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VALR is a new cryptocurrency exchange in South Africa that offers a large selection of cryptocurrencies that can be bought, traded and sold using ZAR. In this review, we will break down and assess the most important aspects such as its features, available coins, deposit methods, trading fees, security and customer service.
VALR has a simple and easy approach to allowing residents in South Africa to obtain Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies. The exchange has a beginner-friendly design that streamlines the process to invest in more than 60 crypto assets with ZAR, ZMW, or USDC. The fees are -0.01% (maker) and 0.1% (taker) on VALR Exchange is highly competitive but using the instant swap is costly at 0.75%. In addition, the fees to withdraw money to a bank account or send USDC to an external wallet are high.
- Straightforward and intuitive platform to buy and sell crypto
- Supports the major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and 60 others
- Deposit ZAR and ZMW using bank transfers and cards
- 0.01% rebate on trading fees using limit orders
- Fiat and USDC withdrawal fees are quite high
- At market trades are expensive using VALR Exchange (0.75%)
- Not suitable for experienced investors or professional crypto traders
VALR At A Glance
VALR is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Africa that offers a diverse range of digital currencies that can be bought and sold in a safe environment. The exchange is partnered with Bittrex, which is one of the most trusted and reputable crypto exchanges, Bittrex. The partnership with Bittrex brings stability and industry-leading security. The platform offers more than 60 crypto coins, high liquidity across its BTC and altcoin trading pairs, and fast trade execution speeds.
Some of the most notable features of VALR are:
- Buy Bitcoin & crypto with South African Rand (ZAR)
- Supports local bank transfers
- Partnered with world-leading exchange Bittrex
- Highly suited to beginners
- 60+ cryptocurrencies available
- Fee rebates using the VALR Exchange
- Advanced TradingView charting and tools supported
|Exchange Name||VALR Exchange|
|Payment Type||Bank transfer, crypto|
|Instant Buy/Sell Fee||0.75%|
|Exchange Trading Fee||-0.01% and 0.1%|
|Withdrawal Fee||R8.50 for ZAR withdrawals|
VALR Compared and Alternatives
|Exchange||Crypto Assets||Trading Fees||Rating||Promotion||Website||Review|
|385||0.1% (spot) and 0.02% / 0.04% (Futures)|
|Up to $100 welcome bonus||Visit Binance||Binance Review|
|222||0.16% (maker) and 0.26% (taker)|
|None available at this time||Visit Kraken||Kraken Review|
|160+||0.5 - 1.35% spread|
|None available at this time||Visit Easy Crypto||Easy Crypto Review|
Review of the Top Features on VALR
Easy to Use
Getting started with Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies can be a challenging prospect for beginners and newcomers. VALR makes the process fast and simple with its well-designed, intuitive and modern user interface. The Buy & Sell page lists all of the supported assets with large buttons to purchase or sell the coin.
Rapid Verification Process
It is compulsory for exchanges that accept fiat currency to mandate ID verification as per the Know Your Customers (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) standards. VALR takes the hard work out and streamlines the process with a rapid verification technology to submit information and upload documentation.
Deposit ZAR Using Local Bank Account
Individuals located in South Africa can create an account with VALR to deposit ZAR with zero fees. VALR allows direct deposits using a local bank account, which offers peace of mind and convenience for investors to make a deposit using their online banking account.
ID Verification & KYC
All customers that create an account with VALR must complete an identity verification process, otherwise known as Know Your Customer (KYC). Fiat to crypto exchanges such as VALR is required to adhere to this process to mitigate the risk of being intentionally or unintentionally exploited to conduct illicit financial behavior such as money laundering or financing terrorism.
VALR offers 3 levels of verification on the exchange this is referred to as semi-verified, fully-verified and fully-verified plus. Each verification tier offers different features and withdrawal limits.
|Verification Level||Information Needed||Deposit ZAR||Withdrawal Limit|
|Semi-verified||Name, email, phone number||No||0.2 BTC|
|Fully-verified||Name, email, phone number, ID document||Yes||0.2 BTC daily|
|Fully-verified PLUS||Name, email, phone number, ID document, 2FA||Yes||100 BTC daily|
Deposit Methods & Fiat
New users of VALR can choose a familiar payment method to fund an account using fiat currency or a digital currency asset. The supported currencies to fund a wallet include the South African rand (ZAR), Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and XRP. The selection of funding currencies is fairly limited. There is no option to transfer fiat currencies such as USD and EUR.
