Bitso Becomes Latin America’s First Crypto UnicornBy Andrea Villar | Wed, 05/05/2021 - 22:45
Bitso raised US$250 million in a Series C investment, bringing its valuation to US$2.2 billion to become the first crypto unicorn in Latin America. The investment will be used to continue providing access to cryptocurrencies to local residents and to expand operations. “We want to make sure that folks in the region really benefit from accessing these global financial services that are getting built on top of blockchain,” said Daniel Vogel, Co-Founder and CEO of Bitso, in a statement.
“The growth of the cryptocurrency ecosystem this year has been remarkable. It took Bitso six years to reach its first million customers. Now - less than 10 months later - we have reached two million,” Vogel added. Back in 2017, he told MBN that during 2014 the number of bitcoin transactions Bitso saw on a good month amounted to MX$4 million. By 2020, the platform processed more than US$1.2 billion in international payments, including remittances and payments between companies. According to Bitso, the platform has over 95 percent of the crypto market share in Mexico and over 60 percent in Argentina.
In recent months bitcoin started to gain support from the financial community, governments and private companies as it has been adopted in the payment processes of different companies such as JP Morgan, Visa and Tesla. In early February, Tesla bought US$1.5 billion worth of bitcoin for “more flexibility to further diversify and maximize returns on our cash.” The company led by Elon Musk also said it will start accepting payments in bitcoin in exchange for its products “subject to applicable laws and initially on a limited basis.” Governments are also keeping an eye on cryptocurrencies. On Jan. 21, Colombian regulators chose Bitso as one of the nine companies allowed to test crypto under the government’s pilot program Sandbox.
“Bitcoin is no longer just for a techie community. It has been simplified in such a way that anyone, including the boomer generation, can use cryptocurrencies in their daily lives easily and securely. For Bitso, everything changed the day we saw the first user using bitcoin to send money to his mom from the US to Mexico,” wrote in MBN this week Pablo González, Co-Founder and Chief Design Officer of Bitso.
The investment round was co-led by hedge fund giant Coatue and investment firm Tiger Global. Other investors in the round include Paradigm, BOND, Valor Capital Group, QED, Pantera Capital and Kaszek. The Mexican company is reportedly preparing to introduce a crypto derivatives trading platform and interest-bearing crypto accounts.