In brief

  • tBTC is a Bitcoin-pegged token.
  • Celo is an open blockchain platform dedicated to bringing financial tools to the masses.
  • Bitcoin holders can now use tBTC to access the Celo platform.

tBTC is a Bitcoin-pegged ERC-20 token that allows Bitcoin holders to participate in decentralized finance on the Ethereum blockchain. Now, Celo wants Bitcoin holders to use it on its platform.

The Celo Foundation and tBTC announced today that it is creating a bridge between Bitcoin and the Celo platform.

Marek Olszewski, CTO of cLabs, the group that created the Celo blockchain, said, “We selected tBTC as the safe way to establish a bridge between BTC holders and the Celo community. We share the core values of the teams behind tBTC to make financial tools accessible.”

Celo is a blockchain platform for creating mobile phone DeFi tools—not necessarily the kind that help you earn 1,000% interest on the latest obscure food-themed coin, but the kind meant to facilitate global financial inclusion. Its light client can supposedly be used on any smartphone, even in areas with low internet connectivity.

Celo has gone so far as to form something of a competitor to Facebook’s Libra project, called the Alliance for Prosperity. Its members are dedicated to using blockchain tech—and, crucially, Celo’s stablecoin—to work toward a financially inclusive world where everyone has access to credit and capital.

Yet since Bitcoin constitutes the bulk of the cryptocurrency market cap, Celo sees it as key to its long-term plans. “Tapping this liquidity and making it possible to use Bitcoin in DeFi apps, and as collateral in the programmatic Celo stablecoin reserve, will be crucial to the long-term growth of the crypto economy,” it said in a press release.

tBTC, built by Keep, is like wBTC (wrapped Bitcoin), which is issued by BitGo, but is designed to be decentralized. A representative for tBTC told Decrypt, “tBTC on Celo will allow all users of the Celo ecosystem to use Bitcoin natively in Celo wallets and dApps.” 

And it imagines a lot of potential users.

“Through the Celo tTBC bridge, Bitcoin will become easily accessible to the 6 billion smartphone users worldwide in a permissionless and non-custodial way,” the press release concluded.

Correction: This article has been updated to clarify that the integration is not yet live.