Brazil’s largest Bitcoin exchange, Mercado Bitcoin, has announced plans to expand across Latin America.
Chief executive Reinaldo Rabelo named Chile, Mexico, and Argentina as among the jurisdictions it will expand into first, comparing the “regulatory culture” in those countries to Brazil’s.
According to Useful Tulips, Mexico is currently the fourth-largest Latin American country by peer-to-peer Bitcoin trade volume, with Chile ranking fifth, and Argentina ranking seventh.
The strong P2P trade volume suggest there may be significant demand from local traders that is not met by centralized platforms.
The announcement comes alongside news of an investment round that saw Mercado Bitcoin raise nearly $38 million from venture capital firms including Parallax Ventures, Evora Fund, and Banco Plural.
Mercado Bitcoin will use some of the funds to invest in regulated custodian Bitrust to cater to institutional investors. The exchange will also invest in digital wallet Meubank, allowing customers to store crypto assets, gaming collectibles, and other digital assets.
Once its ecosystem has been consolidated, Mercado Bitcoin is aiming to become one of the top exchanges worldwide, with Rabelo, stating:
“We want to develop the crypto ecosystem in Brazil and create a market as developed as that of the United States. To do this, we want to be one of the five largest digital exchanges in the world.”
“Our long-term purpose is to participate in the construction of a new infrastructure for the financial market based on blockchain, smart contracts, and crypto assets,” he added.
Despite being among Latin America’s top exchanges by volume — having hosted more than $3.7 billion in trade since launching in 2013 — the exchange has almost exclusively operated in Brazil. The platform’s user base has doubled in the last two years from roughly one million to 2.2 million.
The exchange aims to surpass a user base of 3 million and expand its team from 200 to 300 in 2021.