Innovation

Opera Launches MiniPay, a New Stablecoin Wallet Built on the Celo Blockchain, to Onboard Millions of Users Across Africa to Web3

Opera, a global web innovator, unveils MiniPay – a blockchain-based wallet built on the Celo blockchain. Directly integrated into the Opera Mini  browser, MiniPay makes it easier and more affordable for individuals across Africa to acquire and to send or receive stablecoins – simply by using mobile phone numbers. Leveraging the unique benefits of Celo’s mobile-first infrastructure, Opera is setting a new standard in the consumer-grade wallet experience, with an initial focus on rapid and seamless P2P stablecoin payments.

Introducing MiniPay: Empowerment Through Innovation

Opera designed and built MiniPay in collaboration with the Celo Foundation, enabling rapid wallet-to-wallet stablecoin transfers with sub-cent fees using mobile phone numbers and fast onboarding with automatic wallet backup through Google. All, while addressing some of the key barriers allowing for a seamless Web2 to Web3 journey for users looking for a more reliable way to store and send funds using stablecoins.  

With an easy onboarding process using Google credentials, MiniPay ensures that every user experiences prompt digital asset transfers and a smooth introduction to Web3 transactions. In contrast, many non-custodial wallets require users to be crypto-savvy. The most common reason people lose their digital assets are the complexities around key management – forgetting the secret recovery phrase and passwords. MiniPay’s goal is to make decentralized wallets intuitive so that users of all experience levels can transact. By automatically backing up the user’s keys in their own Google Drive, MiniPay enables users to recover their wallet if they lose their phone or simply reinstall the app. The wallet’s foundation is built on speed, reliability, and financial inclusivity, making it an indispensable tool for users across Africa.

Opera brings simplicity to this by integrating with the top partners in the market supporting local payment methods such as Airtime, MPesa, Bank Transfer, or Cards. MiniPay is a non-custodial wallet which means that it doesn’t touch any traditional banking rails and relies on local partners so users can add and withdraw stablecoins from their wallet into their local currency. MiniPay will also support Celo’s FiatConnect standard, which has a growing number of integrated partners and will further improve the Cash-In-Cash-Out experience globally. 

Opera and Celo: A Vision for Financial Inclusion and Empowerment

As a key steward of the Celo ecosystem, the Celo Foundation is dedicated to bringing affordable and accessible DeFi to mobile users around the world. This and Opera’s focus on improving access to the digital world are a joint vision the two organizations share. Opera emerged as a tech pioneer in the African market more than 17 years ago, unveiling its unique data-saving technology through Opera Mini. Now one of the most popular apps and well-known brands in Africa, Opera counts over 100 million users across the continent. By integrating MiniPay into the Opera Mini browser, new and existing users will be able to experience fast and transparent transactions on the Celo blockchain, and be introduced to dApps and projects built on the Celo network.

“We are thrilled to unveil MiniPay, a cutting-edge partnership between Opera and the Celo Foundation that addresses existing concerns around how payments are made in the region. Users in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa have indicated that there are lingering concerns about high fees, unreliable service uptimes, a lack of transparency around transaction progress, and a lack of access to mobile data. This partnership therefore represents a pivotal moment in the world of digital finance, with the ability to send, receive, and ultimately earn money in a permissionless way,” said Jørgen Arnesen, EVP Mobile at Opera.

The Celo blockchain first launched on Earth Day 2020 with the mission of fostering a thriving collective of active builders, developers, founders, and community members committed to blockchain technology’s positive impact. With over 1,000 global projects in more than 150 countries, the Celo blockchain is carbon-negative and mobile-first, with many enterprise and institutional partners including Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, and many more. 

Additionally, Celo’s core technical features, on top of which MiniPay is built, include: 

  • Sub-cent transaction fees (and the ability to pay for fees using stablecoins
  • Fast transaction speed with 5-second settlement in seconds 
  • Seamless access to Celo’s rich ecosystem of 1,000+ dApps, from locally-focused UBI (e.g., impactMarket) to global decentralized finance (DeFi) blue chips (e.g., Uniswap) 
  • Celo’s mobile-first compatibility with SocialConnect (a privacy-first naming service protocol that maps wallets to mobile phone numbers) and FiatConnect (an open on-/off-ramp API standard that facilitates Cash-In-Cash-Out integrations.
  • Tapping into Celo’s vibrant African community, with a strong focus on regenerative finance (ReFi), grown since mainnet launched on Earth Day 2020

“Few companies have the global footprint, local insight, and technical capabilities that Opera brings to the Celo ecosystem; I am excited to work even more closely with their team on what I see as a key building block to help realize Celo’s mission at scale,” said Rene Reinsberg, Celo Co-Founder and Celo Foundation President. “By integrating the non-custodial MiniPay wallet directly into the popular Opera Mini browser, new and existing users will access a truly seamless experience with fast, transparent transactions on the Celo blockchain and be introduced to dApps and projects built on Celo that provide meaningful benefits for people in their everyday lives––this is the ‘killer’ use case the Web3 industry has been waiting for.” 

Building for MiniPay

Following a vote by the Celo community in July to migrate from a Layer-1 blockchain to an Ethereum Layer-2, the Celo network will undergo technical upgrades to see increased security and scalability while maintaining low gas fees, bringing more real-world use cases to the Ethereum community. This technical migration, led by the Celo community and core contributors, including cLabs, opens the door for even more Ethereum-compatible dApps to be built for MiniPay, reimagining the future of on-chain finance for community advancement and inclusion in the new digital economy.  

MiniPay will become available to Opera Mini users across Africa within the coming months, first launching in Nigeria. 

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