Venture Capital Firm Greycroft’s Bitcoin Bet Eyes South Africa, the Emirates, and Ethereum – 风投公司Greycroft的比特币赌眼南非、Emirates、和伊斯利恩

By

Robert Hackett

April 13, 2018

Robert Hackett 2018年4月13日

Elizabeth Rosiello knows the frustration of financial exclusion.

On the latest episode of Balancing The Ledger, Fortune’s show covering all things cryptocurrency, fintech, and blockchain, Rosiello discussed her inability to invest in the recent initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange of a friend’s company: Hut 8, a cryptocurrency mining company backed by Bitfury, a Bitcoin mining giant and mutual investor in Rosiello’s own Bitcoin startup, BitPesa, based in Nairobi, Kenya.

“I had been living for 10 years in sub-Saharan Africa and I couldn’t open a [U.S.] brokerage account quickly because I didn’t have a utility bill,” Rosiello said. “My physical presence in another region excluded me from engaging in investment.”

“That’s a privileged person’s problem,” Rosiello said. But it is also indicative of the constraints imposed by geography; “think about all of the diverse, amazing economies and people and businesspeople across the 54 countries across the African continent and how they are routinely excluded in many ways from participating in global markets,” she said.

“Imagine if you just cut Hong Kong off from the rest of the world or just cut off Tokyo,” Rosiello told Fortune’s show hosts, Robert Hackett and Jen Wieczner. “That’s how a lot of businesses feel about living and working in Lagos, Nigeria.”

In recent months, governments around the world have been cracking down on cryptocurrency ventures. China banned so-called initial coin offerings and imposed stricter regulations on exchanges. Kenya, where BitPesa is based, has forbidden cryptocurrency companies from transacting with local banks since 2015. Most recently, the central banks of India and Pakistan decreed that local banks must end their relationships with businesses dealing in cryptocurrency.

“Unfortunately, when there are other economic factors happening, sometimes the central banks make a quick move or place blame where it shouldn’t be,” Rosiello said. She is hopeful, she said, that regulators will warm up to the sector as they did in Japan, now one of the most cryptocurrency-friendly environments, despite being home to Tokyo-based Mt. Gox, once the world’s biggest Bitcoin exchange before its disastrous hacking in 2014.

Rosiello noted several bright spots. Last month, Kenya created a blockchain task force. Around the same time, the South African Reserve Bank began exploring the economic opportunity and risk posed by cryptocurrency, and the central bank’s preliminary assessment was, in her view, optimistic.

Rosiello, whose startup has raised about $10 million in funding, including from the likes of Greycroft, a well-established venture capital firm in the U.S. headed by VC extraordinaire Alan Patricoff, plans to expand to South Africa in the next few months. (For more on Greycroft, read this profile by Fortune Ledger reporter Jeff John Roberts from 2017.)

BitPesa not only has its eyes on expanding across the African continent, but into Europe and the Middle East as well. Earlier this year the company bought TransferZero, a Spanish online money transfer startup, and in the coming months, BitPesa plans to open an office in the United Arab Emirates, Rosiello said.

And that expansion isn’t just geographic, but cryptographic as well. Rosiello is planning to offer more cryptocurrency transaction options beyond Bitcoin through BitPesa before the year is through.

“Bitcoin, for us, has always been the most liquid and most popular, but there is such interest from our African traders for getting into other coins,” Rosiello said.

“We hope by the fall to launch Ether trading,” she said, referring to the cryptocoin native to Ethereum, the second-most valuable public blockchain next to Bitcoin.

Elizabeth Rosiello知道金融排斥的挫折。在平衡的Ledger的最新一集,fortune’s显示覆盖万物cryptocurrency,FinTech,和blockchain,Rosiello讨论了她无法在一个friend’s公司多伦多证券交易所投资在最近首次公开募股:小屋8,一个cryptocurrency挖掘公司在Bitfury的支持下,一个比特币采矿巨头和rosiello’s启动自己的比特币bitpesa,相互投资,总部设在内罗毕,肯尼亚。“i已经在撒哈拉以南的非洲生活了10年,我无法打开[美国]经纪帐户很快因为我没有账单,” Rosiello说。在另一个地区“my物理存在排斥我从事investment.” “that’s特权person’s问题,” Rosiello说。但它也表明受地理的限制;对所有不同的“think,惊人的经济人和商人在这54个国家在非洲大陆,他们是如何经常被排除在许多方面参与全球市场,”她说。“imagine如果你只是把香港从世界各地或是切断东京、” Rosiello告诉fortune’s节目的主持人,Robert Hackett和Jen Wieczner。“that就是很多企业觉得生活和工作在拉各斯,最近几个月nigeria.”,世界各国政府一直在打击cryptocurrency合资企业。中国禁止所谓的初始硬币发行和交易实施更严格的法规。在肯尼亚,bitpesa为基础,禁止cryptocurrency企业与当地银行自2015。最近,印度和巴基斯坦央行规定,地方银行必须结束与处理的cryptocurrency业务关系。“unfortunately,当有其他经济因素发生,有时中央银行快速移动或指责的地方不应该的,” Rosiello说。她很乐观,她说,监管机构会温暖的部门就像他们在日本做的,现在一个最友好的环境,尽管cryptocurrency,基于东京的Mt. Gox家,一旦world’s最大的比特币交易所在其灾难性的黑客2014。Rosiello指出了几个亮点。上个月,肯尼亚创造了blockchain特遣队。与此同时,南非储备银行开始探索经济机会和危险cryptocurrency,和中央bank’s初步评价,在她看来,乐观。Rosiello,谁的启动已经筹集了约1000万美元的资金,其中包括来自Greycroft,一个完善的风险投资公司在美国由VC非凡Alan Patricoff为首,计划在未来几个月对南非扩大。(更多Greycroft,读取此配置文件被财富账记者Jeff John Roberts 2017。)bitpesa不仅着眼于扩大整个非洲大陆,但在欧洲和中东以及。今年早些时候,公司买了transferzero,西班牙在线转账的启动,在接下来的几个月内,bitpesa计划在阿拉伯联合酋长国开设一个办事处,Rosiello说。和扩张isn’t只是地理,但密码以及。Rosiello计划提供更多的cryptocurrency交易之外的选择bitpesa比特币通过在年底前。“bitcoin,对于我们来说,一直是最液体和最受欢迎的,但是有这样的兴趣从我们的非洲商人进入其他硬币,” Rosiello说。“we希望秋天推出醚”交易,她说,指的是原产于第二cryptocoin伊斯利恩,最有价值的公共blockchain旁边的比特币。

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Venture Capital Firm Greycroft's Bitcoin Bet Eyes South Africa, the Emirates, and Ethereum - 风投公司Greycroft的比特币赌眼南非、Emirates、和伊斯利恩

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