Mr Oparinde Babatunde, Yellow Card Director of Special Projects in an exclusive interview with our correspondent spoke extensively his experience as a financial expert, the impact of modern technology on the finance industry, and his thoughts on the future of business in Nigeria.
How is life as a financial expert?
As a financial expert in the rapidly evolving fields of fintech, finance, and
blockchain, life is exciting and constantly challenging. The world of finance is dynamic, with new trends and innovations emerging all the time, which means that financial experts must stay informed and adaptable to stay ahead of the curve.
One of the most exciting aspects of working in this industry is the opportunity to work on cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain, which has the potential to revolutionize the way financial transactions are conducted. The
fintech sector is also growing rapidly, with new companies and products
emerging all the time, creating a wealth of opportunities for financial experts to explore.
However, the constantly changing landscape also means that financial experts must be prepared to continually learn and adapt to new technologies, regulations, and market conditions. This requires a combination of technical expertise, strategic thinking, and a deep understanding of the financial
In addition to the challenges of staying up-to-date with new trends and innovations, financial experts must also be adept at managing risk, navigating complex regulatory environments, and making informed decisions based on data and analysis. This requires a combination of strong analytical skills, business acumen, and the ability to communicate effectively with stakeholders at all levels. Overall, life as a financial expert can be challenging and demanding, but also incredibly rewarding. The industry is constantly evolving, creating new opportunities to innovate and make a positive impact on the world of finance.
For those who are passionate about the field, there is no shortage of exciting and meaningful work to be done.
How do you describe your experience practicing in this part of the world?
Nigeria is one of the largest economies in Africa and has a rapidly growing financial sector. The country has a large population and a strong
entrepreneurial spirit, which has contributed to the growth of the fintech industry in Nigeria. In recent years, Nigeria has emerged as a hub for fintech innovation, with a growing number of startups focused on mobile payments, digital lending, and other financial services.
At the same time, Nigeria faces some unique challenges in the financial
industry, including a high level of fraud and corruption, as well as a lack of financial inclusion for many Nigerians. The Central Bank of Nigeria has taken steps to address these issues, including the introduction of biometric verification for bank customers and the establishment of a credit bureau to help reduce lending risk.
The financial industry in Nigeria is dynamic and evolving, with many
opportunities for innovation and growth. However, it also faces some
significant challenges that must be addressed to realize its full potential.
Those who are passionate about the industry and are willing to adapt and
innovate can play an important role in shaping the future of finance in Nigeria.
Do you see a future for businessmen and women in Nigeria?
Yes, I see a bright future for businessmen and women in Nigeria. Nigeria is one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa and has a large and growing population, which presents many opportunities for entrepreneurs and business owners.
Several factors make Nigeria an attractive destination for business investment.
First, the country has a large and young population, with a growing middle class that is increasingly interested in consumer goods and services. This presents a significant opportunity for businesses that can meet the demand for high-quality products and services.
Secondly, Nigeria has a diverse and vibrant economy, with many sectors that are ripe for investment and growth. These include agriculture, manufacturing, technology, and finance, among others. Entrepreneurs and business owners who are willing to innovate and take risks can find success in these sectors and contribute to the growth of the Nigerian economy.
However, it is important to note that doing business in Nigeria can also be
challenging, and entrepreneurs must be prepared to navigate a complex
regulatory environment, as well as issues related to corruption and security.
Nevertheless, with the right combination of vision, perseverance, and adaptability, businessmen and women can succeed in Nigeria and contribute to the country’s economic growth and development.
What should Nigerians know about Yellow Card?
Yellow Card is a fintech startup that aims to make it easy and accessible for people in Nigeria and other African countries to buy, sell, and store cryptocurrencies.
Here are some key things that Nigerians should know about
● Easy to use: Yellow Card is designed to be easy to use, even for people
who may not have a lot of experience with cryptocurrencies. The
platform allows users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using their local
currency, making it easy for Nigerians to get started with
● Secure: Yellow Card takes security very seriously and uses
state-of-the-art technology to protect users’ funds and personal
information. The platform also complies with all relevant regulations
and has implemented robust security measures to prevent fraud and
other types of attacks.
● Wide range of cryptocurrencies: Yellow Card supports a wide range of
cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and many
others. This makes it easy for users to choose the cryptocurrencies that
are best suited to their needs.
● Accessible: Yellow Card is available in many different countries,
including Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, and South Africa, among others.
