3 Kenyan Companies That Got Billions From FTX Before Collapsing

FTX, the once high-flying cryptocurrency group, had invested billions of shillings in three Kenyan companies before it collapsed.

According to regulatory filings, FTX through its investment arm Alameda Research, pumped billions of shillings into local digital finance start-up Mara and remittance company Chipper Cash.

Mara received Sh2.8 billion ($23 million) in May backed by FTX-affiliated Alameda Research and Coinbase Ventures for expansion and to create a platform for its users to buy and sell crypto tokens using the Kenya shilling and other currencies in the region.

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Mara is a crypto brokerage firm that allows users to buy, sell and send digital assets using local currencies.

For its part, Chipper Cash raised Sh18.3 billion ($150 million) at Sh244.9 billion valuation last year from the collapsed crypto firm and other investors for expansion in Africa.

FTX had filed for bankruptcy in the United States, seeking court protection as it looks for a way to return money to users.

According to Daily Nation, Bitpesa first was listed among the over 100 subsidiaries spread across continents. FTX later clarified that some of the firms initially listed as part of the suit including BitPesa are not part of its sprawling crypto empire. 

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The Crypto company is a blockchain payments platform founded in 2013 that was at one point linked to the former ICT Cabinet Secretary, Joe Mucheru. Mucheru offloaded his minority stake in 2018 citing a conflict of interest.

BitPesa is owned by AZA Finance and its relationship with FTC Africa was a partnership with FTX Africa to expand web3 in Africa which failed to take off. The crash has also seen other local ripple firms such as BlockFi file for bankruptcy.

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The collapse of the exchange has further plunged the volatile digital currency market into crisis, coming on the back of a recent meltdown with many investors yet to recover as Bitcoin struggles to maintain the key level of Sh2.4 million ($20,000).

FTX has been one of the most popular digital tokens trading platforms in Africa and Kenya being one of the leading markets in the region could signal losses running into billions.

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