Start-up raises $14.5m for bitcoin payment system

Belfast-based firm plans to expand its physical presence into continental Europe and Asia

Irish financial technology company Bitnet Technologies, which has developed a digital commerce platform to enable merchants to accept bitcoin payments, has raised $14.5 million in venture capital funding.

The Series A funding comes as Bitnet also plans to expand its physical presence into continental Europe and Asia.

The funding round was led by Highland Capital Partners, and Highland partner Peter Bell, will join Bitnet's board of directors.

“Bitnet is breaking down the barriers of digital currency transactions and has the potential to transform the way we exchange goods and services around the world,” Mr Bell said.


Founded in January 2014 by John McDonnell and Stephen McNamara, Bitnet is comprised of 27 payments industry veterans. Bitnet’s engineering, product, and business development team previously helped build and manage the world’s largest payment gateway, CyberSource, which was sold to Visa in 2010 for $2 billion.

Global reach

John McDonnell said Bitnet will provide merchants with guaranteed payment, instant global reach with no cross-border fees, no price volatility, and no fraud, risk or chargebacks, for a transaction fee of less than 1 per cent.

“We are listening to the world’s largest merchants,” Mr McDonnell said. “Many of these bigger companies have looked at existing solutions and have remained on the sidelines – until now.

“With Bitnet,” he added, “we’re building the integrations, systems and technologies that multinational retailers and travel companies need in order to accept bitcoin.”

In addition to large retailers, Bitnet is working with financial institutions, payment service providers, international trade organizations and airlines to provide Bitnet’s reliable, high- volume bitcoin payment acceptance system.