SAO PAULO - Mexican cryptocurrency exchange Bitso has hit the one million users mark in Brazil about a year after it launched in the country, according to the company's Brazil chief.
"We beat 1 million users in Brazil earlier than expected, and our transaction volumes grew by 66% in June from May," Thales Freitas told Reuters in an interview.
He did not provide detailed figures, but said that July readings have already exceeded the previous month despite the recent downturn seen across most major crypto currencies.
Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Mexico, Bitso raised $250 million in a funding round in May 2021, which valued the platform at $2.2 billion ahead of its debut in Brazil.
Freitas, a former executive at Citi and HSBC, took over in Bitso's second largest market, Brazil, three months ago with the mission of leading the company through an increasingly adverse scenario of intense asset volatility and higher interest rates.
To overcome these hurdles, Bitso has boosted its incentive program, offering returns of up to 15% per year in stablecoins, digital currencies pegged to traditional assets such as the U.S. dollar.
"Brazilian investors love fixed income, and stablecoins are a good way to diversify," Freitas said.
Bitso is currently awaiting central bank approval of its application for a payment institution license in Brazil, where it currently operates in partnership with lenders Banco Genial and Starkbank. The so-called "crypto winter" has led some foreign companies to collapse in the wake of a sharp devaluation of digital currencies.
Nonetheless, Bitso now faces fresh competition on its home turf after SoftBank-backed Brazilian crypto exchange Mercado Bitcoin announced last week it was planning on entering the Mexican market
(Reporting by Aluisio Alves; Writing by Gabriel Araujo, Editing by Isabel Woodford and Nick Zieminski)