#127 Marius Reitz – The Role of Luno in Africa

In this episode of The Grey Ave Podcast, I sat down and interviewed Marius Reitz, Luno’s Country Manager for South Africa to shed some light on Luno at their Offices in Cape Town.

Luno was founded in 2013 and is one of the world’s leading digital currency companies. Luno allows its users (people and businesses) to buy, sell, store and learn about digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. It also facilitates bitcoin storage through their bitcoin wallet services. They also operate exchanges between traditional currencies and bitcoin.

Luno and PayFast facilitated one of the first crypto-currency integrations into a payment processor in the world. In 2016, Luno took part in the FCA Sandbox programme. This allows businesses to test financial products with regulatory supervision.
In September 2017, Luno raised $9 million in order to introduce its bitcoin wallet, exchange and services in Europe. Since November 2017, Luno has also supported Ethereum. At the start of 2018, Luno announced they had reached nearly 2 million customers and processed over $5 billion. They are pro-regulation.In April 2018, Luno registered with the Bank Negara Malaysia as a reporting body for the digital currencies.

Marius joined Luno in its early days and has played a role in the company’s success. In this episode, we explore

  • his background,
  • Luno’s early days
  • Current state of Crypto
  • The future of Cryptocurrencies
  • Luno’s place in the market, considering growing competetion

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#125 Alakanani Itireleng – The State of Cryptocurrency in Botswana

Grey Jabesi caught up with Alakanani Itireleng also known as Bitcoin Lady at Blockchain Africa Conference 2019 in Cape Town. She is Co-founder and CEO of Satoshi centre, a blockchain hub in Gaborone Botswana. Alakanani is a determined entrepreneur, positive about the new possibilities that bitcoin as a currency and technology can bring to the life of many more Botswanans in the near future. She got into bitcoin in early 2012 in order to raise enough money for her son’s hear and lung transplant. She is also a well-known bitcoin evangelist who since has been involved in teaching people of Botswana about bitcoin. and has spoken at conferences in Amsterdam, South Africa, Europe, and Russia.

In this interview with Alakanani, we talked a lot about her journey into the blockchain, bitcoin, and crypto in Botswana.

Satoshicentre: https://satoshicentre.tech/

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#124 Vitalik Buterin – The Creator of Ethereum

In this episode, I caught up with Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum at EthCapeTown HackathonVitalik Buterin is a Russian-Canadian writer and programmer. Vitalik was involved in the Bitcoin community since 2011, co-founding and writing articles for Bitcoin magazine. But he is primarily known as the boy-genius behind Ethereum, the world’s second-most valued and recognized cryptocurrency platform behind Bitcoin.

Buterin learned about Bitcoin, from his father, at age 17. In 2012, he obtained a bronze medal in the International Olympiad in Informatics. In 2013, he visited developers in other countries who shared his enthusiasm for code. Buterin first described Ethereum in a white paper in late 2013. Buterin argued that bitcoin needed a scripting language for application development.

The project was publicly announced in January 2014, with the core team consisting of Vitalik Buterin, Mihai Alisie, Anthony Di Iorio, Charles Hoskinson, Joe Lubin and Gavin Wood. Buterin also presented Ethereum on stage at a Bitcoin conference in Miami, and just a few months later the team decided to hold a crowdsale of Ether, the native token of the network, to fund the development. Around the same time, Vitalik himself received the Thiel Fellowship grant in the amount of $100,000.

We talked alot, some of the topics covered in this podcast were:
-Do you think blockchain will be a plugin to the current system?
-What’s the best Dapp have you come across in 2019?
-What was the initial idea of Ethereum?
-How has Ethereum evolved?
-Did you thought of ICOs before or they surprised you?
-Design in Blockchain, overvalued or undervalued?
-PoW has 51% attacks as a threat, what are threats to PoS?
-Are Government threats to Blockchain?
-How are you solving the privacy issue?

This interview was made possible by Linum Labs and EthGlobal

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#123 Jermaine Ellis – How To Make Passive Income and Travel the World

Grey Jabesi caught up with an American traveler, entrepreneur and YouTuber Jermaine Ellis from San Francisco, California USA. He’s busy traveling the world, so far he traveled 51 countries. Started backpacking traveling around the world 10 years ago.

