Oct 4, 2021 • 9M

Ep 35. Pay like you email

Swimming pigs. Lightning Network. Philanthropy.

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Afolabi O
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Last week, I scored a personal win. I deadlifted 405 lbs!

I remember when I was first struggling to deadlift just the 45lb bar. Now I have lifted 9x that! But it was not smooth sailing. I tried and failed to lift 405lbs at least 5 times over the past month. Truth is, I was intimidated. My mindset was my weak point not my body.

I love doing things which I did not think I could do…but it’s not easy. This growth mindset also translates into other spheres of life. I started my career as a chemical engineer designing oil refineries but I’ve reinvented myself a couple times as I transitioned to become an oil market analyst then a product manager then a management consultant and now a payments product strategy director.

Similarly, companies that have thrived for over a century have reinvented themselves and adopted new technology. Nobody wants to end up like Blockbusters or Kodak. However, I am increasingly concerned that some legacy financial institutions are not reinventing themselves with appropriate haste. Growth mindset is for people and corporations. Innovate or die.


1. Pay like you email

  • In the 1970s, my dad won a scholarship to attend college in England. His parents didn’t have a phone at home. So my dad would write letters that would end up on ships sailing from Europe to Africa. Sometimes it took months for letters to be delivered.

  • Flash forward 35 years, I left my family in Nigeria to attend college in the US. Thankfully, the internet made it possible for me to send emails and have WhatsApp calls. I was able to instantly communicate for free thanks to the internet: a global standard protocol for exchanging files.

  • In the time that communication rapidly evolved in leaps and bounds, payments have only taken tentative steps forward. We are still using many of the same dated solutions (ex Western Union, SWIFT) from when my dad was in college.

  • I use Gmail. Imagine if I could only send emails to other people who use Gmail too. Email would be extremely limiting, right? This is analogous to some of the modern payment solutions ex CashApp. The systems are not interoperable. Therefore, consumers end up with a bunch of apps.

  • The lack of interoperability is worse when you try to send money to a different country. There is no difference when I send an email to my brother-in-law in San Diego versus my other brother-in-law in England. They are both free! But it’s not the same with payments. Instead, you have to deal with different currencies, different apps, lots of fees….it is just a pain!

  • Bitcoin Lightning Network is like email. It enables users to transfer funds irrespective of country, app platform and best of all it’s free. I am extremely bullish on the potential for the Lightning Network to disrupt the payments space.

  • There are economic drivers for this too. In 2020, Costco had $122B sales. They paid about 2.9% fee on their Visa transactions generating up to $3.5B for Visa. If Costco switched from Visa to the Lightning Network, they could boost their profit from $21B in 2020 to $24B. Better yet, they could decide to share some of the savings with their customers like me and give us even lower prices. Nice!

  • Customers just want to get their job done. The average consumer has no idea how the existing payments system really works. I don’t think the average person cares or needs to know how the Lightning Network works either. People will flow to cheaper, faster, better solutions. The herd is coming.

2. Twitter Lightning Payments

  • This week, Twitter expanded its tipping program to now enable users send bitcoin payments to each other.

  • The tipping program already enabled users to send payments using CashApp and Venmo.

  • Bitcoin tips are possible using Strike which runs on the Bitcoin Lightning Network. Strike enables instant and free bitcoin payments globally.

  • I am really excited to see how users respond to this feature. I can imagine folks using tips as a way to send money to loved ones in different countries. I am also curious to see how the other social media platforms respond. Facebook has famously struggled to launch a digital currency. Why not just integrate into an existing one?

3. Bahamas: Sun, Sand and CBDCs

  • When I think of Bahamas, I think of sun, sand, swimming pigs….and now the world leader in Central Bank Digital Currencies.

  • Last October, Bahamas became the first country to launch a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). The country consists of 700 islands scattered across the Caribbean. The Central Bank was incurring high costs flying cash across the archipelago. A CBDC fixes that.

  • The timing was fortuitous. COVID-19 suddenly increased the demand for government aid. This would have triggered long lines at social services offices at a time when public health officials were advising social distancing.

  • The introduction of the CBDC enabled the government to directly deposit money into citizens accounts.


1. Nigeria Education Foundation


  • Oct 1st was Nigeria’s Independence Day. I started a nonprofit to help advance K-12 education in Nigeria.

  • 12+ million children in Nigeria are not enrolled in school, by far, the highest number anywhere :-(

  • Many children enrolled are getting a sub-par education, the government estimates 20% of Grade 6 students can NOT read or write

  • I’m partnering with Destiny Trust to sponsor marginalized children. If you would like to join, we are accepting US dollars, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. We are a registered 501©3 non-profit. All donations go to the kids. You receive a receipt for tax purposes.

Thanks for your attention. Please let me know what’s on your mind. I always appreciate feedback. Have a great week y’all!