In a surprising turn of events, VIBRA, a prominent cryptocurrency platform with a focus on Africa, has ceased its operations across its three primary markets: Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya. Contrary to earlier reports that suggested the shutdown was limited to Nigeria, it has now been confirmed that the closure is more widespread.
Vincent Li, one of the brains behind VIBRA and also associated with the web3 accelerator Adaverse, mentioned that the company is in the midst of a strategic shift. However, insiders, including those who recently left the company, have painted a different picture.
A past employee revealed to the media, “Back in July, we were presented with two choices: either resign voluntarily or face dismissal.” This revelation came at a time when the company, spearheaded by Hailey Yang, was grappling with significant challenges. Furthermore, VIBRA announced to its user base that it would be halting its services by mid-July. While Li emphasized that this decision was primarily for the Nigerian audience, their largest demographic, chatter within the “VIBRA Africa” Telegram group indicates otherwise.
This decision by VIBRA follows the trend of other startups like Pillow and Lazerpay, both of which also terminated their operations in Africa. The continuous bearish trend in the crypto market and the downfall of the renowned crypto exchange FTX have been cited as potential reasons. Despite boasting of a network of over 100,000 agents across its markets, VIBRA’s active user count and transactional revenue saw a significant dip, as shared by a former employee.
Another ex-staffer highlighted the challenges VIBRA faced in translating their educational initiatives into tangible business outcomes. The company had launched #VIBRAinClass, an educational drive where professionals were compensated for enlightening Africans about blockchain. However, the downturn in the crypto world seems to have deterred potential new entrants.
The high costs associated with customer acquisition, especially in the blockchain domain, also weighed heavily on VIBRA. A previous employee remarked on the high expectations Nigerians have from crypto firms, alluding to the extravagant marketing strategies adopted by major players like Binance in the Nigerian market.
Vincent Li, VIBRA’s co-founder, has chosen to remain silent on these developments.