• Tala, a fintech company, has raised $145 million to expand its cryptocurrency services

  • Tala, a financial services company based in California, has raised $145 million in a Series E funding round to provide cryptocurrency solutions to developing countries. This brings the company’s total funding to more than $350 million from investors including PayPal Ventures, GV, and Revolution Growth.

    Moving Towards Cryptocurrency

    Tala, a financial services provider, intends to use the funds to expand its borrowing, savings, and money management options to the Philippines, Mexico, India, and Kenya. The company also intends to provide cryptocurrency offerings.

    Shivani Siroya, Founder and CEO of Tala, stated that the COVID-19 pandemic served as a wake-up call for her company to expand beyond traditional services:

    “During the pandemic, we saw a need for more than credit and launched products beyond credit, highlighting the account experience that we’re now excited to accelerate.”

    Tala primarily serves underbanked customers. According to Siroya, the company has lent more than $1 billion to millions of customers, and he believes that digital assets have the potential to improve financial transactions:

    “So we’re really looking to ensure that they have a safe place to use their money more efficiently, and that’s what we’re thinking about when it comes to crypto: how can we use this technology to really ensure that we’re supporting the essential movement of money.”

    The Visa Collaboration

    Tala made its first foray into the cryptocurrency industry earlier this year when it partnered with Visa, a multinational financial services corporation, and Circle, a peer-to-peer payments technology company. Their goal was to enable underbanked individuals to buy, sell, and store the USDC stablecoin.

    Tala would keep the acquired USDC in its digital wallet, which users could later convert into other cryptocurrencies or fiats, according to the terms of the collaboration. In turn, Visa provided customers with access to the payment provider’s credit card, allowing them to spend the stablecoins at any merchant that accepts those cards.

    Siroya praised blockchain technology’s potential to solve global problems of financial inclusion at the time:

    “Digital currencies have enormous potential to radically open financial access and directly place more control in the hands of underbanked and undervalued people.”

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