Canza Finance has launched Baki, a new stablecoin platform based on African fiat currencies, in what is described as an initial move to bring forex trading to emerging markets.
Baki, built on Avalanche, a popular L2 network, is an infinite-liquidity forex protocol allowing for slippage-free swaps between African currencies. The protocol allows users to deposit stablecoins and mint overcollateralized, synthetic assets, called zTokens, that are pegged to African currencies, creating the first on-chain implementation of African stablecoins.
With Baki, any zToken can be burnt to mint the equivalent value of zTokens in another currency.
Currently, Baki supports the minting of:
- US Dollars (zUSD)
- Nigerian Naira (zNGN)
- West African CFA (zCFA)
- South African Rand (zZAR)
All FX conversions between currencies are provided at the central bank rates, offering users access to dollar markets at the best possible rates.
“Baki aims to reshape the fundamentals of FX transactions on the continent by creating a robust and accessible market that offers all participants the best, fairest price available,” said Victor Teixeira, Chief Crypto Economist at Canza Finance.
“By creating a synthetic marketplace for African currencies, we are able to overcome the key challenge on the continent, FX scarcity. Avalanche C-Chain provides the most efficient and fastest growing blockchain to facilitate this protocol with numerous on ramps and off ramps that will enable adoption.”
According to a post on Avalanche website, in its initial version, Baki will facilitate on-chain trading of tokenized Nigerian Naira, South African Rand, and West African CFA. However, these stablecoins are different from most; instead of being backed directly by the underlying currency, they’ll be backed by USDC.
“zTokens, supported by USDC, are programmed to follow the values of specific fiat currencies, categorizing them as synthetic stablecoins. The backing from USDC, with a market cap surpassing $25 billion, maintains significant liquidity, reduced fees, and a straightforward UX for many DeFi users.”
Canza, which secured $3.27 miilion in seed funding in March 2022, is looking to break new ground with Baki, which becomes the first synthetic DeFi market for African stablecoins, the participants said.
The protocol is poised to capitalize on the unique dynamics of the Sub-Saharan FX market, generally characterized by high inflation, illiquid and fragmented currencies, and a bias towards OTC and P2P markets over CEXs, to usher in the next wave of DeFi power users.
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