Q & A With Faith Obafemi on Getting Started in Space Law & Technology

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July 17, 2021

Faith Obafemi is a tech lawyer with a focus on blockchain, cryptocurrency, emerging technologies and Space technologies. Faith helps projects navigate the compliance maze for novel technologies through Future-Proof Intelligence (FINT) where she serves as Head of Strategy. On the research front, she presented her paper on ‘Decentralized Governance: The Future of Global Cooperation?’ at the 10th Annual Cambridge International Law Conference; and is a 2021 Tech Policy Fellow at the Tony Blair Institute, where she will research the use of blockchain and cryptocurrency in space.

You have always been the go-to person for anything on Blockchain law, so what sparked your interest in Space Law

I’m still into Blockchain. I haven’t abandoned it. My main interest is actually emerging technologies and since there is more than one emerging technology, I decided to gain competence one at a time. Now that I have a foothold in Blockchain, my next area of interest is Space technologies and I got interested in it because of its futuristic potential. I’m the kind of person that likes to ensure my career stays future proof because history has shown us that humans are naturally curious and love exploring. Even now that we have finished exploring the earth, the next logical place would be the galaxy. I want to be at the frontier when things are happening, that’s the kind of person I am. When breaking into a new space, I like to link the new knowledge to an area that I am already familiar with, that way I don’t start from the scratch. In this context of knowledge, I get to link my knowledge of Blockchain with Space Technology.

Who are those that you look up in the Space Technology space in Nigeria and Africa?to that are also into Space law in Nigeria and Africa as a whole?

Anne Agi, Etim Effiong, Simone Haganaba: a space lawyer in the US. Lecturer at Arizona state university.

I saw your post about becoming a Tech Policy Associate at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, right, could you tell us more about that?

So, I am still trying to convince myself that it’s actually real because I submitted my proposal on the last day and I was convinced nobody was going to get back to me. So, you can imagine my surprise when I got an acceptance mail as a Fellow. As I stated, earlier, I like to link an area I already know about and one I am trying to acquire knowledge about, so before I sent in my proposal, I saw Elon Musk’s post about bitcoin in space, how we could use it in space? So, that made me realize that there is actually a possibility of using blockchain in the crypto space. So when I read the topics they had priority interest in, once I saw smart contracts, I started looking for a way to get a topic related to smart contracts.

Congratulations! Based on your topic, what are the possibilities of smart contracts and cryptocurrency being used as a legal monetary engine for space?

This is what I will be spending the next few months trying to answer. Let me give some background on that. Vacationing in space may look like something that is not going to happen or something that is impossible. But if you have been following the news and updates from Elon Musk’s SpaceX and from NASA and Jeff Bezos .You will realize that this is something that is going to be a reality very soon. Soon, we are going to need to start answering questions like will we need a visa to visit space and who will issue this visa? The Outer Space Treaty says no one government governs space but it is the common heritage of mankind. This means no government denomination can be adopted as no single country is in control of space. How then will space native transactions happen? 

This means we need to create space native digital currency but would it be collateralized? If we are to collateralize it would be by the sun or moon? Will it be algorithm backed like bitcoin? These are some of the questions I hope to answer in the coming months.

For lawyers or non-lawyers interested in  Space law, any tips, courses they should take, books they should read or communities they should be a part of? 

Join communities like Space Generation Advisory Council. Get books and reports to read on Space Law. I am also currently reading, Fundamentals of Business and Space Economics. I would also say to share your knowledge, write articles or collaborate with people to write articles and reports. Follow relevant handles on Twitter like United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. Turn on the notifications, attend events.

Finally and a funny question,  what was the last TV show you watched and why?

I watch YouTube videos and I also love Korean and Chinese series, I am addicted to them. The last series I watched was The Imperial Coroner.

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