By Adedapo Adesanya
American financial service platform, Stripe, has acquired Paystack, one of Nigeria’s leading payment service providers.
Paystack provides a quick way to integrate payments services into an online or offline transaction by way of an application programming interface.
According to reports, the arrangement will see Paystack continue its operations independently with its large customer base which includes small businesses, larger corporates, fintechs, educational institutions, and online betting companies.
Although not all terms of the deal were made public, people privy with the discussions noted that it is worth over $200 million. This makes it the biggest startup acquisition out of Nigeria.
This will help expand the company’s footprint around the world and also set it up for a possible IPO in the future.
Speaking in an interview with Tech Crunch, Mr Patrick Collison, Stripe’s co-founder and CEO, said it was an enormous opportunity considering the future prospects of online commerce.
“In absolute numbers, Africa may be smaller right now than other regions, but online commerce will grow about 30 per cent every year. And even with wider global declines, online shoppers are growing twice as fast.
“Stripe thinks on a longer time horizon than others because we are an infrastructure company. We are thinking of what the world will look like in 2040-2050,” he said.
On the part of Paystack, the deal will give the company an ability to build out further in Nigeria and expand to other markets, disclosed its CEO, Mr Shola Akinlade, in an interview.
“Paystack was not for sale when Stripe approached us. For us, it’s about the mission. I’m driven by the mission to accelerate payments on the continent, and I am convinced that Stripe will help us get there faster. It is a very natural move,” Mr Akinlade stated.
Stripe has made a number of investments into startups building technology or businesses in areas, including backing investment in universal checkout service, Fast, and backing the Philippines-based payment platform, PayMongo.
Both companies have a history with Stripe leading an $8 million funding round for Paystack, with others participating including Visa and Tencent in 2018.
Mr Collison said that while acquiring Paystack after investing in it was a big move for the company, people also shouldn’t read too much into it in terms of Stripe’s bigger acquisition policy.
“When we invest in startups, we’re not trying to tie them up with complicated strategic investments. We try to understand the broader ecosystem, and keep our eyes pointed outwards and see where we can help.”
This may mean that it has no plans to acquire other regional companies or other operations simply to expand Stripe’s footprint but how well it operates as in the case of Paystack.
“A lot of companies have been, let’s say, heavily influenced by Stripe but with Paystack, clearly they’ve put a lot of original thinking into how to do things better. There are some details of Stripe that we consider mistakes, but we can see that Paystack gets it, it’s clear from the site and from the product sensibilities, and that has nothing to do with them being in Africa or African.”
Business Post gathered that Stripe and Paystack postponed the original announcement in part because of the current situation of demonstrations against police brutality in Nigeria.
NCC Tutors Nigerians How to Tackle Flubot Malware
By Sodeinde Temidayo David
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has alerted Nigerian telecom users of the existence of a new high-risk and extremely damaging malware called Flubot.
The NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr Ikechukwu Adinde, said the malware is like every other malicious software and program designed specifically to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system.
“When Flubot infects a device, it can result in incalculable financial losses. Additionally, the malware creates a backdoor which grants access to the user’s device, thus enabling the invader or attacker to perform other criminal actions, including launching other variants of malware,” he said.
Information from the Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT) revealed that Flubot malware targets androids with fake security updates and app installations.
The Flubot impersonates android mobile banking applications to draw fake web views on targeted applications, and its goal transcends stealing personal data and essentially targets stealing of credit card details or online banking credentials.
This malware can also be circulated through Short Message Service (SMS) and can snoop on incoming notifications, initiate calls, read or write SMSes, and transmit the victim’s contact list to its control centre.
It attacks Android devices by pretending to be FedEx, DHL, Correos, and Chrome applications and compels unsuspecting users to alter the accessibility configurations on their devices in order to maintain a continuous presence on devices.
The new malware damages the security of devices by copying fake login screens of prominent banks, and the moment the users enter their login details on the fake pages, their data is collected and transmitted to the malware operators’ control point.
This control quarter is where the data is exploited by intercepting banking-related One Time Passwords (OTPs) and replacing the default SMS app on the targeted Android device.
The malware is also capable of securing access into the device through SMS and proceeds to transmit similar messages to other contacts that may be on the device it has attacked, enticing them into downloading the fake app.
In a bid to tackle this malicious action, protect millions of telecom consumers and prevent criminal forces from using telecom platforms to execute fraud and complete damages, the NCC also listed measures to guard against attacks from Flubot.
