SA crypto trading platform VALR raises $1.5m funding round, set to launch

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South African startup VALR is set to launch its digital asset trading platform after securing US$1.5 million in a funding round led by the US-based Bittrex.

The Johannesburg-based VALR will allow customers to buy, sell, store and transfer cryptocurrencies seamlessly and securely, offering a wide selection of digital assets.

It will now leverage technology belonging to Bittrex, another digital asset trading platform, after the US-based company became its lead investor in a round that also included Michael Jordaan’s Montegray Capital.

Registration is now open for VALR, which is launching with a “Simple Buy/Sell” feature, allowing customers to seamlessly and instantly trade between bitcoin or ether and over 50 cryptocurrencies. VALR’s platform uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to streamline the ID verification process, allowing new customers to be fully verified in as little as a few minutes.

In the future, it will offer rand-to-crypto trading as well as more advanced crypto-to-crypto trading options, with the Bittrex partnership giving VALR access to all cryptocurrencies and digital tokens available on both the Bittrex and Bittrex International platforms.

“We are delighted to bring South Africans the largest crypto-offering the country has ever seen in collaboration with Bittrex, one of the most advanced, secure and compliant platforms worldwide,” said Farzam Ehsani, chief executive officer (CEO) of VALR.  

“Our partnership gives our customers direct access to international liquidity, globally competitive prices and leading security practices. We look forward to advancing the crypto industry in South Africa and beyond.”

Bittrex CEO Bill Shihara said his company was committed to advancing blockchain technology around the world.

“Our partnership with VALR gives us the opportunity to help drive adoption of this revolutionary technology in new markets,” he said.

“This platform, powered by Bittrex technology, will provide South African customers with a reliable, fast and secure trading option that will also give them access to some of the world’s most innovative blockchain projects. We will continue to explore partnerships like this one that not only support the blockchain industry, but also incubate innovative projects using this emerging technology, as we further expand our global footprint.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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