Abra: Innovation in Remittance

I’m really pleased to announce First Round Capital’s investment in Abra, the first global peer to peer cash money transfer network using the Blockchain/Bitcoin technology for secure low cost transfers. As their founder, Bill Barhydt says “our mission is to replace bank driven financial inclusion with consumer driven financial inclusion.”

We have been looking at the Bitcoin space for a number of years, and trying to find the right models to invest in. Better security and useful applications will be the key to widespread adoption. Abra has found an important space in the $500 Billion remitted globally each year, mostly with very high fees paid by those who can ill afford it. By storing digital cash directly in the phones of Abra Tellers ™ (via a Bitcoin wallet), which lets them take cash from workers and empowering the tellers to transfer it Abra Tellers™ who can dispense cash in the recipients home country, Abra creates a peer to peer global network of players for moving money around the world. The tellers can charge a fee, and abra gets a small portion of that fee. Because of the easy liquidity of Bitcoin, even amounts of less than $10 can be remitted, with most of the remittance going to the intended party, rather than being lost in high fees.

Another innovation is that while the value of Bitcoin in the teller wallets will fluctuate, Abra can guarantee the home currency value for the first 72 hours, making the transaction free of Bitcoin fluctuations in dollars or other local currencies.

Bill has assembled a great team with experience at Boom, Opera, Netscape, Goldman Sachs, Verisign, eBay and other great companies. And we’re thrilled to be partners with RRE, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Mesa+ and other great investors. We believe that Abra will finally show the world how the Bitcoin/blockchain infrastructure can help solve real problems in the financial world.

Here’s a picture of how it works, you can get in line and sign up for beta on http://goabra.com: