SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Silicon Valley DeFi protocol Masa Finance announced today it is partnering with African financial data company Pngme to drive the adoption of DeFi credit services in the region. The partnership will give DeFi lenders across Nigeria and Kenya with access to more than 250 off-chain financial data sources–including credit bureau data–to automate credit decisions through smart contracts while keeping data confidential..
Pngme is a credit and lending API that caters to the sub-Saharan market, enabling digital banks and fintechs to collect and aggregate financial data on credit-invisible and thin-file users. Its mobile SDK, Credit Bureau API, and data processing pipelines make it easy to collect alternative financial data and unify it off-chain to create a holistic picture of an individual’s finances. In doing so, Pngme powers new insights on credit-invisible and underserved customers previously inaccessible through traditional credit products.
This partnership marks the first instance of bringing DeFi lending products and off-chain credit scoring capabilities to emerging markets. Masa and Pngme’s goals center on building critical infrastructure to drive financial inclusion. This is a huge step in providing access to credit for those who need it most.” said Brendan Playford, Masa’s founder.
Masa is essential for on-chain lending to succeed as demand for DeFi and cryptocurrency services in Africa surge. Chainanalysis ranks Nigeria and Kenya among the top 10 countries for cryptocurrency use with 33.4 million Nigerians owning a cryptocurrency. Masa taps into this market by allowing DeFi lenders to build decentralized lending products such as SME loans, mortgages, and micro-loans. In addition, partnerships with platforms like Goldfinch open up access to previously unavailable pools of capital to fund a DeFi lenders loan book.
Masa will launch on Celo, its first DeFi credit product in partnership with the Celo Foundation’s DeFi for the People Initiative, which recently led a novel employer-based lending pilot in Kenya with Mercy Corps Ventures, Moola Market, and Kotani Pay.
“Our goal is to make DeFi accessible to the 6 billion mobile phone users around the world. We see Kenya and Nigeria as key markets, given crypto’s growing adoption today, where DeFi can offer financial tools that empower people who have been historically excluded from traditional financial products,” said Nikhil Raguveera, Strategy & Innovation Partner, Celo Foundation
Masa’s expansion into the African market follows the successful completion of a $3.5 million pre-seed funding round through this partnership. Masa is now raising a Seed Round to increase the engineering team’s size and launch the protocol’s production release, conduct a public token sale, scale users and node operators, and bring developers and lenders to the platform. Individuals and liquidity providers can sign up for a beta account for mobile and web, while developers and node operators can get started in the developer documents here.
About Masa Finance:
Masa Finance seeks to disrupt traditional centralized credit infrastructure by providing individuals, businesses, and developers with the tools to access credit and enable untapped wealth creation for 4.95B people globally. Masa is a hybrid credit protocol that links traditional financial accounts and assets (credit bureau records and bank data) to crypto holdings to determine an all-encompassing non-fungible credit report, enabling access to various financial tools and instruments. The Masa platform empowers individuals and businesses to create a decentralized credit report, increasing their investing and purchasing power and unlocking access to markets and capital that traditional finance does not.
Pngme is a credit and lending data API for banks and fintechs in Sub-Saharan Africa. Pngme provides comprehensive data, scalable API architecture, and developer tools that enable financial institutions to lower defaults and build enhanced credit reports. Pngme’s customers in Nigeria and Kenya have seen reductions in loan defaults by up to 21%.
Celo is a carbon-negative, layer-1 protocol with a rich ecosystem of global partners building innovative Web3 applications within the DeFi, ReFi, and NFT sectors in support of the Celo community’s mission to create a more inclusive global financial system. Accessible to anyone with a mobile phone, the Celo ecosystem consists of a decentralized, proof-of-stake blockchain technology stack (the Celo Protocol), the CELO token, and several native stablecoins (cUSD, cEUR, and cREAL) that make it easy for anyone to use crypto like cash—every day. Launched on Earth Day in 2020, the open-source Celo network now supports 1000+ projects created by developers and creators located around the world. For more information, please visit celo.org.
About DeFi for the People:
DeFi for the People is a global initiative helping to make decentralized financial (DeFi) apps and services accessible to anyone with a mobile phone and an internet connection. Spearheaded by the Celo Foundation and cLabs,in partnership with some of the largest projects in the DeFi space, including Curve, Uniswap, and Sushi, DeFi for the People provides partner-funded grants and other support to builders using mobile-first technology to create the conditions of prosperity for all. To learn more about the growing ecosystem of decentralized applications (dapps) bringing DeFi to everyone, visit DeFi for the People.