VALR, a South African crypto exchange, has announced that it has raised $50 million in a Series B equity funding round. The raise makes it the largest ever funding round raised by any crypto-related company in Afrika.

According to the crypto exchange, the funding now values VALR at $240 million.

“Society’s financial tools should unite us, not divide us. That’s why I’m very excited that VALR is helping to build a financial system that recognizes the oneness of the human race. There is no longer any room for doubt regarding the impact crypto assets are having on our global financial system. We already help VALR’s customers enter this new world of crypto from the traditional financial system using their USD or ZAR and I’m very excited that this round of funding will allow us to serve so many more across Africa and the world.” said Farzam Ehsani, VALR CEO and co-founder.

Three horse race

Although there are other companies, the crypto exchange market share fight across Afrika is generally a three-horse race. Luno, also a South African headquartered crypto exchange, has raised several millions of dollars over the years and even expanded beyond the continent's shores. In recent years, the world's largest crypto exchange, Binance, started launching operations in various Afrikan countries.

Despite many governments across Afrika not recognizing cryptocurrencies as legal tender, and in some cases banning them, crypto has proved popular among the continent's young population. This is partly because of how cumbersome it is to move money around the continent to send to friends and relatives as well as the fact that most people in Afrika are unbanked. However, there is also an element of speculation as crypto prices such as Bitcoin and Ethereum have been trending upwards for several years.

VALR’s oversubscribed Series B equity funding round was led by Pantera Capital with participation from Alameda Research, Cadenza, CMT Digital, Coinbase Ventures, Distributed Global, GSR, Third Prime, Avon Ventures, a venture capital fund affiliated with the parent company of Fidelity Investments, along with existing investors Bittrex and 4Di Capital, and others.

“Pantera is extremely excited to be leading the Series B round for VALR, as we believe that Africa’s future is bright for the adoption of cryptocurrencies for both asset diversification and payments. VALR brings an amazing product and service to onboard both retail customers and institutions,” said Paul Veradittakit, Partner at Pantera Capital.

Expansion plans

The South African headquartered crypto exchange has said that it aims to use the funds raised for various expansion plans. Among those plans is hiring more people.

Society’s financial tools should unite us, not divide us. That’s why I’m very excited that VALR is helping to build a financial system that recognizes the oneness of the human race.

The other part is that the funds will be used to expand across Afrika and into other emerging markets such as India, and to bring more products and services to its growing base of global customers. Beyond that the crypto exchange looks to onboard more financial institutions such as banks, insurance companies, and hedge funds, to assist them with the infrastructure needed to enter the crypto asset market.

“The world is on the precipice of huge financial change. Crypto assets will become more and more pivotal to all our lives. VALR is here to help bridge our customers from the old financial system to the new. Whether you’re an individual or an institution, we look forward to serving you,” concluded Ehsani.

— By Tefo Mohapi

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