I had an awesome time interviewing Jermaine Ellis. He’s really good at creating non formal jobs for himself to earn passive income while having fun doing it. Jermaine’s methods is applicable to everyone; nine to fivers, entrepreneurs, stay at home parents and jobs seekers too. I hope you find this inspiring.

His top favorite countries are:
1. South Africa
2. Israel
3. England


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#119 Helen Zille – Blockchain, Uber & Regulation

While at Blockchain Africa Conference 2019 in Cape Town. Grey Jabesi sat down with Helen Zille to talk about Blockchain and regulation. Helen is a South African politician, Premier of the Western Cape Province and a member of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament.

Zille is a former journalist and anti-apartheid activist and was one of the journalists who exposed the cover-up around the death of Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko while working for the Rand Daily Mail in the late 1970s. She also worked with the Black Sash and other pro-democracy groups during the 1980s. In the political arena, Zille has served in all three tiers of government, as the Western Cape’s education MEC (1999–2001), as a Member of Parliament(2004–2006), as Mayor of Cape Town (2006–2009), and as Premier of the Western Cape (2009–present).

In this interview, we discussed how governments are reacting to emerging technologies ie Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, Uber and more. As it stand, Malta is leading when it comes to regulating Blockchain and building an ecosystem that allows for such companies to thrive. This was not the only podcast conducted at the conference, I had a chance to speak with other experts including Leuw Carlsen, Lorien Gamaroff, Ray Youssef and many others.

I recommend you also check listen to my podcast with JP Fabri, an economist from Malta who has played a big role to make things happen in Malta. Episode 113 with JP Fabri


 

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#116 Lorien Gamaroff – The Bitcoin Split – BTC vs BSV

Lorien Gamaroff is the founder/CEO of Bankymoon, a blockchain and cryptocurrency consultancy and co-founder/CEO of Centbee, a cryptocurrency payments and remittance company.

As South Africa’s foremost blockchain expert, Lorien has been invited around the world to speak on digital/cryptocurrencies and decentralised/distributed ledgers and their benefits for emerging economies. He has addressed and advised the United Nations, IMF, World Bank, FBI and Commonwealth Secretariat, the South African Reserve Bank, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, TEDx and a host of professionals in multiple industries and attorney generals throughout the world. He offers insight and guidance to business executives and advises government on blockchain technologies and their implications.

He pioneered blockchain payments for utility smart metering and was the co-founder of the Blockchain Academy which educates professionals on all aspects of blockchains from regulations to software development.

An entrepreneurial and energised personality combined with extensive development experience. Creative and innovative, leading projects from inception to implementation and beyond.

Grey Jabesi met Laurien at Blockchain Africa Conference 2019:
– Why he thinks Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto
– Why he thinks Bitcoin is SV  as the real Bitcoin.
– His new startup Centbee
– What’s wrong with Bitcoin(BTC)
– Thoughts on what the cryptocurrency community should do to improve




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#113 JP Fabri – How Malta became the Blockchain Island

“The regulation is there as a filter to make sure that the investment opportunity presented by the issuer is real” – JP Fabri

Malta has won hearts of many people in the Blockchain space. It’s not surprising seeing some of the largest players including Binance, OKEx, Decentralized ventures and many others incorporated there. It’s true, Malta is the Blockchain Island.

Considering that blockchain technology is relatively new, there’s interest on both private and private sectors as the potential of distributed ledgers is very disruptive in many ways. In my recent conversations with government officials including Hellen Zille(Premier of the Western Cape), the issue of regulation always pops up and they mostly reference what’s happening in Malta.

Enters….Jean Paul Fabri(JP Fabri for short). An economist and one of the most active experts behind the success in Malta. JP is the Managing Director of ARQ, a specialised advisory unit that forms part of ARQ Group. He is also the Lead Partner for ARQ Group on blockchain and cryptocurrencies helping global companies set-up their operations in Malta. He has consulted 9 governments of small island states on behalf of The Commonwealth Secretariat. He worked as an economist at the Central Bank of Malta, the private cabinet of the Prime Minister of Malta and in private advisory. JP is also a Visiting Assistant Lecturer at The University of Malta.

