Banking News

Stellar invests $15 million in digital wallet platform Airtm

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The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF), a non-profit organization that supports the Stellar Network for blockchain payments, announced a $15 million investment in Mexico-based digital wallet platform Airtm. This will be the largest funding completed by SDF and the foundation’s fifth investment of the year.

Airtm’s digital wallet is a peer-to-peer exchange platform. It enables consumers and businesses in the developing world to exchange potentially devaluing currencies for other forms of money, such as US dollars or cryptocurrencies, at the market rate. It also has its own stablecoin, AirUSD, which is pegged to the dollar. 

The platform targets countries with hyperinflation, such as Venezuela. Complicated currency exchange methods scare people off from converting cash. Airtm is simplifying the process and making it reliable for businesses and consumers. The company claims its objective is to promote a single economic region in Latin America. This year alone, 165 thousand users completed over 2.5 million transactions and processed over $200 million on the platform. 

The investment will go towards integrating Airtm in Stellar’s network, the blockchain-based payments network founded by Jed McCaleb, the co-founder of Ripple. The integration will improve Airtm’s platform and make transactions more secure, efficient, and cost effective. 

“Airtm exists because financial systems throughout the developing world are not aligned with their people’s needs and global aspirations,” said Airtm CEP Ruben Galindo Steckel. “With this investment, and our integration with the Stellar network, we will continue to advance on our mission of helping consumers and businesses throughout the developing world access stable money that holds its value, is instant to transfer with no fees, compatible with the global economy, and can be withdrawn as local currency whenever, and wherever it’s needed.”

Meanwhile, Stellar is working with Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation on a central bank digital currency, stablecoin, and a virtual asset infrastructure. The German bank Bankhaus von der Heydt also has a stablecoin on Stellar’s blockchain. 

Stellar’s biggest enterprise project was IBM World Wire for cross-border payments. However, that quietly died after its IBM evangelist Jesse Lund abruptly departed IBM two years ago.