Last week, P2P Bitcoin company Abra, announced that it will soon be available to all registered users in the US and Philippines and will also now offer services enabling merchants to accept digital cash from consumers using its app.
Additionally, it added strategic investments to its $12 million Series A round,
announced in September, from American Express and Ratan Tata, the chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, the holding company of Indian conglomerate Tata. Amex’s participation in particular adds yet another financial institution to the list of those, including Nasdaq, Visa, Goldman Sachs, and the New York Stock Exchange, that have put money into Bitcoin startups.
“As people and businesses transact more globally, there’s a need for more convenient and affordable ways to move money, and we think the blockchain could play an important role in the evolution of money transfer and commerce, especially in emerging markets,” said Harshul Sanghi, American Express EXPR +0.00% Ventures managing partner, in a statement, using the shorthand term “blockchain” to refer to the technology that powers Bitcoin.
The basic premise behind Abra is that anyone should be able to send money from their phone to any other phone,” comments Bill Barhydt, CEO, Abra. “It’s not possible today to simply transfer from one phone number anywhere in the world to another phone anywhere else in the world. And in the hyper-connected world that we live in, that doesn’t make any sense.”