A North East start-up looking to bring Bitcoin payments into the mainstream has raised £11 million seed funding. 

Bottlepaybased at Hoults’ Yard in Newcastle, is an app set up by Partnerize co-founder Pete Cheyne which allows people to send and buy a variety of currencies via social media. 

Built on the Lightning Network, it aims to facilitate social, streaming and micropayments by offering real-time funds transfer in Bitcoin and conventional currencies and integration with popular platforms such as Twitter, Reddit and Discord. 

Using Bottlepay’s system, any purchase that is immediately fulfilled – from coffees to digital content – can be made from anywhere in the world with instant payments using conventional currencies or Bitcoin. 

Bottlepay users can buy, store, send and withdraw Bitcoin with a single slide, unlike other digital payment platforms like PayPal and Revolut, whose users cannot currently spend or withdraw their Bitcoin.

The product gained over 20,000 users for a beta version of the app with no marketing after being rated as the number one Crunchbase Bitcoin start-up globally. 

Participants in the seed funding round included British fund manager Alan Howard, present and former Goldman Sachs partners, FinTech Collective and Nydig. 

“While nearly 65 million people own Bitcoin globally, only a small fraction of that number actually transact daily, meaning we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface on the broader payment use cases for Bitcoin as an open-source money network,” said Sean Lippel, principal and head of digital assets at FinTech Collective, said. 

“We believe Bottlepay’s elegant and intuitive consumer interface, built strategically on top of the power of the Lightning Network, will unlock social, streaming, and micropayments for digital assets.  

“We were attracted to the team’s unique combination of technical and design talent, bound together with a laser-focus on privacy and regulatory compliance.”

Bottlepay, which trebled its headcount last year, aims to grow by a further 60% this year and also increase the geographical reach of the service. 

CEO Mark Webster said: Raising £11m and reaching a post-money valuation of £51m is a testament to the scale of Bottlepay’s ambition, and an illustration of the effort and resources invested to build and design a revolutionary payments infrastructure of this magnitude. 

The payments ecosystem is undergoing monumental changes as we move towards a cashless society. Today’s consumer wants to be able to transact freely and easily, without the restrictions of a traditional bank.  

We believe that with this cash injection, we can build a leading company in this rapidly growing space which will allow people to send, spend and receive payments in a way that works best for them.”