It's 2017, six years after we started BitPay and nearly nine years since the Bitcoin experiment began. If you've not been living under a rock, you've seen that the bitcoin price and daily transaction count have taken to new heights this year.
Still, if you're like most people, you probably don't recognize how bitcoin is quietly changing the playing field of payments.
As the world's leading bitcoin payments platform, we get a deep look into how bitcoin is solving real payment problems. To the extent we've helped to solve those problems, we've seen major growth this year. We're now on pace to process over $1B annually in bitcoin payment acceptance and payouts, and we've already grown our payments dollar volume 328% year-over-year from 2016.
With more transaction volume, our revenues have also grown. That revenue growth has allowed us to add several new members to our team as we develop our products for scalable bitcoin payments adoption. Now we're looking forward to more opportunities to solve big payment problems in the year ahead.
To that end, we want to share some of the most exciting stories and stats from our 2017 so far.
BitPay Merchants Get a Boost
While we explore new use cases for bitcoin payments, we've continued to see growth in bitcoin spending with BitPay's merchants, from electronics sales to precious metals purchases. Altogether, BitPay's merchants are receiving $110M+ in bitcoin payments per month.
Major electronics retailer and long-time BitPay merchant NewEgg has more than doubled its bitcoin sales from last year. Other flagship BitPay merchants have also enjoyed a prosperous year, with many merchants receiving over a $1M a month in payments from customers. Precious metals broker JM Bullion gained nearly $4M in bitcoin sales in the month of June alone.
When BitPay merchants announce that they are accepting bitcoin payments, they often see an increase in new customers from the bitcoin world. And since BitPay only charges 1% rather than the 2-3% fees charged for credit card transactions, BitPay merchants processing high sales volumes can see significant savings every month. These positive side-effects will grow as bitcoin gains more new users in the years ahead.
Bitcoin Payments Make Inroads Around the World
Where is all this growth coming from? Payments to BitPay merchants in Europe and North America continue to grow steadily. But we've also seen a more than doubling in transactions going to Latin American merchants since August of last year. Here's a current breakdown of our transaction counts by merchant region.
Merchants in the Asia-Pacific region now receive a significant portion of our monthly transactions. We have continued our expansion into this region through our partnership with AsiaPay. AsiaPay is one of the largest payment processors in Asia, serving clients including Cathay Pacific, Nike, Tesla, and Under Armour. Now companies like these can choose to easily accept bitcoin payments from their Asian customers by activating AsiaPay's BitPay integration.
In Europe we continue working with major payment service providers including PPRO, PaySafe and WireCard. In Latin America, we have partnered with PayU to help international businesses receive cross-border settlements for credit card payments and other local payment methods in countries like Argentina. Our business to business bitcoin billing tool gives these settlements the speed of an email and the security of the world's most powerful blockchain.
Real Estate Sellers Turn to Bitcoin
In 2017 we've focused closely on bringing bitcoin's value to bear on the problems of high-value payments, which are often subject to slow bank transfer times or high processing fees and fraud rates with credit cards.
To that end, we've onboarded several real estate companies and processed several 6 and 7-figure real estate purchases this year, including a recent deal which garnered press coverage from Fortune, Business Insider, and CNNMoney. But perhaps our favorite story came from one buyer to whom bitcoin not only gave back time – the bitcoin payment cleared in one hour instead of the several days for a traditional bank transfer – but also enough money to buy a new sportscar.
Bitcoin Solves B2B Payments Problems
Speaking of high-value payments, there's one area which most commentators on bitcoin are likely to ignore: B2B and supply chain payments.
These payments from suppliers, resellers, franchisees, affiliates, and subsidiaries happen behind the scenes and gain few headlines, but they make up a significant portion of global payments. They also represent an underserved market for financial technology. Companies still rely on outdated bank wire transfer systems involving multiple intermediaries, high fees, and inconvenient manual paperwork processing.
Bitcoin has changed that. With payments on a blockchain, businesses anywhere in the world can receive payments more quickly and more cheaply than with international wire transfers. BitPay charges a 1% fee to process bitcoin payments of any size (up to several million dollars or more), from anywhere on earth. We deposit funds into our clients' bank accounts in just one business day.
We recently profiled this killer use case with cosmetics wholesaler Bellatorra. This company had just expanded into the Asian market when it was approached by a Chinese reseller which wished to buy wholesale with bitcoin. Now, with the help of bitcoin and BitPay, Bellatorra can reach new customers without the limitations of traditional cross-border payments:
"This technology will let us move into other new markets like Indonesia and India and reach up to three-quarters of the world’s population with our products." – Nathan Halsey, Bellatorra CEO
Some of our other international B2B clients include a Philippines-based call center, a Netherlands-based management consulting firm, several global software vendors, a data center, an advertising company, and a European video game marketplace.
