South Africa-based cryptocurrency exchange, Valr, recently announced a significant milestone in its expansion strategy—initial approval from Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA). While this marks a pivotal step for Valr in establishing a global presence, it’s important to note that the approval, for now, does not grant the exchange the ability to offer virtual asset services in Dubai.
Strategic Move Beyond South Africa
Valr’s CEO, Farzam Ehsani, emphasized the importance of this initial approval from VARA, recognizing the regulatory body’s global standing. Ehsani expressed Valr’s commitment to working with regulators over the past five years to contribute to frameworks that protect the public while fostering responsible innovation. The approval aligns with Valr’s vision to bring its products and services to a broader international audience under the oversight of a leading global regulator.
Ambitious Series B Funding and Expansion Plans
In early 2022, Valr successfully raised $50 million in a Series B funding round, with Pantera Capital leading the investment. At the time, the exchange outlined plans to utilize the capital for expansion into other African markets, as well as emerging markets like India. The funding was earmarked for diversifying products and services offered to Valr’s clientele.
Dubai’s Crypto Appeal
Blake Player, Valr’s Head of Growth, shed light on the decision to explore opportunities in the Middle East, particularly Dubai. He pointed to the region’s significant crypto flows and highlighted Dubai’s growing reputation as a “forward-thinking and pragmatic jurisdiction.” Setting up operations in Dubai is seen as an opportunity for Valr to cater to both the regional market and a global customer base within a crypto and business-friendly environment.
While Valr currently cannot offer virtual asset services in Dubai, the initial approval positions the exchange strategically in line with its global aspirations and commitment to regulatory compliance. As the crypto landscape continues to evolve, Valr’s move to Dubai reflects a broader trend of crypto exchanges seeking footholds in jurisdictions known for their progressive approach to digital assets.