ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Alpharetta will have another stake to its claim as the Technology Center of the South with BitPay – an international company that provides businesses with means to process bitcoin payments – announcing it will move to Avalon’s 8000 building this September.
The world’s largest bitcoin payment processor according to the company, BitPay will lease 8,000 square feet to headquarter its 28 full-time employees. Nearly 75 percent of BitPay’s employees are based in Atlanta. The company also has offices in San Francisco, the Netherlands and Argentina.
James Walpole, BtiPay communications and marketing manager, likened BitPay to “PayPal for bitcoin.” The company provides software and tools for businesses to accept the digital currency, process the payment and receive a settlement of payment.
“It’s really quite as simple as accepting a credit card payment from the business’ perspective,” Walpole said. “If you are trying to take advantage of a new payment technology without fully understanding it, we are providing that gateway.”
And more companies are starting to see the benefits of the digital currency.
“A lot of businesses use the advantages that bitcoin has—it’s more secure, there’s no risk of credit card fraud, it’s generally a much faster settlement mechanism and its as universal as the internet. We can deal with all of that without having a business deal with bitcoin whatsoever,” he said.
BitPay provides its merchants with local currency bank settlements for bitcoin payments, with settlement in U.S. dollars, euros, British pounds and six other currencies.
Created in Orlando in 2011, BitPay moved to Atlanta’s Tech Village in 2013 and will remain in Buckhead until its relocation to Avalon in September.
The move to Avalon was two-fold, Walpole said. Nearly half of its Georgia-based employees live north of Atlanta, including CEO and co-founder Stephen Pair, and Alpharetta’s tech-based companies attract software developers.
“The fact that Microsoft is going to be in the Avalon office building and there is already a strong tech community in Alpharetta is certainly a factor,” Walpole said.
“We want to be in a place where we can attract developers. We also want to be in a place with a network of talent, businesses and people focused on changing payments alongside us and changing financial technology in particular,” he said.
The company is also looking to expand this year. Walpole said BitPay is going into a period of accelerated growth.
“We are looking to hire 10-20 new software engineers in 2017, and potentially looking for funding as well,” he said.
Prices for bitcoin have doubled since March, up from $1012 per bitcoin to the June 29 price of $2595. This comes with bitcoin facing competition from Ethereum, which has begun to cut into bitcoin’s share of the digital currency market. Collectively, bitcoin and Ethereum are worth over $100 billion.
Even with competition and the ever-fluctuating prices of bitcoin, BitPay has seen a 60 percent increase in the number of bitcoin business-to-business transactions from April 2016 to April 2017. Even when bitcoin prices are down, the company said it has still seen an increase in transactions.
BitPay processes around $2 million in bitcoins daily, nearly triple the numbers from last April.
“We continue to see a steady increase in payments,” Walpole said. “Certainly the bitcoin price has an effect on that, but we are seeing good growth as far as bitcoin adoption itself.”