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Romanian blockchain unicorn Elrond plans new features for money app

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Representation of the virtual currency Bitcoin is seen on a motherboard in this picture illustration

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romanian blockchain start-up Elrond is preparing to have its new global payments app support Bitcoin this month as it looks to rival more established rivals PayPal or Revolut, its CEO said, as it taps surging interest in crypto currencies.

Led by a sharp rise in Bitcoin, digital asset markets rose above $1 trillion in early 2021, as big money managers and companies begin to take the sector seriously.

"This transforms what once looked like a Mexican standoff, where potential investors waited on the sidelines, into an arms race," Elrond founder Beniamin Mincu told Reuters.

Elrond has developed a new blockchain technology which can process more than 15,000 transactions per second, compared with 7 and 14 transactions per second by Bitcoin and Ethereum, respectively, the world's top two cryptocurrencies.

Its digital wallet and global payments app Maiar, which launched on Jan. 31, has propelled Elrond's market valuation to $2.37 billion currently, according to CoinMarketCap, a price-tracker, and is seen as an easy smartphone gateway to blockchain technology for the general public.

While the app currently supports Elrond's native crypto currency eGold (eGLD) as well as Binance and Ethereum, Mincu said it will support Bitcoin in two to four weeks.

The company plans to introduce a card in three to six months, which would bridge crypto currencies and the traditional economy.

Over time, the app could process property deeds as well as other non-fungible assets. Elrond plans to hold a new round of financing in 6-12 months to increase users, Mincu said.

"While it has started in the native digital area it will expand," Mincu said.

"Maiar is the simplest app for people to interact with blockchain technology and can pave the way to building the infrastructure for a new transparent financial system with wide bandwidth and very low latency."

(This story corrects name of Elrond's currency in para 6)

(Reporting by Luiza Ilie; editing by Jason Neely)