time where March last year was the crypto crash, and a lot of people were going, “Well, that's it for this technology.” People tried it, it was it was a phase, now it's over. We’re like, “No, guys, it's not over. The best is still yet to come and we need to start by showing as much utility as possible.” I think I echo what Eche was saying there about people not really building for the poor. Suncatchers a not for profit initiative of ours. We know that if we can meaningfully drive the needle on solving this problem, that there'll be tons of value in it for us later. What we need to do now is add value, show value, show utility, and solve the problem.
[00:23:38] Gwera Kiwana: On that, let's look at the future. Right now, I hate the quote that we always hear which is like we're so early. We're so early. Yeah. Okay, we got it. Crypto, we're early. It’s nascent. We haven't even seen 0.001% of what we can do with this new technology and with this new economy, really even. Eche, I'm going to come to you. We're interested, mainly on the podcasts, what we talk about all the time. What I think about all the time in my work is crypto at scale, really. So, both of you have really ambitious visions for what a crypto enabled future looks like. Both of you have explained a little bit about how bringing this new technology into the world is likely not going to look the way that it looked two years ago for those of us who were holding various keys and figuring out moving assets between wallets and multisigs, and all that stuff.
Eche, Afropolitan’s vision is to build a digital nation state. What does the future actually look like? If I use those words and I sit down and I'm having dinner with my auntie and I'm like, “Yes, I met this guy. He’s building a digital nation state.” Should we be like, “Okay, you're putting people in the Internet? What’s happening? Are you creating a metaverse?” Can you explain a little bit of what that future looks like to my auntie who is in Kampala, please?
[00:24:46] Eche Emole: Yeah, I would say, auntie, the reason why we have to use the Internet in the first place is because most of the land is taken and it's going to require violence. It's going to require a lot of other stuff. I would say to auntie, think about what you're seeing happen in our culture today. You're seeing artist spike, Burna Boy sell out London or Finland or whatever. The only reason he's been able to do that is because the power of the Internet. Remove the Internet from the equation, he's still sitting in Nigeria somewhere and the gatekeepers are preventing him from moving.
For us, the Internet is our leverage point, as Africans. It’s the only place where as an African or a black person you're actually free. Think about it. It’s the only place you're allowed freedom of expression, of culture, of whoever it is that you are. So, for us, it's using that as a leverage to then say, “Hey, we're going to build a network state”, which is different from a nation state. Nation state is defined by geographical land boundaries. A network state is just defined by the Internet. Then, you could literally look at us on this call today. I don't know Gwera, where you're calling in from. I think Justin is in South Africa. I'm in LA right now. But we're literally all connected. You're in London, right?
So, imagine this being our initial forum, and we're organizing around shared values at scale. But this time, think about it as if Facebook was a country with its own currency. But this time, in servers, online passive network, which is really what Facebook is. It's a digital republic with its own currency, and you're able to actually have a community to build on top of, right? For us, one of the driving reasons for this, similar to Ahren was, what is our purpose? I grew up as one of the first young African immigrants to move in the Silicon Valley, Bay Area. I got to see young African immigrants earn their first six-figure salaries – first once in their families to earn that. We cater to them through events. So, think Afrobeats, parties, concerts, festivals. I was like these, these are our best of our best, and they're having a great time, and having a ball in terms of scope.
But to be honest, our best, our best, instead of solving the hardest problems, they're optimizing for likes on Facebook ads, and that is insane from any generational standpoint. So, for me, it was like, “Hey, I'm not judging our situation, because a lot of us have fled poverty, and we wanted to tap into abundance.” But after eight years of being at Facebook, after 10 years of being at Facebook, or Microsoft, isn't it time to solve some real-world problems. For us, we’re like, hey, our best of our best are not going – there's no English I can speak to them to make them move back to the continent. But if we were building a network state type paradigm, they're able to tap into that, whether it's utilizing their skills, or knowledge or capital. That's the experiment that we're going to go run with Afropolitan. I do believe that it is possible. So, when I extrapolate into the future, there are three core values that guide our thought process here. One is the freedom to transact. That is a very, very core value for us. The other one is freedom of mobility. Then, the third one is freedom to thrive, not just to survive.
So, for us, what does that look like? Freedom to transact. We already talked about the payments issues that we face on the continent. I have seen it from both sides, because I'm able to navigate through portals, and it is insane how much we are systematically locked out of the global financial system, and that's something that needs to change. Hopefully, crypto, allows us that backdoor to do that.
Freedom and mobility. Let's not talk about the visa issues Africans have across the world. That is a whole other subject. But to us, these rules are flexible and they can change. There was a time when – Japan has one of the strongest passports in the world today. But there was a time Japanese were not even allowed to migrate to other parts of the world. They have been able to get leverage. They've been able to get resources and they’ve been able to get power. But for us in Africa, because our nation states are just not focused, were saying to Afropolitan, we can build a more focused, powerful group of people in a network state that allows us to get those – that allows us to leverage what we have to then access that same freedom of mobility.
Another thing, is the freedom to thrive not just to survive. Other times in Africa, you see scarcity mindset preventing people from playing long term games or long term. We’re always moving from scarcity or moving from survival. So, in the Bay Area, what I witnessed was, when you're earning a six-figure salary, and everybody else around you is earning that much, there's literally nothing to fight over. We would go for restaurants, and everybody will be rushing to be the one to pay for everyone's meal because you're like, “Hey, I have no worries.” And then there are no travel disputes, there are knowledge disputes. People are just optimizing for fun.
