Coins is a fledging Bitcoin startup with big dreams to power financial inclusion in Southeast Asia with Bitcoin. If you are deeply involved in the Bitcoin startup ecosystem, you might have heard about Coins – a Philippines-based Bitcoin startup that prides itself as “the easiest way to pay and get paid” in Bitcoin of course.
If you are not deeply involved in the Bitcoin startup scene you might never have heard about Coins unless you happen to be an avid Bitcoin user in southeast Asia. Now, Coin is moving out of the shadows to come into the limelight as it starts taking proactive measures to develop its Bitcoin mobile wallet. The more interesting fact is breaking news showing that Coins has raised $5 million in funding from a number of high-profile investors.
$5 million funding to reach the under-served with Bitcoin
Coins is on a mission – a commendable mission to provide the underserved people of Southeast Asian countries with financial solutions. Coins already boasts 500,000 app user signups since launching in 2014 and it has been working behind the scenes to promote financial inclusion. Coins’ CEO, Ron Hose says, “we’ve been quiet for a long time, but it’s not because we’re not running.”
Now, some global venture capitals have bought into Coin’s lofty ambitions and the startup raised $5 million in its Series A round. Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund led the Series A round – Accion is a fund with a targeted interest in supporting startups working on financial inclusion for underserved communities. Other funds that bought into Coins’ Series A round include Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, Pantera Capital, Digital Currency Group, and BeeNext.
Coins is also getting technical support from two major incubation labs as part of efforts to ensure that its product doesn’t die on the altar of execution. IdeaSpace Foundation and Kickstart Ventures have both committed to providing Coins with technical support.
The best part is that incubation labs are backed by major telecom services providers in the Philippines; hence, Coins can easily leverage the relationship to create Bitcoin mobile wallets domiciled on the phones of subscribers on their networks.
The Bitcoin startup scene is heating up
In all honesty, entrepreneurs who are setting up shop in the Bitcoin startup sector deserve medals for courage because they are swimming against the tide. To start with, most people do not yet understand Bitcoin and traditional financial institutions are pushing the propaganda of fear in order to stifle the growth of Bitcoin. Secondly, the regulatory environment for Bitcoin is still somewhat grey and no one can tell if regulatory policies will favor or hurt Bitcoin.
Nonetheless, the Bitcoin startup scene is heating up, not just in Southeast Asia but globally all the way from Silicon Valley to Sydney. A simple search for Bitcoin startups on Angel.co reveals that there are 897 Bitcoin startups, 1,707 investors, and 126 jobs on the platform alone. You can then begin to imagine the number of players with a stake in the Bitcoin startup ecosystem globally.
If you want to get on board the Bitcoin startup train, you might want to consider setting up shop in remittance payments with Bitcoin. The remittance market is a $500B annual market and the fact that Bitcoin could emerge as a global currency makes it a strategic option for remittances. You might also want to consider setting up shop in the micro-transactions market. The fact that Bitcoin transactions attract almost zero-transaction costs makes Bitcoin a strategic alternative for Micro-transactions.