E-commerce giant Mercado Libre taps Paxos to power crypto service in Brazil

Users of Mercado Pago will be able to buy and sell bitcoin, ether and the USDP stablecoin starting in December.

Mercado Libre, Latin America’s largest e-commerce company by market value, is integrating Paxos’ blockchain infrastructure to allow users in Brazil to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies, Mercado Libre announced Thursday.

Starting later this month, users of Mercado Pago, Mercado Libre’s digital wallet, will be able to buy and sell bitcoin, ether and the stablecoin Pax dollar (USDP), Mercado Libre said. The minimum amount required for a transaction will be 1 Brazilian real, it added.

Paxos will handle crypto trading and custody for Mercado Pago users in an arrangement similar to its integration with PayPal in late 2020 – a service that was widely seen to accelerate the mainstreaming of cryptocurrencies in the U.S. and beyond.

Last week, Mercado Libre told CoinDesk that it was entering the cryptocurrency environment in Brazil together with “a world-class custodian,” adding that it was “analyzing all financial and regulatory aspects surrounding this technology.”

It said Thursday that the crypto service would launch in December but did not specify a date in response to a CoinDesk query.

Mercado Pago’s new initiative will provide crypto and stablecoin access to more than 200 million Brazilians, Walter Hessert, head of strategy for Paxos, said in a statement. “This will accelerate mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency and stablecoins across the continent. We are thrilled to partner with Mercado Pago to make it possible,” he added.

“The complete management of crypto can be carried out from a free account, thus facilitating access to new opportunities for financial growth, especially for those currently outside the financial system,” Tulio Oliveira, vice president of Mercado Pago in Brazil, said in a statement.

Mercado Pago’s app will provide bitcoin, ether and USDP prices, as well as educational content about the three cryptocurrencies, the company said.

“The content will address the crypto assets ecosystem, as well as the opportunities and risks associated with cryptocurrency investing,” the company added.

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