Bitpay, a Bitcoin processor company, has received $30 million in funding from a group of investors that include Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson and Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang. Based on this round of funding, Bitpay is now valued at about $160 million. Virgin Group is accepting Bitcoin as a payment for people that want to make a trip into outer space through Virgin Galactic.
The Bitcoin industry has been rather volatile lately. Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy in February after there was a loss of around $500 million worth of the currency due to a hack. Hackers stole nearly 750,000 customer bitcoins and 100,000 of Mt. Gox’s bitcoins. And a Canadian bitcoin bank had to shut down in March after hackers stole its digital currency. Earlier this month, the U.S. SEC issued an advisory warning to investors about being wary of any virtual currency, including bitcoin.
“A new product, technology, or innovation — such as Bitcoin — has the potential to give rise to both frauds and high-risk investment opportunities,” said the SEC. “Potential investors can be easily enticed with the promise of high returns in a new investment space and also may be less skeptical when assessing something novel, new and cutting-edge.”