Mercado Libre is also opening up to cryptocurrencies. The confirmation comes directly from the management of the South American ecommerce platform.
Mercado Libre launches cryptocurrency services in Brazil
Tulio Oliveira, vice-president of MercadoPago, the digital wallet of Argentine ecommerce platform Mercado Libre, which is active in the main South American countries, announced that within the next few weeks the company will enable a service for buying, selling and storing cryptocurrencies, for now only for its users in Brazil, the company’s main market.
According to company sources, an experiment on a small sample of the platform’s users had already begun in early November. The service will now be extended to all Brazilian customers within the first two weeks of December.
As reported by Bloomberg, Olivera said:
“We took the time to study and learn before deciding to step into crypto. This has a transformational potential ahead and opens up a new avenue for us”.
According to sources, the project will soon reach other Latin American markets, certainly Argentina and probably Colombia and Peru. However, customers initially will not be able to use cryptocurrencies to directly pay for goods purchased on the platform.
Regarding the decision to open the service first in Brazil than in other countries, the company explained that Brazil, with its 11 million active users, is by far the number one market for the platform. And on the subject of cryptocurrencies, one of its recent surveys showed that around 49% would be in favour of adopting cryptocurrencies on the platform.
Mercado Libre’s interest in crypto
Mercado Libre’s entry into the world of cryptocurrencies is certainly not new. The platform has always been very attentive to the evolution of the crypto market. Earlier this year, Marcos Galperin, the platform’s founder, had very positive words to say about Bitcoin and revealed that he had bought cryptocurrencies in 2013 when they were worth around $70.
Furthermore, the Argentine entrepreneur said he considers Bitcoin a better store of value than gold:
“I think Bitcoin is better than gold as a store of value. But it will not replace the legal tender currencies due to the energy costs required to process their transfers. Quantum computing might change that”.
According to the company’s latest financial statement, the platform said it held Bitcoin worth about $8 million in its portfolio, without specifying how it planned to use them.
Mercadopago has joined Libra
MercadoPago, the platform’s fintech company, was one of the financial members that had backed Facebook’s first cryptocurrency project, Libra (now Diem). Once the project was put on hold, MercadoPago left the association of companies such as Visa and Mastercard.
According to the platform’s numbers, MercadoLibre’s service would act as a gateway to the world of cryptocurrency for over 200 million users across Latin America. A region that, as seen from adoption figures in Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, proves to be one of the most promising for the future of cryptocurrencies.