- The Africa Problem
- Canza Finance – Solution
- Baki – Mechanism
- Benefits of Baki
Whenever we talk about the emerging economies in the world, the African continent is sure to raise some eyebrows. There is a lot of potential inside the continent especially in countries like Nigeria and South Africa. The continent is rich in minerals and metals, still they are unable to meet the domestic requirements for their growth. The intra Africa trade in the continent is limited due to the unique nature of financial infrastructure on the continent. A closer look into the financial system will tell us the problem as discussed in the next section.
The team at Canza finance has a solution to the problem which can potentially help Africa out of it. They aim to use cryptocurrency to overcome the hurdle that limits the BSB transaction across borders. This opening in the trade corridor will improve intra Africa trade and will lift millions of people out of poverty in the continent.
The Africa Problem
The Nigerian economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the continent. Like the other countries in the continent, it is rich in minerals and other natural resources which are exported heavily especially to the rest of the world. The country is also heavily dependent on imports, which need the US Dollar to settle. Due to the macro-economic trends, the Nigerian Naira was devalued by over 90% in the last two decades.
Due to all these factors, there is a need for foreign currencies to facilitate imports. This has resulted in the depleting capital in the country. Because of this the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has put a number of capital controls limiting the foreign reserves available to Bureau de Exchanges and business on a monthly basis. The scarcity of the forex resulted in the parallel black market that trades at a significant premium to the central bank rates providing a big hurdle to the local business.
This problem is present across the countries in the African continent and the emerging markets. The problem in Africa is that there exists limited access to official central bank foreign exchange rates. This has caused a fragmentation of liquidity and the growth of the parallel rates market that trades at a premium to the rates offered by the central bank. As the African economy relies heavily on imports, this is a pain for a local business as they might be subject to additional spreads to settle a large transaction. The businesses in the region are exposed to the domestic rate variation as well as the variation in the foreign rate. All this limits the business growth and the economic activities in the region.
Canza Finance – Solution
Canza Finance facilitates the B2B fiat transactions in and out of the continent through the OTC desk Jara Network. It has seamless automated transactions, brokerage services and other services which gives an efficient avenue for the FX agents worldwide to use the services instead of dealing with bank and regulatory restrictions. The Jara network is faster with average settlement time of 2 hrs (vs 3 days on traditional channels) and is cost effective with transaction fees at 1%.
The MVP is Baki, The FX exchange aimed to provide access to the local African currency and the USD market at the central bank exchange rate. This will massively help to provide the USD forex for the emerging markets at the best currency swap rate between African currency and the USD in crypto. This will allow for further development in the DeFi sector in Africa.
Baki – Mechanism
Baki offers the users with on-chain synthetic assets, zTokens which are pegged directly to the African currencies. This is the first of its kind African stablecoin which aims to eliminate the scarcity of dollars in the emerging market. Baki operates in a decentralized manner, with almost zero downtime to ensure that the user has full autonomy over their assets, and they can swap between the currencies whenever they want.
Users will be able to mint the zTokens against the USDC that they have deposited, maintaining the mint collateral ratio (collateral/debt) of 150%. This means that if a user deposit 150 USDC, then they can get a maximum of 100 zUSD. This will help to keep a buffer for any currency movement. Once the zUSD is minted, then the user will owe a share of protocol debt (sum of all the zTokens in circulation multiplied by the reference price of each in USD) and will be eligible to receive a share of trading fees.
The zToken can be swapped for any other zToken currency. Multiple synthetic assets are backed by a single pool of debt facilitating the swapping process through a burning and minting process, ensuring infinite liquidity. Any zToken will provide access to the entire Baki ecosystem. A single zToken can be swapped for any zToken currency while ensuring the mint collateral ratio as the debt can fluctuate over time in line with the FX movements. Users will have to manage their collateralization ratio to be above the minimum threshold. To increase the ratio, the users can simply burn the zUSD.
The collateral from the user will be used to back the price movements, this means that the money is simply parked without generating any yield. But that is not the case. In exchange for the collateral, each time there is a swap between the zTokens, the users will earn 50% of the trading fees that are charged which is about 0.8% on zToken swap. This yield can be further used to increase the collateral ratio or hold it in their wallet.
Baki has a price feed that dictates the number of zTokens that can be minted in any swap. Baki quotes the Central Bank Rate, allowing users to enter and exit local currencies at the best possible rates that are often unavailable to the normal users. Baki ensures that zUSD is consistently pegged to USD by overcollateralizing all zTokens. If a user’s position falls below the minimum collateralization threshold, a liquidator can secure the protocol by providing zUSD in exchange for the user’s collateral and a liquidation fee. If zUSD trades below a dollar, minters are incentivized to buy back and burn zUSD for a profit. Conversely, if zUSD trades above a dollar, minters are encouraged to mint more zUSD and sell it for a profit.
Benefits of Baki
Infinite Liquidity at Central Bank Rates
Baki solves the basic problem that the African continent faces by providing infinite liquidity at the central bank rates. The architecture of Baki allows for infinite liquidity. The synthetic asset can be traded at the central bank rates which means that the parallel market rates will be ineffective. The issued zUSD can be converted to any of the supported currencies. The Baki agents will follow their mint and burn mechanic and this means that there will always be liquidity to trade between the currencies.
On-chain assets in local currencies
The on-chain assets are denominated in the local currency. The exchange can price the assets in the local currency without the need for fiat priced on ramp or dollar denominated assets. Currently the local purchaser of the commodity is exposed to a combination of both, the commodity price movement and the dollar price movement. Baki reinstates the power of local pricing on-chain allowing for de-dollarization of the asset. This can allow for more financial products that can be denominated in local currency.
Baki can be expanded to include any other currency pair, commodity or other asset if the reference price point is provided. The conversion price from one currency to USD can be provided. Similarly this can be expanded to commodities and other assets.
There is an issue of fragmented liquidity in the currency pair, meaning that each currency requires liquidity to be seeded individually. But by using Baki, the zToken can be converted for the equivalent value in the required currency. The presence of zToken in an exchange will solve the problem of fragmented liquidity. External liquidity will be required only on the zUSD token.
Robust Pegging Mechanism
1 zUSD needs to be equal to 1 USDT, USDC, or cUSD on the exchange. The zUSD is used in two different markets, the primary market and the secondary market. The mechanism in the primary market will always assume that 1 zUSD = 1 USD. The secondary market prices the zUSD based on the demand and supply for the zUSD. When the zUSD trades about the 1 USD mark, then the minters will have the incentives to mint additional tokens and sell them in the market for additional profit. When the zUSD is trading below the 1 USD mark, then the minters are incentivised to buy the zUSD at discount to book profit later. The availability of zUSD will depend on the secondary market.
The African population is projected to reach nearly 2.5 billion by 2050, providing ample opportunities for growth. Currently, the startup primarily operates in Nigeria, facilitating cross-border payments and planning to expand into other African countries once it solidifies its presence in the Nigerian market. Building a startup that enables transactions using cryptocurrencies presents unique challenges, particularly in Nigeria where the Central Bank does not necessarily endorse it.
The company is heavily investing in a legal and advisory team to ensure compliance with the law. They have developed a comprehensive legal and compliance strategy with the help of a legal advisory board of experts in the legal and financial services sectors. This strategy will guide their business structuring and enable them to operate without running afoul of regulators. So far, Canza has served 39 businesses and has a network of 203 FX agents across Nigeria. After the funding, the startup plans to enhance its product and expand its team.
Africa is expected to see a surge in remittances, reaching $5.4 trillion by 2030. Capitalizing on this growth, Canza Finance has established trade routes that enable cross-border and cross-currency transactions between Nigeria and other countries. Unlike its competitors who rely on the limited supply of fiat through Over-The-Counter (OTC) desks, Canza Finance stresses the importance of automating the process via its platform. This allows liquidity providers to set their own rates and terms, ensuring a steady flow of liquidity. Canza Finance’s path to scaling is feasible as the team is aligning its operations with regulatory requirements.
Pascal Ntsama – Cofounder and CEO
Pascal has a wealth of experience spanning a decade in various fields. His expertise lies in product development, network engineering, telecommunications, and decentralised computing. He also has a strong background in software development, with a focus on designing, optimizing, and operating complex digital systems worth millions of dollars. Before establishing Canza Finance, Pascal held the position of a product manager at AT&T and served as a consultant for IBM and T-Mobile. His diverse experience and skills have been instrumental in the success of Canza Finance.
Deji Oluwoye – Cofounder and CTO
Before taking the helm as the Chief Technology Officer at Canza Finance, Deji was a network engineer at AT&T’s TP&E Global Technology & Implementation team. He has over a decade of experience in designing, analyzing, and modifying network components and architecture, both domestically and internationally. His work primarily supported the infrastructure of wireless and wireline services. This extensive experience has been crucial in his current role at Canza Finance, where he leads the engineering team.
Victor M. Teixeira – Lead Crypto Economist
Before taking on the role of Lead Crypto Economist at Canza Finance, Victor was a senior consultant at KPMG, Australia. His expertise spans across renewable energy and infrastructure, with a particular emphasis on complex mathematical financial theories, debt structures, capital market structures, and financial modelling for mergers and acquisitions. His diverse skill set, and experience have been instrumental in leading the crypto-economics division at Canza Finance.
As Africa’s financial landscape continues to grow and evolve, it’s crucial to focus on tools that can directly benefit the continent. Rather than implementing solutions designed for Western markets, which may not be suitable for emerging markets, the focus should be on developing efficient financial markets through the use of synthetic assets. These assets allow users to trade various markets, currencies, and commodities without the need to physically hold the asset or have direct access to the market where it is traded.
In many situations, synthetic assets have proven to be more efficient for users seeking a safe harbor in USD, rather than forcing them to acquire the physical fiat asset. The Baki protocol supports this approach, allowing users to trade between African currencies and USD without slippage or premiums, and with infinite liquidity. This methodology offers a promising solution to some of the challenges faced in Africa’s financial markets.
Canza Finance’s services are designed to address specific needs and circumstances in the African market, making them a crucial component in the region’s financial landscape. This approach ensures that the services are not only relevant but also effective in bringing about meaningful change in the region’s financial ecosystem. The goal of Canza Finance is to contribute to the development and growth of Africa’s financial markets by providing services that are both needed and beneficial.