The company failed to raise funding to continue its business. The collapse is a testament to how difficult it is for cryptocurrency fintechs to evolve on the continent, despite the interest in them.
Nigerian fintech Lazerpay, which specializes in cryptocurrency payment solutions, has finally declared itself out of business, according to a tweet posted by its founder Emmanuel Njoku on April 13, 2023. “Despite our endless efforts to raise financial resources to continue our operations, we have not been able to close a funding round,” he said in the statement.
This is the final step for the company, which is now up for sale, and was still trying to reassure investors and partners, when in November 2022 it decided to reduce its number of employees. A message that was mainly addressed to its network of users, which it now estimates at 3,000 economic players. The company had also indicated that this decision was not related to the fall of the FTX platform. Although it had announced a heavy investment from Nestcoin, which was exposed to FTX.
Shutdowns are nothing new in the African cryptocurrency world. The sector faces very restrictive regulation and particularly in Nigeria, the authorities have been very strict in taking measures to limit their penetration capabilities. This difficult environment has had to be coupled with investor distrust, which has grown due to fraud scandals and the realization of the high risks that this type of investment could represent.
More globally, the cryptocurrency universe is facing a downturn. Their global market value is now $1060 billion. This is still ten times what it was in June 2017. But according to data available on the Coinmarket platform, it has declined by nearly $1.7 trillion since its peak in November 2022.