Source: Temitope Akintade/Technext

Njoku Emmanuel, co-founder and CEO of Lazerpay, announced the shutdown of the crypto payment gateway startup on Thursday evening.

According to the statement released by Njoku on Twitter, the crypto startup, which was touted as the ‘African Stripe’, had to pack up because they were unable to close a successful funding round.

Customers are now advised to withdraw their funds from the platform before the 30th of April, 2023 using Bank or Crypto payment options. 

Lazerpay is a crypto payment gateway startup Njoku co-founded with Abdulfatai Suleiman and Prosper Ubi in October 2021. Until its fresh demise, it was believed to be a necessary innovation to accelerate crypto adoption in Africa. 

Lazerpay was not only solving payments for businesses but also providing access to decentralised finance (DeFi) features such as lending and staking.

Lazerpay’s financial troubles

Recall that in November 2022, Lazerpay laid off a significant number of its staff. According to the statement released by Njoku Emmanuel then, the company had been battling with some financial crisis after the company’s “proposed lead investor pulled out resources abruptly” earlier in 2022. It is surprising that four months after this, the company is still struggling to stay afloat and has finally shut down operations.

Per the statement released by Njoku on the shutdown, Lazerpay remains committed to helping all customers withdraw funds and solve any issues. 

He has also stated that the company welcomes offers from companies interested in buying Lazerpay IP and firms that would like to continue Lazerpay‘s trajectory or build on it. 

Shutdown wave hits African crypto space 

The African crypto space has recently been hit with a wave of upheavals. Just last week, a Bitcoin peer-to-peer marketplace, Paxful, announced that it would cease operations. 

Until its fresh demise, Paxful was one of the leading p2p marketplaces Africans use for Bitcoin trading. The crypto firm once announced that Nigeria was its biggest market, with over 2.5 million users and over $3.5 billion in trade volume. This shows that Africans played a prominent part in Paxful, and this shutdown would be significant for them.

Also, earlier in February, a 2-year-old Nigerian crypto startup, Fluidcoins, was sold for an undisclosed amount. According to the statement from Fluidcoins, it had to sell as it couldn’t raise new funds and had a significant hole in its balance sheet. It could either shut down or sell. The guess is that the shortfall comes from funds lost to the FTX collapse.

These and much more show that African crypto startups have been experiencing a hard time since the second half of 2022, with Quidax, Nestcoin and Lazerpay announcing layoffs towards the end of the year.

It’s the fourth month into 2023, and it is not looking better. Hopefully, the rest of 2023 will bring good tidings for the nascent sector.

Source: Temitope Akintade/Technext