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Abra receives US$5M in Investment from The Stellar Development Foundation

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Stellar is a decentralized network for financial products and services. It is both a cross-currency transaction system and a platform for digital asset issuance, designed to connect the world's financial infrastructure.

Stellar was established six years ago by Jed McCaleb, founder of Mt. Gox and co-founder of Ripple, which is also a public decentralized protocol. Stellar was initially created as a fork of Ripple, although the code-base has since been re-written. The protocol has been backed by Stripe, which is the only known investor.

The SDF is a non-profit organization that supports the development and growth of Stellar. Founded in 2014, the Foundation helps maintain the Stellar codebase, supports the technical and business communities building on the network, and serves as a voice to regulators and institutions.

This is the second SDF investment to come from its enterprise fund, an account dedicated to fostering sustainable Stellar use cases. The Stellar Enterprise Fund aims to be a venture-style fund for growing the network. The Fund has been allocated 10B Lumens (XLM) from the Stellar Network, worth just under US$580M as of the date of this article. The XLM in this account will be used to either acquire or invest in businesses that have the potential to grow and further develop the Stellar ecosystem.

The first investment from the fund was in February 2020, when US$750K was provided to DSTOQ Group AG. DSTOQ is a Liechtenstein-based company, which helps make investing accessible and affordable for people in emerging markets, through a borderless digital interface for security tokens built on the Stellar network. Using DSTOQ, users have access to stocks, such as Tesla or Amazon, as well as bonds, indices, and commodities using fiat or cryptocurrencies.

According to the CEO and Executive Director of the SDF, Denelle Dixon, the recent investment, “marks the beginning of our partnership to work together towards creating equitable access to financial services that also create new, innovative business opportunities for the Stellar network."

"Abra is building a product portfolio of financial services that aligns directly with our mission to create equitable access to the global financial system,” Dixon said. “They're committed to providing innovative investment opportunities in underserved, capital-scarce markets.”

Abra was founded in 2014 in Silicon Valley by Bill Barhydt, a former software engineer for Goldman Sachs and a former director of Netscape. Abra's vision is to open access to the global financial system and drive greater financial inclusion. The company aims to do this by providing one financial app used by anyone, anywhere in the world to manage and send money.

In September 2015, Abra closed a US$12M Series A round. Investors in the round include Arbor Ventures, RRE Ventures, Future\Perfect Ventures, Pantera Capital, First Round Capital, and Indian billionaire Ratan Tata. Since then the company has gone on to close two more rounds of funding raising over US$33.5M over those two rounds.

Other firms and institutions that are now investors include American Express, Digital Currency Group, Blockchain Capital, CMT Digital, Boost VC and Lerer Hippeau. Abra now empowers users in more than 150 countries to invest in hundreds of cryptocurrencies, with 65 fiat currencies all via a single app.

The SDF previously announced an exclusive partnership with Elliptic, a provider of crypto-asset risk management solutions for crypto businesses and financial institutions. Elliptic's developed XLM transaction and wallet screening capabilities which will bring further confidence and safety to the Stellar network.

Elliptic is a London based company that has raised over US$40M for investors that include Wells Fargo, Santander, SBI Group, AlbionVC, Octopus Ventures, Signalfire, and the Digital Currency Group.

"This partnership will help businesses fulfill their compliance needs when building on top of this powerful network" stated Simone Maini, CEO of Elliptic. "As regulations mature, it will become increasingly important for crypto-asset issuers and platform developers to enable their users to stay compliant if adoption is to grow. The Stellar Development Foundation has been ahead of the curve in working with Elliptic on this."



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Nawaz Ahmed, Khareem Sudlow