From virtual to reality: Jackie Bona’s quest to bring crypto into the real world

Valora heralds a new era where crypto escapes its virtual bubble to bring new financial opportunities to millions


Artwork by Crystal Le


When it comes to building a successful, sustainable business in crypto, few components are as important as the team guiding the project forward.

Alongside its backers—established VCs like a16z and SVAngel, as well as celebrities like Kevin Durant, Diddy, and Casey Neistat—the Valora team has continually worked toward its mission to reduce friction and unlock crypto access for the masses. 

Who’s at the helm leading these efforts? 

A child of Filipino immigrants. A former student of the University of Cambridge, UCSB, and UCLA. An international businesswoman with over 15 years of expertise in international go-to-market strategy and product marketing at tech companies, including senior positions at Spotify, Twitter, and Google.

Meet Jackie Bona. She’s here to bring crypto into the real world.

Struggle begets understanding

Born to parents who emigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines, Jackie has witnessed the pain points of the traditional finance system firsthand. As a child, her parents often sent money home by giving cash to trusted friends or family flying there, a method much faster and $50 cheaper than using traditional financial services like Western Union.

Growing up, Jackie was taught to work hard, save, and be smart with money, but didn’t acquire much understanding of growing wealth through investing and equity until later in life, once she was already working at Google earning her first shares of stock. This eventually led her to pursue financial empowerment through self-education. She began investing yearly—initially in publicly traded companies—before expanding to angel investing in startups and crypto as a retail investor. 

Valora crypto CEO Jackie Bona
Jackie Bona | Source: Valora

This self-taught, transformative journey from beginner to seasoned investor at the bleeding edge of tech has come with incredible gains in knowledge and experience—all invaluable as Jackie strives to help change the global financial system with her team at Valora. 

Leveraging crypto to generate real-world impact

In the U.S., platforms like Venmo and Cash App simplify domestic P2P transactions. Yet, international transfers remain slow and costly. In 2021, with the rise of instant global services, the question arose: When almost everything is on-demand, instant, and global, why can’t money be as well?

Valora has emerged in response.

Today, Jackie and her team have their sights set on the massive opportunities that exist with value transfers.

There are over $500B in global remittances, with traditional money transfer fees costing as much as 15% of the transaction’s value, sometimes taking several days to settle. However, on Celo, the blockchain Valora uses, transactions cost as little as $0.001. The challenge then lies in ensuring these funds are accessible and usable.

Jackie is pushing to make Valora the first to solve what has been a quintessential opportunity for crypto –  fueled by a desire to help families globally who remain plagued by the sluggish traditional finance system, as her family was years ago. So far, it’s working. Under Jackie’s leadership, since its $20 million Series A in July 2021, Valora has achieved over a million downloads globally. Now, users across 100+ countries and 13 languages hold, access, and send funds with Valora.

Valora cryptocurrency app
Valora App | Source: Valora

Central to Valora’s progress is its mission to expand global financial access. With their focus primarily on emerging markets, the team recognizes smartphone adoption as the pivotal moment for expanding access to financial services globally.

“There are 7 billion smartphone users. But 1.4 billion people remain locked out of the traditional finance system. Think about that! People have more access to the internet via their mobile devices than they do a bank account… This is what we’re looking to change with Valora. Our mission is to make financial tools accessible to anyone with a mobile phone. We believe crypto is the way to do it.”

Jackie Bona, CEO of Valora

By optimizing and designing for smartphones, Valora meets users where they already are, cutting down time to adoption with a ready-to-use application that provides immediate benefits. Being mobile-first has also attracted other decentralized applications (dApps) to the Celo ecosystem, further expanding Valora’s value proposition to its users.

Embedding crypto in everyday life

With a background steeped in both personal and professional experiences, Jackie Bona is uniquely positioned to address the glaring gaps in global finance. 

Valora, under her leadership, is not just a crypto platform; it’s a movement aiming to redefine how we perceive and handle transferring value. Valora is not just challenging traditional financial systems but is also heralding a new era where crypto’s impact escapes the virtual space and levels the financial playing field with open access globally.

It’s not about the future of money—it’s about the present, and Jackie is ensuring that with every step Valora takes, they’re bringing crypto and financial opportunity closer to the pockets, and lives, of billions around the world.

Your crypto isn’t meant to collect dust in your wallets. Get started with Valora today to bring your crypto into the real world. To stay up with Jackie Bona and Valora’s progress, follow the team on X and join their Discord community.

This content is sponsored by Valora.

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