Bitcoin Beach wallet creator Galoy aims to replicate El Salvador project

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Galoy, the startup that created the open-source, Lightning Network-compatible Bitcoin Beach wallet, recently completed a $3 million seed round to ramp up its operations and help bring its Bitcoin banking platform to more communities, businesses and governments. 

Miami-based Galoy, launched Bitcoin Beach as a proof-of-concept in the El Salvador surf town of El Zonte in October 2020. The wallet supports the local Bitcoin Beach project there, which has sought to create a bitcoin-based economy. The wallet has more than 6,000 users, according to Galoy’s website.

Bitcoin Beach is different than El Salvador’s state-backed wallet Chivo, which launched in September 2021, after a law making Bitcoin legal tender in the country went into force. Chivo is not open source.

Craft Ventures, Kingsway Capital, Trammell Venture Partners and Balaji Srinivasan participated in Galoy’s seed round, which was announced on December 15. Fulgur Ventures, Bitcoiner Ventures, Vijay Boyapati and Brad Mills also participated.

Galoy’s marketing director Andrew Begin told The Block in an interview that the company plans to use the funding to bring Galoy's open-source platform to a wider audience. He noted two, newer Bitcoin-based community projects in the region utilizing the wallet: Bitcoin Jungle in Costa Rica, which used Galoy’s open-source code to create their own wallet, and Bitcoin Lake in Guatemala is using the Bitcoin Beach wallet itself.

“We’re really scaling up from what started out as a proof-of-concept," said Begin. "The Bitcoin Beach wallet is being turned into its own company with local leadership,” he said. He did not name any specific companies or governments interested in using the wallet.

According to a press release from Galoy, its technology is designed to enable “any community, company or government to offer banking services using Bitcoin and Lightning.” The company says its open-source platform includes a backend API, point-of-sale apps, mobile wallets, compliance tools and administrative controls. It also offers what it calls "Banking-as-a-Service."

“Galoy is not in the business of being the bank — we want to provide the software, the infrastructure for others to repeat what we saw happen in El Zonte in El Salvador,” Begin continued. “So we’ll be scaling operations, team development, in order to really bring the platform to a broader audience to the right places around the world.”

Editor's note: The fifth paragraph was updated to clarify a reference to Galoy's open-source platform.

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