Trailblazing women in blockchain: Deborah Ojengbede raised $1 Million in a day
Deborah Ojengbede, Founder, and CEO of AFEN NFT Marketplace, is one of the trailblazing women in the Web3/Blockchain space. In a continent where women’s participation in Socio-politico-economic enterprises is sometimes underestimated and overshadowed, it is worth celebrating her achievements in an effort to inspire young Africans.
In 2021, at just 29 years old, Deborah raised $1 million dollars in just one day, to fund Web3 startups. She resigned as a Business Analyst at a top Nigerian bank, after just five years, before venturing into the blockchain space. Her journey symbolizes curiosity, commitment, and the genuine desire to see a change in our motherland. Our energetic but economically feeble continent needs more of her caliber.
In a recent interview with MoveMint, she shared insights into her background, entry into the blockchain space, thoughts on the future of NFTs, blockchain adoption in Africa, and the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated industry.
Background And Entry Into Blockchain
Deborah’s background is in traditional banking and finance, where she worked in various roles across Business Development, Project Management, Strategy, and Innovation. Her interest in Blockchain started when she saw its potential to transform the financial industry, especially in emerging markets like Africa.
Deborah’s first exposure to the technology was through Crypto, the first utility of the blockchain. As the CEO of a blockchain project, she focuses on creating opportunities for African creators and Web3 newbies looking to get started.
“My first exposure to Blockchain was through Crypto. I was intrigued by the idea of a decentralized and trustless system for financial transactions. As I learned more about the technology and its potential applications beyond just cryptocurrency, I became more and more interested and eventually landed my first build in the blockchain space.”
Future of NFTs and Benefits for Corporate Organizations
NFTs represent real-world assets like art, music, in-game items, and videos. They are unique digital assets or collectibles, created using the Blockchain.
“I believe the future of NFTs is very promising, especially as we continue to see more use cases beyond just digital art,” Deborah predicts. “For corporate organizations, NFTs offer a new way to engage with loyal customers and even investors.”
NFTs’ inception opened a new door for artists to protect and control their works while accessing the global marketplace without third parties. This technology is quintessential for African creatives to protect their work and gain sustainable benefits.
Blockchain Adoption In Africa
Though blockchain adoption in Africa is one of the fastest in the world, some factors stand in the way of integration. The continent still needs to do a lot to harness the intrinsic value of the technology.
Deborah sees the prospect for African governments utilizing blockchain technologies to drive economic growth and development; however, it requires a concerted effort to create supportive policies and infrastructure to enable widespread adoption.
“I think there is definitely potential for African governments to leverage blockchain technologies to drive economic growth and development. However, it will require a concerted effort to create supportive policies and infrastructure to enable widespread adoption. There are already some promising signs, such as the growing interest in digital currencies among African central banks and the launch of several blockchain-based projects in different African countries. We also see major players like Binance taking the lead in facilitating global partnerships with Governments to drive this.”
Africa is still catching up to blockchain adoption from a utility perspective. Nonetheless, Deborah maintains that as more awareness comes in about the potential of blockchain to drive economic growth and development, we will see more participation and uptake across the continent.
Web3 And Data Ownership
Web3 strives to fix the broken internet to enable users to own their data while sharing the revenues accrued. The economic freedom this in itself provides for Africans can be enormous. Accordingly, Africans must prepare for the paradigm shift, and position themselves adequately. Fascinatingly enough, Deborah believes that Africa is definitely ready for this concept.
“There is a growing awareness among African consumers and businesses about the importance of data privacy and ownership and the potential for blockchain to enable this,” she points out. “However, there is still work to be done to educate and create the infrastructure and tools to enable this kind of widespread adoption.”
Hence, African leaders must do a better job of understanding the technology and policy formulation around it. The regulatory stimulus is the way to go.
Challenges Of A Woman In Male-Dominated Industry
Blockchain technology, just like any other technological field, has men monopolizing the drive. In Africa, industry players have constantly discussed how to bring more women into the space and ensure no gender discrimination.
Early adopters of the technology will attest to how a few women graced Blockchain events. Regardless, it is heart-warming to note that the advent of initiatives like Ladies DAO is changing the narrative on the so-called dark continent, and bringing more women to the ecosystem.
Yet, as a woman in a space considered a men’s domain, she faces some challenges and biases. “I have definitely faced some challenges and biases, but resilience, hard work, and determination have helped me overcome these challenges,” she states.
Deborah believes that representation matters, which is essential for the growth of any industry. To her, It would be lovely to see more women participating in the Web3 space.
Deborah Ojengbede’s insights into the future of NFTs, Blockchain adoption in Africa, and the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated industry provide valuable insights for anyone interested in the Web3/Blockchain space. As she continues to illuminate pathways in the industry, it will be exciting to see what she and other women in the sector will accomplish in the coming years.
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