Bitso’s Latest Funding Round Makes It Latin America’s First Crypto Unicorn

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Latin America’s largest crypto platform Bitso has announced that it raised $250 million in its Series C investment round.

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This puts the company’s valuation at $2.2 billion, making it the first crypto unicorn in the region. Hedge fund giant Coatue and investment firm Tiger Global led the round. Other investors include Paradigm, BOND, Valor Capital Group, QED, Pantera Capital and Kaszek. Bitso had raised $62 million during its Series, B in December 2020.

According to CEO Daniel Vogel, the company will use the funds to expand operations. The Mexico City-based firm will also use the money to continue providing access to cryptocurrencies for local residents. “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,” Vogel said.

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Bitso’s customers and services

Founded in 2014, Bitso offers multiple cryptocurrency products and services to over two million customers across Mexico, Argentia, and Brazil. The company says its market share in Mexico exceeds 95%, in addition to 60% in Argentina. Colombian regulators also reportedly selected Bitso to be among nine companies allowed to test crypto use cases under the government sanctioned pilot program. 

Its products include the Bitso App, which lets users buy, sell, send, or receive bitcoin (BTC) and eight other cryptocurrencies. Others include Bitso Alpha, a professional-grade crypto trading platform, and Bitso Business, a suite of cross-border products for local enterprises. The company is also preparing to introduce a crypto derivatives trading platform, as well as interest-bearing crypto accounts. 

Remittance usage

Bitso also services users in the United States. Here, customers use it primarily for remittances back to their home countries. Last year, Bitso processed about $1.2 billion in remittances. According to Vogel, this amounted to 2.5% to 3% of the yearly remittances volume between the U.S. and Mexico.

Bitso used Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity Service (ODL) to deliver the majority of these funds through its native token XRP. In December 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against Ripple, claiming that XRP was a security. Even though Vogel said the partnership “lost some of the momentum,” a separate statement clarified that “Bitso has not made any changes to XRP trading at this time and will keep monitoring the regulatory situation”.

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Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage. He can best be described as an optimistic center-left skeptic.

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