Mercado Libre, Latin America's largest e-commerce company by market value, has invested in 2TM, the holding company for Brazil's largest crypto exchange Mercado Bitcoin, and blockchain infrastructure company Paxos.
The e-commerce company bought shares of 2TM and made "a strategic investment" in Paxos, the company said in a statement on Thursday, without disclosing the investment amount.
The investments reinforce Mercado Libre's "commitment to the development and use of crypto assets and blockchain technology in the region," the company said.
Mercado Libre's relationship with Paxos is not new. In December 2021, the e-commerce giant integrated Paxos' blockchain infrastructure to allow users of its digital wallet, Mercado Pago, to buy and sell bitcoin, ether and the stablecoin Pax dollar (USDP) in Brazil, with a minimum amount required of 1 Brazilian real.
"As a leading technology company, we are actively evaluating the various innovations and opportunities around this market as it evolves, aiming to be a core participant in this disruption. Digital assets and blockchain technology represent a unique, global and collective phenomenon that breaks barriers and creates a level, open playing field for all users to achieve economic empowerment, which is very aligned with our mission as a company," Andre Chaves, senior vice-president at Mercado Libre, said in a statement.
In May 2021, the company, which trades on Nasdaq as MELI, disclosed a $7.8 million bitcoin purchase that was part of its treasury strategy. Last month, its Argentine real estate platform launched a special section for the sale and purchase of properties with bitcoin.
Mercado Bitcoin, for its part, ended 2021 with 3.2 million users, 1.1 million of whom joined last year, the company told CoinDesk in an email. In that period, its trading volume reached $7.1 billion, it added.
Mercado Bitcoin raised $250 million in 2021 and reached a valuation of $2.2 billion. With a presence in Brazil, it plans to expand into Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Mexico, either organically or through acquisitions.