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- Advertisement - Making DeFi accessible for everyday consumers, spearheaded by Hussain Elius, secures US$3.8 million for DeFi expansion, focusing on Southeast Asia's freelancers and remote workers and offering a user-friendly crypto experience.

Hussain Elius, known for co-founding Pathao, one of Bangladesh's leading ridesharing apps, is now venturing into the DeFi arena with his latest enterprise, This innovative platform serves as a self-custodial, smart contract wallet, offering three distinct features. Firstly, it allows businesses to remunerate remote workers globally. Secondly, it provides users with virtual bank account functionalities. Finally, is developing an infrastructure for users to effortlessly convert their crypto holdings into fiat currencies and vice versa.

Since its launch, has impressively handled over US$3 million in annualised gross transaction volume (GTV). The Singapore-based startup has recently announced a successful US$3.8 million pre-seed funding round, co-led by Global Founders Capital and Spartan Group. The funding round also saw participation from backers like Saison Capital, Alumni Ventures, and Tiny VC.

Elius's departure from Pathao, which had evolved into a major consumer tech entity in Bangladesh and Nepal, marked his foray into crypto during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite his tech-savvy background, Elius found the crypto world challenging, particularly for those without technical expertise. “Crypto is still for nerds,” he stated, referring to the complexities of understanding aspects like MetaMask, gas fees, and key . This led him to create an app tailored for users with minimal blockchain and crypto knowledge. Due to Bitcoin's volatility, simplifies the process by eliminating gas fees and allowing users to store money in stablecoins. Users can register with just their email or phone number, making it significantly more user-friendly.

Targeting freelancers and remote workers initially focuses on freelancers and remote workers, especially in . The app is already operational in the Philippines, India, and Bangladesh, with plans to expand into additional markets. Its early customer base includes Web3 startups, who quickly grasp the app's value proposition compared to traditional exchanges with higher fees.

Elius envisions as a superior alternative to existing services like Wise or Payoneer, thanks to its blockchain-based settlement system and lower fee structure. The app's self-custodial wallet feature enables quick account opening without comprehensive KYC processes. “Eventually, we want to go down the ladder and target the underbanked segment, who don't have as much KYC information anyway, to give them a very easy way to start accepting money,” Elius explains.

The Philippines was chosen as the startup's initial market due to its significant remittance market and widespread crypto awareness. Elius observed the widespread crypto knowledge in the country, even among tuk-tuk drivers, citing it as a remittance market with a strong crypto presence, ideal for launching

Competitive edge in the DeFi market

Distinct from other players in the field, has developed its infrastructure for converting fiat to crypto and vice versa, significantly cutting costs. While acknowledging the presence of giants like Binance and Coinbase, Elius notes that's direct competitors are more akin to Payoneer and TransferWise. “We are coming in and saying that hey, you know we are different because our entire tech stack is different, our regulatory advantage is different,” he asserts.

In terms of user security, prioritises a self-custodial wallet system, ensuring users retain complete control over their funds. Similar to Coinbase Wallet, MetaMask, or Trust Wallet,'s security is rooted in blockchain cryptography, with private keys securely stored on the user's device. This approach guarantees that users can access their funds even if were to shut down.

The newly acquired funds will be invested in technology development, compliance, and licensing and in expanding the startup's customer base, targeting both businesses and individual users.

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Nurin Sofia
Nurin Sofia
Nurin Sofia is a news editor at Tech Edition. Her interest is in technology and startups, occasionally crunching news for gaming. Sofia enjoys playing video games, going on bike rides, and gardening when she isn't behind a keyboard.

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