Appzone, African fintech software company, has launched Zone Switch, Africa’s first blockchain platform for payment processing, in Nigeria.
Developed by Appzone Switch, a subsidiary of Appzone Group, Zone is Africa’s first decentralized payment network that will allow inter-bank transactions to be processed directly between banks without the involvement of any intermediary.
Already, more than 10 banks, including the Tier 1 banks in Nigeria, have embraced the Appzone Switch’s solution.
With Zone Switch, players in the industry should expect a decentralized network that enables frictionless and instant payments, within and between every African country.
Speaking at the launch event in Lagos, Uzoma Dozie, CEO and founder of Sparkle, said that the Switch debuted at a time when banks were looking for new ways to make payments seamless and hassle-free for more Nigerians and Africans in general.
“This is what will bring real change in the market. It is going to create more adoptions in the space.”
Dozie noted it would enable players to create that effect to leapfrog existing infrastructure to benefit more users: “The innovation, Zone, is a game-changer for this market, especially by assisting existing infrastructure to scale.”
In his presentation, Obi Emetarom, Appzone founder and CEO, said since its launch in 2008, the company has remained resolute to delivering best-in-class products for digital core banking and interbank transaction processing in Nigeria and beyond.
He reiterated that, since inception, Appzone, which is also an alumnus of Google’s Launchpad Accelerator, has led Africa’s fintech sector through radical innovation, resulting in a number of world firsts from the continent, such as the world’s first decentralized payment processing network, the first core banking and omnichannel software on the cloud and the first multi-bank direct debit service based on single global mandates.
About the vision behind Zone Switch, Emetarom said the traditional way of processing and settling inter-bank transactions has been through centralized rails, EFT switches typically establish connections to each financial institution, maintain central records of transactions, and submit settlement advice based on transaction records.
“This hub-and-spoke architecture requires the institutions to incur significant transaction costs while having to put up with reliability issues that typically arise from a single central point of failure”.
He said that Zone Switch berthed to address this challenge and more.
“More recently, major technology breakthroughs have enabled the current trend towards decentralization in many sectors.
“One of such breakthroughs is Appzone Switch”, he told bank chiefs and other industry players who gathered at the launch.
Also in his presentation, Uche Elendu, CEO of Appzone Switch expressed delight towards the official unveiling of Zone as a decentralized blockchain based payment infrastructure that enables real-time settlement of fiat transactions, both in-country and out-country, while enabling the retail distribution of stable digital currencies including Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) in Africa.
He said that because of the impact that the innovation will have on the payment and finance landscape in Africa, they brought together industry leaders across the payment, technology, and finance industries to see firsthand how the Zone platform is positioned to power 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 plan is for Zone to manage stable coin wallets for regular individuals on the same distributed ledger that currently facilitates payment authorization and settlemen