Mexico's Coinbase-backed crypto platform Bitso raises $250 million

Bitso valuation is now at US$ 2.2 billion, one of the most valuable startups in Latin America

Photo: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Ilustração/Foto de arquivo
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  • The startup plans to make Brazil its main market, strongly expanding its customer base, that has about 2 million people mainly in Mexico and Argentina;
  • Crypto companies have gradually joined international organizations to gain dialogue with more audiences.

The Mexican crypto platform Bitso announced on Wednesday that it raised a new financing round of $250 million, making it one of the most valuable startups in Latin America, at the moment it starts its retail operations in Brazil.

The round, which values ​​Bitso at $2.2 billion, is led by Tiger Global and has the participation of funds such as Coatue, Valor Capital, Kaszek, QED, and Pantera. Those last three had already invested $62 million in the platform in December along with Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange valued at nearly $100 billion on its Nasdaq debut in April.

READ ALSO: Mexican crypto platform Bitso raises a $62 million round and expands to Brazil

Created in 2014 and headquartered in Mexico, Bitso, which operates with bitcoin and ether cryptocurrencies, debuted in Brazil in late 2020, initially serving institutional investors.

The company sought support from the law firm Pinheiro Neto, which has been noted for its work with technology-based financial companies within a changing regulatory scope in recent years.

READ ALSO: From Kavak to Bitso: 10 major investment rounds raised by Mexican startups in 2020

The company plans to make Brazil its main market, strongly expanding its customer base, today at about 2 million people, mainly in Mexico and Argentina.

According to Bitso’s chief executive in Brazil, Marcos Jarne, the funds will be used to develop new products, which may eventually include the distribution of funds, in addition to encouraging the use of cryptocurrencies for payments.

“Our goal is to make cryptography useful in people’s lives,” Jarne told Reuters, declining to reveal volume in custody and customers goals in Brazil. To TechCrunch, the company said it processed more than $1.2 billion in international payments — including remittances and payments between companies — in 2020, and that it has surpassed 2 million users.

READ ALSO: Latin American crime cartels turn to crypto to clean up their cash

A campaign to publicize the brand will start circulating soon on social media, first for people who already know cryptocurrencies, then for the general public.

Cryptocurrencies have gained popularity in some markets but are still very volatile assets and face strong opposition from some regulators, which associate them with money laundering.

READ ALSO: Startup Ripio believes in cryptocurrencies as a way of avoiding the volatility of the Argentine peso

As part of the effort to gain a reputation in a scenario where virtual currencies are still unregulated, companies linked to these assets have gradually joined international organizations to gain interlocution with more audiences.

Bitso, for example, is part of the international organization of securities regulators (Iosco), an agency that brings together capital market regulators from several countries. In addition, the company will offer insurance against thefts of wallets of certain cryptos, such as bitcoin, the best known of them.

(Translated by LABS)

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