AFEN Blockchain did not raise $1 million in a single day; CEO Deborah Ojengbede clears the air
Deborah Ojengbede is the CEO of AFEN, an African native blockchain. As a prominent figure in an ecosystem primarily dominated by men, Deborah is a trailblazer. In an interview with Technext, she shares the responsibility that comes with that tag and the amazing work AFEN will be doing in the African blockchain space.
Her journey into the world of blockchain started in 2020. During the Covid-19 pandemic, she began to realize the potential of blockchain technology. Deborah Ojengbede comes from the traditional banking sector, and was fascinated by the idea of a decentralized and trustless payment system.
“I did a lot of research. At the time, I had already put my money in crypto so i just had to understand how it works. As I started to learn, I started to understand the technology behind it,” she says.
Deborah Ojengbede’s journey with AFEN Blockchain
According to Deborah, the whole idea of AFEN started because there was a desire to create an enabling environment for people who want to enter the web3 space.
She notes that the experience has been amazing and it is exciting to see their impact on the future of the African blockchain scene. Deborah Ojengbede had no blockchain work experience before AFEN, but she made the transition by being open and willing to learn.
“I did a lot of research, attended events and connected with people who were doing amazing things in the industry. This helped me gain knowledge that was crucial to my transition. Many people thought I was crazy, left the bank and entered what did not seem safe to many. My experience from the traditional banking system also prepared me.”
There are reports that Deborah resigned from a well-paid job at the bank to focus on AFEN. Confirming this to Technext, she says that she has always loved the idea of technology making life so easy for people, and what gave her confidence was the knowledge she had gathered.
“It has been both a challenging and inspiring experience. When I say challenging, not in a bad way. It challenged me to want to work harder and be better. But on the flip side, I’m also inspired because it allows me to be a role model for women who want to navigate the web3 space and make a difference.”
Deborah says AFEN is trying to build an ecosystem that makes it easy for Africans who want to enter the web3 space. They do this through education and various high-level collaborations with stakeholders.
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The unique selling point of AFEN is that the firm is more focused on building an ecosystem that supports African talent and innovation in the blockchain industry.
“We do this with our product. As well as being a community, we also have a couple of buildings. Some already launching. For example, the NftyTribe NFT marketplace built by AFEN, a launch pad for creators who want to get into the space.”
In retrospect, the reception of AFEN Blockchain in Africa has been fantastic. Deborah Ojengbede says that it was rocky at first, but as the good news about blockchain technology spread, it became easier.
“We have been intentional about building capacity and trust, and we have received tremendous support from the African blockchain community and beyond. We are very grateful for that.”
There were some publications that AFEN Blockchain, led by Deborah Ojengbede, raised $1 million in one day, but she has shed more light on the murky matter in this interview with Technext.
The AFEN blockchain had a successful token Initial DEX Offering (IDO) round that sold out in minutes, according to Deborah. This was the result of the team’s preparations leading up to the event. Its success was also due to some unique value propositions that resonated with the investors interested in supporting blockchain innovation in Africa.
“However, it is important to say that one day IDO did not raise $1 million. We had already kick-started our private sale and pre-seed round well ahead of our IDO, which accounted for about 50% of our total funds raised. Our collection passed of the pre-seed round, our private token sale and token IDO. But the token IDO was the one that was all over the news because it sold out within minutes, just in one day.
Metacitti and real estate tokenization
Deborah Ojengbede and THE MONKEY Blockchain has plans to launch Metacitti and tokenize real estate in Nigeria. However, there has been a noticeable decline in the hype surrounding NFT and Metaverse recently.
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However, Deborah says plans are still going ahead despite this downturn in excitement. She says that the wider industry is in a tough phase, and that it’s all about the market still being early, which is why they are taking their time with the launch of Metacitti.
“We see impending regulation around asset tokenization and but we believe there is still significant potential for blockchain adoption across various sectors, even real estate, and we are committed to exploring all avenues to make Metacity a successful project“, she explains
Blockchain in Africa
Crypto and blockchain have gained a lot of momentum in Africa, especially from a speculative point of view. However, we are only getting there when it comes to actual innovation, but somehow Deborah Ojengbede says crypto and blockchain have done well.
“It is an emerging market like Africa that we really need blockchain technology.
I believe that African governments can strike a balance between soft and strict regulation to ensure that we have healthy growth in the blockchain industry while protecting consumers. If consumers don’t feel protected, it’s going to hinder the growth of the ecosystem.”
Deborah Ojengbede says AFEN is very open to having talks with the incoming Nigerian government and other authorities to drive blockchain adoption in Nigeria and across Africa.
“There are many exciting updates in the pipeline. We spent a lot of time building during the bear market, so there are many exciting updates. We have a product activation coming. We have an exhibition coming up in Abuja on the 27th of May. Lots of product activation and exciting partnerships too. Stay tuned for updates.”