Uphold, the leading cloud-based financial platform, today announces the acquisition of Bitnet, as well as the appointment of Bitnet CEO and co-founder John McDonnell and Bitnet Chief Data Architect Jiri Novak to Uphold’s executive team.

Bitnet will become Uphold Merchant Services (UMS), providing a suite of global payment acceptance and funds transfer solutions utilizing the Uphold platform. Uphold business account holders can accept a full spectrum of debit and credit cards, digital currencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin, and other alternative payment methods that extend the reach of Uphold merchants to buyers anywhere in the world. UMS also supports multinational, cross-border currency exchange money transfers for instant and frictionless payments to vendors, suppliers and contractors.

“Uphold is uniquely positioned as the first ‘cloud-based’ financial services platform that leverages the operating efficiencies of blockchain technology while providing access to the legacy bank and payment networks,” said John McDonnell, CEO of UMS. “Through the global reach of the Uphold platform, UMS can enable merchants to accept any type of payment from any customer in any part of the world, and those funds will be converted into the merchant’s currency of choice for deposit into their Uphold account. Much like mobile phones eliminated the need for landlines, UMS can allow merchants to leapfrog traditional banking services to expand their addressable markets globally.”

Coming soon, UMS plans to launch additional financial service offerings to Uphold business account holders, including commercial lending, equipment financing and other services. Balances in Uphold accounts will serve as security and collateral for loan products and escrow services for marketplaces.

About John McDonnell

A leading financial services and technology executive, McDonnell held executive roles at Visa (NYSE:V), CyberSource (Nasdaq:CYBS, acquired by Visa for $2B), Paymo (now BOKU), PaylinX (acquired by CyberSource), and Transaction Network Services (NYSE:TNS).

About Jiri Novak

With experience across the Payment Processing, Credit Card, and Investment Banking industries, Novak is responsible for leading all technology, data and analytics strategy and implementation for UMS. Prior to Bitnet, he was Chief Data Architect at Visa responsible for architecture and design of a petabyte scale data platform.

For more information on Uphold Merchant Services, please visit https://uphold.com/en/what-we-do/businesses or contact John McDonnell at [email protected].

Editor’s note: In August 2016, Rakuten acquired Bitnet blockchain IP assets to build Rakuten Blockchain Lab and explore new blockchain capabilities. As part of the agreement, Bitnet co-founder and CTO Stephen McNamara joined Rakuten and will oversee RBL’s operations. Prior to acquisition, Bitnet raised $14.5 million, investors included ARTIS Ventures, Blockchain Capital, Buchanan Investments, Commerce Ventures, Digital Currency Group (DGC), Highland Capital Partners, Stephens Investment Management, Webb Investment Network, WSM Capital LLC and Rakuten. For any questions regarding the acquisition, please contact [email protected]

About Uphold

Welcome to Uphold. The Internet of Money. Uphold enables anyone, anywhere to move, hold, convert and transact in any form of money or commodity instantly and securely. Launched in November 2014, Uphold is one of the fastest growing money platform in the world and has powered over $1.25B USD in transactions by tens of thousands of members across 174 countries, in 30 supported currencies and four commodities. By integrating with Uphold’s open API Uphold Connect™, developers can fully leverage Uphold’s platform. Uphold has operations in Braga, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Mumbai, Portland, San Francisco and Shanghai. To learn more visit, www.uphold.com, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.