Mass adoption looms as South America’s second-largest company accepts crypto payments
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What began as a small tech startup in South America has grown into a 2 trillion dollar company with over 500 million customers. In the past, the company, South American Technology, has been reluctant to embrace new technology. Today, that all changed when the giant announced that they would begin accepting cryptocurrency payments. This comes as welcome news for the crypto community, as South America has been notoriously slow to adopt cryptocurrency in general. We interviewed one South American Technology customer who had this to say about the announcement:
The crypto market is booming. That’s the main takeaway from a series of recent announcements made by South America’s second-largest company, Golix. Golix, a Zimbabwe-based cryptocurrency exchange, announced that it would start accepting payments in Ether, Bitcoin, and Dash. The announcement sent shockwaves through the crypto community, with many speculating that this would be the catalyst the crypto market needed to explode in popularity.
The 28th. In April, MercadoLibre (MELI), Latin America’s largest online marketplace, launched a real estate section dedicated to cryptocurrencies. Although the company does not directly process real estate transactions, it legitimizes the category as a payment system.
The $81 billion retailer is the second largest company in South America and operates in 18 countries, including its three largest markets – Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.
The group also includes Mercado Pago, a digital payment system for online and offline transactions, and Mercado Envios, a logistics platform offering order processing, storage and delivery services.
Current listings include houses, apartments, vacant land, lots and commercial properties in Buenos Aires, Santa Fe and Cordoba.
New use of crypto-currencies in South America
While it may seem like a niche market, more than 300 brokers attended Mercado Libre’s webinar, which explained the basic mechanics of cryptocurrencies and their potential impact on the industry. This news may have had less of an impact, as fewer than 90 ads were placed and prices are still listed in US dollars.
As with real estate paid for in U.S. dollars, Argentine pesos or Brazilian flights, the transaction takes place outside the Mercado Libre platform and is handled between the parties. After the buyer selects a property that he likes, he contacts the broker and asks to close the deal in cryptocurrency at the closing price.
However, analysts may not have anticipated the potential of Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and Tether (USDT) as an effective medium of exchange in Argentina.
According to Juan Manuel Carretero, commercial director for cars and real estate at Mercado Libre:
Perhaps with the rise of cryptocurrencies, it will no longer be a separate space, but a filter for payment options like any other.
According to Statista, Mercado Libre’s gross volume represents 25.4% of total e-commerce sales in Latin America. Sales are expected to reach $25 billion by 2021. This represents 5% of the annual volume of $1.25 billion.
Countries with inflation problems could be early adopters of cryptocurrencies
Argentina could be a case study for cryptocurrency adoption, as the country’s GDP fell by 10% in 2020 and cumulative inflation in the past 12 months was 42.6%.
Since the central bank has restricted the purchase of foreign banknotes worth $200 per month, cryptocurrencies are effectively acting as a store of wealth for the country’s citizens.
It should only be a matter of time before cryptocurrencies take center stage as one of Latin America’s most important digital payment options and marketplaces. The section on real estate should be interpreted as a test of consumer demand.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Cointelegraph. Every investment and every stage of trading involves risk. You should do your own research before making a decision.
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