Naspers Ventures, an investment arm of global internet and entertainment group Naspers has led a $5m series A round into Coins, Southeast Asia’s blockchain-enabled mobile payments platform, bringing the total amount raised in its Series A to US$10M.
Built on top of blockchain technology, Coins enables anyone – including those without a bank account – to access a broad range of financial services directly from their mobile phone. To date, the company has signed up over one million customers. James Caviness, Vice President and Chief Product Officer of Naspers business PayU has joined Coins as a new board member.
“Coins has done an excellent job of providing consumers with easy, cost-effective access to core financial services,” said James Caviness, Coins board member. “With its secure, scalable platform, built on exciting and potentially disruptive blockchain technology, we expect Coins to continue to grow and expand across Southeast Asia.”
Coins operates primarily in the Philippines and Thailand, and plans to expand to other markets where consumer access to traditional financial services such as credit, banking and remittances is either limited or prohibitively expensive. Coins’ mobile wallet has generated a strong leadership position, providing consumers the first point of access to a wide range of financial services including remittances, airtime top-ups, e-commerce and P2P payments. Coins serves over 100,000 merchants.
By leveraging blockchain technology and partnerships with existing financial institutions, Coins has been able to directly connect over one million previously unbanked customers with its ecosystem of financial services. The new investment will further accelerate its regional growth and allow Coins to establish additional cash-based services and partnerships to further serve its customers.
“Coins has become a key component of our customers’ everyday lives, allowing them to do everything from sending payments to shopping online,” said Ron Hose, CEO of Coins. “With Naspers Ventures, we’ve gained a great partner in our mission to democratize financial services by making them easily accessible and usable by anyone. We are extremely excited to be working together with them to build a more financially inclusive future.”
Not to be confused with bitcoin, blockchains are decentralized, distributed ledgers that record transactions in a verifiable, secure and permanent way. Initially used for digital currencies, blockchains allow for the transfer of value without the need for a trusted authority or central server. By eliminating the need for intermediaries, blockchain-based systems can facilitate fast, efficient settlement of payments between parties.