LAGOS, Nigeria & NEW YORK & TEL AVIV, Israel — Zone (formerly Appzone), Africa’s first regulated layer-1 blockchain network for payments, and ThetaRay, a leading provider of AI-powered transaction monitoring technology, today announced they will collaborate to implement ThetaRay’s cloud-based SONAR solution to monitor and screen Zone’s transactions in Nigeria for illicit activities and sanctions violations.
Headquartered in Lagos, Zone serves large commercial banks, payment fintechs, digital banks, and OFIs with real-time, low-cost settlement of both fiat and digital currencies for domestic and cross-border payments.
Through the agreement, ThetaRay will provide Zone the SaaS-based SONAR AI solution that can detect and prevent the earliest signs of sophisticated attempts to launder money or circumvent financial sanctions and watchlists. The solution will help Zone ensure it fully complies with regulatory AML requirements and increase its growth opportunities by providing a trustworthy and secure service.
The new collaboration highlights ThetaRay’s expansion in Nigeria’s fintech payments market.
Zone is Africa’s first decentralized or peer-to-peer payment network based on blockchain technology, which allows payment transactions without dependence on intermediary switches. The decentralized architecture and the underlying technology enhance reliability, eliminate customer disputes, reduce the cost of operations, and automate back-office reconciliation. The network is a true web-scale infrastructure with a capacity for transaction processing throughput of over 50,000 transactions per second.
“We are thrilled with our partnership with ThetaRay, a collaboration that represents a significant step forward in our vision to become one global network to pay anyone, through any means, in any currency, in the most efficient and secure means possible,” said Elendu Uche, Co-Founder/Chief Operating Officer.
“By integrating with ThetaRay, we have enhanced our security measures and improved our regulatory compliance whilst providing faster transaction processing for our users within our decentralized payment network. We look forward to working even more closely with ThetaRay to continue delivering frictionless operations and reliable transactions to our customers.”
As Africa’s largest economy with a population of 200 million, Nigeria is home to Africa’s largest fintech ecosystem and more than 200 fintech companies. The country’s youthful population has driven Nigeria’s thriving fintech sector, increased smartphone penetration, and a focused regulatory drive to increase financial inclusion and cashless payments, according to the McKinsey research firm.1 The booming fintech market is helping improve financial inclusion in Nigeria, where more than 40 percent of the population is unbanked.
“Zone is leading Nigerian fintech innovation with a platform capable of revolutionizing the financial system through inclusive services that positively impact people’s lives,” said Mark Gazit, CEO of ThetaRay. “By deploying sophisticated AI technology to monitor and screen payments, Zone will embed the trust into its services, enabling it to grow volume, revenues and ecosystem partners.”
ThetaRay’s award-winning SONAR solution is based on a proprietary form of AI, artificial intelligence intuition, that replaces human bias, giving the system the power to recognize anomalies and find unknowns outside of normal behavior, including entirely new typologies. It enables fintechs and banks to implement a risk-based approach to effectively identify suspicious activity and create a full picture of customer identities, including across complex, cross-border transaction paths. This allows the rapid discovery of both known and unknown money laundering threats.
ThetaRay and Zone will host a customer event: “AI in Preventing Financial Crime: A New Normality” in Lagos on May 4, for executives in the banking and fintech industry of Nigeria.