Chipper Cash Is Expanding Jack Dorsey’s Ambitious Payment Play In Africa

By  |  May 16, 2024

Chipper Cash, one of the biggest players in African fintech, has teamed up with TBD, a digital payment platform backed by notable tech entrepreneur Jack Dorsey under the umbrella of Block Inc., the parent company once known as Square.

This strategic collaboration signals TBD’s ambition to bolster its presence across the African continent, expanding its network to encompass 40 countries. Mike Brock, TBD’s CEO, spoke on the partnership during an interview conducted in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, reports Bloomberg.

Established just over two years ago by Block Inc., co-founded by Jack Dorsey, a billionaire co-founder of Twitter (now X), TBD operates with the mission of enhancing financial inclusion for individuals, businesses, and payment platforms alike. The allure of Africa lies in its burgeoning youth population and the pressing need for accessible banking services in regions where traditional infrastructure is lacking.

Dorsey has been vocal about his optimism regarding Africa, particularly regarding cryptocurrency adoption and decentralisation. Following his visit to several African countries in 2019, during his tenure as Twitter’s CEO, Dorsey shared those sentiments via Twitter:

“Sad to be leaving the continent… for now. Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!). Not sure where yet, but I’ll be living here for 3-6 months mid 2020. Grateful I was able to experience a small part.”

Unfortunately, the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and growing criticism of taking on too much prevented him from fulfilling his plan to reside on the continent temporarily. Nevertheless, Dorsey has shown support for the African crypto ecosystem. His company has made some venture investments in African enterprises such as crypto startup Yellow Card (which also landed a partnership with Block on cross-border transfers last year), as well as financial and data technology company Fedi and Gridless; an innovative bitcoin mining operation.

Additionally, in September 2023, Btrust, the bitcoin non-profit that Block CEO Dorsey and rapper Jay-Z formed—and seeded with 500 BTC at launch—to support bitcoin development in Africa and India, acquired Qala, an organisation that trains African Bitcoin and Lightning engineers.

Chipper Cash, headquartered in San Francisco, boasts a customer base of 5 million, facilitating money transfers across 21 African countries. Unlike conventional money transfer channels burdened by sluggish processes and limited to fiat currencies, TBD distinguishes itself by accommodating digital assets.

This feature enables customers to transfer funds swiftly, with recipients having the option to receive payments in local currency directly into their bank accounts or mobile wallets. Alternatively, they can elect to retain their funds in dollars, bitcoin, or stablecoins.

TBD CEO Brock emphasises its role in bridging the chasm between conventional financial practices and the burgeoning digital asset landscape. He also talked up the company’s commitment to fostering engagement within this ecosystem, encouraging participation from developers, fintech startups, banks, and institutions.

Featured Image Credits: Ethan Pines/Forbes

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