Zenith Chain’s Jonathan Emmanuel talks about building ‘Africa’s first blockchain platform’ and its role in the Metaverse

Ejike Kanife

Blockchain technology is one of the craziest innovations powering the digital world today. As many have noted, the technology will be the bedrock upon which many innovations would be anchored. This includes cryptocurrencies, tokens, NFT’s, DeFi and even the latest of them all, the Metaverse.

Despite its influence and huge role in the future of technology, not many people, especially in Africa, are quite aware of what Blockchain is and why it is so very important. To many Africans, blockchain, cryptos more specifically, are all western innovations adopted by Africans to give themselves a shot at a better life.

But Zenith Chain is a blockchain company looking to make Africa a powerhouse in blockchain technology by building Africa’s first hybrid blockchain platform with massive potential and use cases.

In other words, just as Binance Smart Chain, Ethereum, Ripple etc, built their own blockchain backbone, Zenith Chain has built its blockchain platform to power innovations in the space. And in a chat with me, the company’s Founder and CEO, Jonathan Emmanuel insists the platform is one of the best blockchain platforms the world has ever seen.

Zennith Chain CEO, Jonathan Emmanuel at the Technext Coinference 2021

In the beginning…

Blockchain has always largely been seen as a technology originating from the west. So what prompted this African founder to embark on this journey of building the first blockchain facility out of Africa?

According to the CEO, the idea of Zenith Chain was birthed in November 2020 which was the first time the gas fees on Ethereum skyrocketed. This rise led to a corresponding rise in the cost of transactions on Ethereum. This was due to NFTs, DeFi and gaming applications running on the Eth blockchain.

*Ethereum is by far the most used platform for blockchain development – especially when it comes to the development of decentralized apps.


According to Jonathan, public blockchains like Ethereum run the risk of slow transfer speed and high transfer fees even though they are rather anonymous to the extent that they are open for use. Private blockchains, however, have low gas fees and fast transfers because the owners usually have full control of the validators, unlike public blockchains where validators are anonymously owned. Zenith Chain was created as a hybrid of both kinds.

“I thought to myself, if blockchain is going to be the finance of the future, I don’t think anybody is going to pay gas fee this high. I shouldn’t be paying $200 to transfer $10. So I did some research and decided to come up with Zenith Chain which is a hybrid blockchain. We took the best part of private which is the speed of transfers, and the best part of public blockchains which is allowing for interoperability and allowing smart contracts, and we came up with Zenith Chain which is a hybrid blockchain,” he told me.

The company was co-founded by the CEO himself and Rajesh Chinnadurai who serves as the CTO. The main idea was to correct the problems of gas fees been experienced on Ethereum. The CEO said it took his team just three months (January-March 2021) to go into Beta. By October 2021 the blockchain was fully ready for launch, including the Zenith coin.

Presently, Zenith Chain’s transaction speed is 1.5 seconds while the transaction fee is less than 1 cent (less than N5) according to the CEO. The platform also supports smart contracts from different other blockchains.

“We have an edge over all other blockchains. Our edge over Ethereum is the transaction speed and the transaction fees. Nothing can ever get delayed on the Zennith Chain platform. BSC (Binance Smart Chain) network is bonded by 21 validators. If they decide to increase it, the blockchain will turn off and there will be a lot of congestion on it. On Zennith Chain, our nodes and validators keep increasing. Right now we have 110 nodes and 100 validators. By the end of Q1 2022, we are hoping to be at 1,000 nodes and 1,000 validators.”

Jonathan Emmanuel, CEO, Zenith Chain

While he admitted that a blockchain platform like Solana has about 1,000 validators, he said the platform lacks the capacity to effectively operate them. As such the platform finds itself shutting down from time to time under the weight of heavy transactions.

He also insists that Zenith Chain trumps other blockchain platforms in the area of interoperability in that it communicates with other platforms. He said his platform currently has a bridge that communicates with BSC and currently rolling out a decentralised exchange that will enable it to communicate with Polygon, Solana and Ethereum. This gives apps operating on the Zenith Blockchain a huge edge.

Rajesh Chinnadurai Co-founder and CTO of Zenith Chain

NFT’s and the role of Zenith Chain in the Metaverse

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are one of the biggest phenomena made possible by blockchain technology. They give creators of art and other items the opportunity to create or preserve their products in digital and virtual formats that are almost unimitable. Due to their uniqueness, NFT’s can be quite expensive.

Sadly, not a lot of people know what are NFTs really are as it appears quite distant even to more digitally inclined people. This lack of knowledge might become a worry to a lot of people who struggle to keep up with digital trends especially as the world hastens into the era of virtual reality.

Giving some insight into NFTs, Jonathan explained that NFT’s make a particular piece of art or music unique. This means it can’t be replicated or reproduced somewhere else. He noted that NFTs are very useful in the fight against copyright violation and piracy as they help make an item or piece of art difficult to imitate.

“There are a lot of copyrights violations around the world today. Musicians suffer from copyright violations a lot, people take paintings, music, they copy it and they resell. But with NFT, once you mint that picture or painting, it becomes the only one existing. If someone wants to check the authenticity, they only need to copy the address and check it on the block explorer.

A block explorer is an online tool that enables you to search for real-time and historical information about a blockchain, including data related to blocks, transactions, addresses, and more.

Gemini Cryptopedia

The CEO also noted that NFTs are very vital to the digital world, especially the metaverse which is one of the craziest innovations out there today. And regardless of how complicated people think NFTs to be, they are actually quite easy to mint and produce as they do not require coding.

“We at Zenith Chain are building an NFT marketplace that can help you easily mint NFTs. We are also building a unique marketplace for musicians to help them mint their music so that when they want to sell their music or even album, once they mint a piece of it, it can never be replicated,” he said.

Speaking about the metaverse, Jonathan describes it as a digital world that people are coming together to create. It gives people the ability to recreate themselves digitally as well as own digital assets.

Describing it as Web 3.0, the blockchain expert says his company simply wants to act as a backbone for the different software that are going to help support the metaverse.

“We are going to be helping to scale transactions, helping to mint and hold NFTs because everything you do on the metaverse will be with NFT. We the founders don’t have control over it.”

Looking forward

The year 2021 was a pretty good year for tech companies in general and the blockchain space wasn’t left out. Innovations such as NFT’s, DeFi and the metaverse were heralded on the space. These innovations opened the space up to endless opportunities which makes a platform like Zenith Chain a very promising one.

Looking ahead into the future and what it holds, Jonathan said:

“2021 was a great year for me and my startup. We launched the first hybrid blockchain that has a lot of use cases. We did a lot of interesting things. We went from an io, we raised over a million dollars from our community, we got listed on 7 exchanges altogether and it was an interesting year.

“2021 was an interesting year and in 2022 we are looking to do more interesting things. Before the end of Q2 2022, we are looking at onboarding 1 million users. We are also looking at inviting many companies that are currently on ERC (Ethereum Request for Comment) and BSC to build on Zenith Chain. First is USDC and USDT to build a stable coin on the network,” he said.

The founder said this move will help create a lot of marketing and PR for the Zenith blockchain itself after which it hopes to start receiving a lot of smart contracts.

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