Nigerian crypto startup Yellow Card says it processed over $165 million in volume during the first eleven months of this year. The figure represents a growth of more than 1,840% over the amount of remittances processed in the last six months of 2019.
Launched in June 2019, Yellow Card enables Africans at home and abroad to buy and sell cryptocurrency using their local currency via bank transfer, cash, and mobile money. The service is being used mainly for remittances, a multi-billion-dollar industry in Africa.
Yellow Card co-founder and chief executive officer Chris Maurice told news.Bitcoin.com that Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and most populous nation, makes up 50% “of our volume currently, it is our most active market.”
The firm has over 35,000 merchants in the West African country. Maurice said uptake in Kenya and Cameroon, which went live in September following a $1.5 million capital raise, is “exciting”, but did not provide figures. In South Africa and Botswana, Yellow Card added 30,000 vendors soon after entering the markets some months ago.
“[The $165 million volume] only includes a customer buying bitcoin with fiat or selling bitcoin for fiat. We don’t inflate our numbers by counting every customer deposit and withdrawal as volume,” Maurice elaborated.
He stated that the crypto remittance business in Africa “is growing rapidly” and that competition is increasing. Yellow Card is, however, better placed to stay ahead of the competition, Maurice boasted.
“We have the goal of becoming synonymous with cryptocurrency in Africa. We believe we are on track to see that goal realized in the near future. We have the best rates and liquidity on the continent, and we want to make sure everyone across Africa is able to access this technology,” he detailed.
Crypto-based remittances are considerably cheaper and faster compared to fiat remittances. For example, it costs a fraction of one cent to send any amount of money via the Bitcoin cash network. By comparison, banks will charge an arm and a leg for a similar service, an average of 10.89% of the amount being remitted, according to a new World Bank study.
In Nigeria, citizens living abroad have turned to crypto to escape the country’s overvalued foreign currency exchange rates imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria. Recipients are thought to be losing 20-30% of their remittance value each time they cash out their money.