Microfinance investor Accion is investing $5 million in Coins, a mobile payment startup that uses distributed ledger technology to accelerate financial inclusion.
Coins, a Philippines-based platform lets users access financial services from their phones, even if they don't have a bank account, plans to use its new funds for general development purposes, cofounder Runar Petursson said in an Oct. 24 news release.
Coins uses blockchain to power its platform, a move that's become an increasingly popular way to enable remittances and other cross-border payments.
"In the coming months, we will continue to build new partnerships with banks, financial institutions, and retailers to connect customers across Southeast Asia,” he said.
The funding was led by Accion, a nonprofit organization that supports microfinance ventures. Accion made its investment through its Frontier Inclusion Fund, which is managed by Quona Capital. Other participants include Eric Schmidt's Innovation Endeavors, Pantera Capital, Digital Currency Group, Wavemaker Labs, Global Brain, BeeNext and Rebright Partners.
Coins currently operates in the Philippines and Thailand and claims it has more than 500,000 users. The service gives users a mobile wallet and provides remittance, airtime and bill pay services, as well as online shopping to more than 63,000 merchants that accept digital currency, it says.
More than 60% of Southeast Asia's population of 600 million are unbanked, Coins says; and less than 5% have a credit card.