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Appzone rebrands as Zone, a blockchain payment infrastructure company

Zone is now Africa’s first Layer-1 Blockchain infrastructure and protocol with a focus on enabling payments and acceptance of digital currencies.

By Anna B Kiwanuka

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Appzone, one of Africa’s leading Fintech Software Providers,  has rebranded to Zone, a regulated blockchain Payment Infrastructure company. By building Africa’s first layer-1 blockchain network, Zone will enable payments and the acceptance of digital currencies for Financial Service Providers globally. 

According to data from Techcabal, Africa’s remittance market has historically been plagued by several challenges. In fact, the average cost of remittance in sub-Saharan Africa (7.8%) is higher than in any other region in the world. For a continent so reliant on cash, intra-continental money transfers are notoriously difficult. Furthermore, it costs $54 to send $200 to Tanzania, while in Nigeria, the cost for the same amount is $38. For context, to send $200 to any country in South Asia would only cost $8.6.  

The speed of sending money across Africa is also another serious issue. It could take days for the money to move across borders, a significant impediment to trade across the continent. 

To remedy this problem, Appzone, a fintech software provider, has rebranded as Zone, a regulated blockchain payment infrastructure company. The company has built Africa’s first Layer-1 blockchain network, which will enable direct transaction flow between financial service providers without an intermediary. 

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With this platform, there will be reduced transaction costs, instant dispute resolution, and reliability across Africa’s payment borders and beyond.

Zone supports both fiat currencies and digital currencies. Earlier this year, it was issued a payment switching and processing license by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), making it the first payment infrastructure company running on blockchain to be licensed in Africa. 

Speaking about their compliance with regulation Zone’s CEO, Obi Emetarom, stated, “CBN has been really skeptical about cryptocurrencies because a lot of them do not comply with the regulation. Those cryptocurrencies run on blockchain as infrastructure, and to some extent, blockchain has inherited those concerns as well. What we did, however, was to kind of sit down with the CBN, before we started talking about licenses, to showcase our blockchain network, clearly separate the capabilities of the blockchain network from cryptocurrency itself, and explain how cryptocurrency is just one application of blockchain.” 

Commenting on the rebrand, Zone Co-founder and CEO Obi Emetarom also stated, “We have led Africa’s fintech sector in global firsts for over a decade. At Appzone, we launched the first core banking and omnichannel software on the cloud as well as the first multi-bank direct debit service based on single global mandates. With this transition to Zone, we are utilizing the power of blockchain technology to connect every monetary store of value and 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 maximize financial inclusion and accelerate economic prosperity for Africa and the rest of the world. ”

Co-founder and CTO for Zone, Wale Onawunmi, added, “At Zone, we’ve always been early adopters of innovative technology with the potential to transform industries – in this case, the finance industry. Our next-generation decentralized payment technology which is the first of its kind, will challenge the status quo and become the future of payments for the world. We are encouraged by the pace of adoption we have seen so far and remain passionate about enabling financial services providers to reach their full potential.”

According to Emetarom, Zone plans to expand across the continent through the current financial institutions that use Appzone’s platform. 

He said, “This is a decentralized payment network. Today, the nodes sit within licensed financial institutions in Nigeria, and the roadmap for the next five years is that we expand nodes to sit across institutions and partners, everywhere on the continent. We can deliver in-country payment services like we’re doing today in Nigeria, but then we will also be able to connect those nodes across the continent. The nodes will be connected in such a way that our cross-border settlement feature could allow funds to flow from one country to another in real-time.”

Appzone’s cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform is also rebranding into Qore, while Zone will be the blockchain-based payment gateway. Appzone was founded by Emeka Emetarom, Obi Emetarom, and Wale Onawunmi in 2008. Two other co-founders, Mudiaga Umukoro and Elendu Uche, have since joined their ranks. 

Qore will be led by Umokoro and Emeka Emetarom, while Zone will be led by Obi Emetarom, Onawunmi, and Uche. 


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