This makes it easy for people in these countries to buy and sell
cryptocurrencies and participate in the global cryptocurrency
● Fast and reliable: Yellow Card’s platform is fast and reliable, allowing
users to complete transactions quickly and easily. The platform also
provides excellent customer support, ensuring that users can get help
whenever they need it.
Overall, Yellow Card is an innovative and reliable platform that offers a
convenient and accessible way for Nigerians to participate in the global
cryptocurrency ecosystem. Whether you are a seasoned cryptocurrency
investor or just getting started, Yellow Card has something to offer.
5. What is the impact of modern-day technology on the finance industry?
Modern-day technology has had a significant impact on the finance industry, transforming the way financial services are delivered, consumed, and regulated. Here are some of the key ways that technology has changed the finance industry:
● Digitalization of financial services: The advent of digital technologies has led to the digitization of financial services, making it possible for people to access banking services and financial products through online and mobile platforms.
This has made financial services more accessible and convenient for
consumers, especially in emerging markets where traditional banking services may be limited.
● Increased efficiency: Technology has also increased the efficiency of financial services, reducing the time and cost required to perform financial transactions. For example, online banking and mobile payments have made it possible for people to transfer money quickly and easily, without the need for physical cash or paper-based transactions.
● Improved customer experience: Technology has also improved the customer experience in the finance industry, making it easier for consumers to access financial services and get the support they need. Online chatbots and virtual assistants, for example, can provide customers with instant assistance and support, reducing the need for human interaction.
● Disruptive innovation: Technology has also facilitated the rise of disruptive innovations in the finance industry, such as blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and peer-to-peer lending. These innovations have the potential to fundamentally transform the way financial services are delivered and consumed, creating
new opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors.
● Enhanced security: Technology has also improved the security of financial services, with advanced security measures such as biometric authentication, encryption, and fraud detection helping to protect consumers’ financial information and assets.
Technology has had a profound impact on the finance industry, transforming the way financial services are delivered, consumed, and regulated. While this has created
new challenges and risks, it has also created significant opportunities for innovation and growth in the finance industry
What areas do you think the government should improve or do more on, for Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria?
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a critical role in the Nigerian economy, accounting for a significant portion of employment and economic activity. However, SMEs in Nigeria face several challenges that limit their
growth and impact. Here are some areas where the government can improve or do more to support SMEs in Nigeria:
● Access to finance: One of the biggest challenges facing SMEs in Nigeria
is access to finance. Many SMEs struggle to access affordable loans and other forms of financing, which limits their ability to invest in their
businesses and expand. The government can do more to support SMEs’ access to finance by providing targeted funding programs and
reducing the regulatory burden on financial institutions that lend to
● Infrastructure: Poor infrastructure is another major challenge facing
SMEs in Nigeria. Power outages, poor road networks, and inadequate
telecommunications infrastructure all limit SMEs’ ability to operate
efficiently and reach new customers. The government can improve
infrastructure by investing in power generation and transmission, road
construction and maintenance, and expanding access to high-speed
● Business environment: The business environment in Nigeria can be
challenging for SMEs, with complex regulatory requirements, high
taxes, and corruption all posing significant obstacles. The government
can improve the business environment for SMEs by simplifying
regulations, reducing the tax burden on small businesses, and taking
steps to combat corruption.
● Skills development: Many SMEs in Nigeria struggle to find skilled
workers, particularly in technical fields such as engineering and
information technology. The government can support SMEs’ access to skilled labor by investing in vocational training programs and promoting education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
● Market access: Finally, SMEs in Nigeria face challenges in accessing local and international markets. The government can support SMEs’ access
to markets by investing in trade promotion programs, supporting the
development of export-oriented industries, and reducing barriers to international trade In conclusion, SMEs are critical to the Nigerian economy, and the government can do
more to support their growth and development. By improving access to finance, infrastructure, and markets, simplifying regulations, and promoting skills development, the government can help SMEs overcome the challenges they face and realize their full potential.
What would you have been doing if you weren’t in the finance industry?
If I wasn’t in the financial market, I would probably be running my farm by now Or I will probably own a record label because I really love the music industry and music business or I will be working for an NGO or I will probably just be a DJ.
. How is life growing up?
Life for me growing up was pretty decent and moderately normal. My dad used to work with the Nigerian Navy, and my mum was a businesswoman, and that is my first experience with business, I learned a couple of business management, and customer service by helping my mum run her business at the time. She is a serial entrepreneur, she is someone that never gives up, tried a couple of businesses, failed at some, and some were successful. I was able to
start learnings from her.
