Binance Spinoff Aims To Be Bitcoin-Powered Venmo Of Africa
Cryptocurrency exchanges and startups have an eye on Africa due, in part, to intense interest in digital currencies on search engines.
In 2019, Nigerians had the world’s highest number of word searches for “bitcoin”, with South Africa and Ghana ranked second and fourth, according to Google Trends.
Binance is a Malta-based global cryptocurrency exchange that provides a platform for trading more than 100 cryptocurrencies. Founded in 2017, Binance took less than a year to reach a $1 billion valuation, making it one of the first unicorns in the cryptocurrency industry. Binance trades $1.5 billion in crypto assets every day and claims to be the world’s largest crypto exchange platform by trading volume.
Bundle, a Binance spinoff payments startup launched in Nigeria, wants Africans to use cryptocurrency as a global means of exchange.
Payments app Bundle has launched its bitcoin-powered service in Nigeria after incubation by Binance, according to a blog post.
Already operating, Lagos-based Bundle connects Africans to global finance using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It does this by allowing users to send, receive, and spend bitcoin, ether, and Nigerian naira using an app and the recipient’s phone number, according to Cointelegraph.
Nigerian Yele Bademosi, the director of Binance Labs — the cryptocurrency exchange’s venture capital arm, is the CEO of Bundle.
Bademosi is the founder of Nigerian angel investing firm Microtraction, one of the most active investors in West Africa.
The angel investment firm is backed by Nigerian energy and real estate tycoon, Tunde Folawiyo; Y Combinator CEO Michael Siebel, former 500 Startups partner Monique Woodard, and Google’s head of ecosystem for sub-Saharan Africa, Andy Volk.
Microtraction has funded 15 African startups including African genomics firm 54gene which recently raised a $15 million Series A round.
Soon after launching Microtraction, Bademosi bought his first bitcoin and became interested in cryptocurrencies. That led him to Binance and its venture capital arm, which has invested in five African crypto startups, including Bundle.
In September 2019, Bundle raised $450,000 from Binance, Pave Investments and other African investors, CryptoNews reported.
By the end of 2020, Bundle hopes to expand its cryptocurrency-enabled platform to more than 30 African countries. At the moment, it is only available in Nigeria.
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Bundle chief technology officer Taiwo Orilogbon estimates that 1.4 million people in Africa — a continent with a population of 1.2 billion — use cryptocurrencies.
The potential opportunity for Bundle to connect Africans to global finance is even more clear when one considers that 57 percent of adults in sub-Saharan Africa — around 350 million people — do not have bank accounts, according to the World Bank.