Pan-African cryptocurrency exchange platform, Yellow Card, has bagged the top financial industry award for innovative businesses in the sector, signaling a growing acceptance of the unconventional digital assets on the continent.
The Africa Financial Industry Summit (Afis) ‘Disrupter of the Year’ award is normally conferred on the sector’s most innovative young business, “whose innovation represents a market disruption” and whose activities have significantly increased within the year.
Yellow Card, headquartered in Nigeria, has become the first crypto company in Africa both to bag the award and to win a conventional financial sector prize, an indication that the industry is beginning to embrace the cryptocurrency technology.
With presence in 20 African countries including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda, Yellow Card is among the largest crypto exchange platforms on the continent, and it also provides a cross-border payment service powered by stablecoins – cryptocurrencies backed by physical assets.
Besides providing a platform for buying and selling cryptocurrencies, Yellow Card, which was launched in 2019, also helps established businesses in Africa to acquire and dispose cryptocurrencies through an on and off-ramping application programming interface (API).
Chris Maurice, Yellow Card’s founder, while receiving the award, said the driving force behind his innovation is the belief that “stablecoins are going to change the world; they’re going to change the way that people use money.”
The awardee of the continental prize was selected by a jury of five financial industry leaders, drawn from both private and public sectors, include the director-general of the Central Bank of Mauritania and head of innovation at banking conglomerate Ecobank.
As banks and central banks have always been averse to cryptocurrencies due their high volatility, intractability and their threat on countries’ monetary sovereignty, the financial industry players’ recognition of Yellow Card as a ‘disrupter’ in the sector could be a monumental moment in the history of the digital assets globally.
Yellow Card was facing off against 4 other companies in the financial sector: investment platform Bamboo, SME financier Sparkle, and payment platform Moniepoint, all from Nigeria, and Cameroon’s Ejara, an investment platform.
Last year, the award was taken by Jumo, a banking as a service platform with presence in 7 African countries including Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania