MARA, a pan-African crypto exchange, launched today and announced $23 million in funding from Coinbase Ventures, Alameda Research (FTX), Distributed Global, TQ Ventures, DIGITAL, Nexo, Huobi Ventures, Day One Ventures, Infinite Capital, DAO Jones (Investment DAO backed by Mike Shinoda, Steve Aoki and Disclosure) and nearly 100 other crypto investors and angels including Amit Bhatia and Hamad Alhoimaizi.
In addition, MARA has also announced a partnership with the Central African Republic, which has just passed legislation to legalize Bitcoin as legal tender. As part of this partnership, MARA will become the official crypto partner of the Central African Republic and adviser to the President on crypto strategy and planning.
The launch of MARA comes at a critical turning point in sub-Saharan Africa -Africa. Political and economic instability has caused currencies to depreciate across the region, while the current centralized financial system continues to pose persistent obstacles to the development of both local economies and individuals. As a result, food prices have doubled to tripled in some areas, creating record-breaking interest rates. These tired systems have created an urgent need for a decentralized alternative.
MARA’s mission is to become the gateway to crypto-economy for the African population. While cutting-edge technologies like cryptocurrencies have shown incredible promise among sub-Saharan Africa’s predominantly young and tech-savvy population, there are significant barriers to their deployment. Many existing global exchanges cannot operate in the region due to regulatory challenges as well as the difficulty of reaching the African consumer in an authentic way. These barriers to entry severely limit both the number of people who can participate in the crypto economy and the potential uses for digital currencies in the region.
The MARA product suite addresses a Variety of essential crypto financial needs while complying with local regulations and built authentically for African audiences. MARA’s products include:
● MARA Wallet – a brokerage app that offers crypto-curious users a friendly, distilled experience through which they can trade both fiat and fiat can buy, send, sell and withdraw crypto assets instantly without prior crypto knowledge.
● Pro-Exchange – a full-featured cryptocurrency platform aimed at advanced users and offers a comprehensive suite of trading options and technical analysis tools.
● MARA Chain – a Layer 1 blockchain powered by the native MARA token, offering a place for savvy developers to build decentralized applications that will help shape the future of African crypto-economy.
MARA’s leadership team is led by Chi Nnadi, Lucas Llinás Múnera, Dearg OBartuin and Kate Kallot and will be managed by board advisors Kojo Annan un d Tatiana Koffman.
“MARA’s mission is to enable a more equitable distribution of capital by providing a decentralized alternative, spanning tribes, Classes, cultures and countries,” says Chi
Nnadi, co-founder and CEO of MARA. “Our goal is to bridge the opportunity gap for people in sub-Saharan Africa and build a financial infrastructure to build their lives on.”
Unlike its competitors from North America and Europe, MARA’s onboarding, support and ecosystem reflect the needs of Africans. KYC/AML conforms to global standards and is compatible with international financial regulations. Customer support is easily accessible and will be available in both local and international languages.
“We are excited to partner with MARA in building a digital financial system for Sub-Saharan Africa“, says Schuster Tanger, co-founder of TQ Ventures. “With the right resources, this region has the potential for mass cryptocurrency adoption. To this end, the local knowledge and specialized skills of the MARA team are very promising.”
MARA will initially be launched in Kenya, Nigeria and surrounding regions. The MARA Wallet app will be available on the App Store and Google Play stores. Pre-registered users will be placed in a queue for early access on a first come, first served basis. Users can queue after jump up by referring others, thereby earning crypto rewards while increasing your chances of winning additional prizes and rewards.Once onboard, the MARA wallet will allow users to invest in crypto and fund their Send family members in real-time with no processing times or delays.