The United States is standing itself out among nations as a region with a rapidly advancing Bitcoin infrastructure, notable not least by its plethora of specialist payment solution providers which link the virtual currency into the mainstream electronic payment networks.
Today, Bitcoin payment gateway BitPay has formed a strategic partnership with publicly listed payment processing firm Heartland Payment Systems, Inc. (NYSE:HPY) which is one of the nations largest payment solutions providers. In addition to payment processing, the firm also offers point of sale, mobile commerce, e-Commerce, marketing, and payroll solutions.
Bitcoin infrastructure in the US has been rapidly advancing since large venture capital firms began investing substantially in Bitcoin technology firms last year, and US regulators along with peers in Switzerland, Israel and the United Kingdom began to embrace the ideology of virtual currencies, providing confidence for a long term future as an integral component in today’s financial environment.
BitPay, itself the subject of venture capital funding, has concentrated substantial effort in working toward the designation of Bitcoin as a ‘real’ currency. The firm raised $2 million in venture capital financing in 2013 from investors which include Founders Fund, run by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. BitPay’s mission at the time was to get regular businesses, both online and offline, to accept Bitcoin as payment.
LeapRate reported in September 2013, a time when Bitcoin enjoyed a far less salubrious image than it does today, that BitPay had reached over 10,000 merchants, located in 164 countries were using its service, with the total breaking down to approximately 50% located in North America, 25% in Europe, and 25% in the rest of the world.
The rapid growth of BitPay’s business is evident, as compared to the 10,000 merchants in the last quarter of 2013, the firm has now reported that it has increased this to 50,000 merchants.
Heartland Payment Systems is referring its customers to BitPay’s payment platform. The firm aims to help Heartland bring Bitcoin payment technology to businesses and organizations that are interested in new payment methods.
Heartland is working with their industry-leading sales professionals to identify the businesses and organizations that would benefit the most from accepting bitcoin payments. Those businesses will be the first referred to BitPay’s platform.
The firm will operate its new alliance with Heartland Payment Solutions as a referral partnership, from which the firm hopes to reach a number of merchants that are largely new to Bitcoin, bridging the gap between the traditional and modern payments industry.
In mid-2014, Canadian firm Vogogo received an $8.5 million round of new funding.
From its headquarters in Calgary, Alberta, Vogogo provides automated payment processing, regulatory compliance and risk management for a range of businesses, including clients in the virtual currency sector, with Bitcoin being at the forefront, at the time adding further to the notion of North America having the potential to provide virtual currency with a long, mainstream future.
Many highly experienced venture capital companies in other regions of the Americas are also beginning to show great interest in Bitcoin related enterprises, with Argentinian payment processing firm BitPagos having been the subject of recent investment, in a nation which has taken to Bitcoin on a national level.
That particular investment in Vogogo was led by Cormark Securities and included other venture capital partners including Beacon Securities Ltd, Canaccord Genuity Corporation, Clarus Securities and Salmon Partners.