Centbee, a London-based facilitator of digital money payments on the Bitcoin blockchain BSV, has closed its pre-series A round at $1 million with funding from Calvin Ayre, founder of bitcoin VC player Ayre Ventures.
Founded in 2017, Centbee has developed its own digital cash wallet which runs on the BSV blockchain and supports Bitcoin transfers. The company was formed by Lorien Gamaroff, a crypto professional mainly based in Johannesburg, together with 20-year banking veteran Angus Brown.
Centbee's crypto infrastructure enables customers to send digital money payments to friends and family overseas, using a cross-border remittances service called Minit Money. The features roadmap has been expanded recently. Centbee's ChatPay option acts as an "in-wallet chat application" for Minit Money. The startup also offers a number of digital cash products and services through a separate decentralised finance app.
We rarely hear from remittance providers using crypto, but it's an area with potential. Traditional remittance providers are hampered by the time delay caused by international finance protocols, mainly SWIFT. Given that crypto uses blockchain for its verification checks, the money arrives much faster and can be held by the recipient as savings or an investment, if they don't want to acquire fiat for spending.
Centbee uses the BSV ledger to record all remittance transactions immutably. It's being billed as a "true peer-to-peer" electronic cash system for sending Bitcoin, thanks to a use case that's driven by utility as opposed to currency speculation.
Gamaroff and Brown lead Centbee as jointly appointed chief executives. The startup's expansion is being supported from its offices in South Africa, in addition to the London headquarters. So far Centbee claims to have enabled 35,000 remittance payments into Africa.
Calvin Ayre's injection of funds follows an earlier contribution by his firm in 2019. The latest investment will go to Centbee's scaling up plans, helping to strengthen its technical and operating capacity.
Ayre said: "My faith in Centbee has been rewarded through Angus and Lorien’s ongoing commitment to making Bitcoin – the original protocol in the form of BSV – easily usable and accessible to everyone. "