As Nigeria continues to foster innovation and growth in the Web3 space, events such as the just concluded “dApps Over Apps” organized by the NEARxDAO team a subsidiary of the NEAR blockchain are crucial to the education and adoption of Web3 technologies and mindset across Africa. Conferences like this present a good opportunity for enthusiasts to learn from experienced industry professionals, secure mentorship, embrace collaboration, and constantly adapt to the evolving landscape.
Like the tweet below, this article aims to help you get 1% better by leveraging the pieces of knowledge gathered from the dApps Over Apps conference.
Want to know why dApps are vital to Africa? Read this article.
Table of Contents
On the 13th of May 2023, the NEARxDAO team hosted the “dApps Over Apps” Conference in Lagos, Nigeria, which brought together visionaries, developers, and enthusiasts in the Web3 space to explore the theme of onboarding traditional developers and Web2 natives to Web3. With a focus on bridging the gap between traditional programming and decentralized technologies, the conference provided invaluable insights into the nuances, opportunities, and challenges associated with the Nigerian Web3 ecosystem.
In this article, I will share with you some key takeaways from the conference, highlighting the expertise and perspectives shared by industry leaders. We will explore the importance of rediscovering African decentralization, the expanding role of Web3 beyond blockchain development, the synergy between Web3 development and crypto market knowledge, the significance of Web2 programming as a foundation for Web3 success, the role of Nigerian banks in the blockchain landscape, investor expectations for Web3 startups, opportunities within the Web3 ecosystem, lessons for Nigerian Web3 creators, and the essentials of simplifying dApp development.
Join me to navigate through the enlightening discussions and actionable insights shared at the “dApps Over Apps” Conference, unravelling the pathways to the successful onboarding of traditional developers and Web2 natives into the transformative realm of Web3. Whether you are a developer, entrepreneur, investor, or simply curious about the potential of Web3, this article will provide you with valuable perspectives and guidance to navigate the evolving landscape of decentralized technologies. Let’s get going and unlock the possibilities of Web3 in Nigeria and beyond.
1. Rediscovering African Decentralization
Africans as Original Decentralized People
During his enlightening session, Paul Ezeafulukwe, CBO of CoinSher, emphasized that Africans have a long history of decentralized systems and community-driven governance. For example, in the good old days, long before colonialization, Nigerians operated a decentralized communal system where if a child is caught doing wrong, regardless of whether or not their parent was around, they are well cautioned and reported to their parents for further disciplinary action. This is why it was said that “the community raises a child, not just his or her parents”. This intrinsic decentralized nature can serve as a solid foundation for embracing Web3 technologies, aligning with Africa’s rich cultural heritage.
Cultural Relevance in Web3 Development
Acknowledging the importance of cultural context, as an African Web3 developer, founder, designer, marketer, and even investor, you may need to begin considering incorporating cultural elements into your projects and or products. By doing so, you can create more relatable and meaningful experiences for users, fostering greater adoption and engagement.
Africans have long been a decentralized people and it is evident in our true cultural and social practices.Paul Ezeafulukwe, CBO of CoinSher
2. Embracing Web3 Beyond Blockchain Development
Expanding Participation in Web3 Projects
Listening on, the audience was excited to hear Kelvin Alkorogie, a Fullstack Developer, tackle the misconception that one must be a blockchain developer to contribute to Web3 projects. Kelvin emphasized that various skill sets, such as frontend and backend development, UI/UX design, project management, and content creation, are valuable in the Web3 space. The key lies in understanding the underlying principles of Web3, knowing that every project needs more than blockchain developers, and understanding how you potentially fit into each of your target projects. This I agree with.
Unlocking Non-Blockchain Developer Contributions
It seems that too many people still don’t understand that Web3 is not a villain but an inevitable update to Web2. Developers who already possess expertise in traditional programming languages are exactly who Web3 needs because they can easily leverage their knowledge and skills to faster grasp blockchain languages like Solidity.
Henry Onyebuchi, Lead Smart Contract Developer at Despace Protocol, emphasized the importance of Web2 programming knowledge as a solid foundation for Web3 development. By building upon existing programming skills and gradually acquiring Web3-specific knowledge, traditional developers can contribute effectively to Web3 projects. Passionate about helping developers grow, he operates a Youtube Channel, Inside D’App that guides newbies and growing devs.
3. The Synergy of Web3 Development and Crypto Market Knowledge
The Power of Understanding the Crypto Market
Barry Ekwebelem, Founder of Kweba Academy, during his time on stage, responded brilliantly to a question from the audience and emphasized that it can be helpful for Web3 developers to understand the underlying crypto market dynamics. By staying informed about tokenomics, market trends, and investor sentiment, developers can better align their solutions with the needs and expectations of the Web3 community.
A Web3 developer who understands the underlying crypto market dynamics is better equipped to build successful projects.Barry Ekwebelem, Founder of Kweba Academy
Maximizing Web3 Potential through Insight
As a Web3 developer, understanding the intricacies of the crypto market allows you to make informed decisions regarding token design, utility, distribution, etc. This insight empowers you to create more robust and sustainable Web3 projects that resonate with your target audience and attract wider adoption.