But the problem now as an African, that's not the same set of circumstances that we have. So, what we're basically trying to do is utilize the sandbox of that community that we built in the Bay Area, but now utilize it for the specific three purposes that we set out to accomplish.
[00:29:31] Gwera Kiwana: That's great. I'm excited to claim my Afropass once it's ready. Ahren, I’m going to come to you and now I'm going to ask you to speak to my dad. My dad is like – I grew up with a dad who's really techie and really – we had a solar panel at our house in Uganda when I was a baby, before it was mainstream. We had our solar hookup and still to this day, I think a lot of the electricity at my parents’ house is a solar. If you were to sit down with him, and explain to him the future of blockchain technology to revolutionize this next generation of assets, and maybe use electricity as an example, what does that future look like to you, and how do we get there?
[00:30:09] Ahren Posthumus: How the future looks to me and how we can drive the adoption of the technology is to solve meaningful problems, first and foremost. So, within the next five years, I strongly do believe that we will solve load shedding in South Africa with renewable energies. I'm very, very confident on that.
Thereafter, we can expand to other important infrastructure. There's public transport, there's water and sanitation. There's tons of problems for us to solve in Africa. If you just replace the word problem with opportunity, there's that opportunity for all of us to contribute to that growth, and to be a part of that growth. I think there's also a huge opportunity in enabling cross border peer to peer payments as well. I actually wrote this thesis coming out of university on how Africa needs to have a currency that that works across all of Africa, and how you could potentially create it by doing a weighted basket of all – anyways, it can get really complicated. But the long and the short of it is someone in Texas, is just as far as different to someone in DC, or up in North America, but you can move freely between the two, speaking to mobility, and you can transact across those regions. It’s just as far as South Africa and Nigeria. Why isn't it easier for us to transact? Why don't we share services and products and ideas? And these old borders that the Colonials left us with, we don't have to deal with those, and never mind, enforce them, right? We face problems of xenophobia as well.
Anyways, how do we get there? That's the question. We get there by giving value and making it simple. Like you guys said, we're not going to be living in a Web3 world where everyone has to remember keys and go through five different hoops before they can actually transact or interact with the system. It needs to be really simple and very familiar and intuitive.
[00:31:52] Justin Norman: Awesome. Well, I'm excited for you guys to solve all the problems. No pressure. No pressure, but –
[00:31:59] Ahren Posthumus: I only promised electricity, okay?
[00:32:01] Justin Norman: As we wrap up this conversation, first of all, we appreciate both of you for taking the time and sharing such ambitious visions with us. Each week, we do ask our guests for one to two recommendations, whether it's sources, something that you've read something that you recommend that our listeners of crypto@scale read to learn more about crypto, learn more about your respective projects, really anything that you wish to recommend that is, I think, relevant to the conversation we're having. So, I'm hoping that you can both share something. Ahren, why don't we start with you. What recommendations do you have for us?
[00:32:30] Ahren Posthumus: Might be a little bit of a selfish one. But I would recommend reading the SunCash white paper. We put a lot of time and effort into the white paper. It goes into detail to explain how the legal contract is actually embedded in, how it's supported by 160 jurisdictions, how the transfer that ownership works almost like a – there's a lot of really great detail in there, and I think if you're someone who's passionate about the space and wants to learn about how and can apply the technology for further utility and for real world assets, I think that's a great starting point.
[00:33:01] Justin Norman: Awesome. We'll link to that in the show notes. Eche, what about you?
[00:33:04] Eche Emoles: I think, I have two sources. First one would be the Afropolitan Manifesto. I think it's really up there with the Declaration of Independence. I think 50 to 100 years from now, they'll be like, “Them Africans were spared.” That's one source. Second sources, the Almanack of Naval Ravikant. I think it's a book that has really played a foundational source for even our community, just being able to attract long term people think about abundance, think about principles, like win and help win. And just attract the right people to this core mission as well, because it's a long-term play, and you do need the folks who would have boarded the Mayflower. Well, who did not know anything, who didn't know what to expect in the new world. That's one source, I definitely always recommend to folks as to the mindset behind what we're building and the folks we're looking to attract as well.
[00:33:51] Justin Norman: Thanks, guys. So, I think that wraps up today's discussion. Thank you both so much for joining us. One last question, where can people find out more about you and the work you're doing? Twitter websites? Eche, let’s start with you.
[00:34:03] Eche Emole: Twitter.com/echecrates. Then, twitter.com/afropolitan as well.
[00:34:10] Justin Norman: Awesome. Ahren?
[00:34:11] Ahren Posthumus: I think LinkedIn is a great place to find us and find out what we do. Our website is moment moment.so for software. You can also find SunCash on suncash.co.za.
[00:34:24] Justin Norman: Awesome. You can find out more about us and follow us on Twitter @cryptoatscale. If you enjoyed this episode, please do hit that follow button on your favorite podcast app, and share with a friend or a colleague who you think may enjoy it as well. Eche and Ahren, thanks so much for taking the time to have this conversation with us today.
[00:34:40] Eche Emole: Thank you for having us.
[00:34:42] Ahren Posthumus: Thanks for having us.