Bitcoin Spending App Raises $2.5 Million to Offer Lightning Network to Retailers
Fold, the lightning-friendly Bitcoin shopping app, allows users to purchase basic goods and services (ie. food, clothes, etc.) with Bitcoin and has just added capability for fiat currency after completing its first round of funding. Fold’s product lead Will Reeves told CoinDesk that the capital will be geared towards establishing cryptocurrency and retail partnerships. Reeves said, “We’ll be rolling out subscription options for merchants and consumers soon that will provide premium services and highest rewards.”
To simplify, Fold’s mobile app can be linked directly to your debit card – giving shoppers the option of spending either Bitcoin or cash all on one card. Currently, the mobile app is available to those who register for early access via Fold’s website. A newer mobile app with the full functionality and features is scheduled to be released next month.
Fold is launching a pilot with retailers like Amazon, Target, and Macy’s. The retailer will strictly see that Fold processed an order, not the user’s actual credit/debit card info or Bitcoin wallet address. This protects the user’s data and offers additional privacy when shopping online. Once the order is processed, Fold will ensure the retailer is paid in fiat, as they typically choose to receive that form of payment for now. Eventually, the plan is to encourage retailers to accept either form of payment.
Reeves says that “We can settle in fiat or bitcoin, yet all major merchants choose to settle in fiat now so they don’t take volatility risk or accounting overhead.” Reeves added that “Fold can seamlessly transition them when they are ready because we are already directly integrated into their point-of-sale systems.”
CoinShares, one of the investors that participated in Fold’s first round of funding, is confident that Fold brings a unique offering to the Bitcoin retail spending market. Meltem Demirors, CoinShares’ Co-Founder says the app is the most focused on lightning payments, compared some of its competitors like Flexa and Lolli. She also feels it encourages users to utilize non-custodial digital wallets.
“I’m excited to work not only with Fold, but also with our community of portfolio companies, corporate partners, and other service providers to build an integrated user experience around bitcoin payments,”said Demirors.
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