It looks like one of the world's best funded bitcoin companies is running into trouble

Bitcoin payment processing company BitPay is scaling back its business.

Industry news site CoinDesk reports that BitPay has cut staff numbers by as much as 20, just a day after it scrapped its “free and unlimited” bitcoin processing offer for new merchants.

In an email sent to staff and seen by CoinDesk, BitPay CEO Stephen Pair says the decision to cut staffing number was necessary to “reduce costs” and “better align with the pace of growth” in the industry.

Atlanta-based BitPay, which lets businesses accept bitcoin as payment, is one of the most high-profile bitcoin businesses in the US.

The 4-year-old company raised $US30 million (£19.2 million) last year from investors including Index Ventures, and works with high-profile companies like Microsoft, PayPal, and Virgin Galactic (Sir Richard Branson is an investor).

BitPay CEO Stephen Pair told Business Insider in June that the company was shifting its business model away from payment processing towards building tools using the technology behind bitcoin, such as accounting and clearing products.

That was because bitcoin wasn’t catching on in the way that evangelists had hoped.

Pair told Business Insider: “We keep adding merchants — we’re up to over 60,000 now — but they’re selling to the same pool of Bitcoin early adopters.”

“In the [bitcoin] industry there’s a realisation that yes it’s an incredible technology but it’s going to take a while for it to mature.”

We’ve contacted BitPay for comment on the redundancies and will update when we hear back. You can read the full interview with Stephen Pair here.

BitPay’s website says the company is currently hiring, and lists 8 full-time vacancies.

NOW WATCH: Floyd Mayweather just spent $US4.8 million on one of the fastest cars in the world

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.