While still not officially announced, the Atlanta-based Bitcoin transaction processor, BitPay, has managed to secure $US 30 million on a $US 160 million valuation in a financing round led by venture capital group, Index Ventures along with the participation of Richard Branson and the co-founder of Yahoo Inc., Jerry Yang.

The official announcement of the biggest venture-capital investment in digital-currency to date is expected Tuesday. The given amount surpasses the $US 26 million recently raised by Xapo or the $US 25 million series B funding raised by VC firms, Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, and Ribbit Capital, for San Francisco-based Bitcoin wallet startup, Coinbase. 

Richard Branson is no stranger to Bitcoin as his Virgin Galactic company has announced it will accept Bitcoin as payment for its commercial space flights a few months ago. Moreover, Bransons participation in the given financing round will certainly downplay any accusations from people labeling Bransons support of Bitcoin as a simple PR stunt.

But not only can this injection be viewed as another milestone for BitPay, which has processed over $US 100 million in transactions in the past year and secured backing from Asias richest man, but its also indicative that the Bitcoin ecosystem is gaining steam towards maturation.

Indeed, we are seeing the creation of venture capital funds and many VC firms entering the crypto-space despite legal and regulatory setbacks, the Mt. Gox collapse, hacking attempts, and incessant warnings of government crackdowns.

More and more VCs are putting a portion of their chips on Bitcoin as the potential windfall is becoming harder to resist especially if the nascent technology is to enter the mainstream and do to money what the internet did to communication as hailed by many Bitcoin-enthusiasts.

BitPay has secured over 30,000 merchants across the globe, processing payments for notable companies such as Zynga, Tesla, Virgin Galactic, the Sacramento Kings, and opening offices in Amsterdam, San Francisco, and Buenos Aires.

Tony Gallippi, CEO of BitPay, stated that the money will be used to fund the company's expansion plans, with a special focus on emerging markets such as India, where BitPay joins other Bitcoin-related businesses seeking to provide digital-payment services to countries with large populations of the unbanked.

About BitPay

BitPay is the leading Payment Service Provider (PSP) specializing in e-commerce, brick-and-mortar and B2B solutions for virtual currencies.

Community commentary

Matthew Slater: Faster cheaper payment processing, like most technologies, will not make the world a better place if all the efficiency gains go to large corporations. To comply with US law is to give material aid to terrorists. Any payment network that does not support US state terror must be made illegal. Bitcoin will soon belong to the ruling classes because every body else is so desperate for their money. The People cannot have their own payment system and sell it to the elite at the same time.