Block partners with African crypto exchange Yellow Card

by The Insights

Block, the publicly traded company behind popular payment apps Cash App and Square, on Wednesday announced a partnership with Yellow Card, one of Africa’s largest crypto exchanges, to facilitate cross-border payments between 16 countries. from Africa, including Nigeria, Ghana. , and South Africa.

In March, Yellow Card and Block’s TBD, an offshoot of the payments giant specializing in software development for crypto and Web3 projects, tested their cross-border payments infrastructure to send money between the United States, Ghana , Nigeria and Kenya. The system leverages stablecoins and Bitcoin to reduce the fees needed to send money across borders, according to TBD.

Yellow Card provided the software to connect to each of the 16 countries’ financial networks, and TBD provided the “bridge” between each of the countries, said Emily Chiu, co-founder and COO of TBD. Fortune. Specifically, TBD has designed its technology “bridge” to be legally compliant and adhere to international and national money transfer regulations, as well as the legal and technological expertise that Yellow Card does not possess.

“Developers don’t want to worry about jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction compliance,” she said. Fortune in an interview. “Developers just want to build and make sure it works.”

Block’s partnership with Yellow Card comes two years after co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, the former CEO of Twitter, invested in the African stock exchange. Meanwhile, Block is pursuing a broader strategy of cross-border payments, including remittances. This includes leading a funding round for Gridless, a bitcoin mining company in Kenya that hopes to use bitcoin mining to encourage the development of renewable energy projects.

“The international payments space, particularly in Africa, urgently needs the innovative solutions we are building together,” said Chris Maurice, co-founder and CEO of Yellow Card in a statement. “And it’s the culmination of the vision behind Block’s initial investment in Yellow Card in 2021.”

TBD is just one of Block’s crypto businesses. While its flagship products Cash App and Square generate the majority of its revenue, the payments giants have doubled down on crypto in recent years.

Dorsey, a Bitcoin evangelist, announced in 2018 that Cash App users could buy and sell the cryptocurrency. Formerly called Square, the company then announced in 2021 that it would rebrand itself as Block, emphasizing its new focus on Bitcoin and blockchain. And later that year, Dorsey announced the creation of TBDs.

The subsidiary’s cross-border payment infrastructure, which COO Chiu says will eventually be available for other developers to connect beyond Yellow Card, isn’t its only focus. It is also developing a decentralized web platform, and shortly after its inception, TBD released a white paper detailing plans for building a decentralized Bitcoin trading exchange.

“It’s not just remittances,” said Chiu, COO of TBD. Fortune. “It really is a bridge between the world of old money and new money.”

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