Pan-African crypto exchange Mara launches with backing from Coinbase Ventures

KENYA – MARA, a Pan-African crypto exchange, has received US$23 million (KSh2.7 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, Infinite Capital and nearly 100 other crypto investors, and angels including Amit Bhatia and Hamad Alhoimaizi.

Brokerage app MARA Wallet will initially launch in Kenya and Nigeria, offering users the ability to buy, sell, send, and withdraw crypto.

The exchange also announced that it has struck a deal to become the official crypto partner of the Central African Republic, which last month became the second country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender.

As part of the partnership, the platform said, it will act as an advisor to President Faustin Archange Touadéra on crypto strategy.

MARA will target consumers, experienced traders, and developers with a suite of products that it says are built specifically for an African audience.

Executives of the platform say the platform will become Africa’s portal to the crypto economy, at a time when economic instability in the region has heightened demand for a decentralized alternative.

“MARA’s mission is to facilitate a more equitable distribution of capital by providing a decentralized alternative that spans across tribes, class, cultures, and countries,” said Chi Nnadi, co-founder and CEO of MARA, in a statement accompanying the news.

“Our goal is to close the gap in opportunities for Sub-Saharan individuals and establish a financial infrastructure that they can build their lives upon.”

It is unclear how MARA will operate in Nigeria given the country has prohibited crypto transactions within the banking sector. Decrypt has reached out to the company for clarification.

For more experienced traders, MARA will also launch a pro exchange with a range of trading options and technical analysis tools.

Later in the year, the planned launch of MARA chain will then give developers a place to build decentralized applications (dapps).

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