Coins, a blockchain-enabled mobile payments platform with services in Thailand and the Philippines, today closed a US$5 million funding round led by global internet and entertainment conglomerate Naspers Group, through its VC investments arm Naspers Ventures.

The new investment will further accelerate its regional growth and allow Coins to establish additional cash-based services and partnerships to further serve its customers.

The latest tranche of investment comes almost seven months after the Philippines-based startup raised US$5 million in Series A led by Quona Capital’s Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund.

The latest round brings Coins’s total funding raised to date from Series A to over US$9.4 million.

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As part of the agreement, James Caviness, Vice President and Chief Product Officer at Naspers’s payments unit PayU, as a new Board member.

Founded in 2014 by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Ron Hose and Runar Petursson, Coins enables anyone including those without a bank account to access financial services directly from their phone. Using Coins, customers have access to a mobile wallet and services such as remittances, mobile air-time, bill payments, and online shopping at over 100,000 merchants.

To date, the company claims to have signed up over one million customers.

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Coins operates primarily in the Philippines and Thailand, and plans to expand to other markets where consumer access to traditional financial services such as credit, banking and remittances is either limited or prohibitively expensive.

Last year, Coins teamed up with convenience store chain 7­-Eleven to offer instant deposits across all 1,600 of its stores in the Philippines.

“Coins has done an excellent job of providing consumers with easy, cost-effective access to core financial services,” said Caviness. “With its secure, scalable platform, built on exciting and potentially disruptive blockchain technology, we expect Coins to continue to grow and expand across Southeast Asia.”

“Coins has become a key component of our customers’ everyday lives, allowing them to do everything from sending payments to shopping online,” said CEO Ron Hose. “With Naspers Ventures, we’ve gained a great partner in our mission to democratise financial services by making them easily accessible and usable by anyone. We are extremely excited to be working together with them to build a more financially inclusive future.”

Founded in 1915, Naspers is a global internet and entertainment group and one of the largest technology investors in the world. Operating in more than 130 countries and markets with long-term growth potential, Naspers builds leading companies that empower people and enrich communities. It runs some of the world’s leading platforms in internet, video entertainment, and media. Naspers has invested in, acquired or built, companies including Avito, Brainly, Codecademy, eMAG, Flipkart, ibibo, iFood, letgo, Media24, Movile, MultiChoice, OLX, PayU, Showmax, SimilarWeb, SinDelantal, Twiggle, and Udemy.

Blockchains are decentralized, distributed ledgers that record transactions in a verifiable, secure and permanent way. Initially used for digital currencies, blockchains allow for the transfer of value without the need for a trusted authority or central server. By eliminating the need for intermediaries, blockchain-based systems can facilitate fast, efficient settlement of payments between parties.

Image Credit: Coins.ph