Bittrex Backs South African Crypto Exchange VALR in Expansion Pivot
In a bid to expand its global footprint, U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex has partnered with and helped fund upcoming South African crypto exchange VALR. The move comes as more cryptoverse firms, namely Binance, are giving increased attention to Africa.
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Using Bittrex’s Liquidity to Service the South African Crypto Market
Seattle-based Bittrex has partnered with VALR, a forthcoming digital asset exchange platform headed up by Farzam Ehsani, a former blockchain maestro at Rand Merchant Bank.
The move, Bittrex’s latest in its current expansion campaign, is aimed at servicing an untapped user base and comes as part of the exchange’s wider strategy of eyeing emerging crypto markets.
“We will continue to explore partnerships like this one that not only support the blockchain industry, but also incubate innovative projects,” Bittrex CEO Bill Shihara said.
As part of the partnership, VALR will leverage Bittrex’s infrastructure to gain access to global liquidity, dependable digital wallets, and cybersecurity systems.
Accordingly, out of the gates VALR will support the nearly 60 different cryptocurrencies that are presently traded on the Bittrex and Bittrex International trading platforms.
The South African upstart’s leadership, which plans to offer fiat-to-crypto trading functionalities, says that breadth will immediately garner the platform the broadest selection of digital asset offerings in South Africa to date.
“Our partnership gives our customers direct access to international liquidity, globally competitive prices, and leading security practices,” Ehsani said.
“We look forward to advancing the crypto industry in South Africa and beyond.”
Come One, Come All: Rands for Coin
Although a launch date for VALR has not yet been specified, the Bittrex-backed crypto exchange has opened new account registrations and is offering perks for signing up, such as a referral program.
That program offers users discounts on trading fees and around $100 USD per every user referral.
Ehsani said the platform is ready to welcome traders but is going to take the onboarding process slowly to avoid any hiccups. Chalk it up to lessons learned by their partner, as Bittrex has twice paused user registrations in the past to deal with demand surges.
Crypto Attention Around Africa Growing
Bittrex’s expansion plan to Africa comes on the heels of crypto exchange heavyweight Binance opening a fiat-to-crypto exchange in Uganda in October 2018.
In its opening week, Binance’s Uganda office recorded over 40,000 registrations.
The question for now is whether domestic interest in crypto in places like Uganda and South Africa can be fostered going forward when non-crypto money transfer systems like Orange Money, M-Pesa, and their ilk are already extremely popular throughout many parts of the continent.
For now, the fiat woes of the South African rand could potentially make more South Africans eye alternatives like cryptocurrency. The rand has sunk 20 percent against the U.S. dollar thus far in 2018, and the Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) recently projected similar levels of volatility for the currency in 2019 as well.
Will more crypto exchanges expand to the African continent? Share your views in the comments section below.
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