East Africa plans to host a new cryptocurrency exchange backed by an awesome list of heavyweights in the industry seeking to take advantage of a continent full of potential users.
Coinbase Ventures, Alameda Research, Huobi Ventures and other prominent venture capital firms and angel investors have contributed $ 23 million to launch MARA. The exchange will initially operate in Kenya and Nigeria and offer new users a basic exchange platform for acquiring, trading and withdrawing cryptocurrencies.
The platform will offer a professional stock exchange with extensive trading opportunities and technical analysis tools for more experienced traders. There are plans to develop the MARA chain, a layer-1 blockchain that will allow developers to build distributed applications within the upcoming MARA ecosystem.
The MARA team also confirmed the establishment of a partnership with the Central African Republic. The African country followed in the footsteps of the Pro-Bitcoin (BTC) state of El Salvador by legalizing Bitcoin as legal tender in April 2022. MARA will serve as the country’s official cryptocurrency and will advise the government on best practices, policies and planning. as it appears to be adopting cryptocurrencies on a broader scale.
Cointelegraph spoke with MARA CEO and co-founder Chi Nnadi to discuss the origins of the stock exchange and the prospects for Africa’s new platform. After spending most of the last decade in Nigeria, Chi recently moved to Kenya before the idea behind MARA crystallized.
The position of Nigeria and Kenya as a hotspot for the adoption of cryptocurrencies on the continent was a driving force in MARA’s decision to launch its bid in the two countries. According to Chainalysis, Kenya leads the world in peer-to-peer trade (P2P) while 35% of Nigerian adults trade or trade in Bitcoin.
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While African countries continue to introduce new users of cryptocurrencies, Nnadi acknowledged that there are still significant obstacles to young and technologically indigenous peoples in sub-Saharan Africa making cryptography a part of their daily lives:
“Many current international exchanges are unable to operate in the region due to legal challenges as well as difficulties in reaching out to African consumers in a genuine way. These barriers to entry significantly limit both the number of people who can participate in the cryptocurrency economy and the potential use of digital currency in the region.
Despite regulatory challenges and the initial state of the cryptocurrency, Nnadi believes that the next generation of Africans will push for a digital transformation on the continent. Nnadi noted that Africa boasts the youngest population in the world and said that a growing number of young people are building transformative structures and solutions to adapt new technologies to their society:
“This puts Africa at an important turning point: the younger generation is beginning to reach adulthood and influence. It is a change that represents a unique opportunity to fully and quickly move the area into a new ideology of digital ownership.
Regarding MARA’s role as the Central African Republic’s cryptocurrency company, Nnadi said the company would play an advisory role as the country looks set to embrace the cryptocurrency economy. This will include guidelines on how to build the necessary Know Your Customer (KYC) anti-money laundering (AML) infrastructure and the fight against terrorist financing (CFT), which includes standard credentials to ensure a solid foundation for the country and its people. five million citizens.
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