Abra, a peer-to-peer (P2P) remittance app that leverages bitcoin for money transfers, will soon become available in the US and the Philippines.
The US is the country sending the highest amount in remittances annually, and the Philippines is among the highest on the receiving end.
With Abra’s app, Bitcoin’s blockchain is used behind the scenes, and is not mentioned as part of the transfer process on its website. According to a Forbes report, the startup generates an index which maps phone numbers to addresses on the blockchain. Thus, the app is unique in that it does not involve the exchange of bitcoins for fiat, whereas other Bitcoin-powered remittance services do.
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American Express Ventures, the venture capital arm of American Express, was also revealed as one of the investors behind the startup’s recent $12 million Series A funding.
“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 American Express Ventures managing partner Harshul Sanghi.
American Express joins Visa, the world’s largest payment network, as the latest credit card giant to become interested in blockchain technology. Mastercard has yet to reveal such plans. Last time we checked, it expressed opposition to Bitcoin, and its closest approach to the technology has been the filing of a patent for a bitcoin-supported global shopping cart.