DR PHOZE: You are on a mission to empower people with the right knowledge of block-chain technology and Cryptocurrency in Africa. How have you been going about that?
MR. GAIUS: I have travelled to 13 African countries and 26 countries in the world and I have held Crypto events in Cameroon, Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria, Burundi and a couple of other African countries and I can say that the mission is stronger now. One of my goals starting from 2023 is to visit 10 more African countries with the Crypto Education and knowledge because I feel our people still lag behind when it comes to this technology and I am also taking my time in 2022 to build platforms that would simplify Crypto for Africans which is why I am currently building an auto trader bot that can take trades for people who may not want to go through the stress of learning how to trade.
All we hope to do is empower them with the knowledge of Crypto and show them the process of making money with Crypto.
This has been my mission and I have organized events in all the African countries I have been to. I have also organized events in the United states, Dubai, France and in the UK where I used to live. I just recently moved to Miami and I am still empowering Africans in diaspora with the right Crypto knowledge and that is still my focus in 2022.
DR PHOZE: I understand that every thriving entrepreneur is faced with lots of challenges. While starting up, what stood between you and your goals? How did you overcome them?
MR. GAIUS: I grew up from humble beginnings. My step dad was a farmer so I grew up on a farm plantation not having too much. My mum, who was like my only helper, died when I was young. To make matters worse, my only sister who was everything to me and someone who my life goals and dreams revolved around, died as a result of an accident after graduating from nursing school and when I was about to start my own medical school. It was unfortunate that I grew up struggling. I have done almost any kind of menial job to survive. Like I said earlier, I was once a stylist, I dabbled into music and almost anything that can make anyone have a breakthrough but I am glad that my breakthrough finally came through Cryptocurrency and that is why I am always very grateful that I took that risk in 2011 when I was introduced to Crypto and I thank God for that.
I was assisted by God who helped me become focused at a young age so I started getting into the network of people who were living the life I wanted to live and I started reading books where I met a lot of my mentors and one of the books that changed my life is ‘How To Win Friends And Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie and also ”Think And Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. These books changed my mindset and allowed me live outside my physical environment because I was at a point in my life when I didn’t really know how I would make it but I had all my goals clearly written down. Till date I still have all my goals, visions and dreams written down. I even wrote about my first son 5years before he was born and even before I met his mother and this was how reading books and having mentors that were successful in what I wanted to do helped me to get to where I am.
DR PHOZE: Considering that Crypto trading is your domain and you are in fact ”Bitcoin Chief” , let’s look at the recent FG policy on Crypto trading. The First letter of CBN came in on 12th January, 2017 where they referred to Crypto as VIRTUAL CURRENCY with the concern that Crypto currency is untraceable and anonymous , hence it can be used to launder money and finance terrorism and the nature is also unregulated all over the world and people may lose their money without legal redress. How do you perceive Crypto trading business as against FG’s stance?
MR. GAIUS: The Federal Government of Nigeria has always been wrong when it comes to talks about the future. They do not really understand how Crypto works and are just criticizing what they do not know. One thing I do know is that the FGN should be very grateful to Crypto for empowering people like myself and millions of other Nigerian youths who have keyed into Crypto currency trading. My platform, formally ABIT network now Tatspace, has over 1.5million users. Many of these users have been able to make a living, build houses, e.t.c. I currently have 17 persons on my payroll that I pay monthly, and majority[80%] of them are Nigerians. Imagine if Crypto was never there. I would be a liability and these 17 people would have also been liabilities. I think what the FGN should do is what the American Government is doing, which is taxing Crypto. If you buy Crypto on Coinbase, the Government makes money. They tax you and they tax the platforms. I feel the government should think of regulating and taxing Crypto instead of banning it because they are actually on the losing end. Nigerians trade billions of dollars daily on P-P trading and this has removed what would have gone to the government, so I believe the government is being unwise with the decisions they have made. Crypto has helped a lot of young African people like myself to beat poverty and It hurts that the FGN is not taking time to understand how Crypto works. Instead, they are trying to fight what they do not understand.
DR PHOZE: You are an entrepreneur and this policy would no doubt affect your business badly. Nigeria is one of the highest trading companies in Crypto coming after Ukraine, USA, Kenya and others. In fact, against the FG’s opinion, the Security and Exchange Commission in Nigeria [SEC] saddled with the responsibility of regulating investment and security in Nigeria gave CRYPTO some form of legitimacy calling it a digital asset. How do you plan to deal with banking in Nigeria successfully upholding the AbitTrader Network?
