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Stellar Foundation Invests $15M in AirTM to Boost Financial Services in Latin America

The investment extends the Stellar network's reach into Latin America and aims to improve digital payments across the region.

May 25, 2021 at 1:34 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:01 p.m. UTC

The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) has made a $15 million investment in AirTM, a digital wallet and peer-to-peer exchange platform based in Mexico.

The Enterprise Fund investment – SDF's biggest to date – looks to boost the development of AirTM's platform, with an integration with the Stellar blockchain network planned within the next year, according to an emailed announcement. An SDF spokesperson said the investment was made in dollars, not Stellar's native cryptocurrency, XLM.

At the higher level, the investment in AirTM aims to improve financial services across Latin America and other developing nations, bringing faster and cheaper payments, and opening up financial access to underbanked communities, SDF Executive Director Denelle Dixon said in a statement.

Citing "fragmented banking networks" in Latin America, SDF said the region remains largely cash-based, though payment card use is starting to pick up. This provides an opportunity to help improve services such as remittances via AirTM's platform and transactions over the Stellar network, the firms said.

“With this investment, and our integration with the Stellar network, we will continue to advance on our mission of helping consumers and businesses throughout the developing world access stable money that holds its value, is free and instant to transfer, compatible with the global economy, and can be withdrawn as local currency whenever, and wherever it’s needed,” AirTM CEO Ruben Galindo Steckel said in a statement.

SDF's Enterprise Fund looks to expand the Stellar network by investing in startups that work with its technology. So far in 2021, it's invested a total of $24.5 million in fintech and blockchain companies worldwide, according to the announcement. The fund has doled out $33.76 million in investments since its launch in fiscal year 2020.

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