Crypto Market: Daniel Vogel, the founder of the cryptocurrency platform Bitso, was surprised when he saw “PIX accepted” on the packaging of candies sold by a girl at a lighthouse in Brazil. Vogel moved to Brazil from Mexico and believes that the growth of PIX is evidence of how fintech can change the status quo. He sees Brazil as a huge market with enormous potential for the crypto industry.
To realize this vision, Vogel is directing a significant portion of Bitso’s resources, BRL 1.5 billion, towards expanding in Brazil, where it will compete with Mercado Bitcoin, which Vogel himself started eight years ago. Bitso has raised funds, including R$1.3 billion in a round led by Tiger and Coatue, and has also hired 70 employees since the end of last year.
The platform, which entered Brazil in May, aims to improve its technology, launch new products, and expand its team. Vogel believes that Brazil will be Bitso’s most important market in the medium term.
Bitso is a cryptocurrency exchange that operates in Mexico and Argentina, with 2.5 million customers and a market leader in its home country. While it does not disclose the number of customers in Brazil, Vogel stated in May that he hopes to reach one million within a year.
The biggest risk to Bitso’s plan is Mercado Bitcoin, the market leader in Brazil, which recently raised $200 million in a round led by SoftBank, giving it a deep pocket. However, Vogel believes that Bitso is different from Mercado Bitcoin in terms of its user-friendly platform, customer service, and regulatory compliance, with licenses in Europe, and is the only regulated exchange in Latin America.
Bitso’s vision of the crypto market extends beyond investment, with services such as remittance solutions for Mexican immigrants and an account in Argentina that earns interest. While these services are not yet available in Brazil, Bitso has already launched a PIX deposit and withdrawal service and a peer-to-peer real-time money transfer solution on its platform, similar to PicPay.