The available option to fund a wallet using ZAR is using a bank transfer. This is the easiest and safest method for investors. However, the speed of the transaction for funds to arrive at VALR using a bank transfer can take 1 to 3 business days depending on the bank. Other popular methods to buy Bitcoin using a credit card, debit card, PayPal or using Amazon gift card are currently not supported on VALR.
VALR supports 59 of the major cryptocurrency projects which can be bought and sold on the exchange using ZAR. Available cryptocurrencies include Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Litecoin, Cardano, Dogecoin VEChain and others. The selection of assets on the platform is excellent for new crypto investors that want to purchase a range of high market cap coins. Compared to the top exchanges in South Africa, VALR offers a great selection of cryptocurrencies.
Volume & Liquidity
VALR is currently ranked #287 in the world in terms of its traffic, liquidity, trading volumes, and confidence in the legitimacy of trading volumes reported. The total 24-hour volume on the exchange at the time of writing is approximately 21.8 million, up from 18.7 million 12 months ago when we reviewed VALR. For an exchange based in South Africa that launched in 2019, the trading volume is reasonable and steadily increasing. By comparison, the Bitcoin/ZAR trading volume on Luno is approximately 23 million at the time of writing.
One of the better features of using VALR is the easy-to-use interface on the desktop version or mobile app. The overall process from creating an account, completing ID verification to depositing funds has been designed to suit beginners that may not have the technical knowledge or the first time buying a digital currency. The overall experience is streamlined with a visually appealing interface that does not have complicated options which can be distracting and confusing.
Instant Buy & Sell
Once an account is funded with ZAR or crypto, individuals can use either the Buy/Sell feature or the Exchange to perform transactions. The interface is similar to popular swap platforms to exchange crypto-to-crypto where the user enters the amount to buy and the funds to pay with. The benefit of using this feature is its simplicity for beginners to buy digital currencies in a few minutes.
VALR will show the available balances and the average price of the order will be filled at. In the example above, the average price of 0.0769 was very similar to the price offered on Binance for the ETH/BTC pair. Once the transaction is confirmed, the purchased asset will be shown in the VALR wallet.
VALR offers a trading exchange for intermediate and professional cryptocurrency traders to chart the available BTC/ZAR, ETH/ZAR and XRP/ZAR trading pairs. Firstly, the selection of available trading pairs is too limited and does not offer, as a minimum, the top 10 coins by market cap against multiple fiat currencies or stablecoins.
Taking a closer look at the exchange, it includes a candlestick chart, order entry box, order profile list and trade history. The order entry box is large and easy to use. The overall user interface is clean, simplistic and modern in appearance that is easy to use.
The order window is standard in appearance and similar to other cryptocurrency exchange sites. Users can click on the recent orders which will automatically populate the prices in the order box. This is useful to avoid making a mistake entering the price. Likewise, the 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% buttons can be used to automatically fill the trade amount based on available capital.
The available order types include limit, market and stop limit. Limit orders can be triggered based on price and/or time. VALR does not support advanced orders such as One Cancel's the Other (OCO) to place a stop loss and take profit on the same position.
New traders to technical analysis will benefit from sophisticated trading tools that are included on the trading exchange through integration with TradingView. As advanced traders will know, TradingView charts are one of the best places to chart crypto and are renowned for smooth, intuitive and clean visuals with a variety of advanced trading tools and indicators.
Instant Buy & Sell Fees
VALR's fee to instant buy and sell is a flat cost of 0.75% per transaction based on the best available price at the time of the trade. Therefore, buying a crypto t0 sell shortly afterward will incur a total cost of 1.5% on the transaction amount.
This feature is suited to beginners that are looking for an easy and quick way to buy crypto and are happy to pay a slightly higher fee for convenience. However, compared to exchanges available in South Africa with a similar beginner-friendly interface such as, Luno, Crypto.com and Coinbase, the instant fees on VALR are a little high.
|Exchange||Instant Buy & Sell Fee|
|Coinbase||0.5% - 3.99%|
Exchange Trading Fees
For experienced traders, the exchange trading fees are separated using a maker and taker system. Traders that provide liquidity to VALR's order book will be credited a small fee of 0.01% (they pay you) for using limit orders. Removing liquidity by executing market orders will incur a 0.1% fee. VALR also offers trading fee discounts of up to 15% for referring 2 or more new users to the exchange.
