Dev-XP-Session on Monetizing Digital Content.

Chat session for developers, designers and technology enthusiasts on how to monetize digital content using airtime.

Hugo Obi


Hello Everyone,

Welcome to today's #dev-xp-session.

Joining us is Hugo Obi, CEO and Founder of MonaPay @monapay. MonaPay is a micro-payment solution that enables Nigerian digital content producers earn money for their content using airtime e.g. games, music, comics, e-books, etc.

So quick introductions, @monapay

Let me start by introducing myself and then talk a little about MonaPay and the vision we have with the product.

My first local start up Maliyo Games was launched in 2012 with a vision to showcase the best of Africa through games. We saw a lot of traction internationally, but not within our primary market, Nigeria

We came to the realisation that the gatekeepers to the Nigerian mobile space were the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to work with them, you had to partner with Value Added Service providers.

These guys were mainly middle men with good relationships with the telcos. We were frustrated with the working relationship as it did not give us the chance to be independent of their terms and mode of operation.

So we went out and acquired our VAS license in 2017. We then started working on MonaPay which has a simple proposition to make it simple for *anyone with a digital content to accept airtime payments from their customers*

We currently support airtime payment for both MTN & 9Mobile. This image illustrates the problem we were trying to solve.

Awesome!! This is interesting. Thank you for walkiing us through it.

Lets get down to the business of today. We have questions from some of our members.

Question from @nicholasajoh

I asked a Paystack engineer a while back if they had any plans to add a feature to allow people pay with airtime. He said something along the lines of: implementation is possible but the government and banks won't smile at the idea of using airtime as a legal tender, thus handing over power to telcos. What are your thoughts?

This is relevant to the use of airtime for paying for digital content, not physical products. The use of airtime as "legal tender" is regulated by NCC, not CBN.

In simple terms, we can support airtime payment as long as it is payment for a digital product... game, video, music, comic, text, ringtone, illustration, pictures etc

So do you think, we would get to a point where already existing โ€™fintech companies will adopt airtime as a medium of payment ?

We see ourselves as a fintech company that's enabling payment with airtime. As long as it makes economic sense and it's falls within the regulatory framework the business is operating, I don't see why not.

Question from @Dals

How are you are able to achieve charging a mobile subscriber's airtime? Is this done through APIs with the Telcos? Is this available across all Mobile Network operators?

Yes, we have to go through the painful process of partnering with the telcos so that our merchant partners don't have to. We have billing API integration with MTN & 9Mobile. We'll complete Airtel in Q3 2018.

What is your revenue share like?

Haha ๐Ÿ˜† I can't say.

Question from @herocod3r

We've been hearing diffrent things regarding pricing on monapay. Assuming I sell N100 worth of content, how much comes to me at the end of the day ?

Thanks for your question @herocod3r.
We have different revenue share model with each telco. So depending on the network used by the telco, it will vary between 21 - 28 NGN. I'll refer you to our FAQs to see how that's broken down.

Question from @viktor

Can one sell designs & plugins on the marketplace? whats the process like ?

@viktor this is an excellent question cous it deals with price points. We recommend sub N1k digital products as the convenience factor diminishes once you start dealing with large ticket items 2k, 4k, 5k+.

In principle you can sell designs and plugins, but the price point has to make sense for what a reasonable person will have as their airtime balance.

Question from @viktor

What libraries are available for integration with MonaPay ?

We currently have Unity, Game Maker & .NET

Question from @ajay

I have a question as regards taxing, there are potential problems associated with airtime as a currency are masked by the natural practice of expressing a mobile phone balance in a fiat currency, whether it is dollars, shillings, pounds or naira. If we conceptualize phone credit not in naira, but in an imaginary Airtime Currency Unit, (ACUs for short), the issue becomes apparent. What do you think about this ?

This is not a topic that I'm an expert in; but with my limited knowledge, the tax and cost burden associated with airtime as a currency is blended into the telco fee which is the rational for the high % they charge VAS partners.

You are absolutely right that when we view the airtime payment in it's absolute, we don't recognise the line items that go with the transaction such as
- Tax
- Sales Commission
- Overheads

Question from @zirajauni

As regards earning and rewarding airtime ? how does it work with your platform ? If MTN gives me a bonus of N2000 and I purchase something with Monapay, how does that work ? How would I be able to transform that into cash ?

This all happens within the MTN system, has nothing to do with MonaPay. So when you make an attempt to pay for something, very much like your bank card, we make an API call to MTN to inform them that xyz number is attempting to pay x amount, does he have sufficient balance to perform the transaction.
If the customer has sufficient balance, we will get a positive response to continue. If no, they'll send a negative response that the customer has insufficient balance and we won't be able to charge the customer

Question from @Somto

What is the day to day at Monapay ?

Wow... @Somto it's the real grind... We are still developing the product, there are a lot of features we are yet to release, supporting merchants who are integrating monapay or using monapay already, working with our telco partners etc

Well this was a wonderful session, we thank you for taking out time to be here today @monapay
We appreciate ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ

We have come to the end of todayโ€™s sessions ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ

Thanks, everyone for a wonderful session!! Until next time! Do have a wonderful day! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Want to be part
of the conversation ?

Join the community