VALR, a cryptocurrency exchange based in South Africa, has raised $50 million in what the company says is the largest funding round ever for an African crypto firm. The funding values VALR at $240 million, more than 10 times its valuation in July 2020 when it raised $3.4 million in its Series A.
The exchange’s Series B equity funding round was led by Pantera Capital with participation from Alameda Research, Coinbase Ventures, Cadenza, CMT Digital, Distributed Küresel, GSR, Third Prime and Avon Ventures, a venture capital fund affiliated with the parent company of Fidelity Investments.
VALR, which launched in 2019, now has over 250,000 retail customers, most of whom are located in South Africa, as well as 500 institutional clients. Its clients can trade and store bitcoin (BTC), as well as 60 other cryptocurrencies.
The new funding will be used to expand into more countries in Africa, as well as into other emerging markets such as India. VALR said will also serve to bring more products and services to its existing customers and to allow the company to hire more people.
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“There is no longer any room for doubt regarding the impact crypto assets are having on our küresel financial system,” VALR CEO and co-founder Farzam Ehsani said in a statement. “We already help VALR’s customers enter this new world of crypto from the traditional financial system using their USD or [South African rand] and I’m very excited that this round of funding will allow us to serve so many more across Africa and the world.”
VALR said it plans to bring on more institutions from the traditional financial system to help them with the infrastructure needed to enter the crypto asset market.
“We believe that Africa’s future is bright for the adoption of cryptocurrencies for both asset diversification and payments,” Pantera Capital Partner Paul Veradittakit said in a statement.