A16z backs DeFi payments platform Celo's $20 million raise

Celo, a decentralized payments protocol, has closed a $20 million fundraise from investors including Andreesen Horowitz (a16z), Greenfield One, and Electric Capital.

The latest investment brings Celo’s total fundraising to $65 million, with past backers including Jack Dorsey and Coinbase Ventures.

February 10 also marks the official launch of Valora, the first peer-to-peer payments and mobile remittance app built on the Celo platform.

Valora staged a beta launch in September 2020 and has since amassed tens of thousands of users from more than 100 countries, according to a Celo press release. The tool can be used to send and receive funds globally with seconds-long transaction times. The business advertises fees of as little as $0.01 per payment.

“This is the reason we all got interested in this space in the first place – to see crypto come to life and be used like any other currency,” said Sebastian Blum, managing partner at Greenfield One.

To use Valora, users fund the app with Celo Dollars – a stablecoin launched in the summer of last year – and can use these to send to people in their contact list.

The Celo Dollar is backed by a basket of crypto assets which is algorithmically adjusted to keep the price as close to its pegged currency as possible.

The Block recently revealed that Celo is preparing to roll out a euro-pegged stablecoin, with a tentative launch date of March. Morgan Beller, co-creator of Diem, recently joined as an advisor.

Katie Haun, general partner at a16z, said the venture firm started backing Celo two years ago because it saw “the opportunity to build a ‘full stack’ global payments platform that anyone with a smartphone could use to send, receive, and store money.”

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