Venture capitalist funds have been flowing to various Bitcoin companies in the past few years. The year 2015 is setting new records in terms of total VC funds raised and there are still almost four months left to go. One of the latest companies to receive (another) round of funding is Abra, a platform focusing on the Bitcoin remittance market.
Abra Brings Bitcoin Remittance to New Levels
The name Abra is not known to that many people, despite the Bitcoin startup unveiling its plans in March of 2015. With a large focus on the Bitcoin remittance market, an area where very few companies seem to make a breakthrough, Abra has been on the radar of venture capitalists around the world.
Abra’s founder is none other than former Netscape director and veteran technology entrepreneur Bill Barhydt. Rather than looking at Bitcoin remittance from a mobile perspective, Abra will offer much more potential than just that. Even though most of the unbanked population has access to a smartphone, there are so many apps competing in the mobile space when it comes to sending and receiving money.
Money remittance exists in the form of various facets, most of which are hardly given a second thought. When people think of remittance, they envision a way to send cash to anyone in the world by visiting a local Western Union office. No one ever stops to consider that, in order to pick funds up, recipients in underbanked nations might need to spend money for transportation to get to a local branch.
When all is said and done, a lot of money is being lost, both to transaction fees and possible transportation costs. Furthermore, both the sender and recipient are walking around with a certain amount of fiat currency on them, creating a perfect target for thieves and hoodlums. Abra wants to remove all risks associated with sending and receiving money worldwide, as the service sees itself more as an “asset management system”.
Several Bitcoin industry experts want to compare Abra to being the “Uber of remittance services”, as the company “employs” human ATMs to receive and dispense fiat currency. These human ATMs, referred to as Abra Tellers, will act as a portal for other Abra users who are looking to buy and sell digital cash. An Abra Teller will charge a minimal fee for completing the monetary transaction and everyone in the world is eligible to act as a human ATM.
At the time of publication, there has been a fair bit of interest in the Abra ecosystem. Customers from over 80 countries have pre-registered for platform access, giving the company every possible chance to establish a global presence from the day their product launches. While most of Abra’s focus is aimed at underbanked nations, there is a lot of potential for every corner of the world.
List of Notable Investors Raising US$12m
Abra has gotten a lot of attention from venture capitalists all over the world, resulting in a round of Series A funding worth US$12m. On the list of investors are some very high-profile names, such as Blockchain Capital, Digital Currency Group, Arbor Ventures and First Round Capital, to name a few.
This round of funding for Abra comes at an opportune time, as former Bitcoin remittance company Beam announced they will no longer offer a remittance service tied to Bitcoin. Internal changes have lead to a new business model, which will be aimed towards an entirely different market. Even though Beam has not given up on Bitcoin just yet, the company feels Bitcoin remittance was not viable at this time.
Source: Press Release via Email
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Abra