Block’s TBD Announces Partnership to Facilitate Global Payments in Africa via Bitcoin & Stablecoin Rails
TBD’s pilot with Yellow Card establishes proof-of-concept to facilitate cross-border payments and fiat off-ramps to benefit the financial lives of people in the Global South
Yellow Card signs on as a launch partner for Web5 and the tbDEX liquidity network
Block’s TBD, a developer platform focused on making the decentralized financial world accessible for everyone, today announced a partnership with Yellow Card to unlock a network of global fiat on- and off-ramps that bridge traditional payments rails to stablecoins and bitcoin. This partnership builds towards TBD’s vision of developing global on- and off-ramps — alongside open standards and open source technologies — with the goal of enabling the mainstream adoption of bitcoin and stablecoins in commercial and financial applications at scale. Yellow Card, which offers payments via stablecoins and bitcoin to banks and mobile money operators in 16 countries across Africa, will be one of TBD’s first partners to enable global payments and fiat off-ramps for end consumers to send U.S. dollars (USD), stablecoin, or bitcoin and receive payments in local fiat currencies.
Despite significant volume in the region, cross-border payments to and amongst countries across the continent incur fees of nearly 10 percent on average and can take several days to clear. TBD, in partnership with Yellow Card, has designed infrastructure that leverages the benefits of bitcoin and stablecoin to make cross-border payments and liquidity exchanges more accessible and affordable to the African diaspora, while designing for compliant cross border payments and fiat off-ramps. In a proof of concept that took place in March 2023, TBD and Yellow Card successfully tested payment rails from the United States to Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya, in real time.
In the background, TBD provides API(s) and developer services that abstract away the complexity and make it easy for app developers to embed functionality that enables these transactions to happen in real time for their end consumers. Senders are able to initiate a remittance in USD and their intended recipient is able to receive local fiat currency in real time into bank accounts or mobile money wallets, such as M-PESA and MTN. In the background, TBD converts the USD into bitcoin or stablecoin, and works with a network of partners to create liquidity between digital assets and local fiat currencies.
Alternatively, recipients may choose to forgo conversion into local currency and hold their value in bitcoin or USD stablecoins. This is particularly valuable if they live in regions impacted by local currency volatility or hyperinflation. When the holder of digital assets seeks to off-ramp into local currency (e.g., in order to pay rent or purchase food), TBD facilitates these exchanges via its fiat off-ramps. This process is accomplished in partnership with a value chain of regulated, compliant entities
TBD’s next goal is to establish decentralized identity, trust, and transaction protocols that enable a ubiquity of decentralized and trusted exchanges to happen, streamlining payments and commerce globally. These protocols - including Web5 and tbDEX are currently under development, with releases scheduled over 2023 and 2024.
"We're thrilled to work with TBD and the Block team on tbDEX and their global payments initiatives,” said Chris Maurice, CEO & Co-Founder of Yellow Card. “The international payments space, especially in Africa, is in dire need of the innovative solutions we are building together, and this is the culmination of the vision behind Block’s initial investment in Yellow Card in 2021."
“We’re focused on advancing Block’s purpose of economic empowerment by breaking down the barriers to financial access across the Global South,” said Emily Chiu, TBD’s Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer. “For TBD, this starts with driving more affordable cross-border payments and commerce to bring us closer to a more efficient and inclusive global economy. Yellow Card’s shared passion and expertise across the African continent makes them a partner we’re excited to accomplish this with.”
For wallets, fintech applications or liquidity platforms looking to connect with TBD to participate in an ecosystem of global on- and off-ramps that bridge the worlds of digital assets and fiat, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
As one of four businesses at Block (fka Square), TBD is focused on creating a decentralized future that returns ownership and control over your finances, data, and identity. Guided by this vision, TBD is building an open source developer platform and infrastructure that enables everyone to access and participate in the global economy.
About Yellow Card
Yellow Card is the largest and only licensed cryptocurrency exchange on the African continent. Operating across 16 countries, Yellow Card offers exchange, easy cross-border payments powered by crypto, and an API suite for companies to on-and-off-ramp anyone on the continent into the crypto ecosystem.