I finished from command secondary school, I went to a military school too, Nigerian Navy primary school then a military school, Command Day Secondary school where I learned a lot about discipline from there. From there, I went to the University of Ibadan, where I studied wildlife and ecotourism management. While in Ibadan, I was able to learn about human interaction and sociology, just how to better communicate with people, learn
about different characters, and how to deal with multiple personality types. I was able to get a broader knowledge about life and also from a professional perspective I can interact with people from different fields because of the way our hostels is at the time, in the university of Ibadan if you were in the faculty
of Agric, you don’t have to stay with someone from the faculty of Arts you had to stay with someone from the faculty of Engineering, Medicine, and Surgery or Social Sciences. Most times I am someone that loves to interact, I usually try to learn from them, and from such conversations, I get an understanding of what is happening in these different fields.
Financially, My dad started fine but it got really bad. I think the financial crises around 2008 were heavy on us and we felt it. There was a downturn in how our finances were at the time so it became a bit hard for us but I would say we have been able to learn some lessons and discipline from that. Pretty much, that’s it.
What would you say influence you into your current field?
Well, I would say I just wanted to have access to capital because I am this person that has all these different ideas of what I want to do, and at some point in my life, I realize that no matter your dreams, no matter your desires, you need money to be able to execute, even if you want to experiment, whether you succeed or fail, you will need to spend money to some extent and it dawned on me that I needed money.
Let me give you a backstory, While I was working with IITA, a Non-Governmental Organization that is into Agricultural research for
sustainable food development, I was working in the forex dept and we used to ask for grants, reach out to some bodies, companies, private companies, and individuals for grants, most of the time, we do get the grant but the process sometimes become was rigorous and knowing what we are trying to do, we
are trying to save the world, save the planet, of course, we are doing this for a good cause we were having to go around to solicit for money and not get it timely was a problem to me and I felt that I needed to switch from asking for money to creating value where I can have money to do all these benevolent things we have in our hearts. So from there, I transitioned into Agripreneurship
– the youth IITA Agripreneurship program. While I was there I learned how to manage businesses, and business development A lot of what I know today, I pretty much learned from there and that’s how I got into the business. But how I got into crypto through a friend called Munachi. Munachi is a very smart individual. He is currently the CEO of one Liquid, and he used to be with us at Yellowcard as our chief business officer. Munachi was in school and at the time he stumbled upon this video, a documentary called the end of money as we used to know it, volume one I think was produced in 2013. He shared with me, I watched it for almost three years trying to grab the concept of bitcoin, in 2017,
I had my Aha moment, When I did, I resigned from my job and partnered with Munachi and we started up a company called Crypset – Crypto Asset. At the time we planned on delving into blockchain research and blockchain education and we intended to build payment solutions. Crypset was a Bigger company with these big arms, Some were going to be into contracting, some into project development, and all that.
While we were trying to build the product called Intropay. Intropay is a
product that allows anyone anywhere to send money to Africa. you could send crypto from Russia into the bank account of your mother in the village. While we were building that, Munachi stumbled on Chris and Justin from LinkedIn and Munachi convinced them to come to Nigeria when they came we all joined forces and create the company called Yellowcard. It’s been an interesting journey since the time we met Chris and Justin.
Along the line, I just fell in love with payment and I see the gaps and loopholes in payment and how we can simplify payment and create more creative payment solutions for Africans, especially for the Unbanked and the underserved.
My experience living in the village in Benue state for about a year during my NYSC gave me firsthand experience with the day-to-day challenges of the Underbanks – people that lived ten kilometers from the nearest bank, and how they used to interact. All these individual experiences brought me to this particular point where I am at today.
Words of advice to young Nigerians who look up to you?
One, nobody has the master route or the master key to success but there are certain attributes of a successful person, Discipline, perseverance, Humble, patience, thinking creatively, and most importantly believing in yourself because there are times when everyone around you will let you down. Also on your journey to success, there will be multiple failures. Don’t get too emotional about anything, sometime people will cheat you but don’t allow that get affect your destination, where you are heading to.
Lastly, you have to be able to reverence God because he makes everything happen and he makes everything possible to be able to put God in everything you do.
And also Be yourself, let’s not be copycats. Yes, technologies are working somewhere we can pick them but be able to localize this technology into how they solve problems in your societies. So, our ability to localize our problem-solving is something that should be very important for this