VALR, a South African crypto exchange operating out of Johannesburg, has raised £36 million in a Series B round led by Pantera Capital.
The investment marks the largest ever African cryptocurrency funding round, leaving VALR with a £180 million valuation.
Other investors included Alameda Research, Cadenza, CMT Digital, Coinbase Ventures, Distributed Global, GSR, Third Prime, and more.
The investment world has been taking increased interest in Africa as an emerging market as of late, with leading global exchange Binance sponsoring the Africa Cup of Nations in January, for example.
Africa’s cryptocurrency market holds massive potential for growth in the coming decade. A Chainalysis report found that the market grew by more than 1200% in value from July 2020 to June 2021 alone.
What’s more, retail transfers make up a higher percentage of African nations’ overall crypto transaction volume than other countries at over 7%, compared to the global average of 5.5%.
This is because, unlike in advanced industrialised economies where crypto is largely seen as an investable asset, users in the global south are increasingly viewing crypto as a vehicle for savings, remittances, and transactions.
Launched in 2019, VALR has quickly become a popular international exchange trading in many of the biggest cryptocurrencies.
Farzam Ehsani, CEO and co-founder of VALR, said: “We already help VALR’s customers enter… [the] 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.”
The exchange’s valuation has increased ten-fold since raising £2.5 million Series A in July 2020.
“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,” said Paul Veradittakit, partner at Pantera Capital.
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