According to 2016 estimates from the Center for Financial Inclusion, roughly 70% of people throughout Latin America suffer from a lack of basic banking services. While other estimates have been somewhat more optimistic, the general view seems to be that more than 200 million people in the region remain unbanked. Bitcoin payments service BitPagos is looking to change that dynamic by using its $1.9 million Series A round of funding to expand its services in Latin America and help serve the region's unbanked and underserviced population.
At the same time, the company is adopting a new name: Ripio - which also happens to be the name of its consumer credit offering and wallet service. Ripio’s current plans involve using the new funding to introduce its services into Mexico and Brazil – hiring locals in both countries as they expand. The expansion effort will begin by introducing the company’s wallet services to help build the foundation needed for a successful expansion of its credit service.
In the beginning, the plan is to provide new customers with the power to use the Ripio wallet app to make purchases online and elsewhere. After a set period of time, the company will be able to utilize that spending history in lieu of a credit history, and help those customers gain access to other financial services and small loans that they cannot currently use.
The company was founded in 2014, and was a finalist at last year’s TechCrunch Disrupt New York, where it competed in the Battlefield competition. The Huiyin Blockchain Venture, Draper Associates, Boost VC, and the Digital Currency Group have all reportedly invested in the company over the last two years.