South Africa’s Largest Crypto Exchange VALR Expands to Poland, Eyes Global Growth

VALR, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Africa, is set to offer its crypto asset services in Poland and is actively exploring opportunities in other jurisdictions worldwide. 

The exchange aims to challenge some of the global crypto giants, CEO Farzam Ehsani said in an interview with Reuters.

VALR is among the 75 crypto asset service providers that recently received licenses from the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) in South Africa. 

VALR Boasts 600,000 Retail Customers

Established in 2018, VALR provides a range of services to its extensive customer base, including spot trading, margin trading, perpetual futures, and staking products. 

With over 600,000 retail customers and more than 1,000 institutional customers globally, the exchange serves a predominantly South African clientele, while 25% of its user base hails from various parts of the world.

ATC Features, @farzamehsani, CEO & Co-founder of VALR, Africa’s top crypto exchange, offering a wide range of #cryptocurrencies for buying, selling, and storing. Former Blockchain Lead at Rand Merchant Bank and Chair of the South African #Financial #Blockchain Consortium.

— Around The Coin Podcast (@aroundthecoin) April 24, 2024

VALR has recently obtained approval to offer crypto asset services in Poland, and it has also received initial approval from Dubai’s regulator, VARA. 

Additionally, the exchange is in the process of obtaining a license in Mauritius. 

“The intention here is to be able to provide products and services to a global audience that is continuously growing,” Ehsani said. 

“The intention is to actually become a global player because we’re not satisfied with being the largest in Africa (by trading volume).”

While expanding its reach, VALR is actively seeking regulatory clarity in other jurisdictions, including African countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, and Egypt, the CEO said. 

However, the Nigerian market has faced hurdles as authorities imposed restrictions on crypto exchanges earlier this year. 

Ehsani stated that until there is clarity in Nigeria’s regulatory environment, VALR will not venture into the country.

VALR Aims to Compete With Global Exchanges like Binance

To compete with major global crypto exchanges like Binance, VALR plans to offer similar products and services, with future considerations for additional offerings such as insurance. 

The exchange’s South African license allows it to provide general crypto asset trading and services. 

For specialized products like perpetual futures trading, VALR collaborates with other financial service providers who hold the necessary licenses, acting as a “juristic representative.”

The recent establishment of a licensing regime for cryptocurrencies by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) positions South Africa as one of the pioneering African nations in this area. 

As part of this regime, the FSCA is preparing to issue 60 licenses to crypto firms in the coming weeks, with Luno, Zignaly, and VALR already being granted licenses. 

As reported, several members of the crypto community have said that South Africa’s approaching elections are unlikely to disrupt the country’s progress in the realm of digital assets.

South Africa expanded the scope of its Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act in 2022 to encompass crypto providers, enabling the regulation of digital assets as financial products.

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