The peer-to-peer decentralized digital currency bitcoin’s popularity has dramatically soared to new heights this past year. From the United States to Canada, from Europe to Asian, the virtual currency has become an accepted payment method or form of money for merchants and freelancers, retailers and employees.
Across the pond in Europe, bitcoin has transformed the market landscape. This year, European merchants have processed approximately 28 million euros in bitcoin payments, compared to the minuscule 1.4 million euros for the same time last year. This is a 1,900 percent increase in year-over-year growth.
In the past three months, more than 2,500 merchants have tapped the services of BitPay, a bitcoin payments processor, and it now maintains a European client base of about 11,000. The highest adoption rates among European countries include Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, and some of the most notable European clients consist of Air Baltic, Easy Hotel, Shapiro, Takeaway.com and many more.
In order to accommodate this growth, BitPay announced it has opened a larger office in Amsterdam and has expanded its staff. The company’s newest European headquarters will be situated in Amsterdam’s Golden Bend, a 17th century building complex that was formerly home to the Deutsche Bank and other financial institutions.
According to BitPay, it has hired Timo Dijkstra as Compliance Specialist; Walter Drieënhuizen and Niels Kerstholt as Sales Associates; and Carla Jagger as the Office Manager. The company now has an international workforce of 75 full-time employees in five different offices worldwide, including Atlanta, Buenos Aires, San Francisco and St. Petersburg.
“In May when we first opened the office, we were adding about 200 merchants monthly, and for the month of August we added 1,100 new merchants in Europe,” said Moe Levin, Director of European Business Development for BitPay, in a statement. “Europeans are familiar with multiple currencies and are at the forefront of mobile technology adoption, so it’s easy to see why bitcoin is popular and widely-used.”
We reported in July that BitPay announced it would offer a brand new free membership plan, a basic free-of-charge payment processing service that allows merchants to use any feature and support staff members. BitPay upgrades are also available – Professional, Business and Enterprise – which comes with a flat-fee.
“Our mission at BitPay hasn’t changed since 2011: to make bitcoin every merchant’s favorite form of payment,” wrote BitPay co-founder Tony Gallippi. “We want merchants to not only use our service — we want them to love our service. We want them to be as excited about bitcoin as we are and to encourage more of their customers to pay this way. After experiencing such a simple, low-cost, and low-risk payment option, we’re confident they won’t look back.”
This past spring, BitPay raised $30 million in Series A funding that came from a variety of investors, such as Virgin’s Richard Branson and Yahoo’s co-founder Jimmy Yang.