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TradeSafe South African Digital Startup

TradeSafe is a self-funded Fintech startup in South Africa. The initiative counteracts online frauds in the country. It operates by safeguarding buyer’s money through trust until an actual delivery of commodity as promised by a seller.  The main principle guiding the system is transparency and visibility of transaction to all parties involved. The system releases money only when the customer has been fully satisfied with goods and services delivered.

Jethro O’Brien, the co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO), launched the startup in 2013. O’Brien’s idea was due to an online market fraud he faced when purchasing car spare parts.  In 2015, the startup was fully released to the market for commercial transactions.

According to O’Brien, the platform serves a critical role by protecting and linking buyers and sellers when making online businesses. He noted that Escrow is the main global market competitor. Despite the challenges of gaining public trust, the system attracts more customers based on credibility and trust.  So far, there is no reported incidence of failed transaction.  Additionally, rental deposits, general goods, fuel and commodities, freelancing and motor vehicles are the five top income generating sectors. He also emphasized the need of the system to be used in the corrupt oil sector in South Africa.

Besides linkage roles, the startup can also make multiple payment functions for all sorts of commodities.

The system has recorded a positive triple digit growth over the years. In addition to South Africa, the initiative operates in other African countries and international markets.

Gapex is the startup’s foreign exchange partner which allows for exchange of nearly 24 currencies globally. TradeSafe partnership with South African Reserve Bank (SARB) will make the system to be credited as ‘international third-party payment provider’

Commodity market sector is the future focus of the startup.




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Written by Denis Opudo

Am an engineer who's a tech blogger, hit me up on and we base our discussion on technology in Africa and the rest of the world.
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