SAN FRANCISCO — May 25, 2021 — The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) today announced a $15 million USD Enterprise Fund investment in Mexico City-based Airtm, a blockchain and bank-connected digital wallet and peer-to-peer exchange platform that provides globally-connected dollar accounts to consumers and businesses throughout Latin America, and other emerging markets. The investment marks SDF’s largest Enterprise Fund investment to date and is the fund’s fifth strategic investment made in the 2021 fiscal year.
The investment will enable Airtm to advance development of its robust platform by integrating with Stellar in the coming year, bringing global financial services to businesses and consumers in Latin America and the developing world, while leveraging the most powerful features of the Stellar network to make transactions efficient, secure, and more cost-effective.
“Airtm exists because financial systems throughout the developing world are not aligned with their people's needs and global aspirations.” said Ruben Galindo Steckel, CEO of Airtm. “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stable money that holds its value, is instant to transfer with no fees, compatible with the global economy, and can be withdrawn as local currency whenever, and wherever it’s needed.”
With fragmented banking networks, Latin America remains a largely cash-based economy. In fact, in 2020 alone, 91% of all transactions in Mexico were still made in cash (LendIt), while the broader Latin American region accounted for just 5% of all global cross-border transactions. However, Latin America is digitizing fast ̶ 13 million Visa cardholders in the region made their first-ever online transaction in 2020, and the COVID-19 pandemic has acted as an accelerant for digital transformation.
“We’re excited to work with Airtm to further enhance the important work they are doing in Latin America and beyond to solve the last-mile remittance problem, making it faster and more affordable to reach end-users, and expanding equitable access to the global financial system,” said Denelle Dixon, CEO and Executive Director of SDF. “With Airtm’s shift to Stellar, we envision a future where Latin America could become one of the fastest-growing regions for global remittances, unleashing a wave of adoption and innovation in peer-to-peer and business digital payments throughout the region.”
SDF’s Enterprise Fund is a venture-style fund for growing the open-source Stellar network globally. So far in 2021, the fund has invested a total of $24.5 million in global fintech or blockchain companies, for a combined total of $33.76 million in investments since its launch in FY20.
Stellar is a decentralized, fast, scalable, and uniquely sustainable network for financial products and services. It is both a cross-currency transaction system and a platform for digital asset issuance, designed to connect the world’s financial infrastructure. Financial institutions worldwide issue assets and settle payments on the Stellar network, which has grown to over 5 million accounts.
About Stellar Development Foundation
The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) is a non-profit organization that supports the development and growth of Stellar, an open-source network that connects the world’s financial infrastructure. Founded in 2014, the Foundation helps maintain Stellar’s codebase, supports the technical and business communities building on the network, and serves as a voice to regulators and institutions. The Foundation seeks to create equitable access to the global financial system, using the Stellar network to unlock the world’s economic potential through blockchain technology.
Airtm operates a blockchain and bank-connected digital wallet and peer-to-peer exchange platform that provides globally-connected dollar-denominated accounts to consumers and businesses in the developing world. Airtm’s P2P network allows consumers and businesses in countries with devaluing currencies and limited banking systems to exchange local money for cryptocurrencies and AirUSD (Airtm’s native dollar-pegged currency), at the free market rate. During 2021, Airtm has been used by 165 thousand consumers and businesses to process over $200 million in over 2.5 million transactions. Airtm’s midterm term objective is to transform Latin America into a single economic region similar to the Euro zone.