Bitso, a major Latin American cryptocurrency exchange and El Salvador’s crypto wallet assistant firm, has announced its formal launch in Colombia.
As part of Bitso’s development strategy in Colombia, the exchange has hired former Mastercard executive Emilio Pardo as new country manager, the firm announced to Cointelegraph on Thursday.
Pardo is former head of business development for the Andean Region at Mastercard, where he focused on fintech issues like instant and cross-border financial transactions and open banking. He will now be responsible for developing Bitso’s strategy in Colombia to increase the local crypto adoption and financial inclusion, focusing on Bitso’s strategic basics including education and security.
According to Pardo, Latin America is now going through one of the most important moments in the adoption of cryptocurrencies, and Colombia is not an exception. The growing crypto adoption will not only benefit Colombia's financial ecosystem, but will also help educate and address the needs of our customers and fellow citizens, he noted.
Bitso’s Colombian operations are regulated by a major local financial authority, the Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia, or SFC. According to the announcement, the SFC granted Bitso with authorization to operate within la Arenera, the regulatory framework of its sandbox and crypto pilot program in late 2021.
Under this framework, Bitso started working in partnership with Colombia’s first commercial bank, Banco de Bogotá, in 2021 to trial the exchange’s products and services.
“As an end-to-end regulated crypto platform, we can ensure that this opportunity is putting Colombia at the forefront of innovation and regulation,” Pardo said. He added that the crypto exchange is testing its products within a regulation framework that takes into consideration the entire ecosystem of financial services, including banks, exchanges, regulators and end users.
Related: Colombia clamps down on crypto tax evasion as adoption thrives
Founded in 2014 in Mexico, Bitso is one of the biggest crypto exchanges in Latin America, allowing users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The exchange has been growing massively in recent years, expanding to Argentina in February 2020 and then entering Brazil in April 2021.
The exchange is also present in El Salvador, which officially adopted Bitcoin as legal tender in September 2021. Bitso specifically cooperated with Silvergate to facilitate United States dollar transactions for El Salvador’s official Bitcoin (BTC) wallet, Chivo wallet, at launch.