In a deal that will put Westpac in the box seat as cryptocurrencies develop, the bank’s venture capital fund, Reinventure Group, has invested in Coinbase bitcoin feed, one of the world’s pre-eminent Bitcoin companies. Become a SMH member today! Join today and you can easily save your favourite articles, join in the conversation and comment, plus select which news your want direct to your inbox. In a deal that will put Westpac Banking Corp in the box seat as cryptocurrencies develop, the bank’s venture capital fund, Reinventure Group, has invested in Coinbase, one of the world’s pre-eminent Bitcoin companies.
US75 million raising Coinbase conducted earlier this year, which also won support by some of the world’s largest venture capital firms, the New York Stock Exchange and former Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit. Reinventure has taken a stake in Bitcoin company Coinbase, which has 2. 3 million users and 3 million digital “wallets”. Backers of Coinbase are making bets that blockchain technology will radically transform the movement of money around the globe’s financial system.
The investment by Reinventure will allow Westpac to monitor a future world where money morphs beyond central bank-regulated currencies into a myriad of forms. A spokesman for Westpac confirmed the investment. Coinbase’s “mission is to be the most trusted bitcoin company in the world and it is investing heavily in next generation security. Reinventure’s investment will provide key insights into the use of digital currencies and associated technologies,” the Westpac spokesman said.
Coinbase provides a range of services to the Bitcoin economy. These include allowing customers to exchange domestic currencies into Bitcoin and transfer payments in Bitcoin, storing Bitcoin in a digital wallet and providing merchant services to process transactions for companies dealing in Bitcoin. It also operates an exchange where speculators can bet on direction of price of bitcoin, and various anti-money laundering and security services. The company has been seeking to legitimise Bitcoin which has been plagued by volatile moves in its price, the high-profile theft of some Bitcoin from an exchange in Japan, and its use in the blackmarket economy. Coinbase has been working with regulators in the US and the UK to create legal frameworks under which it can operate. The Reserve Bank of Australia has conducted detailed analysis of Bitcoin and its implications. A Senate Committee is also preparing a report on digital currencies due for release this year.