Abra to Finally Launch Global Bitcoin Network Next Month

Abra is planning to finally launch global support for its remittance and currency exchange app in February, as announced on Tuesday at the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami by CEO Bill Barhydt. This would provide an easy way for people to trade their local currencies for bitcoin and vice versa.

Also read: The US Reigns Supreme in the Bitcoin ATM Industry 

Digital cash peer-to-peer network Abra allows users to send or receive money instantly, abra logoprivately, and securely without the need for a bank account. Founded in 2014, the California-based company launched the Abra app in beta for both iOS and Android the following year, and received $14 million funding.

Delivering on Big Promises Made Long Ago

The company announced that they would use bitcoin to build a way to seamlessly transfer any currency between any two smartphones worldwide, with very low fees.philippines flag

In early 2016, Abra finally began a test phase in the Philippines, using the Philippine Peso. That June, the company made its app available for users in the US allowing remittances between the US and the Philippines. Currently, the app only supports USD and PHP currencies with no bitcoin option available.

On Tuesday, Abra announced that it will finally launch worldwide, stating that:

Anyone with a smartphone in any country can send or receive funds in most major currencies and can cash in or out of their Abra wallet, even without a bank account.

Abra’s Global Launch

Bill Barhydt Abra CEO
Bill Barhydt, Abra CEO

Barhydt explained in Miami that Abra users will be able to send, receive, and store bitcoin inside the Abra app, in addition to 50 fiat currencies. The company admits that even though bitcoin is a large part of its business, “it’s been hidden in the background up until now.” However, that is changing with the upcoming launch.

Further, the Abra app itself is a fully-working non-custodial digital currency wallet, meaning that Abra has no access to the user’s private key even if the users hold US Dollars in their wallet. Barhydt wrote in the announcement:

Once we launch, any Abra user can use Bitcoin via any third party Bitcoin Wallet to add and remove funds from their Abra App regardless of which currency they’re holding in their Abra Wallet.

Abra Teller Network Launch

Adding to the announcement was the global expansion of the Abra Teller network or “Human ATMs.” This network, which Abra has successfully tested in the Philippines, allows people worldwide to use Abra and become a currency exchanger using bitcoin. Barhydt revealed the convention that there are already “a few thousand” Abra human tellers in the Philippines.

Tellers can make money while helping their community send and receive money,” Barhydt claims, adding that:

If you’re an existing Bitcoin trader you can now use that Bitcoin to become an Abra Teller and process deposits/withdrawals for people who don’t know what Bitcoin is.

For example, a consumer holding US Dollars can meet a Teller, and process a withdrawal to receive Argentine Pesos. Neither party even knows that a dual-currency-trade transaction took place.

Abra estimates $30-$40 million per week is now traded in person in “fiat vs Bitcoin” in over 75 countries. “This is a huge step forward in realizing our vision of anyone being able to send money easily to anyone else in the world, instantly, privately, and securely,” Barhydt noted.

Abra charges no transfer fees to users. However, individual Abra tellers set their own fees and exchange rates so city rates may be lower than rural rates due to higher competition. Their rates can be found by opening the app and look at nearby tellers to see their fee details.

What do you think of Abra’s products? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Envision Global Finance, the World Bank, Abra

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  • elsordo

    Thank you for the information Kevin, wonderful news for the Bitcoin world. Cheers!

    • The Real Stig

      I’ll believe it when I see it.

      • elsordo

        Lol! You can do just that if you like. No one is forcing us to believe anything nor what goes on in our mind. It is a free country my friend. However, he who wait around grow old and dies. Good luck to you with whatever you are waiting to see. Cheers!

        • The Real Stig

          According to the article I only have to wait a month. I’m waiting to see multiple major currencies, a multiple of countries and usable with thousands of banks and not having to hand over a lot of identification documents that would be exactly what a lot of people would love to get their hands on for use with identity fraud and to scam your bank with and gain access to your bank account.

          • elsordo

            Ha ha! Good luck with that dream my friend. Cheers!

          • The Real Stig

            Which is precisely why I said would believe it when I saw it.

          • elsordo

            No disrespect intended and like I said before it is a free country. Regards!

  • Transhumanity

    Firstly, irregardless and literally, “hodlers” are participators in the future. Cool news flash, Dude!

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  • The Real Stig

    What a joke!

    Look at the map at the top of the article. Look at the statements – ‘any smartphone worldwide – any country – most major currencies’ – then check the reality, this is for the US and Philippines only. It is not a global platform.