Medici Ventures, the blockchain technology arm of online retailer Overstock.com, has added bitcoin consumer financial service platform Ripio to its portfolio of strategic blockchain-focused investments through participation in Ripio’s Series A financing. In addition to Medici Ventures’ equity position, the blockchain-focused subsidiary of Overstock.com will take an observer’s seat in Ripio’s board of directors meetings.
Overstock has been active in the blockchain industry since early 2014, when it became one of the first retailers to accept bitcoin. Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne saw the loss as a positive, arguing that the company believes it is investing into a technology trend that will drive long-term value for shareholders.
Ripio’s bitcoin financial services suite utilizes the blockchain and traditional payment rails to allow Latin America’s unbanked and underbanked population (as high as 70% in some areas) to buy and sell bitcoins using local currencies, and to pay for goods and services through a simple, direct transfer to peers and merchants. The platform currently has over seventy thousand users across Argentina and Brazil, and is in the process of expanding to other countries in the region, including Mexico and Colombia.
“Ripio has simplified the peer-to-peer payment system in a way that is accessible to anyone with a smartphone, no matter his or her level of technical sophistication,” said Medici Ventures’ President Jonathan Johnson. “This is exactly the type of life-changing application of blockchain technology that Medici Ventures is interested in.”
“We are super excited to partner with Medici Ventures team,” stated Sebastian Serrano, CEO and Co-Founder of Ripio. “This investment and their experience will help us to leverage our vision of democratizing access to financial services in emerging markets. We are honored to be part of its portfolio and we look to strengthen our synergies in the near future.”