Africa-Press – Kenya. MARA, a Pan-African crypto exchange has received $23 million(Sh2.7 billion) in funding from a number of angel investors led by Coinbase Ventures to set up the continent’s crypto portal.
Other investors include Alameda Research (FTX), Distributed Global, TQ Ventures, DIGITAL, Nexo, Huobi Ventures, Day One Ventures and Infinite Capital.
Mara’s launch comes at a critical inflection point in Sub-Saharan Africa where political and economic instability has led to the devaluation of currencies across the region.
As a result, food prices have doubled to tripled in some areas and created record-breaking interest rates.
Mara CEO Chi Nnadi said, while cutting-edge technologies such as cryptocurrency have shown incredible promise among SubSaharan Africa’s predominantly young and technologically-native population, there are considerable hurdles to using them.
He added that existing global exchanges cannot operate in the region due to regulatory challenges as well as difficulty reaching the African consumer in an authentic way.
“These barriers to access significantly restrict both the number of people who can participate in the crypto economy and the potential uses for digital currency in the region,” Nnadi said.
He added that Mara’s suite of products addresses a variety of essential crypto-finance needs while complying with local regulations and being built authentically for the African audience.
They include Mara Wallet, a brokerage app offering the crypto-curious user a friendly, distilled experience through which they can buy, send, sell and withdraw both fiat and crypto-assets instantly and without any prior crypto knowledge.
It also has Pro-Exchange – a full-featured cryptocurrency platform focused on experienced users that offers a comprehensive suite of trading options and technical analysis tools.
In addition, the firm has partnered with the Central African Republic, which just passed a law legalizing Bitcoin as legal tender.
As part of this partnership, Mara will become the official crypto partner of the Central African Republic and an advisor to the President on crypto strategy and planning.
“Mara’s mission is to facilitate a more equitable distribution of capital by providing a decentralized alternative that spans across tribes, classes, cultures, and countries,” Nnadi said.
He added that the firm’s goal is to close the gap in opportunities for Sub-Saharan individuals and establish a financial infrastructure that they can build their lives upon.
Once onboarded, the Mara Wallet will enable users to invest in crypto and send money to their family members in real-time, without processing times or delays.