Purse.io, a San Francisco-based startup that allows people to buy items on Amazon using bitcoin, says it has closed a $300,000 seed funding round involving prominent members of the bitcoin community.
The firm has also announced new data on the discounts provided by its platform for Amazon shoppers, along with a VIP membership scheme and a redesigned website.
While great for customers, the firm also views the discounts as an incentive for mainstream users who may not yet be interested in digital currencies.
Purse says its business model creates a new bitcoin use case, giving more people access to bitcoin using their credit cards, while at the same time opening up Amazon to holder of the digital currency.
Roger Ver told CoinDesk:
“I recently became a huge fan of the company after becoming one of their users … I think Purse.io could be one of the killer apps that drives bitcoin into the mainstream.”
Opportunity in gift cards
Purse.io also allows customers to use their Amazon gift cards to be redeemed, unofficially, through its marketplace. Since these cannot normally be redeemed outside Amazon, or transferred or sold through third parties, the company suggests many users are prepared to use them at a substantial discount.
The company claims there are an estimated $15bn in outstanding Amazon gift cards and credit balances that are locked to an individual’s account and can only be used on Amazon – potentially a great way for the company to generate revenue.
Additionally, a substantial portion of these credit balances are distributed internationally through affiliate advertising programmes, which creates additional opportunities, the company says.
Purse.io essentially provides Amazon gift card holders with a way to get get cold hard cash (after they exchange their BTC, of course).
Along with the funding announcement, the company has launched an invite-only premium programme, Purse VIP, which is aimed at Amazon Prime members.
VIP users are offered the best rates when they buy bitcoin on Purse.io’s platform, having exclusive access to sub-10% discounts for the first 24 hours after they are posted.
Andrew Lee said:
“To incentivize spenders to set lower discounts, we guarantee that their order will be fulfilled in less than 24 hours, or Purse will automatically purchase the order ourselves. So far, we haven’t bought any orders ourselves because they’re getting fulfilled even quicker. The average VIP order is fulfilled in under six hours and delivered in 2.5 days. This means merchandise is delivered as quickly as purchasing on Amazon directly with Prime.”
CoinDesk has reached out to the company’s new investors and will update this article if confirmation is received.
- ^ Roger Ver (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Bobby Lee (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Charlie Lee (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Purse.io (purse.io)
- ^ Discounts for shoppers (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ featured on the Blockchain wallet (blockchain.info)
- ^ Ingvar Bjork (www.shutterstock.com)
- ^ Shutterstock.com (www.shutterstock.com)
- ^ Amazon (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Gift Cards (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Purse.io (www.coindesk.com)