Appzone Group, sub-Saharan Africa’s leading fintech software company has announced the launch of Zone, the continent’s first blockchain platform for payment processing that facilitates local and Intra-African payments in fiat and digital currencies. Developed by Appzone Switch, a subsidiary of Appzone Group, Zone forms the foundation of Appzone’s plans to build out Africa’s first decentralised payment network, which will allow inter-bank transactions to be processed directly between banks without the involvement of any intermediary.
Fintechs and banks within countries across Africa have traditionally performed inter-bank payments through centralized Electronic Financial Transaction (EFT) switches which serve as single points of contact between financial institution and handle settlement at defined intervals although they usually cause major downtime when they fail and generate reconciliation issues in certain situations. Zone enhances this by providing a decentralized architecture where each participating institution connects directly with all others so that there is no need for central infrastructure and no single failure can affect the entire network.
Zone significantly reduces transaction processing costs and improves the customer experience for end-users while ensuring that beneficiaries always get instant value for each transaction and that settlement can happen in real-time. For Intra-African payments, Zone provides a real-time settlement layer with a fiat-backed digital token for settlement that allows Banks and payment companies to process transactions across countries without worrying about how, and in which currency, to effect settlement.
With 10 commercial Banks in Nigeria already connected to the network, Zone provides Banks and Fintechs with simple APIs for various types of transactions including account-to-account transfers, merchant payments, and cash transactions at ATMs or agent locations. The platform’s architecture achieves high through-put and record transaction success rates, while eliminating typical reconciliation issues that delay refunds to customers where necessary.
According to Uche Elendu, CEO of Appzone Switch ‘’Zone Switch represents the cashless and borderless future of payments in Africa. With an unprecedented level of network redundancy and security, the platform will eliminate the systemic risk associated with centralized payment systems while delivering the uptime and throughput required in a truly cashless society.’’
In addition to core functionality like payments authorization, and real-time settlement, the team at Appzone Switch are looking to evolve the platform’s digital token for settlement into a stable Pan-African digital currency that is fully compliant, approved by central Banks, and backed by a basket of fiat currencies in Africa. The idea will be for Zone to manage stablecoin wallets for regular individuals on the same distributed ledger that currently facilitates payment authorization and settlement.
By connecting every financial service provider to this decentralized payment network, Appzone Switch envisions a future beyond cash where payments are frictionless and instantaneous within and between every African country so that Africa can accelerate trade and economic prosperity.