Swedish bitcoin exchange Safello has received $250,000 in new funding from the Bitcoin Opportunity Corp (BOC).
The new funds are anticipated to allow the Stockholm-based company to increase its marketing efforts across Europe and roll out new products and features faster. As a result, the BOC's chief executive and founder, Barry Silbert, expects to see Safello’s customer and transaction volume growth accelerate, he said in an interview with CoinDesk.
“As bitcoin awareness continues to increase throughout Europe,” Silbert said, “a growing number of consumers, merchants and investors are looking for ways to buy, hold and use bitcoin. Safello’s business model aligns perfectly with this trend.”
The exchange launched last August and has since established its credibility in the European bitcoin market. To date, it has made direct payments available to users through 86 banks across 11 countries.
Safello’s chief executive and co-founder, Frank Schuil, told CoinDesk that the company plans to continue following its existing roadmap, tipping his hat to its favorable geographic and strategic position within its network of “topnotch investors, advisors and partners”.
“From day one, Safello set out to be more than just an exchange. We like to see our existing product as Safello Phase I whereas the funding and revenues are put to use to develop Safello Phase II.”
Specifically, the company wants to expand its existing exchange with more payment methods into more regions, while continuing to focus on building products and features people love, he said.
The European landscape
For all of Safello’s advantages, Schuil doesn’t dismiss the point that the development of bitcoin and digital currency startups in Europe is restricted by a lack of funding:
“US companies rake in decent sums of money akin to the market potential of cryptocurrencies, whereas European startups hardly get to see the light of day. That puts them at a disadvantage in the global game we play.”
Still, the regulatory divide between European countries allows bitcoin companies like Safello to flourish, he said.
In the past month alone, regulators from Italy, Estonia, Switzerland, Russia and Poland have taken measures intended to change their attitudes and approaches toward digital currencies. Whether positive or negative, discourse at the governmental level still goes some way towards furthering bitcoin education and awareness.
Schuil raised the topic of the European Banking Authority, which last week warned financial institutions to keep clear of digital currencies until the industry is regulated.
“In reality,” he said, “they are putting innovation budgets in place to build their own crypto banks. That's an exciting development and hard to imagine even six months ago.”