Mi Store Portugal, a Xiaomi retailer in the country, announced Wednesday on Facebook that it now allows customers to purchase devices using five cryptocurrencies, including BTC, Ether (ETH), Tether (USDT), Dash (DASH) and the Utrust (UTK) token.
A spokesperson for Xiaomi subsequently reacted to the news on Chinese social media platform Weibo, stressing that the Mi Store Portugal is not directly related to Xiaomi’s operations. “We are concerned about the information that Mi Store Portugal accepts digital currency payments on overseas social platforms,” the person said. The representative added that Mi Store Portugal is a “third-party authorized partner” and operates independently in Portugal.
Mi Store Portugal subsequently removed the announcement on Aug. 6, also having taken down the related information from its website, previously stating that its customers were able to select the crypto payment option at checkout.
The new payment option is enabled through a partnership with Utrust, a European blockchain technology payment platform. “Xiaomi is the second-largest phone manufacturer in the world, and now their local branch is accepting the Money of Tomorrow,” Utrust said in a now-deleted tweet published on Wednesday.
The firm did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment. Mi Store Portugal's website still indicates Utrust as a payment partner alongside Visa and PayPal at the time of writing.
According to data from global industry analysis firm Counterpoint, Xiaomi surpassed global smartphone giant Apple as the second-largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world in the second quarter of 2021. Mi Store Portugal is the only official retailer of Xiaomi’s certified products in Portugal, operating under the European legislation, the company’s website notes. The firm currently has six physical stores nationwide and is in the process of expansion.
Pedro Maia, marketing director of Mi Store Portugal, reportedly said that the company’s move to accept crypto payments aligns with Xiaomi’s striving for innovation. “We are a technological, innovative, and disruptive brand. That’s why we always want to be one step ahead. We want to give the possibility to all true technology fans to buy their favorite gadgets with what is currently the ‘most technological money.’”
As previously reported, Portugal has been steadily growing as a cryptocurrency-friendly country in recent years, with the local government charging zero taxes from retail crypto trading. Earlier this year, a local energy trading firm started accepting Bitcoin as payment for electricity bills.
In contrast, China has emerged as one of the world’s biggest anti-crypto countries, renewing a nation-wide crackdown on both cryptocurrency mining and crypto trading earlier this year.
Disclaimer: This article was updated to reflect Xiaomi's official statement denying the company's involvement with Mi Store Portugal starting accepting Bitcoin payments.