2TM, the parent company of Brazilian cryptocurrency exchange Mercado Bitcoin, has received $50.3 million in fresh financing to expand its operations across Latin America, sending a strong signal that venture capital sees growth potential in the region.
The Series B fundraiser had participation from United States-based funds 10T and Tribal Capital, as well as Brazilian companies Traders Club, Pipo Capital and Endeavor, the company disclosed Tuesday.
The funding round further cements 2TM’s status as a crypto unicorn after the company raised $200 million from SoftBank in July. At the time, Mercado Bitcoin was the second Latin American cryptocurrency exchange to eclipse the $1 billion valuation mark.
Mercado Bitcoin now boasts of over 3.2 million customers, which is equivalent to roughly 80% of individual accounts active on the Brazilian stock exchange, the company said. Trade volumes reached $7 billion in the first 10 months of 2021, according to 2TM CEO Roberto Dagnoni.
Mercado’s growing user base reflects heightened retail interest in digital asset investing at a time when economies across Latin America are struggling with hyperinflation and other fiscal pressures. In Brazil, Mercado Bitcoin’s home base, regulators have endorsed legislation that would support the continued growth of crypto investing. Leading investment bank BTG Pactual has also launched a new platform to make it easier for users to access cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH).
When asked about what other factors are driving crypto adoption in the region, a Mercado Bitcoin spokesperson told Cointelegraph that motivations vary across countries. "For example, in Brazil, the main driver is as [an] alternative investment class," the spokesperson said. "In Mexico, remittances are a significant part of the overall volume drivers. In Argentina, there is a much more intensive adoption of stablecoins to protect from currency fluctuation."
The cryptocurrency industry is now home to dozens of high-profile unicorns and at least three multi-billion-dollar investment funds. As Cointelegraph reported on Monday, former Citi banker Matt Zhang has launched a $1.5 billion crypto venture fund to back promising plays in the domains of blockchain infrastructure, virtual worlds and programmable money.