Asian Bitcoin company BitSpark announced the temporary closure of its bitcoin exchange earlier this month so the company could focus on its pioneering bitcoin remittance service. The company also recently expanded into mainland China through a partnership with Chinese Bitcoin company Melotic.
Melotic recently shut down its own crypto-currency exchange, citing a lack of demand for the service. A company blog post read, “Simply put, we did not experience enough growth in this product to justify the ongoing costs of development, maintenance, and support.” According to BitSpark CEO George Harrap, his company closed their exchange for similar reasons.
“Recently our remittance business has [been] taking off with rising support for our key remittance corridors of the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Hong Kong and China. Given this, we have decided to temporarily retire the exchange and shift focus on building our remittance service as it is the best direction for Bitspark at this stage,” read a BitSpark press release.
The First End to End Cash Bitcoin Remittance Service
Speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, Harrap said the company might reopen its bitcoin exchange in the future, but for time being it will focus on what it does best: remittances. BitSpark was the first company to offer a “bitcoin in the background” remittance product, meaning senders and receivers didn’t have to fret with the hard-to-understand digital currency, but still got the benefits.
That “cash-in, cash-out” philosophy has since taken off, with many Bitcoin companies hoping to increase bitcoin adoption and remove the complexities of bitcoin. BitSpark will publicly announce a new remittance product at the Innotribe 2015 Asian Semi-Final showcase, a fintech startup competition run by the SWIFT payment network.
Harrap was short on details about the new product, but he did say this when asked about what was still missing from the company’s remittance offering:
“Onramps and offramps are still very difficult for Bitcoin. If you are in a less developed or small country, it may be very difficult buy or sell bitcoin, making remittance impossible. With a ‘bitcoin in the background’ product users don’t have to worry about that, but, nonetheless, liquidity is an issue and something we’re looking to solve.”
The CEO also shared that though the company set out to help individual senders of remittances, the majority of the company’s customers are businesses sending money to other businesses aboard. Though not its originally targeted customers, the new B2B customers were welcomed, and the company now will focus its efforts on better serving that new demographic. Harrrap added that the extra liquidity brought by the larger customers could help all customers, small and large.
Like BitSpark, Melotic is not calling its quits when it comes to Bitcoin. Though the company has closed its exchange for good, it will be launching a new product, supposedly months in development, soon. Harrap was also unwilling give any details about the nature of his company’s partnership with Melotic, but did said the two companies will be working together extensively in the future.
“We are going to be working together to bring several new and innovative Bitcoin products and services to mainland China,” he said. “The country accounts for the majority of bitcoin trading volume but is still a very untapped market when it comes to bitcoin.”