Richard Branson bets on Bitcoin with new stake in payment firm

Harriet Green
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BITPAY, the Atlanta-based Bitcoin payments processor, has reportedly raised $30m (£17.8m), and Richard Branson is one of the investors.

In an email cited by the Wall Street Journal, the business magnate took the opportunity to make a statement about virtual currency more widely, saying: “Banking as we know it is in the midst of enormous change and innovation.”

At the end of last year, the payment gateway was used by 15,500 merchants. The amount it has now raised is the biggest funding round a Bitcoin company’s ever produced, and values the company at around $160m.

Virgin Galactic, part of Branson’s Virgin Group and the world’s first commercial spaceline, will be accepting Bitcoin for tickets.

Branson said that Bitpay has "proven itself to process Bitcoin safely and reliably, growing the market and increasing adoption, which continues to build trust, legitimacy and momentum in this exciting currency revolution."

Bitpay plans to use the investment to expand across the globe, more than tripling its workforce.

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