Thales de Freitas is the new country manager of cryptocurrency exchange and Mexican unicorn Bitso in Brazil. Since September last year, the Mexican cryptocurrency exchange was being run by its founder Daniel Vogel, who had moved to Brazil last year after Marcos Jarne‘s resignation.
According to the company, Thales will be responsible for driving Bitso’s strategy in the country, working with the digital financial ecosystem to expand “the usability, accessibility, and security of crypto assets and accelerate the financial inclusion of Brazilians.” The plan is to make Brazil the fintech‘s primary market.
Created in 2014 in Mexico, Bitso, which operates with bitcoin and ether, debuted in Brazil in December 2020, serving institutional investors. But it only started operating with investors in general in May 2021, when it also announced a $250 million round led by Tiger Global and with participation from funds such as Coatue, Valor Capital, Kaszek, QED, and Pantera. These last three funds had already invested $62 million in the platform in December together with Coinbase. By that time, Bitso already had over 2 million users, mainly in Mexico and Argentina.
Months later, in July 2021, Bitso became Mexico’s second unicorn and the first crypto startup valued at over $1 billion in Latin America.
The company does not reveal how many clients it has in Brazil. Still, when Vogel arrived, he told the finance website Valor Investe that this base had already doubled between May and September last year and that the volume traded by Bitso in the country had grown by 90%.
In an interview with Exame, Freitas said that Bitso aims to take the lead in the Brazilian crypto market this year— a bold goal considering the competition, which includes Mercado Bitcoin (the Brazilian exchange owned by 2TM Group, in which Mercado Libre bought stakes in January) and the foreign brokerage Binance.
To win this race, in addition to new products, Bitso is investing in creating new opportunities for cryptocurrencies transactions. The pilot project with Rappi announced in Mexico, with the participation of Bitpay, is one of these new opportunities.
The fintech, which has been one of the sponsors of the Brazilian São Paulo soccer team since January 2022, also wants to offer the purchase of tickets for matches through cryptocurrencies — São Paulo will likely be the first team to offer such a service.