Bitcoin merchant processing company BitPay has been on quite a roll. They have been making news on a consistent basis since signing WordPress as the first major international merchant to accept Bitcoin back in November of 2012. CCN decided to catch up with BitPay’s Vice President of Marketing, Stephanie Wargo, to learn more about where BitPay and Bitcoin are, and where they’re headed as we look forward to 2015.
Evander: Can you provide some history of how BitPay started? What are it’s origins?
Stephanie: BitPay was founded in May 2011 by co-founders Tony Gallippi and Stephen Pair. Stephen started programming at a young age and spent much of his early career focused on languages, compilers, operating systems and virtual machines. Later, he developed an interest in the mechanics of financial markets, economics and monetary systems as well as developments in cryptography. This led him to bitcoins and in speaking with his long-time college friend Tony, they talked about the need for places where people could spend bitcoins, and BitPay was formed.
BitPay has made many changes recently to help attract a larger more mainstream audience. Now you don’t have to be strickly an online retailer to find value in accepting Bitcoin. BitPay was the very first Bitcoin payment processor, and the first to offer free transactions, forever, to new Bitcoin merchants. Their plan offers unlimited transactions, instant conversion from BTC to USD, daily bank deposits, retail POS solutions, eCommerce integrations, email support, no transaction fees, and access to all of BitPay’s plugins, APIs, and apps.
Evander: BitPay used to have an affiliate program for those who wanted to engage merchants worldwide, and help grow the company’s reach. I heard it stopped in the spring. How is the program going and is it in effect, for those who want to join BitPay on an affiliate basis, spreading the word about Bitcoin for businesses?
Stephanie: BitPay did have a program and after the announcement for zero monthly fees/transaction fees the program has gone through some changes. Details of a new program will be announced soon.
For the latest information on future affiliate opportunities with BitPay, follow their blog here.
One Million Merchants Taking Bitcoin By 2016
Stephanie: Overall, BitPay has over 40,000 merchants globally with the goal to enroll one million merchants taking bitcoin by the end of 2016. About 50% are in the US with 30% in the EU and 20% in the rest of the world. Europe has seen 1900% growth with more than 2,500 merchants have signed up with BitPay over the last three months bringing the number of European merchants to over 11,000. European merchants processed more than 28 million euros this year in bitcoin payments compared to 1.4 million euros for the same months in 2013. The countries in Europe with the highest adoption rates are the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands.
Their main competitor Coinbase has recently made some of the biggest splashes so far this year, with the signings of Dell Computers, Expedia.com and The United Way, the world’s largest charity. BitPay has countered with a new 3-year sponsorship deal with ESPN for a nationally televised college football bowl game, the Bitcoin St.Petersburg Bowl, on December 26th. It seems like a strange pairing and angle for entering the mainstream consciousness. This is the view from BitPay’s Tony Gallippi, their founder and Executive Chairman:
“Our goal is to continue to move bitcoin into the mainstream and (to sponsor) the St. Petersburg Bowl offers us that opportunity. College football fans and the bitcoin community represent a similar target demographic – tech-savvy men between the ages of 18 and 40.”
The winner of the game can receive their winner’s prize of $500,000 entirely in Bitcoin. The deal with BitPay may lead into a larger partnership and gives BitPay and Bitcoin access to over 100 million households. And yes, you’ll be able to buy tickets to the game with Bitcoin. So with new ventures like “The Bitcoin Bowl“, free unlimited transactions, and their new CoPay service, their new multi-sig wallet service for business, BitPay seems well positioned to increase the reach of Bitcoin into the mainstream for years to come.
What do you think of BitPay? Comment below!
Images from Shutterstock.