Through its investment arm BitFury, Bitcoin Blockchain infrastructure provider and transaction processing startup BitFury Group Ltd. has invested an undisclosed amount of money in Kenyan Bitcoin exchange BitPesa a move which the company terms as strategic.
Founded in November 2013, the Nairobi-based startup pitches itself as an easy way to send money to Africa, although it primarily has an East African focus, offering exchange services in Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Tanzania.
The company accepts Bitcoin and exchanges it for local African currencies, which are then deposited into an African bank account or into mobile money wallets, while also selling Bitcoin in Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda, for those users who do not have access to other Bitcoin exchanges.
BitPesa is licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as an Authorized Payment Institution, which according to the company means that it is a more trusted solution than using informal brokers or cash agents, which are typically used for financial payments in East Africa.
“Our mission is to make global transacting easier, especially for those who continue to face obstacles to financial growth,” BitFury Chief Executive Officer Valery Vavilov said in a statement (pdf). “A secure, transparent and trusted form of exchange is being made possible by BitPesa, and our investment will allow us to work together to leverage the innovative power of the Bitcoin Blockchain for the benefit of the entire pan-African continent.”
Elizabeth Rossiello, CEO of BitPesa, said it was great for the startup to have the support of the BitFury Group, which she said works extremely hard to build a community amongst companies working with bitcoin, both large and small.
Excluding the new undisclosed investment from BitFury, BitPesa has raised $1.7 million from Pantera Capital, Crypto Currency Partners, Stephens Investment Management, Bitcoin Opportunity Corp., Future/Perfect Ventures, and Blockchain Capital; of note Blockchain Capital is also an investor in BitFury.