A new funding round led by Hong Kong-based crypto investment firm Alameda Research has raised $50 million to create a decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem on Maps.me, a leading offline mapping application. Genesis Capital and CMS Holdings also participated in the round.
The launch of an embedded multi-currency wallet on Maps.me will unlock DeFi tools for its 140 million users. As well as providing access to turn-by-turn routing, travel guides, hotel bookings, and detailed mapping. The wallet will allow users to access a range of payment and investment tools in the Maps.me ecosystem, broadening access to finance without the need for intermediaries or banks.
The Maps.me wallet will enable users to store value and earn yields of up to 8%, exchange funds with no hidden fees, send money and spend in multiple currencies for cross-border travel, as well as get cash back on transactions through the app.
“We’re excited to be working with our partners to create a DeFi ecosystem on a platform that has already achieved scale in terms of its number of users, and which will expand services that are closely linked to financial needs,” said Alex Grebnev, Co-Founder of Maps.me.
Maps.me 2.0 aims to combat the high foreign exchange fees and commissions charged by banks and third-party travel booking platforms by enabling users to make direct travel bookings via its natively integrated wallet with near-zero fees.
Travel and local businesses will also benefit from Maps.me 2.0 as they will be able to reach the most relevant clients by demographics, location, and interest – as well as ensure they receive fair payments without third-party platforms taking large commission fees.
Maps.me is particularly popular with millennial Europeans, with over 58% of users from the continent and over 70% between the ages of 18-40. The average millennial spent $4,400 in 2019 for travel-related expenses.