Overstock’s blockchain technology arm, Medici Ventures, has partnered with Bitcoin consumer financial services platform Ripio to democratize access to financial services in emerging markets.
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Medici Ventures Partners with Ripio
Medici Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary of Overstock.com Inc., announced on Wednesday that it has invested in Bitcoin consumer financial services platform Ripio. “We are super excited to partner with Medici Ventures team,” said Sebastian Serrano, CEO and co-founder of Ripio, adding that:
This investment and their experience will help us leverage our vision of democratizing access to financial services in emerging markets.
Commenting on the partnership, the president of Medici Ventures, Jonathan Johnson, explained that Ripio has “the type of life-changing application of blockchain technology” his firm is interested in. He cited the startup’s simplified peer-to-peer payment system “that is accessible to anyone with a smartphone, no matter his or her level of technical sophistication.” As part of the partnership, Medici Ventures will also “take an observer’s seat in Ripio’s board of directors meetings.”
Ripio’s Bitcoin Financial Services
Launched in 2014 by Bitpagos, a bitcoin payment processor focussed in Latin America and emerging markets, Ripio claims to have more than 70,000 users across Argentina and Brazil. In addition, the company is in the process of expanding to other countries in the region, including Mexico and Colombia.
The startup offers a suite of Bitcoin financial services, such as buying and selling bitcoins in local currencies and making online payments at thousands of websites and stores. According to the company:
Ripio’s Bitcoin financial services suite utilizes the blockchain and traditional payment rails to allow Latin America’s unbanked and underbanked population (as high as 70% in some areas) to buy and sell bitcoins using local currencies, and to pay for goods and services through a simple, direct transfer to peers and merchants.
In January, Ripio raised USD$1.9 million to promote financial inclusion in South America using Bitcoin. The startup revealed at the time its plan to use the new funding to expand services into Brazil and Mexico. Initially, the company will be offering its wallet service, but will later add a consumer credit system as well.
In May, the company launched a credit system in Argentina called “Ripio Credit” on top of its wallet offering. It allows people who are unbanked or without a credit card to make purchases online. Using the blockchain, the startup “created a payment system that enables users to buy goods online without the need for a credit card, or credit check,” Techcrunch reported, noting that for this service “no actual bitcoin is involved for either merchant or buyer.”
Once consumers apply for the card, it takes the company about a day to check the consumer for credit, the publication details, adding that “those that use the Bitpagos’ bitcoin wallet can be approved instantly because they have a payment history.” Ripio’s website states that its credit system allows users to “pay in installments in any store accepting bitcoin.”
What do you think of the partnership between Medici Ventures and Ripio? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Overstock.com, Medici Ventures, and Ripio
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