Align Commerce, a San Francisco-based startup, announced the public beta of its cross-border payments platform based on the blockchain technology. The startup is looking to provide small and medium-sized companies with faster, cheaper and transparent solutions for global B2B transactions.
Forzley, who previously founded eBillme, an online payment company acquired by Western Union in October 2011, stated:
"The $24 trillion cross-border payments market is growing at a breakneck pace, expected to eclipse $54 trillion by 2022, despite a highly inefficient and expensive system in which businesses spend over $50 billion on wire and foreign exchange fees, wait up to seven days for transactions to complete, and have no visibility into the process."
By using the Bitcoin's blockchain as a settlement rail, Align Commerce enables businesses and payment platforms to send and receive international payments in local currency while allowing users to avoid high wire fees and various hidden fees, and reduce processing times to one to three business days, down from as many as seven, according to the company.
Unlike traditional bank wires that "typically travel through a closed system of multiple banks," using the blockchain to transfer funds allows businesses and users to track the status of each transaction from the beginning to end, "a new feature previously unavailable to clients."
According to Hans Morris, Managing Partner at NYCA Partners, an American VC firm that has invested in Align Commerce:
"Unless you are a really big company, making cross-border B2B payments is a shockingly bad experience. Businesses pay opaque fees, and neither the recipient nor the payer has any idea when the payment will be credited.
Align Commerce has low fees, real-time tracking, and complete transparency on foreign exchange costs. We invest in companies with innovative solutions to big problems in financial services. This is central to our business model, and Align accomplishes just that."
Incubated by Boost VC, Align Commerce already received funding from numerous investors backing its concept, including Bitcoin Opportunity Corp., NYCA Partners and Pantera Capital.
"Marwan and his team are an important addition to our portfolio, as they continue to strengthen and grow the ecosystem by creating a better solution for a real business challenge," commented Dan Morehead, CEO at Pantera Capital.
The Align Commerce Payments Platform is currently available in public beta for sending and receiving money in 22 countries, including Austria, Belgium, China, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Philippines, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and the United States.
At the time being, only businesses located in Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, can receive payments.
Align Commerce charges a flat foreign exchange rate of 1.9%, only paid once by the party that is converting the currency.
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