MR GAIUS: In the process of fighting Crypto, they gave Crypto one of the highest pass marks it needed which is showing that Crypto cannot be regulated. The very first day the FGN placed a ban on Crypto in bank transactions even though Nigeria was among the top countries that traded Crypto, instead of Bitcoin going down, it went up from $39000 to $42000. This shows that Nigerians aren’t listening to the government. People still trade millions of dollars in Cryptocurrencies so what you can’t kill, you make grow and that is what is currently happening. We would see Crypto adoption keep growing high among Nigerians. We have found our way to beat the system but it isn’t something I would want to reveal during this interview.
DR PHOZE: Tell us how diversity and digitalization has helped in growing your brand.
MR. GAIUS: I remember when I newly started my ”Mr Facebook” World Tour. Many of you probably knew me then but didn’t know it was me. I was the first person in the world that went on a journey to meet all 5000 of my Facebook friends in real life, which was all over the news. A lot of people read about it but didn’t know it was me. Digitalization has also helped me in growing my personal brand and as at today I have over 1.8 million followers on my three Instagram pages and over 20000 followers on my company pages. I have also travelled to 26 countries in the world, meeting my digital friends face to face.
DR PHOZE: Aside Crypto, Bitcoin, e.t.c, what else do you have passion for? It could be non-business related or something.
MR. GAIUS: Music has always been my first love and that was why I launched my record label where I signed an Artist named Rabel who currently has over 1.5 million streams. Whenever I finally retire from Crypto, I would be facing my music business and investing in artists. I currently have a partnership with a company called Groove Up, which would be working side by side with me and investing in upcoming Artists. Music is my first and true love and I see myself becoming a Music Executive in the nearest future once I am able to pass on my company to a healthy and qualified hand.
DR PHOZE: What was your biggest success so far, the one you are most proud of and remember the most?
MR. GAIUS: It was when I raised 2 million dollars using my Instagram for the Tatcoin project. I am someone who is big on trust and that particular opportunity showed me that people believed so much in me and that is why I am very careful with what I do so I don’t disappoint the people that count on me so much.
DR PHOZE: Based on your entrepreneurial experience, what is the lesson that you think is most important for a successful start-up journey in business or career and why and what has helped you?
MR. GAIUS: The first lesson for every business owner or entrepreneur out there is ”RUN ROUND YOUR DREAMS UNTIL YOU RUN INTO IT”. You don’t have to figure it all out at once. Just start with the small idea and that would grow into something bigger. Make sure to focus on the customers and ask yourself questions like how you can make your customer experience better because at the end of the day, the customers are the ones that make or kill the business and this is one of my most important lessons. The focus is on the customers so just make sure that you are bringing them value.
DR PHOZE: I see you as a successful entrepreneur. What’s your definition of success and what does success mean to you?
MR. GAIUS: Success means different things to different people. Whenever I am able to provide for my family, I consider that a success to me. It gives me joy to provide for my family and to be able to afford those things I wouldn’t have afforded and to be able to assist other people. I have removed more than half my family from poverty, including my extended families, and for me that is the most important thing.
DR PHOZE: What do you think of the idea of entrepreneurship youths have today and what makes a good entrepreneur?
MR. GAIUS: The idea of entrepreneurship people have today is wrong. As I am talking to you from my Miami house, I have been working since morning and it is now 7pm, which is the time I have had all day to grant this interview. When people see me posting pictures to promote my brand, they think that is all that there is to entrepreneurship: the boat rides, the events, the wine and every other pleasure that comes with having money but in reality, there is so much more. I wrote a book called ‘About Entrepreneurship’ where I talked about ”Behind the Beauty and Glamour of Entrepreneurship- The Unseen Suffering of the Modern Day Entrepreneur”. In the book, I shared my story of how people think entrepreneurship is glamorous but they have no idea what entrepreneurs go through.
DR PHOZE: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
MR. GAIUS: Just start and you will figure out every other thing along the way and this is the one piece of advice I have for everyone just starting out. If you don’t start, you won’t know if it’s going to be a success or not.