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Zenith Bank, First Bank, UBA Join Zone’s Decentralized Payment Network

first bank zenith banj UBA Zone network

By Adedapo Adesanya

Payment infrastructure company, Zone, has announced that three of Africa’s largest and most prominent financial institutions—First Bank, UBA, and Zenith Bank, — have joined other banks and fintechs on its decentralized payment network.

The onboarding of the three Tier-1 Nigerian banks with over N1 trillion in market capitalisation will tap into Zone’s infrastructure which allows participating institutions to connect directly with each other and perform payment transactions without an intermediary while completely automating settlement, reconciliation, and dispute management.

This announcement follows Zone’s recent $8.5 million seed funding round led by Flourish Ventures and TLcom Capital, and the launch of its decentralized PoS Payment Gateway, ZonePOS.

These milestones represent major advancements towards the company’s mission of connecting every monetary store of value by harnessing the power of blockchain.

Zone secured a switching and processing license from the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2022, making its payment infrastructure Africa’s first regulated blockchain network for payments.

The company in a statement on Wednesday noted that by integrating with Zone’s regulated blockchain network, UBA, Zenith Bank, and First Bank along with other financial service providers already on the network, will significantly enhance their payment processing capabilities.

“These banks will benefit from being able to route transactions directly between participants on the network, which eliminates intermediaries and reduces failure points, resulting in faster, more reliable, and more scalable transaction processing at lower costs,” Zone said in the statement to Business Post.

With its architecture and underlying technology, Zone’s blockchain powered payment infrastructure is expected to serve as a major catalyst in the transformation of Nigeria’s payment industry and the actualization of the highly anticipated cashless society.

With leading banks like Zenith Bank, First Bank, and UBA already integrated and processing transactions on its network, the industry stands to gain more than just improved transaction reliability.

This is because connecting financial service providers directly with each other also delivers payment experiences with significantly less friction and allows payment service providers to function with little to no operational risks.

Specifically, Zone’s network provides end-to-end transparency and automatic reconciliation, which eliminates chargebacks, prevents chargeback fraud, and delivers same-day settlement to financial institutions and their customers.

Commenting on the announcement, Mr Obi Emetarom, CEO and co-founder of Zone, said: “We are thrilled to have UBA, Zenith Bank, and First Bank in our network. Their integration into our decentralized payment network is a significant milestone in our journey to advance the payment landscape in Nigeria and the rest of the world.”

“Having some of Africa’s largest and most reputable financial institutions underscores the growing trust in our technology and its ability to deliver on our promise of reliable, frictionless and universally interoperable payment experiences.

“As we continue to expand and enhance our payment network, we remain committed to connecting every monetary store of value and enabling a truly inclusive financial ecosystem operating without cash,” he said.