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PayU invests in blockchain-based payments with CELO and launches new stablecoin option to 450,000 merchants

One of the largest online payment service providers for emerging markets, PayU, has purchased CELO, and will also offer Celo stablecoins as a payment option for merchants, powered by First DAG

 PayU, the payments and fintech business of Prosus, has announced its collaboration with Celo, the mobile-first, open-source blockchain ecosystem focused on making DeFi accessible to anyone with a smartphone. In addition to a purchase of CELO, the utility and governance token for the Celo community, PayU has partnered with payment infrastructure company First DAG and Celo’s Alliance For Prosperity to offer stablecoin payments. With this integration, almost half a million of PayU’s merchants will be able to accept Celo’s stablecoin, cUSD. 

The move will open the doors for millions of people in emerging markets who are underserved by traditional financial institutions to easily pay for groceries, subscription services, and retail goods at participating merchants. PayU’s current merchant list spans major online marketplaces and retailers. 

PayU is one of the world’s leading online payment service providers, operating in more than 50 markets, supporting over 450,000 merchants and millions of customers across Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia. Stablecoins are particularly well-suited for high-growth markets like these because they provide access to USD and EUR-backed digital assets that are protected from the volatility of some fiat currencies and of cryptocurrencies more broadly. High-growth market participants can easily spend, save, and send money without needing to access traditional financial institutions or volatile local fiat.

Mario Shiliashki, CEO of PayU Global Payments Organisation said: “This move aligns with our vision of a world without financial borders where everyone can prosper. We strive to equip merchants and their customers with the latest payments solutions and this drive​​ has led us to invest in CELO and purchase tokens, in addition to integrating the stablecoin offering for our clients and partners. As digital transactions become the norm, it is important that we equip merchants and customers with the latest payments solutions. Working with First DAG and Celo to offer a new payment option creates new opportunities for e-commerce merchants and creators, and will open new doors for users to transact freely.”

Using First DAG’s platform, which acts as a middle layer between the merchant and its bank of choice, PayU’s merchants can seamlessly accept stablecoin payments without integrating additional blockchain components. First DAG’s payment platform manages the processing rail and custodial wallet in the background, so merchants can integrate stablecoins with no additional setup. 

Ran Goldi, CEO of First DAG, said: “Innovative fintechs such as PayU are leading the evolution of payments towards digital currencies, leveraging Celo’s international network. PayU’s merchants are set to gain from minuscule fees and near real-time settlement and pay-outs.”

PayU and First DAG are also joining Celo’s Alliance For Prosperity, which enables collaborations across the technology stack and offers a way for developers to build decentralized mobile apps (dApps) that are based on Celo’s blockchain platform. They  join Opera, Deutsche Telekom, Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase Ventures, Gitcoin, Anchorage, and over 150 different organizations that are building and integrating payment solutions that better serve the needs of users globally. 

Chuck Kimble, Head of Celo Alliance for Prosperity, said: “This ecosystem built between First DAG, PayU, and Celo is the perfect example of how digital assets can deliver in practice on its promise to democratize access to money anywhere in the world. As more merchants come online to offer this solution, stablecoins will become commonplace, unleashing major benefits for users like near-instant global transactions.”