Emerging market-focused bitcoin services firm BitX has completed a SGD$1m ($824,000) seed funding round.
Investors include London-based Ariadne Capital, Barry Silbert’s New York-based Bitcoin Opportunity Corp (BOC) and Palo Alto-based financial innovation investor, Carol Realini.
BitX CEO Marcus Swanepoel told CoinDesk the funding would help the Singapore-based firm accelerate its business, furthering international expansion of its wallet and exchange services, assist with merchant acquisition and help the company develop some new products it has in the pipeline.
Silbert praised the BitX team's progress, saying:
"In a very short period of time, the BitX team has successfully built a highly scalable, unique model that has enabled them to quickly grow a global footprint and demonstrate success in a number of markets […] BitX have a very strong team with a differentiated business model and a great track record.”
Expanding via emerging markets
BitX says it is building a global cryptocurrency platform that provides bitcoin products and services including wallets, exchanges, merchant integration and APIs to consumers, businesses and developers particularly in emerging markets.
Dealing with the variety of regulations and levels of infrastructure in these markets could often slow progress for bitcoin companies, Swanepoel said, adding that he had years of experience working with both authorities and financial institutions in such places, and remained confident.
Of Silbert's Bitcoin Opportunity Corp, he said:
"They're bullish on emerging markets, so it plays well to our investment hypothesis."
BitX’s focus on emerging markets has lead to impressive momentum for the business. It now operates bitcoin wallet services across Africa, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America, with active exchanges in South Africa, Namibia and Kenya.
Investors praise unique strategy
Other investors involved in the deal said they were attracted to the potential of BitX's focus on alternate markets in new areas.
Julie Meyer, CEO of Ariadne Capital, commented that the investment reinforces Ariadne’s strategy of backing talented entrepreneurs and management teams building global companies that can disrupt on a large scale.
Carol Realini added:
"BitX has the right team and the right strategy to capitalize on the enormous opportunity for bitcoin in emerging markets. It is impressive how much they have already accomplished with multiple-country implementations and a major partnership."
BitX also recently partnered with South African payment provider PayFast to provide the largest emerging market bitcoin merchant roll-out to date, enabling over 30,000 merchants the ability to accept bitcoin, including one of the largest e-commerce companies in Africa, Takealot.
BitX says it plans to launch services in more markets soon.
Image via BitX