The changing business and work landscape has become more important with the onset of the pandemic. According to reports, Nigeria is The emerging gig economy has grown In recent years.
Interestingly, the World Bank predicted a Immerse yourself in the transfer due to COVID-19 from the diaspora to Nigeria. However, it was also expected that there would be more remittances as people embraced digital platforms.
As a result, there is now a greater need for platforms that facilitate cross-border payments into the country.
Financial powerhouses like Western Union and MoneyGram have always mastered this, but they fall short when it comes to timing, cost, and convenience.
Between 2019 and 2020 there seems to be a growing focus on remittances in the African markets Partnerships between giants like Worldpay (FIS global) or WorldRemit and various mobile phone providers.
In 2019 Kenya’s AZA (formerly BitPesa) extended to new markets with a mission to facilitate cross-border payments. In September 2019, Chipper Cash, a San Francisco-based fintech startup, expanded to Nigeria in partnership with payment gateway company Paystack.
Despite these innovations, Ben Eluan, a regular freelance developer, struggled to receive payments from a customer in the UK in February 2019.
“I had to use Skrill to collect the money, but the fees were high and it took me a while to get it,” he says.
With this in mind, he and his friend Osezele Orukpe both met at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife and decided that they needed to come up with a solution that would not only make payments easier for people wanting to get money from abroad, but also for merchants and freelancers providing services to people around the world.
In comes flux
After an arduous journey, they developed Flux, a hybrid app that combines the worlds of cryptocurrency wallets and a digital banking app. Users can receive cryptocurrencies from around the world and convert them to fiat money instantly.
“When looking for a solution, we decided that the best way to implement this is to use cryptocurrency. So we started taking blockchain courses, got to know KYC and, after a thorough process, were able to find an exchange to provide liquidity. “
“If someone sends you money from the USA with their crypto wallet, CashApp, the money goes directly to your crypto wallet in the Flux app; Then you can move it to your fiat wallet, which works just like your banking app. “
Eluan reveals that several users are using the bank transfer feature while shopping in malls to top up airtime or pay bills.
The Flux product appears to be very similar to the Sendcash feature and bundle of BuyCoin, and Eluan admits that these companies are among their biggest competitors.
Bundle up, founded by Yele Badamosi in 2019 offers the unique functions of a crypto wallet and a regular banking wallet. Sendcash allows you to send crypto to users whose bank accounts are automatically credited with fiat money.
However, he believes that Flux’s unique offering is to serve traders, professional gig workers, and ordinary people who want to get money from overseas.
A flat fee of ₦ 50 ($ 0.13) is charged for each transaction, while transactions between Flux users are free. For those looking to trade cryptocurrencies, the Flux app offers an exchange that allows users to buy popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin for a fee of 0.5%.
The journey and its challenges so far
Eluan sees Flux as a super app in the payments space, but development has not gone smoothly. For the company, the goal will not be limited to just fintech as it intends to create a wide range of products for different industries.
“At first we were just developers who loved to program. I remember developing an e-commerce app called Joppa that went viral on campus, but we had no idea how to build a startup or company on it, ”he says.
When the idea for Flux came up, the biggest challenge was to find a crypto exchange that offered liquidity and an API that they could use. The Nigerian crypto exchange Quidax bought into the vision and the project began.
In addition, Eluan insists that the Nigerian ecosystem is doing little to support upstart people or people who have no connections with superiors. So life was difficult in the early stages.
Pioneer Accelerator, Financing and Traction
So far, Flux has gained remarkable traction in just a short period of time.
“The idea was born in April 2019, but we started building in February 2020, had our prototype by April, and ran tests. We integrated crypto until August and went live in September, ”explains Eluan.
In May 2020, Blueloop was inducted into the Pioneer Accelerator, helping Eluan and his team bring Flux to a global audience.
“Pioneer helped us register in Delaware and introduced us to the overseas investor who signed our first check,” he says.
In July 2020, Blueloop raised $ 25,000 from Hustle Fund VC. In addition to support from Mozilla, Pioneer, and other angel investors, Blueloop has raised a total of $ 77,000 in pre-seed funding.
Eluan states that Flux grew organically through word of mouth with no serious marketing campaigns to date.
He claims that Flux has gained over a thousand users on both Android and iOS since launching in September and processed 4,823 transactions valued at over $ 466,000 (180 million).
And while those numbers seem impressive, it makes sense when you consider that Nigeria processed $ 32 million worth of crypto in October 2020 alone. Since the app offers both crypto and fiat money, it benefits from the transaction records on both ends.
Eluan explains that Blueloop has a product-based mantra and that he makes it his duty to implement feedback from users again and again and to further develop the product.
To address the Internet connectivity problem in Nigeria, Eluan said his team is developing SMS-based technology for the platform to allow transactions to be carried out offline.
Unlike USSD, SMS-based payments are quite rare and require a lot of effort, but Eluan remains confident on his team.
He insists that the biggest challenges for the future are likely to be competition from Bundle, and he believes this is exactly what the market needs.
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