African fintech, AZA Finance distances itself from FTX bankruptcy filings
Elizabeth Rossiello, the founder and CEO of AZA Finance (BitPesa) has claimed that the crypto exchange FTX had incorrectly included the payments firm in its chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing.
By Anna B Kiwanuka
Elizabeth Rossiello, the founder and CEO of AZA Finance, has criticized the erroneous inclusion of her company in FTX’s chapter 11 bankruptcy petition. All AZA Finance firms are unaffected by the bankruptcy of the defunct cryptocurrency exchange, claims Rossiello. Additionally, she stated that steps were being taken to rectify what she called an incorrect court filing.
The CEO also stated in a press statement, “Neither FTX nor any of its associated entities own or control AZA Finance or our entities, including BTC Africa. Our entities are not part of the FTX bankruptcy. In its disorganized haste, FTX erroneously listed our entities in their bankruptcy filing.”
FTX listed AZA Finance among the 134 entities that will be included in the bankruptcy process. Under the United States bankruptcy laws, an entity that fails to meet its obligation can file for protection under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. Taking this step allows the defaulting entity to recapitalize and eventually emerge from bankruptcy with more equity than debt.
However, in a statement issued on the same day the crypto exchange filed for bankruptcy, the CEO claimed that unlike FTX, which is accused of misappropriating user funds, AZA Finance does not store digital assets on behalf of customers.
Rossiello explained, “AZA Finance is licensed in multiple jurisdictions as a payments provider. We do not hold customer funds and never have. Less than 10% of our transactions across all of our entities are via digital currencies.”
Rossiello also revealed that her business had worked with FTX Africa earlier this year. The CEO claims that AZA Finance’s alleged commercial partnership with FTX was actually meant to aid the crypto exchange in growing Web3 in Africa.
This would be accomplished by assisting them in developing regulated, secure, and affordable payment rails in addition to other talked-about but unlaunched projects like African artist NFT collections. Therefore, instead of being an owner of AZA Finance, the crypto exchange went on to become a customer of the payments firm.
Rossiello concluded the statement by urging other fintechs to adhere to global regulation and industry best practices.