Celo, which is the trading name of A Protocol Inc., plans to use an in-house digital token and stablecoin to facilitate cross-border payments, primarily focusing on the unbanked using smartphones.
Having raised $6.4 million in previous cash injections, the company is now conducting pilot-phase tests in Argentina.
The allure of borderless payments without the need for banking credentials has long formed a preoccupation for cryptocurrency startups. Several years ago, offerings such as BitPesa were already active, with Kenya first in line for disruption due to its heavy smartphone payments penetration.
Long-term, Celo plans to woo developers to build additional services on top of its platform. Of its two custom-built tokens, one will function as a transaction verification tool, while the other will be a U.S. dollar-backed stablecoin.
The latter, dubbed the Celo Dollar, should end up as the native cryptocurrency for users sending payments to each other. Its creation builds on a current trend in the industry, which continues to see various stablecoin assets appear, so far tied primarily to USD and the Japanese yen.