Speaking to CoinDesk about the investment, Silbert said that an investment in Safello was timely, given Europe’s rapidly growing awareness of and interest in bitcoin. Silbert said: “As bitcoin awareness continues to increase throughout Europe, a growing number of consumers, merchants and investors are looking for ways to buy, hold and use bitcoin. Safello’s business model aligns perfectly with this trend.”
Of course, Silbert isn’t betting the bank on Safello. The exchange still has a fraction of the venture capital seen by U.S. bitcoin companies like Xapo ($40 million) and BitPay ($32 million), and lags far behind European-focused (if U.S.-based) exchange Kraken ($5 million). Through BOC, Silbert has invested considerable sums in a wide range of bitcoin-focused businesses, including BitPay, Coinbase, Circle, Xapo and BitPesa.
Safello’s long-term plans include an expansion of services beyond being a simple exchange. With no clear leaders in the bitcoin-payment processing field in Europe, Safello may be preparing for a move into that market. The exchange already has strong connections to the European banking world, offering direct payments to 86 banks across 11 countries in the region.