South African startup VALR launches free ZAR payments platform.


South Africa’s VALR, one of the country’s largest crypto exchanges, has launched VALR Pay, a free, fast and easy way to send ZAR payments to any mobile number or email address.

In early 2019,VALR had launched its digital asset trading platform after securing US$1.5 million in a funding round led by the US-based Bittrex and former FNB chief executive officer(CEO)Michael Jordaan’s Montegray Capital.

The startup raised another ZAR57 million (US$3.4 million) in Series A funding in July of last year to help it roll out new products and expand into other regions. With over 55 coins to choose from, it now has 150,000 account holders and the largest selection of cryptocurrencies in South Africa.

It has now launched the first of those touted new products – VALR Pay. VALR Pay allows VALR customers to send ZAR to each other at zero cost, using any mobile number or email address even if the recipient does not yet have an account with VALR.  The recipient will receive an email or SMS with an invitation to sign up to VALR for free to claim the funds. The startup uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology to validate the identity of customers. 

“The cost and friction of payments in South Africa is too high,” said Farzam Ehsani, VALR co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO). “So we decided to build VALR Pay. It’s free, fast and easy. Why bother with banking details and branch codes? Just open up your VALR app, type in a ZAR amount, select a contact from your address book and you’re done!”

VALR provides a digital asset platform that allows its customers to buy, sell, store and transfer cryptocurrencies seamlessly and secure .The startup helps to bridge the gap between the traditional fiat financial system and the new world of cryptocurrencies with an aim of ushering in a new financial paradigm that makes financial services available to the public with pricing that is fair and transparent, and with an experience that is intuitive and seamless.