An African crypto-based financial service mediator, Yellow Card, held the continent’s largest venture capitalist funding round.
Yellow Card operates in 12 countries across the continent of Africa including Nigeria and Tanzania. It just announced a $15 million Series A funding round hosted by Valar Ventures, Third Prime, and Castle Island Ventures.
In addition to the multiple venture capitalist backers, Yellow Card saw investment from other big names in the fintech space. These included Jack Dorsey’s Square, Coinbase Ventures, and Blockchain.com.
The company started in Nigeria in 2019. Nigeria has had an active interest in crypto over the last few years. Crypto related search queries on Google are the highest in Nigeria across the continent of Africa. Jack Dorsey, whose company invested in Yellow Card’s latest round, revealed a bullish stance on bitcoin in Nigeria via Twitter.
Initially Yellow Card customers bought bitcoin through a gift card-like model, but it then transformed into crypto agency banking. Agency banking entails the transfer of financial services to clients through a network of third-party custodians. This system plays an important role in financial breadth and equality in many African nations.
Bitcoin in Africa
According to cofounder Chris Maurice the company has big plans for their operations in Africa. “The big picture is to change the way that money moves around the continent using crypto, and we want to make it easier for people to be able to just jump from their local economy into the economy of the internet and vice versa,” he said.
The team plans use of the $15 million for team expansion, new product development, and growth into more African countries. Already, the company sees a major uptick in activity. Maurice commented on numbers since the start of the pandemic alone. “Our overall user growth has been 30X since the start of the Pandemic, and Uganda is currently our fastest-growing market.”
James Fitzgerald from Valar Ventures, one of the hosts of the funding round, shared a similarly positive outlook on crypto in Africa. “Many African countries adopted mobile phones without ever distributing landlines at scale, and many African countries adopted mobile payments without ever distributing credit and debit cards at scale,” said Fitzgerald. “We see a similar opportunity for crypto; it can enable Africans to leapfrog an entire generation of financial services technology.”
Moreover, data revealed the continent of Africa as a whole leads for P2P bitcoin trading volume growth in 2021.
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