Our first Five Tales from the Crypto column of 2023 takes a look at cryptocurrency firms receiving funding, launching new payments solutions, and teaming up with e-commerce innovators to help bring cryptocurrencies and digital asset technology into the mainstream.
Tap Global Secures $3.7 Million in Funding
Cryptocurrency firm Tap Global went public this week in an IPO that raised $3.7 million (£3.1 million) for the Gibraltar-licensed firm. But don’t go looking on the NASDAQ for shares; the company is trading on a London-based alternative trading platform called the Aquis Stock Exchange. Aquis was founded in 2001 as a primary and secondary market for both equity and debt securities. Approximately 90 primary market securities are listed, with more than 600 names on Aquis’ secondary market.
Tap Global CEO David Carr addressed the controversy surrounding the company’s decision to go public at a time when cryptocurrency-related businesses are under additional scrutiny. “Our decision to list now raised some eyebrows, particularly in the wake of the FTX fallout,” Carr said. “But it is our focus on regulation and customer protection that sets us apart from less responsible operators.”
Tap Global shares were priced at $0.05 (4.5 pence). Nearly 69 million shares were listed. The listing was accomplished via a reverse takeover by Quetzal Capital and the company will trade under the ticker “TAP.”
With more than 100,000 registered users in more than 46 countries, Tap Global offers fiat banking and crypto settlement services. Users can purchase up to 26 different crypto assets on the Tap Global app and store them directly in the customer’s wallet. Fiat currencies such as the British pound, the Euro, and the U.S. dollar can also be stored. Tap Global leverages proprietary AI middleware to help users secure the best execution and pricing in real time.
Crypto Exchange Yellow Card Financial Unveils Yellow Pay
Africa-based crypto exchange Yellow Card introduced a new payment feature this week called Yellow Pay. The new offering enables Yellow Card customers to send and receive money instantly via the Yellow Card crypto exchange platform with only a few taps on their phone. There are no additional charges for the service.
“This is more than just a money transfer service – it’s a powerful tool that will unlock new opportunities for people across Africa,” Yellow Card co-founder and CEO Chris Maurice said. “By enabling instant, low-cost transactions across borders, we are helping to create a more connected and dynamic Africa.”
Yellow Card enables users to buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, USDT via bank transfer, mobile money, cards, or cash. In order to send funds, users simply require the recipient’s phone number. Fund recipients, as well as those looking to withdraw sent funds, must enroll in Yellow Pay.
“This new product feature not only makes it easier for family members to support each other across Africa with ease,” Maurice said, “but it also opens up the continent to more investment, access to credit, business grants, and generally will improve the ease of doing business.”
Yellow Card was founded in Nigeria in 2019. The company is currently active in 16 countries and, in September, announced that it had surpassed the one million user mark earlier in the year. Also in September, Yellow Card reported that it had received $40 million in Series B investment. The round was led by Polychain Capital, and featured participation from a number of investors including Valar Ventures, Third Prime, Sozo Ventures, Castle Island Ventures, and more. The funding took Yellow Card’s total funding to $57 million. Polychain Capital Partner Will Wolf praised the company as having “the best executing team on the continent.”
Nebeus Launches Visa-backed Debit Card
Back in Europe, cryptocurrency app Nebeus went live with its Visa-backed Nebeus debit card. The Nebeus Card will enable users to spend directly from their Nebeus accounts, and will be available in markets throughout Europe.
“With this, Nebeus reaches another level of integration and offers a solid connection of everyday payments with superior crypto services,” Nebeus COO and Head of Product Michael Stroev said. “It is a significant accomplishment for us and the most recent illustration of the enormous complementarity between the current banking system and digital assets.” Stroev also noted that the company plans to add Apple Pay and Google Pay functionality as part of “upcoming development phases” of the card. Nebeus also plans to launch a line of credit to enable customers to make transactions without having to sell their cryptocurrency holdings. Stroev said the developments are part of the company’s determination to “contribute towards global financial inclusion.”
Headquartered in Barcelona, Nebeus is registered as a cryptocurrency custodian and a Virtual Assets Service Provider by the Bank of Spain. The company was founded in 2014.
Revelator Partners with Stripe on NFT Payments
Does anyone still care about NFTs? Digital IP infrastructure provider to music companies Revelator announced this week that it was teaming up with Stripe to help it launch a new NFT payment infrastructure. The new functionality would reside on top of Revelator’s digital music supply chain management services.
Revelator CEO and founder Bruno Guez said that the partnership between Stripe and Revelator would play a key role in encouraging those in the music industry who are “non-crypto natives” to learn about the opportunities in Web3. “This is a major step toward Revelator’s vision of onboarding more labels, artists, and fans onto Web3, to bring these promising digital assets to the mainstream of music fans,” Guez said.
Guez said that integrations like this are critical in lowering the technical barriers that currently exist between musicians, music fans, and music companies on one side and what Guez called “a thrilling new medium” on the other. The new NFT functionality will give Revelator Pro platform users the ability to create, sell, distribute, and manage NFTs from a single location. The Stripe integration will enable NFT buyers to set up an account and purchase NFTs with a single click.
Coinbase’s Armstrong: “Dark Times Weed Out Bad Companies”
If it’s always darkest before the dawn, then hopefully a new day is indeed ahead for Coinbase. The company struggled with challenging headlines this week as the sentiment around cryptocurrencies continues to be mixed, at best. On Tuesday, the brother of a former Coinbase product manager was sentenced to 10 months in prison for what is believed to be the first case of cryptocurrency-based insider trading. The same day, the company announced that it would reduce operating expenses by 25%, which included laying off approximately 20% of its workforce, representing some 950 employees.
In a blog post addressed to Coinbase employees, company co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong expressed optimism toward the future of cryptocurrencies. Despite the falling prices of Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies – as well as the “fallout from unscrupulous actors in the industry” – Armstrong wrote that he believed “recent events will ultimately end up benefiting Coinbase greatly.” He compared the current challenges faced by the cryptocurrency industry to the early days of the Internet and suggested that “the most important companies not only survive but thrive” in what he called “dark times.”
Coinbase made its Finovate debut in 2014 at FinovateSpring.