Yele Bademosi, a director at the venture capital arm of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, is launching Bundle, one of six African startups the crypto exchange is now funding in Africa.
According to Forbes, the startup is being run by Africans in an effort to get residents of the continent to use cryptocurrency, not as an investment vehicle, but as a global means of exchange. The idea basically makes Bundle, a social payment app, similar to Venmo or Square’s Cash App.
Bundle lets users send, receive, and spend bitcoin and Nigerian naira, the country’s main currency. Bundle will also let users spend Binance coin, the exchange’s native cryptocurrency, which has been doled out to loyal and active traders using its crypto exchange. Eventually, Bundle users will be able to spend and save Binance U.S. dollars, stablecoins backed by U.S. dollars and regulated in the U.S.
“Regardless of your geography, you should have access to the best financial services. And unfortunately, your geography today defines the quality of financial services that you have,” Bademosi told Forbes. “The same way the internet created freedom of information, I think blockchains create freedom of quality of financial services.”
Bademosi, who grew up in Nigeria, bought his first bitcoin in late 2017 and became hooked on cryptocurrency as its price fluctuated wildly. That led him to Binance and in late 2018, Binance published a 10-point thesis on why it was dedicated to Africa and launched a subsidiary in Uganda.
Bademosi said one of the biggest reasons Binance got involved in Africa is due to its potential in cryptocurrency.
“For me, blockchains are as big as the internet,” says Bademosi. “And can you imagine Bill Gates or Larry Page or Mark Zuckerberg coming to Africa less than one year after the company was started?”
Under Bademosi, Binance has invested in six African startups, one from South Africa, one from Kenya, one from Ghana, and three from Nigeria, all serving different aspects of the continent’s growing crypto economy. Lagos-based Yellow Card allows users to purchase bitcoin without a bank. Flutterwave is the same fiat-to-crypto bridge that lets Binance customers buy cryptocurrency with naira.
Bademosi isn’t the only one trying to give Africa a foothold in cryptocurrency. Musician and producer Akon is in the process of developing a cryptocurrency for Senegal and is working to provide electricity for 600 million Africans.