Nigeria’s Zone becomes Africa’s 1st blockchain company on the Financial Times’ list of fastest-growing companies

Godfrey Elimian
Financial Times Ranks Zone as Africa’s Fastest-Growing Blockchain Company
Financial Times Ranks Zone as Africa’s Fastest-Growing Blockchain Company

Zone (formerly Appzone), Africa’s first regulated blockchain network for payments, has been featured in the Financial Times Africa’s Fastest Growing Companies 2023 award list. It becomes the first blockchain company in Africa and one of the few Nigerian Fintechs to feature on this prestigious list.

Financial Times and Statista’s Fastest Growing Companies in Africa award is an annual ranking identifying the top performers in Africa’s private sector. It recognises companies with impressive growth and significant contribution to their respective sectors.

Following the rigorous process of reviewing entries from hundreds of companies in Africa, Zone will be one of only 100 companies and the first blockchain company in the entire continent to feature on this list.

Nigerian fintech Appzone rebrands to blockchain payment infrastructure company

Obi Emetarom, Co-Founder and CEO of Zone, shared his excitement about the announcement: “We are deeply honoured by this recognition from the Financial Times and Statista. The team also feels a sense of encouragement to double down on our mission to connect every monetary store of value by harnessing the power of blockchain.

By fulfilling our mission, we are laying the foundation for a truly cashless world while  expanding access to financial services and fostering a more inclusive and prosperous future for the African continent.”

Olayiwola Osoba, VP of Marketing at Zone, also shared his thoughts on the recognition. To him, the recognition means the company is making do with its vision and commitment to creating a sound payment infrastructure out of Africa. He says:

Being named one of Africa’s Fastest Growing Companies by the Financial Times and Statista is quite exciting for us at Zone. This recognition is an indication of our team’s immense effort to transform Africa’s payment landscape using innovative architecture and a superior tech stack. As we celebrate this milestone, we remain dedicated to enabling reliable, frictionless, and universally interoperable payments across Africa and beyond..”

Following the company’s successful transition from a Banking as a Service provider to a Payment Infrastructure company in November 2022 and its success in obtaining a payment switching license from the Central Bank in Nigeria, Zone has recorded impressive milestones in building out its decentralised payment network and connecting various financial services providers.

With over 20 of the biggest commercial banks, Fintechs and OFIs in Africa already connected to its Layer-1blockchain network, Zone is laying the rails for a world where digital payments are frictionless, borderless and compatible with every form and store of money.

Read also: Obi Emetarom discusses Zone’s role in leading Africa’s new decentralized payments era

More on Zone’s latest feat

Founded in 2008 by Emeka EmetaromObi Emetarom, and Wale Onawunmi, Appzone began operations by offering custom software development services to commercial banks. It would evolve into providing services in end-to-end automation of lending operations for banks and blockchain switching in 2020.

Financial Times Ranks Zone as Africa’s Fastest-Growing Blockchain Company

Last year, the Nigerian fintech software provider rebranded to “Zone”, a regulated blockchain payment infrastructure company. In line with the rebrand, the company built Africa’s first layer-1 blockchain network, which enables payments and the acceptance of digital currencies for financial service providers globally.

Speaking on the rebrand, Zone Co-founder and CEO Obi Emetarom disclosed that the transition means the company is utilizing the power of blockchain technology to enable “reliable, frictionless and universally interoperable payments”.

“In doing this, we are building one global network to pay anyone through any means, in any currency, which will ultimately maximise financial inclusion and accelerate economic prosperity for Africa and the rest of the world,”

Obi Emetarom

In an exclusive interview earlier this year with Technext, the co-founder and CEO noted that to “deliver quality payment services at scale“, the company decided to rebrand to “become the first pure-play payment infrastructure provider, focusing solely on connecting banks/Fintechs and opening up APIs for other financial service providers to process transactions.

The company’s success in providing solutions to Africans and the rest of the world, in an industry that it only recently entered, is confirmed by the Financial Times’ recognition of it as the first blockchain fintech platform to make the list of Africa’s fastest growing companies.

Read also: Fintech software provider, Appzone rebrands to ‘Zone,’ a blockchain payment infrastructure company


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