OVEX, the emerging market-focused cryptocurrency exchange platform specializing in over-the-counter (OTC) trading, has raised $4 million for its global business, expanding into Dubai, Nairobi, Quebec, and London (as well as Lagos when the Nigerian central bank loosens its cryptocurrency ban). Quantitative cryptocurrency trading firm Alameda Research, developer of FTX, the fifth largest crypto derivatives exchange in the world by trading volume, is leading the $18 million Series A.
The total volume of bitcoin traded to and from Africa rose more than 55 per cent between July 2019 and June 2020, according to Chainanalysis. As Africa increasingly becomes a cryptocurrency hotspot, its large unbanked population seeks peer-to-peer access to retail financial markets, which in turn would empower entrepreneurs to operate their businesses unencumbered by financial instability.
FTX was able to secure a position at a valuation of $55 million in late 2020, and OVEX’s revenue has more than doubled since, with the remaining funds raised at a valuation $122 million. With $300 million (USD) in monthly trading volume, OVEX delivers prime brokerage services to institutions and high net-worth individuals globally amid rising demand for crypto access. The platform breaks down the barriers of financial exclusivity with its cryptocurrency exchange platform, which offers 26 cryptocurrencies and ZAR deposits, and will soon offer a multitude of fiat options. Beyond the exchange, OVEX offers investment opportunities to retail and accredited alike. They include:
- OTC Desk: A high-volume, high-liquidity over-the-counter trading venue offers high net-worth individuals and institutional investors a secure, private, and personalized trading service with an option for an extended credit line. Additionally, the platform offers the best execution, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year of service, fast settlement, and insured custody to its clients.
- Bitcoin arbitrage: Allowing investors to earn arbitrage-trading profits on the discrepancy in the bitcoin price between the USD and the ZAR. South African customers can use their annual Single Discretionary Allowance (SDA) of R1 million and Foreign Investment Allowance (FIA) up to an additional R10 million to earn arbitrage trading profits.
- Interest: Account holders can deposit their cryptocurrency into an interest-based account and earn up to 10 percent interest annually, paid in the cryptocurrency that’s deposited.
“Operating out of one of the continent’s leading cryptocurrency markets in South Africa, OVEX understands the value of digital assets in its economic climate and the novel financial opportunities the platform can offer individuals and institutions alike,” says Jonathan Ovadia, CEO of OVEX. “With support and funding from FTX, we are committed to improving market efficiency in South Africa and the wider continent, empowering people here to get the access they deserve in a decentralized ecosystem.”
“I’m excited about our strategic investment in OVEX, Africa’s leading OTC desk,” says Samuel Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX and Alameda Research. “Crypto may have an enormous impact on the future of Africa, and I’m looking forward to seeing the continent’s economy drastically improve in the coming years.”