Mobile digital money transfer network, Abra, have announced that it will soon be available to all registered users in the Philippines and the United States. Alongside this, it was disclosed that there will be services to allow merchants to accept digital cash from customers using its app. New backers of the project, in the form of strategic investments, include American Express and Ratan Tata, who join Arbor Ventures, First Round Capital and RRE Ventures and more in the $12,000,000 Series A round of the bitcoin startup.
By using Abra, users can store money on their phone digitally, then send it to another phone number (receivers without the app will be prompted to install it). Additionally, Abra has a network of tellers and banks who will exchange the digital currency for cash. To appeal to a wide customer base, Abra uses individuals and retail companies to exchange its currency as well as banks; however, there is also the opportunity for people in developing countries selling mobile top-ups to act as tellers by exchanging their cash for Abra user’s digital money, with Abra taking a 0.25% cut.
A new opportunity which may be available soon is for traders to use the Abra Merchant API to receive payment from customers who use the mobile number to transfer their money at the checkout, although there is currently no method to prevent fraud with this option.
Abra uses the bitcoin blockchain to record the transfer of monies between parties whilst the app handles the conversion between different currencies to ensure the payments are of equal value to the sender and receiver.