BitPagos, a bitcoin wallet and merchant processing service, recently closed a $1.9 million Series A round to expand its services in its South America, according to Techcrunch. The Argentina-based company also changed its name to Ripio, the name of its consumer credit service.
The service helps merchants who wish to sell their fiat currency immediately after a sale rather than their bitcoins, CCN previously reported.
China-based Huiyin Blockchain Venture led the new funding round, along with existing investors Digital Currency Group, Boost VC and Draper VC.
Shortly after its 2014 launch, BitPagos announced a round of investments from Pantera Capital, Barry Silbert, Tim Draper, Boost Bitcoin Fund and others, CCN reported.
Focus On Consumer Credit
Ripio, the company’s new name and the name its consumer credit product, means gravel in Spanish. Ripio will allow people with limited banking history to get credit by using its consumer wallet service. Ripio will allow users to buy with its wallet app for Android — an iOS version is planned. Once users have a spending history, Ripio will use that data as a credit history to help them take micro-loans or other financial services that would normally not be available.
The company plans to use digital currencies to promote financial inclusion in South America. Credit card ownership is less than 20 percent in the region, where millions do not have bank accounts.
Funding To Support Expansion
Ripio will use the funding to expand into Mexico and Brazil, first through its wallet service, then add the credit system. CEO Sebastian Serrano said Ripio will hire teams in both countries. It will also double its development team to 12 members.
CCN reported in 2014 that BitPagos had expanded into Brazil.
Serrano said that bitcoin’s recent surge has helped build interest in the Ripio wallet app. He said the active user base grew 40 percent in December alone.
Serrano estimated Ripio’s two services combined will process “several million U.S. dollars” in January.
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