Bitso, one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in Latin America, has hit 1 million users prior to its upcoming launch in Brazil.
Santiago Alvarado, director of cross-border payments at Bitso, discussed the latest developments in leveraging crypto for cross-border payments in Latin America during a Unitize panel on July 8. The discussion was joined by Ripple’s director of product Craig DeWitt and Prysm Group’s Reed Cataldo.
Bitso tops Argentinian market after launching in February
During the panel, Alvarado revealed that Bitso reached a major milestone by hitting a one million user market last week. After topping Mexican and Argentinian crypto markets, Bitso is now expecting to enter Brazil, Alvarado said.
Operating since 2014, Bitso is Mexico’s first crypto exchange and is the largest crypto trading platform in the country. After rolling out service in Argentina in February 2020, Bitso has already become the biggest crypto exchange in the country as well, Alvarado noted.
Latin America is one of the most active markets in crypto
According to the executive, Bitso’s success in Argentina is connected with extraordinary crypto activity and an increased demand for cross-border payments in the local market. “Argentina has a very large crypto community and a huge freelance user base,” Alvarado said, noting that a number of local freelancers and engineering contractors use crypto to receive payments from employers in the United States.
Alvarado also suggested that the overall fast pace of crypto adoption in Latin America is a result of the increasing development of distribution infrastructure and a rapid growth of smartphone ownership. “In Latin America, about 50% or 60% of the population have bank accounts, but almost 80% have smartphones,” Alvarado said, outlining mobile phones as major factors enabling a “huge innovation in terms of delivering financial services”.
The news comes amid an apparent surge in cryptocurrency trading in Argentina. During the week ended on July 7, Argentina traded 92 Bitcoin (BTC) on LocalBitcoins — the biggest amount traded on the exchange in Argentina since 2016. According to data from Coin Dance, that equaled over 100 million Argentine pesos — the largest amount of local currency ever traded against BTC.
As reported, Bitso is an early partner of Ripple, firm behind the fourth biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, XRP. In October 2019, major U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase and Ripple invested an undisclosed amount in Bitso to help it expand to Argentina and Brazil.