Japan's SoftBank invests $200 million into Brazil's largest cryptocurrency exchange.
Softbank, a Japanese multinational conglomerate holding company, has a Latin America Fund that invests in businesses focused on biometrics, e-commerce, education, fintech, and now cryptocurrency solutions. The Softbank Latin America Fund said on Thursday that it has invested $200 million in the Mercado Bitcoin crypto-asset exchange.
The Softbank Latin America Fund has invested in the parent business of Mercado Bitcoin, 2TM Group. It is one of the largest Series B funding rounds in Latin America, as well as Softbank's largest crypto investment on the continent, according to the release. The investment boosts 2TM Group's unicorn status to $2.1 billion, making it Latin America's eighth most valuable fintech company.
Mercado Bitcoin intends to use the funds to expand its operations and invest in new infrastructure. According to the company's release, Mercado Bitcoin has attracted 2.8 million customers in the last year. Between January and May 2021, about 700,000 new clients signed up to use Mercado Bitcoin's services, according to a press release from the corporation. Furthermore, the trade volume on Mercado Bitcoin in 2021 has increased dramatically, “surpassing the total for its first seven years combined.”
“In the cryptocurrency space, Mercado Bitcoin has established itself as a global leader. In a statement, Marcelo Claure, CEO of Softbank Group International and COO of Softbank Group, said, "We've been impressed by 2TM Group's expertise of the Brazilian ecosystem, as well as their contribution to the expanding regulatory framework in Brazil." The Softbank executive went on to say:
In Latin America, cryptocurrencies have great potential. We feel that succeeding in Brazil is vital for 2TM Group, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.
Fintech and Blockchain are important to Softbank Group and the conglomerate's portfolio companies.
Fintech businesses and cryptocurrency solutions have gotten a lot of press throughout Latin America, and the first Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) debuted on the Brazil Stock Exchange last week. Based on these developments, Softbank Group and the firm's Latin America Fund have been building portfolio firms. Creditas, Cortex, Inter, Loggi, Konfio, and Ualá are among the fintech companies backed by the Softbank Latin America Fund.
Softbank, a multinational business, has been investing in cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies for a long time. Softbank said in October 2019 that it was collaborating on a cross-carrier blockchain technology initiative with Tbcasoft and IBM. Tbcasoft and Softbank collaborated on a blockchain-based "Identification & Authentication" Working Group the same year.
Crypto-asset solutions are also being used by one of the Tokyo-based company's portfolio companies. Wework, a worldwide space provider sponsored by Softbank, recently said it was taking cryptos and retaining digital assets on its balance sheet in mid-April 2021.
Softbank's investment follows Mercado Bitcoin's Series A round in January 2021, which was headed by Parallax Ventures and G2D/GP Investments. The money would be used by Mercado Bitcoin to "accelerate growth across 2TM Group's portfolio." 2TM Group also owns Meubank, a cryptocurrency wallet provider, and plans to build a fund named the "Bitrust" in the near future.
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