Mercado Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Brazil, received a payment institution license from the country's central bank late last week, local media Valor Economico reported. It will enable the crypto exchange to operate as a payment institution under the status of an electronic money issuer.
Mercado Bitcoin Becomes a Licensed Payments Provider
Under the new license, the Brazilian crypto exchange will enhance its fintech offerings under MB Pay. It can provide Brazilian users with digital banking services using held crypto assets, including digital fixed-income investments, staking, and other financial transactions. The exchange is also planning to launch a debit card with a crypto off-ramp offering.
"The central bank's approval is an important step, as it allows us to continue with our business expansion plans to offer an even more complete experience to our customers," said the CEO of Mercado Bitcoin, Roberto Dagnoni.
Demand for Crypto In Brazil Is Growing
Mercado Bitcoin, established in 2013 and owned by 2TM Group, is the largest Brazilian cryptocurrency exchange in terms of trading volume. The platform has more than 3.7 million customers and handled over $50 billion in trading volume since its inception, as seen on the exchange's website.
The exchange already offers digital fixed-income instruments with interests as high as 16 percent per annum. The exchange previously planned to expand its fintech services in 2021, but those plans were delayed due to regulatory procedures.
Brazil, with a population of over 214 million, is a major cryptocurrency market. The increasing demand for digital assets even pushed global crypto exchanges to enter the Latin American country. Apart from Mercado Bitcoin, other crypto exchanges holding the Brazilian payments license are Crypto.com and Bitso. American giant Coinbase is expanding Brazilian operations and partnered with a local payments provider in March to offer deposits and withdrawals in local currency.