BBVA and USAA are among a group of participants in a $75 million investment in the Bitcoin wallet provider Coinbase, an unusual move given the cool posture most financial institutions have taken toward virtual currency.
The New York Stock Exchange, former Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit and former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer also participated in the investment, according to an announcement from Coinbase. DFJ Growth led the new round, with participation from Coinbase's existing investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures and Ribbit Capital. Coinbase's total capital is now $106 million.
Coinbase will use the funds to fuel an international expansion. NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest mobile operator, is a strategic partner and also participated in the $75 million investment, Coinbase said.
Bitcoin has had a rocky relationship with traditional financial institutions, with a number of banks closing bank accounts belonging to companies that facilitate the use and exchange of the digital currency.
Coinbase has some offerings that resemble traditional financial services, including integration with Intuit's business software and an incentive for users to provide information to aid in identity risk management. Coinbase also insures users against losses.
And in the past year, Coinbase has added support for recurring payments and free micro-transactions and also allows recurring payments.
BBVA and USAA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.