Nigerian startup Lazerpay has built a blockchain-powered solution that enables businesses to accept payments from anyone, anywhere in the world, using stablecoins.
established last year, laser payment An API was developed to allow developers to easily integrate crypto payments into their platforms. It also allows these businesses to make payments in local currencies and U.S. dollars to more than 150 countries around the world.
It does this using stablecoins, a class of cryptocurrencies that lack the volatility that people know as more popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
“We only trade BUSD, DAI, USDC and USDT. We only focus on these because they are backed by USD and it is very important to us to provide our users with a stable, safe and relatively risk-free financial solution,” Founder and CEO Emmanuel Njoku told Disrupt Africa.
In addition to API and SDK products for white label and checkout integration, Lazerpay also offers no-code solutions such as payment links, QR codes and payment buttons.
“For online SMEs with limited technical infrastructure, this set of solutions enables them to increase their access to global markets without increasing infrastructure costs,” Njoku said.
“We also make it easy for e-commerce merchants to accept crypto payments on their WordPress-based platform using our plugin. Finally, because ultimately we are a business solution, our product provides businesses with invoicing, receipts and inventory capabilities to support their Growth and financial record keeping.”
Quite the dedication, then. Lazerpay emerged after Njoku attempted to donate to a charity in Dubai early last year.
“My de facto choice when paying online is cryptocurrency because that’s what I’ve been paid for over the past few years, so I selected the “donate in cryptocurrency” option on this NGO platform and paid in DAI. 59 mins later , I was notified that no payment was found,” he said.
“This situation baffles me, it’s the first time I really understand the problems that merchants face when trying to accept payments from customers abroad. It drove me to dig deeper, and I learned that today’s movement of money into and across Africa There is a lot of friction. With most cross-border remittances today, settlement times are difficult to predict, same-day payments are rare, costs are always higher, and transparency on those costs is often nonexistent.”
These challenges around payments are a conundrum given the massive growth in e-commerce across the continent and the mobile-first nature of African technology.
“I saw a huge opportunity and decided to try to build a new infrastructure that supports the development of the financial system. I hope that with this new solution, we can include the current barriers to commerce and remittances due to borders, no websites and brick-and-mortar stores or other global And those who are excluded,” Njoku said.
He and his co-founders started building Lazerpay last August, merged in October, and launched it for public use in February of this year. Combining aspects of crypto-based commercial payment platforms such as Bitpay with cross-border remittance services such as WorldRemit, Njoku said, it creates an extremely valuable solution for African businesses.
“Ultimately, we are building financial infrastructure to create interoperability across Africa and the Middle East and bridge the gap between the accessibility offered by cryptocurrencies and the utility currently dominated by fiat currencies,” he said.
Lazerpay is backed by a string of angel investors including 4DX Ventures, Nestcoin, Nuwa Capital, Voltron Capital, Musha Ventures, Paystack CEO Shola Akinlade and Xend Finance CEO Ugochukwu Aronu and is currently raising a seed round. It has processed about $1 million in transactions since its launch in February.
“Honestly, the uptake was not as fast as we expected, but in hindsight, it was to be expected given the skepticism of cryptocurrencies — even if we were trading stablecoins. However, with our latest payments feature The launch, which a lot of merchants have been asking for, we expect more uptake,” he said.
Currently, Lazerpay mainly makes money from transaction fees.
“There is a small fee for deposits made and payments to crypto wallets or bank accounts. We would like to see greater adoption of cryptocurrencies on the African continent and eventually a network of merchants transacting in cryptocurrencies. So we pay Transaction fees to crypto wallets are currently lower than fiat currencies,” Njoku said.
“With the next feature iteration we plan, we’ll start monetizing some of the business-specific features that will help merchants with customer behavior analysis, improved invoicing, and overall business financial management.”