Telecom users are expected not to install any app or security update following a page request, also not to click on any link when they receive a suspicious text message.
Users should also consider the use of updated antivirus software that detects and prevents malware infections, and apply critical patches to the system and application.
Also, the use of strong passwords and enabling Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) over logins should be embraced.
Data should be Backed-up regularly, and if affected by this campaign, victims should reset their device to factory mode as soon as possible as this will delete any data on your phone, including personal data.
According to the NCC, backups made after installing the malicious program should not be restored, and victims may contact ngCERT platform for technical assistance.
Infected personnel will also need to change the passwords to all of y online accounts, with urgency, around online bank accounts.
If anyone has concerns that their accounts may have been accessed by unauthorized people, they are advised to contact their bank immediately.
Interswitch Unveils Report on Future of Africa’s Digital Economy
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A report aimed to help drive the growth of African businesses through blockchain technology has been unveiled by Interswitch Group, a leading integrated digital payment and e-commerce company on the continent.
The whitepaper titled Blockchain Technology: The Future of Africa’s Digital Economy, according to the Managing Director of Transaction Switching and Payment Processing at Interswitch, Mr Akeem Lawal, “was inspired by the need to demystify the ambiguity around blockchain technology for African businesses, thereby driving digitization and socio-economic growth across African markets.”
“We are passionate about empowering Africans and advancing the African payment landscape, and we are consistently identifying opportunities and exploring innovative ways to enable businesses to transform and scale,” he added.
Blockchain technology is a digital ledger that stores transactions. Essentially, it is a digital system for recording transactions in multiple places at the same time thereby making it impossible to falsify the data stored on it. The technology is evolving globally and businesses are integrating Blockchain technology into their business infrastructure.
The whitepaper document released by Interswitch contains details on how businesses can leverage blockchain technology to transform their businesses and the prospects it portends for the future of Africa’s digital economy.
Mr Lawal disclosed that the document encapsulates the benefits of blockchain technology and how it will help strengthen businesses because of its efficiency, better security in keeping records and safety.
“While the blockchain technology is a relatively new phenomenon in Nigeria and Africa, we are particularly excited about our partnership with Interstellar with whom we are developing a native blockchain infrastructure that is tailored to suit the African market,” he stated.
“This initiative will deepen digital payment, lower the cost of local and cross border payment as well as champion the cause for localization of emerging technology,” Mr Lawal assured.
He urged everyone to read the whitepaper document because it addresses existing challenges in the Fintech sector and simplifies the use of blockchain technology in unravelling these challenges.
Google Thrills Android Lovers With Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro
By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel
It is an exciting moment for Andriod and Pixel lovers as Google is set to reveal its new Pixel 6 and 6 pro phones in a few hours’ time.
While the multinational technology company traditionally holds an October hardware event to reveal its new Pixel phones, it is a new thing that it had already announced this year’s innovations to be unveiled.
“On October 19, we’re officially introducing you to Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro—the completely reimagined Google phones. Powered by Tensor, Google’s first custom mobile chip, they’re fast, smart, and secure. And they adapt to you. #Pixel6Launch,” the company had earlier disclosed.
However, the excitement from fans all over the globe seems to be below expectation given that a lot has already been learned about the upcoming Google flagship, thanks to some leaks on the key details of the phones which have been in circulation before now.
There are no confirmations on what the new products will function like, but various leaks have it that the regular Pixel 6 is set to have a 6.4-inch FHD+ display with a 90Hz refresh rate.
It has also been speculated to sport a 50MP main camera and a 12MP ultrawide, while the Pixel 6 Pro ups the ante with a 6.71-inch QHD+ display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a third 48MP telephoto camera with 4x optical zoom.
Regardless, the introduction of the two new versions will see not only a significant departure from previous Pixels but also Google’s first attempt at its own silicon & Artificial Intelligence – a revolutionary outcome for Android users.
What has been confirmed is that the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will be the flagship devices for the latest Android version – 12, which also has a major visual design change.
The event which is themed Pixel Fall Launch will not only focus on the introduction of Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro as there is room for surprises, that is, the unveiling of sister gadgets or applications.
According to Google, the launch is scheduled to commence at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. BST. This means that for West African Time, it will be watchable starting from 6 pm today, and can be viewed on several platforms using various live-stream options.
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