Since its inception, Yellow Card has become the largest centralized cryptocurrency exchange in Africa. Nearly 1.4 million users across the continent rely on the platform to conduct transactions and manage their money.
Co-founders Chris Maurice and Justin Poiroux launched the exchange from their dorm room in Auburn, Alabama, and it has since become a vital part of the African economy.
ACCRA, GHANA – On the afternoon of Dec. 26, 2022, Chris Maurice finally capitulated and went to the emergency room at Hospital Clinic de Barcelona, just west of the city’s gothic quarter.
For roughly 10 months, the 26-year-old CEO of the largest centralized crypto exchange in Africa had ignored many of the symptoms consistent with malaria as he bounced between 21 different countries on the continent, advising heads of state on bitcoin adoption and setting up institutional accounts for his business.
Maurice’s work had taken him to some of the most malaria-ridden areas in the world and, in the process, he had contracted the disease three times.
Maurice was admitted to the intensive care unit after a year of plasmodium parasites multiplying in his liver and threatening to shut down many of his major organs, including his kidneys.
His face and eyes were yellow from jaundice. As his hemoglobin levels plummeted in response to the intravenous meds administered as treatment, four days of blood transfusions helped save his life.
Maurice has traded security and stability for a career on the road, all with the goal of fundamentally disrupting Africa’s broken financial system.
“I’ve slept more nights than I can count in the Joburg airport,” Maurice told CNBC on the sidelines of the Africa Bitcoin Conference in Ghana. “I’ve mastered the art of where to go to find a good Wi-Fi signal.”