How Nigeria-launched Yellow Card is now exchanging crypto across 12 African countries

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Formed in 2018 and launched in Nigeria in 2019, cryptocurrency exchange Yellow Card is now active in 12 African countries and planning further expansion after banking US$15 million in Series A capital in September.

Yellow Card makes it easy for anyone, anywhere in Africa, to buy cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and USDT Stablecoin using cash, mobile money, card, or bank transfer.  The company claims to be “building a new financial infrastructure for the African continent”.

“Key to this is the fact that Yellow Card operates using a B2C model, rather than a P2P one. This means you buy and sell your Bitcoin to and from Yellow Card, rather than performing transactions with other investors,” John Colson, the startup’s chief marketing officer, told Disrupt Afroca.

“Yellow Card is formalising the informal market for digital assets while building a new continent-wide financial technology infrastructure.”

Initially operating in Nigeria, Yellow Card has scaled, and fast. It now offers over 160,000 customers in 12 countries the ability to buy, sell, invest and trade cryptocurrencies in their local currency, seeing a nearly 30X increase in users across Africa since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. For Colson, there is a clear reason why.

“Yellow Card is formalising the informal market for digital assets, previously much of the crypto trading was done in WhatsApp groups. By building a formal exchange we helped to create a better experience for crypto traders,” he said.

Further growth is now on the agenda after the company closed a US$15 million Series A round, the largest ever raised by an African crypto exchange, in September. The round, which was led by Valar Ventures, Third Prime, and Castle Island Ventures, will be used to help the company expand into further countries. Its list of current active African markets includes Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Cameroon, Botswana, Tanzania, Rwanda and Zambia.

“Launching in multiple countries is no easy feat, however, our great operations team works very hard to ensure our launches go smoothly,” said Colson.

“We have seen massive growth in the markets we have entered, there is a real demand for crypto in Africa.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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