Blockchain research and development firm nChain Group has taken an equity stake in Centbee, a bitcoin wallet provider that lets global consumers acquire, hold and spend Bitcoin with retailers and other merchants.
The funding deal was made through the nChain Group’s investment entity, nChain Reaction.
Based in South Africa, Centbee was founded by co-CEOs Lorien Gamaroff and Angus Brown.
Gamaroff has consulted and advised regulators and large companies internationally on blockchain. Brown has 20 years’ experience in payments and banking, including the role of CEO of eBucks.com.
“Centbee will be rolling out mechanisms for merchants to accept Bitcoin payments more cheaply and securely than current bank payment systems without exposure to price volatility. We will work closely with merchants in South Africa initially to solve local problems,” says Brown.
“In addition, we will help consumers move money simply and cheaply across borders to support family and friends. We have been working closely with regulators in the region to educate, ensure good governance and to address any regulatory risk.”
Gamaroff explains: “In addition to providing financial investment, nChain’s research, intellectual property and deep technology expertise will enable Centbee to become a powerful and secure wallet provider which will open up Bitcoin merchant payments to a global market.”
nChain Group CEO Jimmy Nguyen comments: “Centbee has one of the most user-friendly Bitcoin wallets and merchant payment solutions we have seen. It smartly embraces Bitcoin Cash because its bigger blocks, low fees and fast transaction network represent the true vision of Bitcoin. We look forward to supporting Centbee as it sparks greater merchant and consumer adoption of Bitcoin Cash in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.”
nChain Reaction financially backs products and applications that make bitcoin cash more globally useable as peer-to-peer electronic cash.
The Centbee deal represents nChain Reaction’s second bitcoin cash-enabling investment within the past month, having previously participated in a $1,5-million Series A funding round for Yours.org, the bitcoin cash-based social network.
Centbee is a gold member of AlphaCode, the fintech investment arm of Rand Merchant Investment Holdings.
Dominique Collett, Head of AlphaCode, says: “It is remarkable that two South Africans have managed to build a business that has attracted the attention of one of the world’s foremost blockchain firms. In fact, Lorien and Angus met at AlphaCode indicating that what we set out to do – build an ecosystem of fintech entrepreneurs to the benefit of the industry – has proven to be right.”
The Centbee Wallet will be available in the Apple and Google Play stores.