Mercadolibre, one of the biggest online retailers in Latin America, has started rolling cryptocurrency trading services to a selection of their customers and plans to expand this test in the coming weeks. Mercadopago, the payments service native to the platform, will allow these customers to purchase, hold and sell cryptocurrencies directly from the platform. The pilot run will start in Brasil and it might extend to other countries later.
Mercadolibre Forays Into Crypto Services
Mercadolibre, the biggest Latam-based company, has started including cryptocurrency services in its platform. Now, users of Mercadopago will be able to purchase, sell and hold cryptocurrencies using Mercadolibre’s platform. This is a logical step for the company, that acts as an intermediate between companies offering products and services in the platform and customers consuming these.
The test run of the service was rolled out quietly earlier this month to some customers in Brazil, and it is expected to keep expanding to more customers in the coming weeks. Mercadolibre is thinking about growing this test into other markets in the future, but nothing has been announced about the subject. On including crypto as part of its business model, Tulio Oliveira, a Mercadopago vice president, stated:
We took the time to study and learn before deciding to step into crypto. This has a transformational potential ahead and opens up a new avenue for us.
Flirting With Crypto and Limitations
The company has been interested in crypto for quite some time, having invested in cryptocurrencies before. Mercadolibre bought $7.8 million worth of bitcoin (BTC) during Q1 of this year, disclosing it last May when it reported its first-quarter financial results. Marcos Galperin, co-founder, and CEO of the company has been very vocal about how cryptocurrencies can provide alternatives to traditional investments, having invested in crypto companies like Ripio personally.
About cryptocurrencies, Galperin stated:
Cryptocurrencies are here to stay. They have a very important role, not so much as a means of payment but as a store of value.
Perhaps following Galperin’s train of thought, users of Mercadolibre won’t be able to purchase goods and pay for services with cryptocurrencies immediately. But if the company wants to emulate Paypal, its next step would be to include cryptocurrencies as a payment method for purchases in the platform.
Mercadolibre’s actions might make other big companies in the area to also consider adding cryptocurrencies in their business model if everything goes right during this trial run.