On August 18, MercadoLibre Inc, a multinational e-commerce company based in Latin America, announced the creation of a new cryptocurrency called MercadoCoin, which will be implemented in its loyalty program.
As reported by Reuters, the cryptocurrency will run on the Ethereum network as an ERC-20 token priced at $0.10 each. It will be used primarily for cashback and purchases inside MercadoLibre’s platform. The developer team also hinted at opening the token to the secondary market at some point, but did not elaborate on the idea:
“MercadoLibre’s cryptocurrency will be initially valued at $0.10 apiece before being open to market fluctuation.”
MercadoCoin Will Be Available In 80 Million Accounts
Starting August 18, the cryptocurrency will be available to more than 500,000 users in Brazil; however, the team expects to make it available to at least 80 million customers by the end of the month.
For now, the company has no plans to launch in other regions, as it would be challenging to comply with all the different regulatory procedures necessary to operate in other countries. This is of the utmost importance, considering how different the politics toward crypto in Latin America are. Countries like El Salvador, Brazil, and Venezuela are more crypto-friendly, but others like Bolivia, Ecuador, or Chile have the opposite stance.
Marcos Galperin, CEO and founder of MercadoLibre, said via his official Twitter account that this new initiative would boost the company’s loyalty program and help “democratize financial inclusion in Latin America.”
Hoy lanzamos Mercado Coin en Brasil, dándole mayor impulso a nuestro programa de lealtad y dando otro paso para democratizar la inclusión financiera en América Latina.
MercadoLibre to create cryptocurrency as part of loyalty program https://t.co/7kanuk6GLh
— Marcos Galperin (@marcos_galperin) August 18, 2022
Mercadolibre Keeps Betting on the Cryptocurrency Market
As reported by CryptoPotato, MercadoLibre made its entry into the world of cryptocurrencies last year when it launched a wallet to allow Brazilian users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Tether (USDT).
However, earlier this week, Osvaldo Gimenez, CEO of Mercado Pago, said that they would expand this service to the entire Region allowing all users to store, sell or buy cryptocurrencies without needing third-party banks, exchanges, or brokers.
“We will be expanding in the Region the possibility to buy, sell and have cryptocurrencies in your account. It works with Bitcoin, Ethereum and stable currency that reflects the value of the dollar.”
According to Gimenez, using cryptocurrencies through MercadoPago will have a meaningful impact in the Region, as many people are unbanked or use them mainly to withdraw cash, so this is an “investment opportunity” for those looking for an alternative to fiat money.
“It is an alternative investment opportunity that we find very interesting and generates a lot of interest from users. At a time when the dollar has been appreciating, the investments that users have with us are small and for us it’s one more way to diversify their portfolio.”
Besides MercadoCoin, and the crypto wallet, Mercadolibre has also invested in Bitcoin as a company, is a strategic investor in Paxos and one of Brazil’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, and was one of the members of the now defunct Libra Association via its fintech branch, MercadoPago.