Bitcoin payments startup BitPesa has collected $2.5m in a new Series A funding round with perspectives to broaden its services further across West and Southern Africa, and also in the UK and Europe.
The Series A round was carried by prominent US-based industry investor Draper VC, with participation from existing investors: the Digital Currency Group, Blockchain Capital, Pantera Capital Management, BnkToTheFuture, Zephyr Acorn and FuturePerfectVC. US venture capital firm Greycroft LLC enters as a new shareholder and investor. The latest funding round results from a strategic investment by BitFury in the company in early 2016. In February 2015, BitPesa gained $1 million in new funding, having closed its first operation in 2014 with over $.17 million in ownership. Totally, BitPesa has gained more than $5 million in funding since 2013.
BitPesa lets African users to buy and sell local African money via bitcoin, with arrangements directly handled to and from bank and mobile money accounts in Africa. BitPesa recognizes bitcoin payments and exchanges the bitcoin for local money. Then it settles local currencies into bank accounts or mobile money wallets. There is a possibility of transactions in over 30 currencies.
Cryptocurrencies are becoming more and more popular in the world. Many governments have already officially stated their relation to Bitcoin: Japan, Switzerland, Germany, Estonia, the United States, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Great Britain, Italy, Russia, Brazil, Canada and others. Also the European Parliament debated on this subject.
Bitcoin can enable you to make virtual transactions without the need to authorize them via bank transfer or credit card. There are also physical facilities, which accept this means of payment, and you can also exchange it for other currencies.
The Europeans, who use virtual currency, do not have to pay VAT. This is due to the findings of the European Union act of Hedqvist 264/2014. For VAT purposes, Bitcoin is treated as a means of payment and shall be exempt from tax.
Although Bitcoin has been on the market for seven years already, until now it was not possible to rely on standardized regulations. Russia is one of the few countries in the world, where Bitcoin was not welcome. Since 2014 the use of Bitcoin has been legally problematic there. The Russian authorities considered Bitcoin an illegal money substitute. The use of illegal currency and its emissions would be threatened by high penalty. According to some proposal of the Minister of Finance, it was supposed to be up to 4-7 years in prison.
As it turns out, advocated by some Russian authorities act of “money substitutes”, aimed to mean a total ban on the use of Bitcoin in Russia, encountered unexpected difficulties. The newest federal tax document confirms Bitcoin legal by default in Russia.
Virtual currency Bitcoin had its ups and downs since it was first created, but even when things started looking up financial and sustainability wise, Bitcoin faces another threat. It is being banned by more and more countries, claiming financial safety concerns.
Face it or not, Bitcoin is probably here to stay. Well not according to some countries including China, Denmark, India and several others.The newest addition to this group is Russia, which imposed a full ban on Bitcoin, first declaring it a hazard to the property rights of the citizens. After the warning of the Russia’s Central Bank about the use of virtual currency and the danger of it financing terrorism, Russia issued a full ban on the use of any such currency.
On the other hand there are countries that endorse the use of this virtual currency. One of them being the US, where Bitcoin was declared a regular currency by one federal judge and should be regulated no different than the dollar or Euro.
So while some countries are banning the use of virtual currency and firmly clutching their local currencies, some are announcing laws and procedures to certify and regulate it.