by Gil Davis
We’re still in the early days of actually using cryptocurrencies for anything besides investment assets. The continued expansion of the crypto-scene will require more mainstream use of the currency in ways outside of the standard buying and selling on the dips and peaks of the volatile new market.
One of the larger companies making this foray into real use cryptocurrency is BitPay. Despite pessimism from capitalists within the states and other large first-world markets, there is a real opportunity for cryptos to find an important niche overseas if an easy, efficient and cheap solution for regular transactions is found.
BitPay is working to open up this niche for themselves, and their most recent round of funding has attracted the venture capital firm of Menlo Ventures, one of the few firms who isn’t looking at cryptos as simply an asset to be invested and dumped during peaks.
For the past few years, BitPay has been in the green as far as profits are concerned, but not quite where they need to be for the expansion into bigger markets they’d like. Thus this round of funding, initially of $30 million but then expanded into $40 million, which attracted Menlo Ventures as an investor.
BitPay’s Expansion into Asian Markets
This international expansion, specifically into the Asian markets, is targeting demographics where banks tend not to be part of their way of life or in areas where their countries currency vary greatly throughout the year. BitPay’s CEO, Stephen Pair, also stated his intention to open up an office in Hong Kong or Singapore shortly.
Bitpay is now the first cryptocurrency-based business that Menlo has dived into. Tyler Sosin, who is in charge of Menlo’s crypto-team, has been busy evaluating blockchain startups over the past year and a half but it wasn’t until reading of BitPay’s intention of expansion and their fundraising round that he found a project he could really get behind.
Sosin claims that what attracts him to a company like BitPay is that their platform doesn’t require hedging their bets on any single currency, as it is simply a means to initiate cryptocurrency based transactions quickly and efficiently.
Currently, Menlo has yet to do much more than wade into the shallows of the blockchain waters with this first investment. However, Sosin’s team is keeping an eye out for ICO’s and other startups in the future and do not want to fall behind on the technological boom that is occurring.
“It’s early, early days,” Sosin explained. “We imagine there will be some very big companies.”