Fonbnk, a US-based company that leverages the widespread penetration of billions of prepaid mobile SIM cards to enable interoperability between the Web3 internet and traditional fiat-based monetary systems, announced on Tuesday the closing of a $3.5 million seed round.

Fonbnk allows anyone in Africa and other emerging markets that use prepaid mobile SIM cards to obtain cryptocurrency assets by exchanging their airtime credits.

The oversubscribed seed round was anchored by New York’s New Form Capital, with
participation from leading global crypto investors including Kraken Ventures (the investment arm of the largest exchange by BTC euro volume in the world), North Island Ventures (affiliates of leading Asian exchange MEXC Global), and crypto-native cross-border investment firm Formless Capital.

American singer and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams (via Black Ambition) also participated, as well as a variety of leading early-stage investors including Hustle Fund, EchoVC, Lightspeed Ventures, Frontier Ventures, Techstars (Western Union), Industrious Ventures, Allied Venture Partners, Seed9, GP Ventures, and Pax Angeles.

What is Fonbnk?

In simple terms, Fonbnk is the crypto onramp with the least friction across Africa and other emerging markets. Users across the world can easily obtain digital currencies by swapping their prepaid airtime credit at the press of a button.

“Pre-paid airtime minutes are currency (for transfers, exchange of goods and services) across most of the under and unbanked populations globally. Fonbnk’s solution is a perfect use case – and directly in line with Kraken Ventures’ focus – to bridge Decentralized Finance with mass FinTech,” said Akshi Federici, Operating Partner, Kraken Ventures.

In addition to acting as an onramp to the digital web3 economy, Fonbnk’s proprietary ecosystem also offers select individuals and enterprises the ability to earn additional income with their smartphones by acting as ‘market makers’ – individuals or companies that actively trade airtime in Fonbnk’s marketplace and ensure that Fonbnk users can easily transact.

“Fonbnk’s infrastructure makes it possible for everyday users to access, earn, transfer, pay, and save money easily, simply by using their existing smartphone. We’re on a mission to leverage the latest blockchain technologies to provide real value to billions of unbanked, underbanked, and underserved individuals across emerging markets. We believe that just as emerging economies leapfrogged fixed-line telecommunications straight into mobile phones, they’re likely to leapfrog traditional banking straight into decentralized financial services,” said Christian Duffus, Fonbnk Founder & CEO.

Fonbnk works with hundreds of mobile carriers across the world and is currently available to users across eight African countries (Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania, and Mozambique), as well as those in India, the Philipines, Jamaica, and Ukraine.

Edited by Zintle Nkohla

Follow Zintle Nkohla

Follow IT News Africa

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Get notified of the best deals on our WordPress themes.

You May Also Like

South Africa’s Dis-Chem Takes a Swing at WhatsApp Commerce

Clickatell, a CPaaS innovator and Chat Commerce leader, has been selected by leading South African retailer, Dis-Chem Pharmacies, to enable WhatsApp as its customer communication channel to engage with its…
View Post

UBA & Cellulant Join Forces to Unite Africa’s Payments Ecosystem

Nigeria’s United Bank for Africa (UBA), and Cellulant, a leading Pan-African payments company, have announced a partnership that will extend payment services for merchants and consumers across 19 key African…
View Post

Here’s How Much MTN Spent During the ICASA Spectrum Auction

MTN announced on Thursday that it had secured the high-demand spectrum required for its 4G and 5G network expansion drive from the highly anticipated ICASA spectrum auction. ICASA announced that…
View Post

Netflix Scholarship Applications Now Open for East African Students

Netflix, one of the leading entertainment streaming services in the world, has opened applications to the Creative Equity Scholarship Fund (CESF) for film and TV students in the Eastern African…
View Post

TymeBank Launches Medical Insurance App for South Africans

TymeBank, the South Africa-based exclusively digital retail bank, has announced a new partnership with National HealthCare for affordable medical insurance to consumers, through the launch of TymeHealth, an app-based offering…
View Post

4 Things You Need to Know About Achieving Efficiency in the E-commerce Era

E-commerce companies and platforms in South Africa experienced a rise in activity and profits triggered by Covid-19 lockdowns and social distancing restrictions in early 2020, while retailers and other businesses…
View Post