Our business to business billing isn't just for large companies. Service providers have been using it for years. We are currently working with several of the largest law firms in America, including Morrison & Forrester. The firm is accepting bitcoin via BitPay for legal services payments from clients vetted in advance.
Bitcoin Payouts Become a Key Tool for International Platforms
This year BitPay's bitcoin payouts have become an important driver of volume and an essential part of some of our top clients' affiliate, employee, and marketplace strategies.
We've gained major payouts adoption particularly from affiliate marketplaces and forex platforms in 2017 so far. Many major forex platforms in Europe now include bitcoin options for account deposits and withdrawals. Affiliate marketplaces are starting to follow suit. These businesses need to send payments to multiple international endpoints on a regular basis. The problem? Payouts via wire transfer are costly for small amounts, and other services' fees and country limitations make receiving small payouts impractical for some affiliates.
BitPay can do mass payouts much better. Bitcoin is a universal payment method which works anywhere the Internet is available. All a business has to do is pre-fund a batch payment with BitPay for a flat 1% fee, and BitPay issues the mass payouts within one business day. Once sent, payouts take only an hour on average to become spendable in recipients' bitcoin wallets.
Source and citations: https://blog.bitpay.com/forex-and-bitcoin/
* Based on average of top 10 US banks
**Not including processing time
"We wanted to provide multiple payout options for our clients due to the simple fact [that] there is not a ‘one-fits-all’ payment solution that is suitable for everyone. Our affiliates are based in all ‘4 corners of the world’ and we are seeing a growing trend of users looking to explore alternative payment options, that offer more than what they get with the traditional payment methods.
BitPay's bitcoin payouts provide a faster and less costly way for ClickSure affiliates to get paid out their sales commissions." – ClickSure Communications Manager Ben Marshall
The BitPay Card Hits Its Stride
This May marked the first anniversary of the launch of the BitPay Card, our Visa® prepaid debit card made for bitcoin users. We now have more than 33,000 cardholders, and our card load volume in our US card program alone grew by 1583% year over year (from August 2016).
We're pleased that the BitPay Card is doing just what we wanted – helping people who live life on bitcoin get access to Visa merchants® with a dollar-loadable prepaid Visa® debit card. This use of the BitPay Card even got a nice mention in NBC's story about bitcoin's inroads into daily life for Middle America.
The BitPay Card isn't just for the United States. We expanded to a full Eurozone market coverage in May through a partnership with Wave Crest Holdings, Ltd. We continue to work to make the BitPay Card the best option available in the European territories. Now we're working to bring the BitPay Card to even more new markets. If you want to be notified when we come to more markets, stay tuned by subscribing to our blog updates!
The BitPay Wallet Platform Enters Top Tier
The BitPay and Copay wallets are important elements of BitPay's work on the bitcoin consumer payment experience. Bitcoin adoption has soared this year, and our position as one of the most secure bitcoin wallets available has helped us remain consistently in the top US app store results for bitcoin wallets for months.
Currently wallet users are now sending and securing over $1B in assets every month on BitPay's wallet platform, with $1.9 billion sent in the month of August alone. We now have more than one million Copay and BitPay wallets, with several thousand new wallets added every day.
We've built opportunities for user feedback into our app from its earliest days. This has paid off in helping us to hear what our users want and respond quickly. It's also yielded some fine reviews from bitcoiners who are counting on our wallet for their bitcoin transactions.
We're looking forward to a great 2018. As we grow, we are putting more focus on improving our products and our customer support experience to support the rapid growth we've seen. We know that we have a responsibility as a leader in this space to not just gain bitcoin adoption but to keep it.
We've seen what it's like to delight someone with the ease and speed of the bitcoin payment experience. Now we plan to scale that experience to the millions of people who rely on BitPay products for bitcoin payments – and to the tens and hundreds of millions who will.
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For US Residents:The BitPay Visa® Prepaid Card is issued by Metropolitan Commercial Bank, member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa, U.S.A. Inc. “Metropolitan” and “Metropolitan Commercial Bank” are registered trademarks of Metropolitan Commercial Bank © 2014. Use of the Card is subject to the terms and conditions of the applicable Cardholder Agreement and fee schedule, if any.
For Non-US Residents:The BitPay Visa® Prepaid Card is issued by Wave Crest Holdings Limited pursuant to a license from Visa® Europe. Visa® is a registered trademark of Visa Incorporated. Wave Crest Holdings Limited is a licensed electronic money institution by the Financial Services Commission, Gibraltar.