IT in Banking

SA’s crypto-currency exchange VALR gets R57m boost

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Farzam Ehsani, CEO and co-founder of VALR.
Farzam Ehsani, CEO and co-founder of VALR.

Local crypto-currency exchange VALR, which claims to be SA’s largest Bitcoin exchange by trading volume, announced today it has raised R57 million ($3.4 million) to advance the adoption of crypto-currencies.

The Series A equity round of funding was led by 100x Ventures, the investment arm of 100x Group, which is behind crypto-currency derivatives trading platform BitMEX, with participation from SA-based 4Di Capital and continued support from former FNB CEO, Michael Jordaan, and US-based Bittrex., founded in 2018 to bridge the gap between the traditional financial system and the new world of crypto-currencies, launched Bitcoin-rand trading in June 2019 and has since grown to become South Africa’s leading Bitcoin trading platform, with over 13 000 Bitcoin traded over the last month.

In SA, VALR competes against crypto-currency exchanges such as Naspers-backed Luno, AltCoinTrader, Paxful and iCE3X, among others.

The local exchanges recently told ITWeb they are witnessing renewed interest in Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies as the country grapples with the COVID-19 lockdown.

In a statement, VALR says it offers its 40 000 customers the ability to buy and sell more than 50 crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin and Ether.

“I am very grateful that despite the challenging global COVID-19 pandemic that has adversely affected many businesses around the world, VALR has been able to grow at a phenomenal pace and we’ve been able to raise funds and partner with a set of world-class investors, adding to our already distinguished group of shareholders,” says Farzam Ehsani, VALR CEO and co-founder.

VALR will use the proceeds from the capital raised to build new products and services, expand into new territories, and continue to build its team of professionals, particularly in the technology, regulatory and compliance, and client service domains, says the company.

Arthur Hayes, CEO and co-founder of 100x Group, says: “South Africa has an incredibly exciting and fast-growing crypto-currency ecosystem, and we believe VALR is well-placed to capitalise on future growth of Bitcoin trading.

“In VALR, we’re backing not only a successful early stage business, but a management team with the ability to scale operations significantly.”

VALR has raised R79 million to date, including an equity funding seed round of R20 million in July 2018.

“At 4Di, we have been looking for an appropriate investment in the crypto sector for some years, and we are delighted to be backing such a high quality business and management team,” says Justin Stanford, co-founding general partner at 4Di Capital.

“VALR has shown great integrity and leadership, coupled with impressive growth, and delivers a mature, institutional grade offering to the local market. This is becoming a necessary component in all markets the world over, as the crypto asset ecosystem becomes increasingly more accepted and integrated into the global financial system.”

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