Cryptocurrency exchange Mercado Bitcoin has raised US$200 million from Japanese business conglomerate Softbank, becoming the first crypto unicorn in Brazil.
A subsidiary of 2TM Group, Mercado processed cryptocurrencies worth up to US$5 billion in the first five months of this year alone, as its customers’ number soared by 700,000 during the period.
The proceeds of the deal, says Mercado, will be used to scale up operations and expand offerings by digging deeper into blockchain technology. It is also planning to hire 200 new employees by the end of this year.
“The series B round will afford us to continue investing in our infrastructure, enabling us to scale up and meet the soaring demand for the blockchain-based financial market,” said Roberto Dagnoni, Executive Chairman & CEO of 2TM Group.
Partly due to the volatile Forex market and the COVID-19 pandemic, Latin American countries are increasingly embracing cryptocurrencies. As a result, crypto exchanges are growing in number throughout the region. El Salvador recently went a step further, adopting bitcoin as a legal tender.
Mercado’s parent company 2TM Group seems to have greater expertise in digital currencies. It was the first in the world to tokenize public debt assets. Last year, it issued its own cryptocurrency called Futecoin. Now, the company is set to launch Bitrust, the first digital custodian in Latin America.
“Cryptocurrencies have incredible potential in Latin America. We believe winning in Brazil is critical for 2TM Group,” said Marcelo Claure, COO of SoftBank Group.