Local crypto exchange Ovex eyes African expansion

By Dieketseng Montsi, Senior news journalist
Johannesburg, 11 Jul 2019
Ovex CEO Jonathan Ovadia.
Ovex CEO Jonathan Ovadia.

South African crypto-currency exchange Ovex is looking to expand beyond South African borders.

This was revealed by Ovex CEO Jonathan Ovadia in an interview with ITWeb.

Ovadia says the company wants to grow its South African market and also expand to other African countries. “We are looking at Malawi and Zimbabwe even though it’s quite difficult to get capital out of Zimbabwe.”

Ovex is a crypto exchange with the goal of providing liquidity to all crypto assets. The company was founded in 2017 and spent 14 months perfecting the technology behind the platform with a matching engine that is capable of processing in excess of one million trades per second.

Vinny Lingham, prominent Shark Tank investor and CEO of blockchain identity firm Civic, has invested an undisclosed sum in Ovex.

In May, Ovex also received funding from Invictus Capital, which it believes will prop-up Ovex to break the monopoly created by Naspers-backed Luno in SA’s digital currency market.

Ovadia says investing in other countries is difficult due to laws. “There are regulations in every country and if you are going to do business, you have to abide by the country’s laws.”

He says the expansion will help working foreigners who want to send money home.

“We have very strict capital control requirements in South Africa. Banks charge foreigners 10% for them to send money home. However, digital currency cuts out the middlemen which are the banks,” he said.

Ovex now has 500 active users daily on average. It competes against Luno, AltCoinTrader and VALR, among others.

In April, Ovex begun to roll out a new type of interest account, offering users the ability to earn up to 7% interest on their crypto balances.

The company says this is enabled through sophisticated market-making practices developed in-house by the Ovex team. The Ovex interest account is available in over 18 different crypto-currencies.

Through the use of artificial intelligence and a partnership with Lingham’s Civic, Ovex users who wish to withdraw more than R20 000 are able to verify their identity in a matter of minutes.