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SA bitcoin firm Centbee raises R18-million in funding

South African bitcoin company Centbee has closed a series-A funding round with entrepreneur Calvin Ayre worth R18.3-million. Ayre is founder of CoinGeek and Antigua-based investment firm Ayre Ventures.

The investment of £1-million was facilitated by nChain, a blockchain advisory, research and development firm, which previously took a stake in Centbee in January 2018.

“Centbee has a track record of making bitcoin easily usable and accessible to everyone including merchants and consumer,” said Ayre in a statement. The company “makes it easy for consumers to acquire, store and spend bitcoin with retailers and other merchants”.

“Centbee has one of the most user-friendly bitcoin wallets and merchant payment solutions we have seen. It is built using the original bitcoin protocol, now alive only in the form of Bitcoin SV (BSV), which has a plan for massive blockchain scaling,” said Jimmy Nguyen, chairman of nChain Group’s strategic advisory board and founding president of the Bitcoin Association, which advances Bitcoin SV’s global ecosystem. “This allows Centbee to offer low fees and fast transaction speeds. We will continue to work with Centbee as it sparks greater merchant and consumer adoption of BSV in Africa and worldwide.”

BSV, or Bitcoin Satoshi Vision, is a bitcoin implementation that follows the original whitepaper written by bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto and conforms to the original bitcoin protocol and design.

Broader collaboration

Ayre’s investment is part of a broader collaboration to advance the bitcoin SV ecosystem. nChain will also support Centbee with its technical consulting services and access to its intellectual property portfolio, which is aimed at benefiting growth of the BSV blockchain.

Centbee supports BSV because it is the “only blockchain that fulfils the original bitcoin design and protocol”, Centbee said in the statement.

The company was founded by co-CEOs Lorien Gamaroff and Angus Brown. Gamaroff is an expert in blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies and has advised regulators and companies internationally; Brown has 20 years’ experience in payments and banking including the role of CEO of FNB’s eBucks.com.

“Centbee has made it easy for customers to buy Bitcoin SV easily at over 50 000 till points in South Africa,” said Brown. “Through this, we will help people move money simply and cheaply across borders to support family and friends. The investment will be used for product development, scaling and growth.”

Centbee is a gold member of Rand Merchant Bank Holdings’ AlphaCode, which helps grow “disruptive and scaleable fintech businesses”. – © 2019 NewsCentral Media

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