Earlier this month, browser company Opera filed for a $115 million initial public offering (IPO), highlighted by Bitmain – the dominant bitcoin mining machine manufacturer – agreeing to purchase $50 million of shares. In tandem, Opera announced the launch of a cryptocurrency wallet native to its mobile browser.
The strategic relevance of this move is tied to Opera’s market dominance in Africa. As one of the world’s largest browser providers, Opera services 100 million users in Africa, capturing half of the continent’s market share. Based on these recent announcements, ARK believes that Opera has enormous potential to become the gateway for cryptocurrency cross border payments in Africa, and perhaps elsewhere.
While Safaricom’s MPesa has enabled peer-to-peer (P2P) remittances and mobile payments locally in various countries in Africa, cross border payments remain wildly inefficient and subject to fraud.
Validated by Bitmain’s direct investment, Opera’s decision to move into the crypto-wallet space paves the way for a revamped payments infrastructure and a standardized exchange across markets in Africa.
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