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Mercado Libre launches crypto trading in Chile

Argentinian e-commerce giant Mercado Libre (MELI) is continuing its plans to expand its crypto business with a new launch in Chile, a relatively wealthy South American nation.

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Mercado Pago, the online payment platform owned by Mercado Libre, has partnered with Latin American fintech Ripio to become the go-to destination for Chileans looking to get into cryptocurrency. The two companies had jointly developed and launched Mercado Coin, an Ethereum ERC-20 token, which will also be available to local merchants.

The payment application has crypto trading functions and allows customers to buy, sell and save Bitcoin, as well as Ethereum and stablecoins.

After years of legal battles in Chile, cryptocurrency exchanges have been allowed to open bank accounts through a financial institution that has established a protocol to serve such businesses. Chile’s central bank also announced a strategy last year for the potential rollout of its own digital currency as policymakers seek to keep pace with fast-spreading cryptocurrencies.

Mercado Pago, said to be the largest online payment platform in Latin America, initially launched its crypto-trading service in December 2021 in Brazil. Additionally, in November 2022, it entered the Mexican market, where it says the first month of operation attracted up to 150,000 users to the app.

Today, Mercado Pago is seeking a similar bump in Chile as the e-commerce platform proceeds with its gradual rollout in what company president Osvaldo Gimenez calls “aggressive growth.”

“We continue to open the doors of the #crypto world to millions of users in the region: first in Brazil and Mexico, and now also #MercadoPago users in Chile can buy, sell and save #Bitcoin and #Ethereum from the app. When we launched this feature in Mexico, in the first month, 150,000 users operated, while in Brazil we are already targeting 2 million users and counting. We are removing barriers to accessing the #cryptomondas market, thanks to a very simple operation from the application and with very low minimum amounts to operate, so that even users with less experience or knowledge can do their first steps,” he added in a Linkedin post. .

The move comes months after Coinbase presented its strategy to build a tech hub in Latin America. Following this acquisition, Coinbase’s next steps will be to expand outside of Brazil, hoping to find acquisitions in Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Argentina.

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