Overall, the trading fees are very competitive with top crypto exchanges such as Binance and KuCoin. However, the spread fee on VALR is marginally higher than these exchanges due to the lower trading volume and liquidity using VALR's partner, Bittrex.
Deposit & Withdrawal Fees
The available options to fund a VALR account are to transfer ZAR from a bank account or transfer cryptos such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. Using a bank transfer, there are zero fees to deposit ZAR and cryptocurrencies from an external wallet or another exchange.
There is a small charge of R8.50 to withdraw ZAR to a bank account. This is a relatively minor fee, however, users should be mindful that the withdrawal cost will add up over time if withdraw fiat regularly. The standard blockchain network fee will apply to cryptocurrency withdrawals without any additional surcharges.
The VALR website provides information on the security measures in place to protect customer's funds and personal information. These measures include cold wallet storage, 2 Factor Authentication, security procedures and segregated fiat accounts. VALR does not mention the percentage of funds held within offline cold wallet storage to protect access to the private keys and should be clarified.
VALR does provide an article on how it keeps customers' funds safe that can be read here, which elaborates on the above. Compared to the top fiat to crypto exchanges that are renowned for safety and security such as Gemini and Coinbase, we believe that VALR could enhance the measures to reduce the risk of potential security incidents and compromise.
It is important for a crypto exchange that is focused on helping beginners to get started with digital currencies to have several channels for users to get in touch. The VALR website provides social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook. However, the exchange does not appear to provide 24/7 customer service via Telegram, direct email, phone number or an in-built live chat feature.
VALR does offer a comprehensive and thorough Help Centre that answers the majority of topics and frequently asked questions. There is also a Ticket System to lodge a support request. Overall, customer support could be improved to guide new crypto investors on the platform and provide assistance for any troubleshooting issues that may arise.
Frequently Asked Questions
VALR is owned by the company VALR Pty Ltd and appears to be a legitimate cryptocurrency exchange. The company claims it does not offer any financial services and is therefore not regulated by the South African Financial Services Board. VALR has team up with Bittrex through their Exchange Partnership Program which provides the security infrastructure and credibility to the exchange trading platform, liquidity and volumes reported.
VALR appears to be a safe and secure exchange that has partnered with Bittrex which was founded by a group of cyber-security engineers to offer the highest level of security. Bittrex is a regulated and security-focused exchange based in the United States.
VALR is based on a strong technical foundation that demonstrates its trustworthiness by featuring security measures such as cold storage, multi-sig wallets, Two Factor Authentication (2FA) and robust security procedures. According to our research, VALR has never been hacked or compromised resulting in the loss of customers' funds or personal information.
VALR is led by its CEO and co-founder Farzam Ehsani who has extensive experience and background in global markets, investment banking, private equity and fintech start-ups in the blockchain industry. His previous employment includes McKinsey & Company in Johannesburg, Deloitte Consulting in San Francisco, the Baha’i World Centre in Haifa and the United Nations in Nairobi.
VALR offers a mobile app to buy and sell crypto that is supported on iOS and Android devices. The app is relatively new and has not been downloaded many times for it to be thoroughly tested by the community to provide feedback.
To wrap up this review, it is our opinion that VALR is best recommended for beginners in South Africa that want to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Individuals that prefer to use a simple-to-use and easy-to-navigate platform will feel at home using VALR. Finding an exchange that supports direct ZAR deposits is important, which can be transferred to the exchange using a simple bank transfer with zero fees.
VALR is fast becoming one of the leading exchanges in South Africa to onboard new crypto investors or experienced traders using their exchange platform. Either way, VALR continues to build trust in the local community with its partnership with Bittrex which provides a security-first mindset.
|Features||4 / 5|
|Supported Fiat and Deposit Methods||4 / 5|
|Supported Crypto & Trading Pairs||3.8 / 5|
|Fees||3 / 5|
|Ease of Use||4.5 / 5|
|Customer support||4.2 / 5|
|Security Measures||4.5 / 5|
|Mobile App||4 / 5|
A few improvements that could be considered:
- Increase the number of trading pairs (e.g. fiat currency/stablecoins)
- Offer derivatives or margin to trade crypto with leverage
- Lower the trading fee for instant buy-and-sell trades
- Increase the number of deposit methods and accept fiat currencies
- State the percentage of customer funds held in cold storage
- Provide 24/7 customer support with direct contact methods