MARA announced its launch and raised $23 million funding to build a cryptocurrency exchange portal for Africans
Today, a pan African
crypto exchange MARA announced its launch. It also has raised $23 million in
equity and token sale from investors including Coinbase Ventures, Alameda
Research, (FTX), and Distributed Global. The mission is to create an exchange
portal to the crypto economy for Africans.
The investors of the project include Lagos, Nigeria, and Nairobi, Kenya-based company raised the money from Coinbase Ventures, Alameda Research (FTX), Distributed Global, TQ Ventures, DIGITAL, Nexo, Huobi Ventures, Day One Ventures, Infinite Capital, DAO Jones investment decentralized autonomous organization backed by Mike Shinoda, Steve Aoki, and Disclosure. Nearly 100 other crypto investors and angels including Amit Bhatia and Hamad Alhoimaizi were also involved.
A layer-one blockchain that aims to become the go-to network for developers to build Africa-focused crypto and blockchain products along with a custodial retail crypto wallet and a pro-exchange are a set of products MARA plans to launch for targeted consumers, professional experienced traders, and developers. In July the retail app will launch with the exchange coming after that. In the fourth quarter, MARA chain is scheduled to go live. Before expanding to other African countries, the startup will launch in Kenya and Nigeria. MARA will also introduce a pro exchange for experienced traders with a range of trading options and technical analysis tools. Developers will then be able to build decentralized applications (dapps) with the launch of the MARA chain later this year. Alongside co-founder and CEO Chi Nnadi, MARA’s executive team is rounded out by co-founders Lucas Llinás Múnera, Dearg OBartuin, and Kate Kallot.
At a critical inflection point in Sub-Saharan, Africa Mara announced its launch. As per the announcement, the exchange has made a deal to become the official crypto partner of the Central African Republic and an adviser to the president on crypto strategy and planning. Last month the Central African Republic became the second country in the world to pass a bill legalizing Bitcoin as legal tender.
According to Mara, across the region, devaluations of currencies have resulted from political and economic instability, and the current centralized financial system continues to impede the development of both individual economies and local economies. Due to this food prices have increased in some areas and that lead to creating record-breaking interest rates which leads to a dire need for a decentralized alternative.
MARA will compete for market share against deep-pocketed incumbents such as Binance and Digital Currency Group's Luno, which also include indigenous players such as Yellow Card, Quidax, Buy coins, and Busha. There are a lot of exchanges in Africa that offer all the services needed to use crypto.
Nnadi had built a non-profit called Sustainability International before starting MARA. Nnadi’s non-profit built a smart contract in partnership with ConsenSys that used a combination of a computer vision algorithm that analyzes satellite imagery and pictures taken by local farmers to tell when a pond being cleaned has changed color and gotten cleaner. On confirmation of successful clean-up, the smart contract then pays participants in Stelar Lumens.
CBW - External Analyst