bitpay real world bitcoin payments

BitPay, a cryptocurrency payment provider, processed $1 billion in bitcoin and crypto payments in 2018.

Despite the slump in bitcoin price, BitPay topped the $1 billion figure for the second year running. The company also reported a new record for transaction fee revenue.

In a press release, BitPay’s co-founder and CEO Stephen Pair said:

“To process over a $1 Billion for a second year in a row despite Bitcoin’s large price drop shows that Bitcoin is being used to solve real pain points around the world.”

It seems the bear market hasn’t killed demand for real-world cryptocurrency payments.

What is BitPay?

BitPay is a bitcoin payment processor, allowing businesses and vendors to accept cryptocurrency around the world. BitPay facilitates crypto payments in stores, online, and via email billing.

Virgin Galactic uses BitPay to accept bitcoin down-payments on space flights, and Shopify integrated BitPay’s processor, allowing online vendors to accept bitcoin.

BitPay is rooted in bitcoin payments, but also supports Bitcoin Cash and stable coins from Circle, Gemini, and Paxos. Further, the company operates a business-to-business (B2B) service. 

Helping Ohioans pay tax in bitcoin

BitPay made headlines earlier this year by partnering with the State of Ohio. The integration allows businesses to pay taxes in bitcoin, with support for individual taxpayers to follow.

The partnership helped propel BitPay’s B2B service to 255% growth last year. Additional customers include law firms, data center providers, and IT vendors.

“BitPay’s B2B business continues to grow rapidly as our solution is cheaper and quicker than a bank wire from most regions of the world,” Pair said. 

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bitpay

Bitcoin payments startup BitPay has raised $40 million in a Series B funding round that included iconic Silicon Valley venture capital firm Menlo Ventures.

The Atlanta-based company, which processes cryptocurrency payments for merchants, had originally announced the funding round in December. The firm had sought to raise $30 million but ultimately expanded the target to $40 million in response to “high demand,” BitPay CEO Stephen Pair said in an interview with tech news outlet Recode.

The funding round was led by Aquiline Technology Growth, and though not as large as some others seen in the cryptocurrency space in recent months, it was BitPay’s most lucrative funding round to date.

Pair said that BitPay has been profitable for the past 18 months, reducing the amount of funding the firm needs to cover its operating costs and also finance expansion.

It was also a landmark investment for Menlo, which was founded in 1976 and was one of Silicon Valley’s first venture capital firms. Prior to this funding round, Menlo had never invested in a blockchain startup, despite actively exploring them for a year and a half.

BitPay last raised capital through its Series A round in 2014, which saw the firm raise $30 million from a group of high-profile investors including Richard Branson, AME Cloud Ventures, and Founders Fund.

The company hopes to use its Series B funds to expand its operations into Asia, where it has recently inked a major partnership with South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb for cross-border remittance payments.

BitPay also plans to hire more engineers, employees who will likely be tasked with helping the firm increase its stable of cryptocurrencies beyond bitcoin — a move that the company first previewed last year.

The first fruits of this pivot materialized last week, when BitPay began allowing merchants to accept bitcoin cash payments, marking the first time in the company’s more than six year history that it has processed payments for a cryptocurrency other than bitcoin.

Featured image from BitPay

stripe

Payment processor Stripe has announced that it will end support for bitcoin payments in April, citing rising transaction fees and confirmation times, as well as a decline in bitcoin revenues from businesses that currently use Stripe to accept cryptocurrency payments.

“Our hope was that Bitcoin could become a universal, decentralized substrate for online transactions and help our customers enable buyers in places that had less credit card penetration or use cases where credit card fees were prohibitive,” wrote Stripe’s Tom Karlo in a blog post.

However, Karlo notes that bitcoin has largely evolved from a currency into an asset since the company began processing bitcoin payments in 2014.

“Given the overall success that the Bitcoin community has achieved, it’s hard to quibble with the decisions that have been made along the way,” he said, but he noted that bitcoin’s evolution has resulted in a marked decline in its utility for everyday payments.

The company specifically pointed to bitcoin’s rising median transaction fee, which peaked as high as $34 in mid-December. Karlo said that transaction confirmation times have also become an issue, as the bitcoin price often fluctuates dramatically before the network processes the payment.

Effective immediately, Stripe will begin winding down its support for bitcoin, although businesses that currently accept bitcoin through the company can continue to do so until April 23.

Stripe is not the first mainstream company to rescind support for bitcoin due to its evolution from a currency into an asset. Video game retailer Steam recently stopped accepting bitcoin payments, and Microsoft briefly did as well, but the tech giant later reversed its stance.

Although Stripe is ending support for bitcoin, Karlo stressed that the company is still “very optimistic about cryptocurrencies overall,” particularly the Lightning Network, Ethereum, and OmiseGO.

He also said that the company may add support for stellar, a project to which Stripe contributed seed funding, and he added that the firm “can certainly imagine enabling support” for cryptocurrencies in the future.”

“It’s possible that Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, or another Bitcoin variant, will find a way to achieve significant popularity while keeping settlement times and transaction fees very low,” he concluded. “Bitcoin itself may become viable for payments again in the future. And, of course, there’ll be more ideas and technologies in the years ahead.”