Chipper Cash has earned the highly coveted unicorn badge after FTX led a $150 million extension round for the African cross-border payments company.

With a $2 billion valuation, Chipper Cash is now the seventh unicorn in Africa behind Nigeria’s Interswitch, Flutterwave and Opay, Egypt’s Fawry, Pan-African Andela, and Senegal’s Wave.

Founded in 2018 by Serunjogi and Maijid Moujaled  to offer free cross-border payment service in Africa via a mobile app, the company currently operates in seven African countries — Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa and Kenya. After closing the initial $100 million series C round in May, the company expanded into the UK to power UK-to-Africa peer-to-peer remittance.

In October, the company launched in the United States to enable Africans in the diaspora to send money to Africa instantly, with no fees, and at the best rates. Since 30% of the international remittances to sub-Saharan Africa comes from US, Chipper Cash moved into the competitive market to join counterparts like Wise, MoneyGram, Sendwave and Remitly.

This investment is FTX's first in Africa. Per Tech Crunch, FTX's CEO, Bankman-Fried said, "despite the recent growth in Africa, moving money across the continent is still slow and expensive. Unsurprisingly it is the fastest growing market with grassroots crypto adoption"

In a report on crypto in Africa, Chainalysis stated that Africa's cryptocurrency market has grown by almost 1200% in the last one year—more than any other region. This growth puts the local crypto ecosystem's value at $105.6 billion as at the time of the report.

With this investment, the adoption of crypto will be accelerated within Africa and beyond as African users will be able to fund their FTX wallet via Chipper Cash.

Tech Crunch reported that FTX is one of the largest cryptocurrency derivatives exchanges in the world. Last month, the company raised a $420 million round at a $25 billion valuation.

Reacting to the partnership, Chipper Cash's CEO, Ham Serunjogi told Tech Crunch that "this is going to be a compelling use case for both of our companies as we keep scaling and as FTX keeps scaling their geographical coverage. They do some of the most innovative work in the crypto space, so working with them is going to be quite exciting"

In May, Chipper Cash closed its first Series C round of $100 million, led by SVB Capital, the corporate venture capital arm of SVB Financial Group. In this latest investment, SVB Capital reinvested alongside other existing investors, including Deciens Capital, Ribbit Capital, Bezos Expeditions, One Way Ventures and Tribe Capital.


Photo Credit: Chipper Cash via Tech Crunch