Crypto application VIBRA, co-founded by Vincent Li, founding partner of web3 accelerator Adaverse, has ceased operations in Nigeria. Sources suggest a complete shutdown across Africa, but Li insists it is shuttering only its Nigerian market and is also in the middle of a pivot.
In July 2023, VIBRA, the crypto trading app created by the African Blockchain Lab, shut down its Nigerian operation. Vincent Li, the co-founder of the African Blockchain Lab, which received $6 million in VC funding from investors like Lateral Frontiers and Dragonfly Capital, told TechCabal that the business is currently undergoing a pivot but did not share details. Li also said that Vibra remains active in its other markets.
While the company’s website states that it operates in Ghana and Kenya, an email shared on its official Telegram channel suggests that the application has stopped servicing users in all African markets. “Please note that we will no longer support any crypto transactions after today, July 14,“ the email said without explicitly stating that the closure would only affect Nigerian customers. Li declined to comment on the email.
Two reliable sources, including a former employee, told TechCabal that the company has shut down. “Former colleagues who should be privy to such details told me that the startup has folded,” one of the former employees who declined to be named told TechCabal. Another source also said the company’s employees, including Hailey Yang, the country manager, have left.
VIBRA, Blockchain Labs’ first product, set out “to drive the mass adoption of digital assets and blockchain technologies in Africa.” It also had #VIBRAinClass, where experts could earn money for teaching Africans about blockchain. Tutors could earn up to $400 or $100 per class in four months. Students could also earn up to 1000 naira in each class.
These incentives were likely expensive and may not have been enough to win customer trust. “ Nigerians are very crypto-curious and are willing to try new ways to earn money, but they also have huge expectations of crypto companies,” said a former employee. “Nigerians who see cryptocurrencies as a path to quick wealth creation need to know that you can fly ten people out to Dubai,” the former employee said, referencing the expensive promotion tactics employed by popular exchanges in Nigeria.
*This is a developing story