4. Bridging the Gap: Web2 Programming as a Foundation for Web3 Development
The Importance of Web2 Programming Knowledge
In agreement with Henry Onyebuchi’s earlier statement, it is necessary to state that Web3 developers aren’t magically born nor do they mysteriously emerge. Web3 developers are people who have grasped the fundamentals of Web2 programming languages like Java and Python and have now turned to learning and building on languages such as Rust and Solidity. This foundational knowledge provides a strong base for understanding Web3 technologies and programming languages.
Building on Web2 Skills for Web3 Success
As a Web2 programmer, you are already at an advantage. By leveraging your Web2 programming skills, you can quickly bridge the gap between traditional and decentralized technologies. This approach facilitates smoother transitions into Web3 development, enabling you to grasp the nuances of decentralized systems and smart contracts more effectively. Today is the best time to start. And soon you will be able to streamline your learning journey, save time and resources, and get the best knowledge resources with the UrWeb ap
A strong foundation is always important, this is why developing Web2 programming skills enables you to become a better Web3 developer faster.Henry Onyebuchi, Lead Smart Contract Developer at Despace Protocol
5. Nigerian Banks and the Blockchain Landscape
Fintech Trends and Blockchain Adoption
There is hardly any Web3 discussion in Nigeria today without the mention of crypto and when cryptocurrencies are mentioned, Fintechs are usually not far behind. George Onyewuchi, Head of Fintech Engagement at First Bank, during the conference shed light on the role of Nigerian banks in the fintech landscape and their adoption of blockchain technology. While Nigerian banks have been leveraging the blockchain in various capacities, it is crucial to note that their approach differs from that of native Web3 projects. Nigerian banks primarily focus on optimizing their internal processes, enhancing security, and improving cross-border transactions.
Contrasting Native Web3 Projects and Banking Applications
Based on George’s submissions, it is important for Nigerian Web3 enthusiasts to understand the distinction between native Web3 projects and blockchain implementations within the banking sector. Native Web3 projects encompass decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), decentralized applications (dApps), and more. These projects aim to create new financial and social systems that challenge traditional centralized institutions. While Nigerian banks utilize blockchain technology, they often operate within existing regulatory frameworks and centralized structures. In both cases, there are advantages and disadvantages.
Every fintech is backed by a bank. So the progress of fintechs in Nigeria is a win for financial inclusion and the banking industry.George Onyewuchi, Head of Fintech Engagement at First Bank
6. The Investor’s Perspective: Key Elements for Startup Pitch Success
Investor Expectations for Web3 Startups
In attendance was a renowned Investment Manager, Desmond Abbey and when the time came to share valuable insights into what investors look for when evaluating Web3 startup pitches. He emphasized five key elements: a compelling problem statement, a clear market opportunity, a well-defined business model, a strong team with relevant expertise, and a sustainable competitive advantage. By addressing these elements effectively, Web3 founders can increase their chances of attracting investment.
Navigating Pitching Challenges in the Web3 Space
Web3 founders face unique challenges when pitching to investors. They must convey the transformative potential of their projects while addressing regulatory concerns, scalability, user adoption, and the broader impact on the decentralized ecosystem. It is easy to get lost in the technicalities and laborious terminologies, hence, founders need to, as a matter of necessity articulate their understanding of these challenges and present feasible solutions to instil confidence in potential investors and target customers.
“A good pitch deck is like a brilliant resume. It speaks clearly and convincingly for your project in your absence.”Emmanuel Nwanja, MD of VitroWire
7. Exploring Opportunities in the Web3 Ecosystem
Diverse Roles in the Web3 Landscape
Deborah Ojengbede, CEO of AFEN Blockchain Group, one of the few female OGs in the Nigerian Web3 space while addressing the dApps Over Apps audience emphasized the multitude of opportunities available in the Web3 ecosystem. From writing and management to designing and development, every individual with a product growth-relevant skill can contribute meaningfully to Web3 projects. However, she also revealed that the key to success is identifying one’s strengths, building on them and actively seeking out relevant projects where those skills can be utilized.
Seizing Opportunities for Growth and Collaboration
Web3 offers a fertile ground for innovation and collaboration. It is necessary for entrepreneurs and professionals in Nigeria and abroad should proactively explore partnerships, attend industry events, and engage with the Web3 community to seek out opportunities. By embracing collaboration and community, and continually honing your skills, you can position yourself for growth and success in the dynamic Web3 space.
If you are a creator looking to grow in Web3, don’t hesitate to take advantage of VitroWire’s free 15-minute Web3 strategy session
8. Navigating Challenges: Lessons for Nigerian Web3 Creators
Managing Relationships with Nigerian Brands
The organizers of this dApps Over Apps conference were somehow able to drag out the Web3 Twitter Influencer and Content Strategist popularly known as Defi Princess. As a princess, she lit a huge fire on stage when she advised Web3 newbies to avoid Nigerian brands and startups. Although some persons disagreed with her stance on how to grow as a Web3 newbie in Nigeria, Defi Princess clearly pointed out that as a newbie, your focus should be to raise liquidity, not trade crypto with the hopes of turning $100 into a million. In her words, you will lose all of it…
As freshman looking to grow in the Web3 space, your goal should be to raise liquidity so, avoid Nigerians.Defi Princess, Twitter Influencer and Content Strategist
This being the case, as a Web3 newbie, early-stage Nigerian startups should be your stepping stone to international brands who have the Liquidity you want and will most likely properly value your skill. If you rely on Nigerian brands for your bread, you will face daunting challenges negotiating fair compensation for your skill and the recognition it deserves.
