After raising US$ 200 million from Softbank Latin America Fund, Brazilian cryptocurrency exchange Mercado Bitcoin became the country’s latest unicorn, the name given to technology companies worth more than US$ 1 billion.
With a US$ 2.1 billion valuation, the company is also the first crypto unicorn in Brazil. With the transaction, announced on Thursday (1), 2TM Group, the holding controlling Mercado Bitcoin, became the eighth most valuable unicorn in Latin America, the company noted, based on Crunchbase data.
In a statement, Mercado Bitcoin also noted that the deal is Softbank’s largest Series B investment in the cryptocurrency segment and the largest in the sector in Latin America.
Mercado Bitcoin said it has 2.8 million customers, of which 700.000 signed up between January and May 2021. During that same period, the platform reached 25 billion Brazilian reais (US$ 4.9 billion) in transaction volume, more than the entire amount registered since the inception of the business in 2013.
“Millions of people around the world have realized that digital assets and cryptocurrencies are innovative technologies and efficient value reserves. Brazil is no exception”, said Roberto Dagnoni, CEO at 2TM Group.
The fresh funding will go towards infrastructure to meet the current demand for crypto assets and areas such as recruitment – the firm aims aims to boost its 500-strong workforce in 40% by year end – as well as the growing other companies within the group, such as digital wallet Meubank and digital assets custodian Bitrust. Both companies need approval from Brazil’s Central Bank and the Securities and Exchange Commission to operate, respectively.
The Mercado Bitcoin deal takes the total unicorn count in Brazil to 17. Companies in that space include digital bank Nubank, corporate wellness firm Gympass, real estate company Quinto Andar and cross-border payments firm Ebanx, all of which have announced new rounds in 2021.