Bitcoin

BitX has raised US$4 million in a Series A round led by Naspers Group, through its payments subsidiary PayU.

Existing investor Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group also participated in the round.

In 2014, it raised US$824,000 in a seed funding round from London-based Ariadne Capital, Barry Silbert’s BitCoin Opportunity Corp (BOC) (now known as Digital Currency Group), and Palo Alto-based financial innovation investor Carol Realini.

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Founded in 2013, BitX is a global cryptocurrency platform that offers mobile Bitcoin wallets, institutional quality exchanges and various APIs for merchant and other business integration. Its headquarter is in Singapore, with offices in Cape Town and Jakarta.

BitX customers can use the platform to buy, trade, store and transfer money via Bitcoins online. The platform is currently available to over half a billion consumers spread across key markets in Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore) and Africa (Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya), said an official release.

“We’ve been seeing very strong growth across the markets we operate in, and this investment will allow us to both accelerate this growth and extend our footprint to more markets,” said BitX Co-founder and CEO Marcus Swanepoel.

In an email interview with e27, Swanepoel revealed that Bitx is looking to enter emerging markets.

It will use the funds to aggressively accelerate hiring in areas such as engineering, operations, and business development.

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By partnering with Naspers, which is a broad-based multinational Internet and media group offering services such as e-commerce in more than 130 countries, BitX will be able leverage on its reach that extends to developed and high-growth markets.

James Caviness, Chief Product Officer at PayU, will join the BitX Board of Directors.

“We see a bright future for cryptocurrency across a number of industry verticals, and with BitX’s strong management team and solid track record, look forward to leveraging Naspers’ global platform and local knowledge to help them capitalise on these opportunities,” he said.

“BitX was designed mobile-first, so it’s much more user-friendly than others. It has instant buy and sell of Bitcoins inside the app which many other wallets don’t offer, and it also has embedded KYC (identity verification and submitting documents) in the app which as far as I know no one else has,” stated Swanepoel.

Keeping the platform secure is paramount, especially in light of the Bitcoin hacks in recent months, such as the hack at BTER,  a Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange platform, which saw it lose 7,170 bitcoins (an estimated US$1.75 million).

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Marcus claims that BitX is highly secure because it uses a combination of cold storage (a method of storing Bitcoins offline) and multi-sig (a method of assigning private keys to Bitcoin transfers, making them much harder to steal).

In addition, BitX goes through third-party security audits to ensure all security guidelines are adhered to.