A new cryptocurrency wallet called Mara is ready for launch in the African markets of Kenya and Nigeria. This digital wallet is backed by Coinbase Ventures and Alameda Research, a Hong-Kong based private equity firm founded by Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of FTX crypto exchange. Mara is a digital financial ecosystem project that is entering the African market with this crypto wallet. Huobi, the Seychelles-based crypto exchange, is also backing this project in the backdrop of the crypto-friendly sentiment prevalent in the African fintech market.
The wallet will be made available for over two million people in Kenya and Nigeria.
The wallet will offer cryptocurrency brokerage services through its app, allowing users to buy, send, sell and withdraw fiat and crypto. The app will also provide access to educational resources focused on cryptocurrencies and personal finance management.
A non-profit body called the Mara Foundation intends to drive blockchain development in Africa. Euro Coin (EUROC) and Circle Pay, the issuer of the USD Coin stablecoin, has partnered with the foundation to drive uptake of the stablecoins.
The authorities of these areas are exploring ways to facilitate online payments for the Masai communities that thrive in around the tourist-favourite Masai Mara region in East Africa.
In its later stages, the Mara Foundation will initiate free educational community offering on financial literacy, cryptocurrency, Web3, and blockchain in more than one language.
Around the end of 2022, the project will launch a layer-solution called the Mara Chain, which is intended to run decentralised applications.
Binance crypto exchange is also coordinating with Nigeria to establish a special economic zone, powered by the crypto sector.
This crypto hub will make for the only such entity to exist in all of West Africa. This initiative is also being supported by the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA).
The crypto market in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa together saw a growth of 1,200 percent, reaching a market valuation of $105.6 billion (roughly Rs. 775 crores) in one year, a report by Chainalysis claimed in September last year.
It is estimated that over 8.5 percent of the Kenyan population, making for more than 4.5 million people, own cryptocurrencies. The Bitcoin search interest in Kenya topped at a whopping 94.7 percent, making it one of the hottest markets for BTC.