Leading a legal team sounds like a tremendous responsibility. What keeps you motivated in an otherwise daunting task for most people, even attorneys?
Leadership is generally a huge responsibility, so leading a group of learned folks is a greater responsibility. One needs to be prepared intellectually and psychologically to succeed. During my early days in Blackfriars Solicitors LLP, I was privileged to learn from a great scholar, my principal, a professor of law at Osgoode University, Canada. My principal put me in a leadership position before I was ready to take up a leadership position. He consciously set a very high standard for me, and you know one exciting thing he did? He unconsciously took me to that level. So I learned how to lead while leading the legal team. It was challenging, but it was an exciting moment in my career. I left the Law Firm as a Senior Associate and the Head of Chambers.
When I moved to Broron Oil and Gas Limited as a Legal Advisor in 2018, I was the head of the legal department which was another great experience. As the Director of Legal Services in Yellow Card Financial, I lead a team of attorneys from four African regions. This is a unique responsibility given the composition of the legal team. As a result, I need to pay significant attention to cultural differences to ensure everyone is comfortable working and being the best.
I am motivated by the fact that I am in a position to set goals, lead the team towards achieving the goals, and mentor a group of persons. Seeing a team member become the best in what they do is exciting and fulfilling. This is the greatest motivation for me.
As a legal advisor, what do people most often get wrong about cryptocurrency regulations, more particularly, transactions and taxes?
Currently, in Africa, cryptocurrency is primarily unregulated. Generally, the attitude of the regulators has been to caution the public regarding transactions in cryptocurrency. Most of these regulators have taken significant steps toward understanding cryptocurrency and blockchain to provide players with a regulatory and licensing regime.
One major misconception about cryptocurrency regulation is legality. Some believe that cryptocurrency transactions are illegal because the industry is not regulated. The accurate description of crypto transactions is unregulated transactions and not illegal transactions. The lack of regulation does not make such transactions illegal. Until a Law expressly pronounces these transactions as illegal, they cannot be classified as illegal.
Regarding encryption, some regulators in Africa have expressed their views that cryptocurrency transactions are fraudulent because the participants’ identity is encrypted. This is also a misconception, notwithstanding some scammers take advantage of the encrypted nature of the transaction to conduct fraudulent activities. Various legitimate transactions are conducted with cryptocurrency daily. The identity or particulars of the transaction can be recovered with advanced technologies.
Taxes from cryptocurrency transactions could be a great source of revenue for a country, given the daily transactions volume. Regulators need to appreciate this and work towards regulating the cryptocurrency space.
What’s one thing every investor should know before getting into crypto?
Volatility. Cryptocurrency is highly volatile, and this makes it riskier as an investment. It has the potential to offer higher returns or higher losses over a short period. This understanding is fundamental because it helps you decide whether or not you want to go into crypto when to buy or sell, and what volume.
Do you have any advice for someone who might be interested in using Yellow Card?
Yellow Card Financial is an American Financial Technology start-up focused on building a new financial infrastructure for the African continent. Interestingly, I established the first Yellow Card entity in Africa in 2018, and since then, I have witnessed massive growth and expansion. Presently, we have legal entities in over 17 African countries, and we just raised $15M in our series A fund-raising round. Yellow Card is a pacesetter in the African crypto space.
In terms of transactions, Yellow Card is formalizing the informal market for crypto assets while building pan-African financial technology infrastructure. Yellow Card enables African consumers to buy from and sell to the company in a safe and secure manner. The company has world-class KYC and AML processes, continuously investing in multiple layers of data security and customer support systems with 24/7 live customer service.
Our goal goes beyond building a crypto exchange platform. We want to build a system where every crypto transaction within or to Africa interacts with our system.