The investment arm of a new company operated by the creators of derivatives platform BitMEX, has spearheaded a USD 3.4-million cash injection in VALR, one of Africa’s biggest crypto exchanges.
Per a press release shared with Our, the Series A equity round of funding in the VALR exchange was led by 100x Ventures, the investment arm of the 100x Group. As previously reported, the 100x Group is part of a rebranding operation from HDR Global Trading, the operator of BitMEX – headed by Arthur Hayes. No other details of the deal have been disclosed.
VALR claimed that it was South Africa’s “largest bitcoin exchange by trading volume,” and said that a domestic investment firm named 4Di Capital also contributed to the investment round, in addition to “continued support from former FNB CEO Michael Jordaan and the United States-based exchange Bittrex.”
The 100x Ventures portfolio already comprises holdings in MaiCoin, Merkle Science, PDAX and the Sparrow – but this latest investment is its first significant move since its official inception earlier this month.
Some believe that crypto is on the verge of takeoff in Africa, particularly South Africa. Per Luno statistics unveiled earlier this year, crypto ownership in South Africa among internet users is almost double the global average of 7%.
Last week, wallet provider Blockchain.com stated that it had detected a new spike in crypto ownership in South Africa.
VALR was founded in 2018 and began offering bitcoin-fiat trading in June 2019, after which, it claims, it “has since grown to become South Africa’s leading bitcoin trading platform, with over 13,000 bitcoin traded over the last month.”
The company states that it has over 40,000 customers and offers trading in 50 tokens.
VALR claimed that the 100x group represented “a set of world-class investors,” and said that the sum total of its backing is over USD 4.7m, a figure that “includes an equity funding seed round of USD 1.2 million in July 2018.”
Despite crypto’s growth in popularity in South Africa, the regulatory outlook in the country is far from clear.
As recently as last week, domestic media outlet Businesstech reported that Tito Mboweni, the South African Minister of Finance, wants to make amendments to existing rules pertaining to how Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) carry out due diligence on their clients.