Nigeria and 19 other African countries partner with Coinbase, a global crypto exchange, and Yellow Card, Africa’s stablecoin exchange to increase USD Coin stablecoin access, and promote reliable transactions at fees of less than half the cost of fiat transfers.
According to a statement by Coinbase, its wallet users across these 20 countries which account for about half (52%) of the continent’s population will be able to purchase USDC directly from its Wallet app starting in February.
“Our new partnership will help usher in the future of money by giving millions of users access to USDC and fast, reliable, cheaper transactions on our decentralized, open L2 Base through both Coinbase and Yellow Card products,” Coinbase said in a statement.
Yellow Card CEO Chris Maurice said that the partnership involves Coinbase integrating Yellow Card’s payment rails in Africa so customers can on and off-ramp fiat to Bitcoin
This will be accessible to African users via Coinbase Wallet, which recently implemented a new feature to make transfers via links from social media platforms like iMessage, Telegram, WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram.
In addition to USDC, Maurice said other cryptocurrencies and stablecoins supported by Coinbase will be integrated.
Yellow Card’s website lists 20 countries in which it operates, including Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania.
Coinbase noted many of these countries are high-inflation and remittance-dependent and is hopeful the partnership with Yellow Card will offer a more economically viable way to transact in the region.
The World Bank estimates that remittances can account for as much as 20 percent or more of GDP in many developing countries.
However, Coinbase said, “Through this partnership, instead of paying fiat transfer fees as high as 3 percent to 6 percent, users will pay maximum fees of 2 percent for remittances that move in minutes or seconds, not days.”
“Many of these markets also require economic opportunity for populations that skew younger than average,” Coinbase added, noting that Africa is “by far” the youngest continent.
Maurice is confident the partnership will make commerce easier for many Africans across the continent.
“Stablecoins like USDC solve real problems for real people and businesses on the continent,” he said.
Maurice said that the most common use cases in Africa are making international payments, sending money to friends and family, and “saving money against inflation.”
South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Ghana are the top five African countries adopting Bitcoin, according to BitcoinAfrica.io.
The Central African Republic notably became the first African country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. However, this was short-lived as the government began its crypto token project, Sango Coin, days after the Bitcoin law was enacted.