MARA, a cryptocurrency exchange firm based in sub-Saharan Africa, has reportedly announced that it has raised $23 million in equity as well as token sales from different investors as part of its seed round. The company aims to raise the number of Africans who can participate in the global crypto economy.
The company’s investors include major web3 and crypto investors like Coinbase Ventures, Distributed Global, and Alameda Research (FTX).
DIGITAL, TQ Ventures, Nexo, Day One Ventures, Huobi Ventures, DAO Jones (investment DAO sponsored by Steve Aoki, Disclosure, and Mike Shinoda), and Infinite Capital were some other venture capital firms that participated in the round, which involved nearly 100 other crypto investors.
MARA appears to be working on several solutions for the African market to meet a variety of crypto-finance needs. Its core product is consumer-facing crypto-brokerage software that enables users to purchase, sell, send, and withdraw fiat as well as crypto assets.
The firm is aiming at an initial rollout In July of this year, start in Kenya and Nigeria, the two nations it is headquartered in.
Though MARA says that customers do not need any prior crypto expertise to use its retail software, it is not the first to make such as claim, with local alternatives such as Yellow Card and VALR, which are backed by Coinbase Ventures, already existing in the continent. However, what makes the web3 upstart stand apart from others is its subsequent products.
In the fourth quarter of this year the company plans to implement the MARA Chain, which is a Alchemy-like layer-1 blockchain platform driven by the native MARA tokens for developers to create decentralized apps, or dApps, in Africa.
Then, in Q1 2023, MARA plans to create a pro-exchange for advanced traders who prefer a full range of trading choices to the typical exchange options available on MARA's retail app.
The crypto firm added that it has formed a cooperation with the Central African Republic (CAR), which was the first government in Africa to accept bitcoin as legal currency, second in the world behind El Salvador, to become the nation’s official crypto partner as well as advisor to the president on crypto planning and strategy.