Consumer bitcoin provider Azteco recently announced an $84 million seed funding round led by Jack Dorsey as the company introduces bitcoin gift cards to enhance the cryptocurrency’s spending power near the level of the U.S. dollar.
Amid persistent inflationary pressures in the U.S., many investors are looking into digital assets as a hedge against the weakened dollar. At the same time, changing views on bitcoin are establishing the currency as a player in the American economy.
"My contribution to Azteco comes out of a deep respect for their mission. The unbanked population is immense," Jack Dorsey said after the funding announcement.
Longtime Bitcoin backer Jack Dorsey contributed $4 million of his own money to help fund Azteco. (Getty Images / Getty Images)
"We have the technology and resources to close this gap, but until now, no one has taken that important next step," he added. "Azteco is providing so much more than just access to a secure financial system; it is building an ecosystem of financial self-determination that is secure and supported by local communities. I am honored to support them."
Also designed to bridge geographical boundaries in the retail industry, bitcoin gift cards, or vouchers, provide in-person storefronts and e-commerce platforms around the globe while democratizing access to financial services and reshaping consumer-retailer interactions in an increasingly interconnected digital economy, according to Azteco.
Azteco CEO and founder Akin Fernandez (Azteco)
"Trusting a third party as the issuer of money can result in that third party becoming a single point of failure. As the Federal Reserve and every other Fiat currency that has ever existed has proven, the incentive to cheat is irresistible. By removing this incentive through the issuer and replacing him with a computer program, bitcoin can run a politically and financially neutral, global synthetic money for people everywhere," Azteco CEO and founder Akin Fernandez told FOX Business.
The U.S. economy has been mired in inflation and a devalued currency, leading to a banking crisis and a raised investor interest in not only material wealth like gold and silver, but in digital assets like cryptocurrency.
Central banks and the Fed are already discussing the implementation of a digital dollar. Meanwhile, BlackRock filed for a bitcoin ETF with the Securities and Exchange Commission in June.
Larry Fink, chairman and CEO of BlackRock, speaks on the sidelines of the opening day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 17, 2023. (Hollie Adams/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)
"The fundamental problem with the U.S. dollar is that its supply is controlled by a small committee of private bankers focused solely on the shareholders’ interests. America’s Constitution considers only gold and silver money, which was arguably done deliberately to remove the inevitable corruption that follows when people are in control of the money supply," Fernandez said.
"Bitcoin solves this problem by replacing a committee of men with an infallible computer program."
Already, Azteco has over 590,000 payment locations in more than 190 countries on the ground floor facilitating development.
"In the U.S., an estimated 4.5% of households were ‘unbanked’ in 2021 with no access to eCommerce, meaning they couldn’t buy from Amazon, get a bank loan, send money or receive it electronically. Bitcoin fixes this by giving them around-the-clock global access to a frictionless financial rail using instant transactions that are guaranteed free of payer fraud," Fernandez said.
"There are 2 billion people unbanked on Earth, and the country that becomes the center of this new financial system will be raking in taxes from 2 billion people," he continued. "A move to bitcoin will greatly enhance the U.S. economy. America’s most prosperous era was when it was on the gold standard and the money supply was strictly constrained. Strong economies are built on saving, not spending."