Bringing easy electronic payments to Latin America
Ripio Credit (formerly BitPagos), the project that reached the finals at last year’s TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield in New York, is about to launch its new venture. The Ripio Credit Network (RCN) will be public in November and is designed to grow the product and platform outside Latin America, into the fast-emerging developing world.
BitPagos, a bitcoin and digital payments startup that was a Battlefield finalist at TechCrunch Disrupt New York 2016, has closed a $1.9 million Series A round to expand its services in its native South America.
The Buenos Aires-based company, which has raised funding from Draper Associates, Digital Currency Group and others, started out offering a bitcoin wallet which, like others, enabled consumers to turn currency into bitcoin and vice versa, while also paying for goods online using bitcoin.
Bitcoin payments startup BitPagos is now giving its wallet users access to credit through its Ripio wallet offering. At launch, the offering will be available to a select number of users in Argentina, who will be able to borrow between $500 and $1,000 in bitcoin directly from the service, with credit extended based on the user's annual salary.
Sebastian Serrano is the Co-Founder of BitPagos, a payment gateway that supports bitcoin and focuses on the Latin American market.
Rodriguez Pons, like many BitPagos clients, knew little about how Bitcoin worked and hadn’t tried hard to figure it out. She once, somewhat accidentally, held onto her Bitcoins at a time when the price was rising, and ended up with a small windfall when she sold. She used the proceeds to build a rooftop bar and a music-rehearsal space. Beyond those extras, Rodriguez Pons credited the savings from using BitPagos with keeping her business alive in Argentina’s very difficult business environment.
BitPagos has launched Ripio, a new bitcoin brokerage service that allows consumers in Argentina to buy small amounts of bitcoin at more than 8,000 convenience stores.To achieve this goal, Ripio will integrate with TeleRecargas, a popular mobile phone service that allows consumers to prepay for cell phone plans at a network of partner convenience stores across Argentina.
On Tuesday, the startup announced it had raised a seed round of $600,000 led by Pantera Capital, Tim Draper, Barry Silbert, Boost Bitcoin Fund, Amasia and others.
With this in mind, Serrano and his two co-founders created BitPagos, a payment gateway that accepts bitcoin and credit card payments and pays out to merchants in local currency or bitcoins – in all cases looking to minimize fees and maximize speed. BitPagos allows merchants to process international credit card payments at low US rates and then receive payout in bitcoin (at market rates) within two days. Merchants pay a flat 5 percent fee on all credit card transactions and pay nothing to accept bitcoin.
BitPagos is also in the merchant solution space however instead of simply converting bitcoins into fiat, they are trying to help merchants move in the opposite direction: accumulating bitcoins. Led by Argentinian Sebastian Serrano, who experienced first-hand the rampant inflation of the early 2000s in Argentina, this San Francisco-based team is focused globally but especially with respect to emerging economies such as those in Latin America.