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BitPagos Raises $1.9 million As Investors Continue To Support Blockchain

Argentina-based blockchain startup BitPagos has announced a further funding round of $1.9 million, in what is reported to be the first completed blockchain funding activity of the year.

The company, which has simultaneously rebranded as Ripio, looks set to pick up where 2016 left off, thanks to the commitment of just shy of $2 million in its latest Series A funding round.

Beyond this initial investment, Ripio has its sights set on a further $400,000 of investment, which it expects to complete over the next 90 days with the help of AngelList.

The funding round was led by Chinese investment group Huiyin Blockchain Venture, a blockchain-specific subsidiary of the huge Huiyin Group investment firm. Several investors returned to the fold for this round of funding, having previously backed Ripio in its startup phase, with Draper VC, Boost VC and Digital Currency Group among those to have retaken the plunge.

Speaking about the deal and the rebrand, a Ripio spokesperson confirmed the move marked a strategic change in direction for the company as it moves toward realizing corporate objectives in 2017.

"BitPagos is a brand that was too linked to merchants and B2B payment processing. Over the last year and a half, we've shifted most of our efforts towards users (and) consumers and we needed a brand that suits our mission best ... Our main objective for Q1 is to increase our user base in Argentina and Brazil, and (at the same time) expand to Mexico.”

Ripio has expanded in 2016 to offer bitcoin lending facilities, designed to enable users throughout Argentina to borrow and lend securely in bitcoin. With the additional funding support now confirmed, the company looks set to grow the number of users in the region in 2017, as blockchain technology continues to move ever closer to critical mass.

The announcement comes off the back of a year that saw a particular VC focus on blockchain startups and early stage companies. As investors worldwide continue to get behind the development of distributed ledger technologies, it looks to be only a matter of time before companies like Ripio become much more sizable, international players.