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Deutsche Telekom invests in blockchain-based payments platform

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Celo, a blockchain-based payment platform, has received an investment from Deutsche Telekom – and the telco has also bought an unspecified amount of the platform's digital token, CELO.

The purchase will be made by the Telekom Innovation Pool (TIP), Deutsche Telekom’s strategic investment fund. It is advised by Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners (DTCP).

Celo is an open-source blockchain ecosystem focused on making decentralised financial (DeFi) systems and tools accessible to anyone with a smartphone. Deutsche Telekom will work on security and infrastructure development as the alliance aims to "build a financial system that creates the conditions of prosperity – for everyone".

The firm will operate infrastructure across the Celo ecosystem by leaning on its subsidiary T-Systems MMS which will operate as a validator utilising the Open Telekom Cloud (OTC).

Deutsche Telekom said the OTC fulfils the "strict security and compliance requirements" of the European regulatory framework, ensuring secure financial services are available via smartphone worldwide.

In addition, Deutsche Telekom will open up its SMS API to allow validators to send verification text messages using their service. It said increasing the diversity of SMS providers on the Celo platform improves both the security and reliability of the decentralised phone verification protocol, which plays a central part in making the Celo blockchain easy to use.

“Our investment in CELO, combined with infrastructure operated by T-Systems, allows our company to take a strategic approach to participating in a public blockchain network," said Adel Al-Saleh, member of the board of management of Deutsche Telekom AG and CEO of T-Systems.

"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,” Al-Saleh continued.

Following the deal, Deutsche Telekom has also become the first telco to join the global Celo network, which counts more than 130 members.

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

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