Deutsche Telekom invests in mobile DeFi platform Celo

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Deutsche Telekom, one of the largest telecom providers in Europe, has invested in blockchain payments platform Celo to support the development of decentralized finance.

The telecom giant has made a “significant purchase” of Celo’s native token CELO through its strategic investment fund, the Telekom Innovation Pool, Celo announced Tuesday. The firm did not specify the size of the investment.

In conjunction with the investment, Deutsche Telekom has joined the global Celo Alliance for Prosperity — Celo’s ecosystem and a network of over 130 members including nonprofits, merchants, payment processors and blockchain firms. According to the announcement, Deutsche Telekom is the first telecom company to join the alliance.

As part of the move, Deutsche Telekom’s subsidiary T-Systems MMS will validator implementing the Open Telekom Cloud, or OTC. The OTC fulfills compliance requirements within the European regulatory framework, ensuring secure financial services are available through smartphones.

Adel Al-Saleh, a member of Deutsche Telekom’s board of management and T-Systems CEO, said that the new strategic investment will help the firm participate in a public blockchain network. “We are able to secure the Celo network with our investment and our own cloud infrastructure while facilitating user onboarding and use-case development on top of the Celo network,” he said.

Additionally, Deutsche Telekom will open up its SMS API to allow validators to send verification text messages using their service. According to the announcement, the diversity of SMS providers on the Celo platform improves both the security and reliability of the decentralized phone verification protocol, which plays a key role in the Celo blockchain’s usability.

“We’re excited to have Deutsche Telekom help secure the Celo network, develop the Celo infrastructure, and make meaningful contributions as a validator. The powerful combination of owning CELO and building on its mobile-first platform will help accelerate mass market adoption of digital assets,” Celo co-founder Rene Reinsberg said.

Celo is an open-source blockchain ecosystem focused on enabling access to DeFi systems and tools via smartphone. Last year, the CEO of Celo alliance member Blockdaemon predicted that the Celo ecosystem will soon comprise “PayPal on speed with its own native currencies.”

At the time of writing, CELO is trading at $4.03, down nearly 6% over the past 24 hours. A spokesperson for Deutsche Telekom reportedly said that any fluctuations in the value of its Celo holdings would have no noticeable impact on the investment, given its size.