Two-year-old Philippine Bitcoin startup Coins.ph has raised $5 million for its mobile-focused blockchain payment platform.
The Series A round was led by the Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund that included Innovation Endeavors, Pantera Capital, Digital Currency Group, Wavemaker Labs, Global Brain, BeeNext and Rebright Partners. Coins’ platform provides users with access to basic financial services such as remittances, bill payments, and mobile airtime.
The company’s main “Teller” product works by using Coins.ph accounts and retailers that currently accept Bitcoin payments via the Coins.ph network to transfer actual fiat currency between two parties, offering a money transfer service that doesn’t require the use of banks.
“Coins is collaborating with key ecosystem players to architect a new financial and payment infrastructure in Southeast Asia,” Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund’s Ganesh Rengaswamy said in a statement. “Its innovative technology and use of blockchain allow Coins to enable digital access, cut costs, and improve the quality of financial services for the unbanked and underserved across Southeast Asia. We are excited to support this mission.”
Aimed at the unbanked
While the Philippines isn’t the poorest country in the world, it is poor compared with many of its neighbors, with 69 percent of locals believed not to have a bank account.
Smartphone penetration, on the other hand, is rapidly growing, which is where Coins.ph steps in with its services. The company now has 500,000 users with partners in a presence in over 40 countries, catering in particular to the 10 percent of Filippinos who live overseas and send money home, a market that is said to be around $30 billion in remittances a year.
It’s not clear how much Coins.ph has raised to date as the amount raised in previous rounds was not disclosed. The company said it would use the new funding to “continue to build new partnerships with banks, financial institutions, and retailers to connect customers across Southeast Asia with best-in-class financial services.”