Looking Ahead to the Africa Money & DeFi Summit Mento Labs.jpeg

Looking Ahead to the Africa Money & DeFi Summit

January 29th, 2024Markus Franke

Insights from Dr. Markus Franke, CEO & Founder, Mento Labs

Mento Labs is very excited about the Africa Tech Summit in Nairobi from February 14 and 15, and the team is especially looking forward to the Africa Money and DeFi Summit. Opera MiniPay, Celo Foundation, and Mento Labs will be present on the ground and have a booth and keynote session. We are thrilled about the ecosystem forming in Africa around Celo, MiniPay, and the adoption of the decentralized cUSD stablecoin on the Mento Platform. I have been working on Mento, the EVM-compatible stablecoin platform, for several years, focusing on providing stable assets in different currencies, and I am really excited about what permissionless and transparent stable currencies can do for local economies and the growing Celo ecosystem on the African continent. For those planning on attending the event, come and say hi. If you have ideas or want to build something on top of our solution, come by. We are super open to partnerships. And we would love to meet you!

The MiniPay Wallet

What end-users can do with the MiniPay wallet, the Celo blockchain and the Mento Platform today is pretty amazing. Users in Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana can quickly onboard into the MiniPay wallet from the Opera Mini browser, using their phone number as an identity feature. Users can find other users of the wallet via their phone book contacts. MiniPay allows users to send stable digital currency, Celo Dollar (cUSD), to any contact in their phone book. Celo enables fast, easy and secure transactions. Using Mento decentralized stablecoins such as the Celo Dollar (cUSD), allows users to pay for transaction fees on the blockchain with the same asset. For example, when users send cUSD, the gas fees are not only super low (<0.1%), users can pay for these transaction fees in cUSD as well. This means users don't need any other currency in their wallet, making the end-user experience truly seamless.

For this smooth user experience, here a few critical elements come together: an easy-to-use mobile wallet on a scalable blockchain, that includes an identity solution (via the phone number), very cheap transaction fees, and transparent stablecoins that users trust. This collaboration between MiniPay, Celo and the Mento Platform provides all of that.

Another crucial benefit of MiniPay is the intentional design of making the application easy for non-crypto native users. MiniPay is crafted to be simple for all generations of users, ensuring fast and user-friendly onboarding. The speed of onboarding and connecting the wallet is impressive, making it highly accessible for users unfamiliar with crypto. With MiniPay users can save, pay, and remit. Collateralized and uncollateralized lending, e.g. via microcredits, allows users to obtain uncollateralized small loans, such as providing entrepreneurs across the continent with significant financial flexibility. MiniPay operates as a single-currency wallet to provide the easiest end-user experience possible. On top, Mento Labs is working on building out other local digital currencies on the Mento Platform in the future. A first example is the West African Franc (eXOF), and additional possibilities are being explored with other currencies such as the Kenyan Shilling and Nigerian Naira. Mento Labs’ focus is to continue to enhance the user experience by expanding the range of currencies available, ensuring a more inclusive and localized digital ecosystem.

Why dApps on MiniPay

Saving in the decentralized cUSD stablecoin on the Mento Platform used in the MiniPay wallet, provides easy and open access to a stable currency. dApps on MiniPay, like Blockscratch, enhance the saving experience by allowing users to earn rewards when holding Celo Dollar (cUSD). Other dApps, like impactMarket, offer “learn and earn” programs that allow users who are Universal Basic Income (UBI) recipients to be rewarded for learning. Many more dApps are currently being built by the community.


The security, transparency and the stability of the decentralized Celo Dollar (cUSD) is paramount. It is a highly overcollateralized stablecoin, >4 times collateral for every stablecoin, and users can always check online to see what the collateral of the stablecoin is. This is crucial because cUSD is used by end-users who trust their personal wealth, loans, and payments to the stablecoin.

The EVM-compatible Mento Platform enables the ability for partners to launch and operate local stable currencies in every country. Looking to the future, Mento Labs aims to host more local digital currencies across Africa. Through our local partner Dunia, the decentralized West African Franc digital currency (eXOF) has been launched on Mento, and the community is working on introducing more local currencies such as the Nigerian Naira or a Kenyan Shilling. This focus on local currencies is part of Mento Labs’ commitment to providing users with the opportunity to use various and more localized digital currencies within the Celo ecosystem and beyond.

Supporting Decentralized Finance in Africa

Looking at the African continent, it's truly amazing to witness the current excitement and momentum. The demographics of the continent depict a young and growing population. This youthful demographic is not only expanding, but is also characterized by a high level of openness to technology. The receptiveness of this population to innovation in decentralized finance (DeFi), aligns perfectly with the open and inclusive nature of Web3 technology. This, in essence, resonates with Celo's mission of creating conditions for prosperity for all, fostering an environment where everyone can thrive. I think this is the perfect combination and therefore, for Mento Labs it is also the right timing with the right technology that is coming together to support growth and new use cases for digital assets in Africa.

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