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Modulus CEO skeptical about Pan-African Crypto Exchange

With the Central African Republic under scrutiny, the CEO of Modulus Global, Richard Gardner questions the readiness of Africa for a Pan-African crypto exchange.

By Staff

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The CEO of Modulus Global, Richard Gardner has expressed skepticism over having a Pan-African cryptocurrency set up in the Central African Republic (CAR). Gardner’s comments follow news of MARA’s $23 million funding to develop an African exchange with CAR as one of the partner states. 

Muchas the CAR is a pioneer as the first African country and second globally to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, Gardner believes the conditions in CAR are all wrong for success. 

“If you look at the demographics and the technological infrastructure, the move was symbolic more than economic,” said Gardner whose company develops ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges.

According to Gardner, CAR wanted to make a political statement but the launch issues seen in El Salvador will only be extrapolated beyond recognition in the small central African state.

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“If you’re looking to build a pan-African exchange, I don’t think that doubling down on the CAR is the best course of action. It is going to be extremely resource-intensive to make this project fly, especially given the recent economic downturn,” noted Gardner.

For Gardner, success on the African front revolves around expertise, resources, and jurisdictional issues. He points out that a Pan-African exchange would functionally require substantial legal and compliance resources to serve over fifty individual countries. 

“Is Africa ready for a pan-African exchange? Well, the continent has a wide array of laws and regulations. It also means that they need the financial resources to advertise to each of those markets. That’s not even considering that some countries, such as South Africa have several different unique markets, complete with different priorities,” explained Gardner.

Gardner points out that the exchange would have to be engaged on multiple fronts at the same time to ably market to those who are primarily investing for inflationary reasons, as well as those who are interested in growth.

According to Gardner, the exchange must be able to collaborate with governments that are opposed to cryptocurrency as well as those that welcome it (and everyone in between).

All these efforts of the exchange would still have to compete with the existing and emerging competitors who are also likely to change depending on the market conditions. 

“In order to be truly competitive as a pan-African exchange, one would need the expertise and financial resources, certainly significantly more than $23 million worth, necessary to launch such a campaign,” Gardner shared.

While Gardner still believes there is a lot of good that Bitcoin and other decentralized monetary offerings can bring to the world, he is not optimistic about this particular project. 

“Bitcoin and other digital assets will bounce back once the current set of macroeconomic factors at play are dealt with. However, this particular project started at the wrong time, in the wrong location,” Gardner opined. 


For alternatives, Gardner believes the exchange should consider more viable regions within the east, south and west of the continent saying,

“All regions pose unique challenges, but the upsides of Ghana/Nigeria, Kenya/Tanzania and South Africa make them more worthy targets for consideration in such an endeavor. ”


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