Defi Princess strongly recommended focusing on building a solid reputation and achieving popularity before engaging extensively with Nigerians or Nigerian brands. If you have a different opinion or question for DeFi Princess, share it in the comment section and if it’s beyond my jurisdiction, I will try to have the princess address your inquiry herself.
Overcoming Obstacles and Building Resilience
According to the Founder of Ponty’s, Victory Adewojo, creators and builders embarking on the Web3 journey should be prepared to face hurdles along the way. Regardless of the many opportunities in the Web3 ecosystem, it is important to stay resilient, seek mentorship from experienced Web3 professionals, and continuously learn and adapt. When asked about the importance of community in a Web3 enthusiast’s growth, she mentioned that as much as one can do solo and still succeed, being a part of communities is a sure way to speed your growth process.
This somehow challenges DeFi Princess’ advice of avoiding Nigerians as a Nigerian but Victory went on to say that, as a newbie, if she could start afresh, she would simply use an avatar, join communities, improve herself, and build a brand devoid of the limitations of overfamiliarity which is the bane of most Nigerian relationships.
9. Simplifying dApp Development: Understanding the Basics
Knowing Your Vision and Target Audience
It was exciting to watch Kehinde Damilare (Quivira), a Solidity Developer and Founder of Ophir Institute, show the audience how to build a simple voting dApp for the NEAR DAO in fifteen minutes.
During the paced workshop, Kehinde stressed the importance of clarity when starting a dApp development journey. Understanding the problem you aim to solve, identifying your target audience, and crafting a well-defined vision are crucial steps in simplifying dApp development. By having a clear focus, developers can streamline their efforts and deliver solutions that resonate with their intended users.
Essential Programming Languages and Tools for dApp Creation
In concordance with Henry, Kehinde highlighted that having a strong foundation in programming languages like Java and Python is advantageous when venturing into dApp development. These languages provide a solid base for understanding the logic and structure of programming. Additionally, familiarity with languages like Solidity and tools like Remix greatly simplifies the process of developing smart contracts and interacting with the Ethereum blockchain.
With a clear vision and a solid understanding of the necessary programming languages and tools, aspiring dApp developers can embark on their journey with confidence, simplifying the development process and increasing their chances of success.
The Pitch and The $300 NEAR DAO Cheque
With $300 up for grabs and the event almost at its end, Emmanuel Nwanja, MD of VitroWire, one of Africa’s foremost Web3 marketing and development agencies has still not been properly highlighted in this article.
The dApps Over Apps conference saw four founders pitch their ideas to the panel of four judges which included, Emmanuel Nwanja (me), Desmond Abbey, Henry Onyebuchi, and Kehinde Damilare. The startup ideas cut across e-commerce, healthcare, and fintech.
Adopting a 5-point rating and judgement based on presentation, market viability, business model, and blockchain use-case, it was a surprise that the last become the first as the cumulative votes from all four judges put Gosple, the last founder that pitched, in first place granting him the prize of $300 to build his localized fintech MVP that aims to onboard more Web2 natives to Web3.
However, before the winner was announced, Emmanuel Nwanja highlighted key areas and mistakes made by the founders during their opportunity on stage. Some of the points and tips I gave include:
- As a founder, you are a storyteller and your idea or business is the hero in your story.
- When pitching your idea, focus on capturing your audience’s emotions, not their pocket. If you capture their emotions, their investment comes easier.
- Always make sure you understand the market you plan to play in. Know your competitors and the size or opportunity in the market.
- Try to have a working product/prototype, it helps make your pitch solid and your commitment to building believable.
Abdulkareem Oyeneye, Founder of NEARxArt and his team of organizers of the “dApps Over Apps” Conference, in Lagos, outdid themselves by putting together an event of this magnitude. The guest lineup was topnotch and each speaker provided golden insights into onboarding traditional developers and Web2 natives into the Web3 space.
By rediscovering Africa’s decentralization, embracing the broader potential of Web3, understanding the synergy between Web3 development and the crypto market, bridging the gap between Web2 and Web3 programming, and exploring opportunities within the ecosystem, Nigerian entrepreneurs and professionals will better navigate the challenges and seize the immense potential of Web3 technologies.
In the end, it was interesting to see the Binance Campus Coordinator for the University of Lagos (Unilag) in attendance at a NEAR Blockchain event. I will call it both a strategic move and a Web3 sense of community because, before the official close of the show, he did well to let the audience know about his brand and how to reach him. This act created an avenue to onboard more Binance users while supporting a Web3 growth and adoption event organized by what some may call a competitor.
If you own a business or Web3 project, don’t hesitate to take advantage of VitroWire’s free 15-minute Web3 strategy session