Nigerian cryptocurrency and Web3 start-up, Lazerpay, has announced its decision to cease operations due to its inability to successfully close a funding round. Co-founder and CEO, Njoku Emmanuel, made the announcement on Twitter, stating that the company has asked merchants to withdraw their funds before the end of the month. Lazerpay was launched in 2021 with the aim of helping merchants convert their crypto to fiat and vice versa. The company is reported to have helped over 3,000 businesses accept payments in stablecoins. Despite these achievements, the CEO said that Lazerpay’s inability to secure adequate funding meant it could not continue operating.
Emmanuel has also stated that he is open to offers from companies interested in acquiring Lazerpay’s intellectual property (IP). The CEO expressed his optimism about the future of crypto in his statement. However, a report in Techcabal suggests that Lazerpay’s attempts to resize its business by laying off some employees in Nov. 2022 proved that such a step was not enough. The report also suggested that Lazerpay may have failed to raise funds because of investors shying away from African crypto startups.
Lazerpay’s announcement has come as a surprise to many in the Nigerian crypto community. The start-up was seen as a promising player in the country’s burgeoning crypto ecosystem. Lazerpay’s closure is also a reminder of the challenges faced by crypto start-ups in Africa. Despite the continent’s potential for growth in the crypto industry, many start-ups struggle to secure funding and regulatory support.
The Nigerian crypto industry has faced a number of setbacks in recent years. In 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) banned banks from dealing with crypto exchanges. The ban was later lifted, but it caused significant disruption to the industry. In addition, the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been slow to issue regulations for the industry, leaving many start-ups in a state of regulatory uncertainty.
Despite these challenges, there are still reasons for optimism in the Nigerian crypto industry. The country has a large and growing population of young people who are tech-savvy and open to new technologies. In addition, Nigeria has a large remittance market, which could be a significant use case for crypto. Start-ups like Bundle, a Nigerian crypto wallet, have seen significant growth in recent years.
The closure of Lazerpay is a reminder that the crypto industry in Africa still faces significant challenges. However, there are still opportunities for growth and innovation in the sector. It is up to regulators, investors, and entrepreneurs to work together to create an environment that supports the growth of the industry.
What are your thoughts on Lazerpay’s closure? Let us know in the comments below.