Pan-African crypto exchange Mara announced on Wednesday that it has raised $23 million in funding to build a trading platform designed for Africans.
The Nigeria and Kenya based firm said that the funding was raised from Coinbase Ventures, Alameda Research (FTX), Distributed Global, TQ Ventures, DIGITAL, Nexo, Huobi Ventures, Day One Ventures, Infinite Capital, DAO Jones, and nearly 100 other crypto investors, as well as angels including Amit Bhatia and Hamad Alhoimaizi.
Mara further disclosed its collaboration with the Central African Republic, which recently adopted Bitcoin as its official currency. The partnership will see Mara become the official crypto partner of the Central African Republic and serve as an adviser to the president on crypto planning and strategy.
The launch of the Mara crypto exchange will happen when Sub-Saharan Africa is at a critical inflexion point. Political and economic uncertainty has led to the devaluation of fiat currencies across the region and as a result, prompting a dire need for a decentralized alternative.
Chi Nnandi, CEO of Mara, further elaborated on this and stated: “The inefficiencies inherent to the old 20th [century] centralized Sub-Saharan African financial systems have presented an obstacle to the proper development of Sub-Saharan individuals and economies for decades. A decentralized alternative (which will include but not be limited to finance, art, ownership, infrastructure, and business as a whole) will give Sub-Saharan Africans an alternative to these tired systems. Through this digital financial system — through this freedom — the region will find itself in a much stronger competitive position before other parts of the world.”
Mara said that it is developing a suite of products (such as a crypto wallet, an exchange platform, as well a Layer-1 blockchain network that deploys decentralized applications – DApps). Such products are designed to address various crypto-finance needs of the African audience while complying with local regulations.
According to the report, Mara has already built up to 80 employees, with 66% of them working in-house while the rest are outsourced developers.