In this episode, Grey Jabesi interviews JP Fabri and discussed:
-How did Malta became interested in Blockchain
-How Malta approached blockchain
-Why regulate
-How do they make sure regulation is not stifling innovation
-Potential and opportunities of Blockchain technology in Africa
-His views on ICOs and cryptocurrencies


 

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#111 Eli Calderón Morin – Redefining Food Stamps with All_Ebt

I had a privilege of sitting down and interview Eli Calderón Morin, A Y-Combinator Hackathon winner, Founder & CEO of All_ebt. Eli has been at the forefront of mobile disruption as an advisor and team member to some of the fastest growing and groundbreaking mobile startups on the planet: AdMob/ acq Google, SnapTell/ acq Amazon, Alohar / acq AutoNavi/ Alibaba, Mojiva, InMobi, OpenX, Lipa Learning, Appfuel, and Adtile.

Over the last decade, Eli has gained expertise in the areas of Startup Growth, Operations, Developer Evangelism, Market Expansion, Corp Dev, M&A, Strategic Partnerships, Sales Engineering, BizDev, SaaS, and Product Management. All_ebt is a smart wallet for Food Stamps. Over 54 million Americans receive SNAP (food stamp) benefits each year. They have tremendous purchasing power in aggregate, yet remain under-served by consumer technology.Serving underbanked and low-income communities and acting as a consumer on-ramp for mass crypto adoption and financial services.

I met Eli at EOS Global Hackathon Finale in Cape Town, South Africa. We discussed his previous startups, how he is redefining food stamps and he gave advise on startups.



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#108 Giovanni Lesna Maranetto – The Fintech Entrepreneur

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Giovanni Lesna Maranetto is a blockchain strategist, entrepreneur and ICO specialist. He is a co-founding team member and Chief Commercial Officer at Blocktrade.com (formerly Hedge Token) and Lead External Advisor to Adbank , Enkidu , Fresco, Plentix and Exmo. He is an evangelist for blockchain technology and its value adding use-cases especially in the development of social and human capital.

Giovanni has degrees with distinction from Australia and South Africa (BCom Hons Economics) and from Top Tier Global Business School UWA in International Business and Banking. He holds SAFe AGILE work methodology and GARP Banking risk certifications.

Prior experience in implementation of trading platforms by vendors at Global banks and Mutual fund sales at a Top 5 African Asset Manager. Giovanni has the ability to communicate from a technical to business perspective and assists by streamlining process, connecting the dots and finding solutions and opportunities for Startups he advised, invests in and is a founder of.


Links:
https://za.linkedin.com/in/giovanni-lesna-maranetto-2310

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#104 Maja Vujinovic – shEOS co-Founder

Maja Vujinovic is an entrepreneur, investor and a CEO of OGroup. She started her career as Director of Strategy and Corporate development at Tanex Corporation. From 2010 to 2013, she served as a Senior investment officer at Zakhem International. In 2013, she joined Riverside Advisors on a position of Consultant. From 2015 to 2018, she worked as a Chief innovation officer at GE Digital, co- Founded shEOS and OGroup where she currently serves as CEO, focusing on blockchain for enterprise.

Maja moved to the US at the age of 14 due to war. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Finance, Masters in Diplomacy/International studies and Law Degree. She has helped built government and enterprise infrastructure across industries such as mobile tech, global payments, energy and healthcare.

As a Chief Innovation Officer of Emerging Tech at General Electric Digital, she spearheaded the full framework for blockchain. She ran pilots across treasury, aviation, energy, provenance and additive manufacturing.


In this episode we discussed:
– Her war experience
– Career beginnings
– Challenges facing women in STEM
– How to approach investing in Blockchain/Crypto
– shEOS
– Possible future of Blockchain

Links:
https://www.crunchbase.com/person/maja-vujinovic#section-overview
https://www.conscious.enterprises/convos/2018/11/12/maja-vujinovic-founder-amp-ceo-of-ogroup
https://www.linkedin.com/in/majavujinovic/

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