Naspers shows faith in Bitcoin

South African media giant Naspers, has led a R50 million funding drive for local Bitcoin exchange, BitX.

BitX, which was acquired by Singapore-based group Switchless in 2013, announced a US$4 million (R49.65 million) Series A funding round lead by the Naspers Group, through its payments subsidiary PayU.

Existing investor, Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group, also participated in the round.

“We’ve been seeing very strong growth across the markets we operate in, and this investment will allow us to both accelerate this growth and extend our footprint to more markets”, said BitX co-founder and CEO, Marcus Swanepoel.

BitX said that the latest funding round will allow the group to expand into other markets, launch a number of exciting new products and more generally leverage the Naspers Group’s extensive global network to help drive large-scale cryptocurrency adoption.

James Caviness, chief product officer at PayU, will join the BitX board of directors as part of the investment.

“We see a bright future for cryptocurrency across a number of industry verticals, and with BitX’s strong management team and solid track record, look forward to leveraging Naspers’ global platform and local knowledge to help them capitalise on these opportunities”

In July 2014, Bitcoin experienced a strong boost in South Africa after BitX and payment gateway, PayFast entered a partnership which allowed over 30,000 online stores – including Takealot.com – to process the virtual currency.

The exchange currently values 1 Bitcoin at R3,828.

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Naspers shows faith in Bitcoin