Brazilians can now pay in Bitcoin for the goods they purchase through Latin American e-commerce site Mercado Libre.
The online retailer has partnered with Atlanta, Georgia-based payment services provider Bitpay to enable the service on its platform.
Mercado’s decision to accept Bitcoin is a major breakthrough, as it gives legal status to cryptocurrencies. There are more than 3,000 stores or brands within Libre’s ecosystem in the region, with the retailer widely popular in countries including Argentina and Mexico.
Moreover, considering local media reports, Brazilians will soon be able to use Bitpay to transfer money to their account with MercadoPago, an online payment app owned by the retailer.
In Brazil, people use Mercado Pogo to pay utility bills and pay for metro and Uber rides as well as to download apps from Google Play Store.
“Cryptocurrency solves real pain points in Latin America,” stated BitPay in a press release.
“Bitcoin has been growing in popularity in Brazil, and awareness of blockchain payments has skyrocketed in the last year as more and more people discover the value of Bitcoin,” says Alberto Vega, Regional Manager for LAC at BitPay.
“Sales volumes have risen 260% over the last 3 months compared with last year as the price of Bitcoin has gone up as well.”
Retailers across the region were well aware that they can boost sales dramatically if they accept payments in cryptocurrencies, but legal and regulatory hurdles stood in their way.
Reports say the Brazilian regulators have refused to block Mercado’s decision.
Cryptocurrencies are not reliable and are vulnerable to volatile fluctuations. More than anything else, they are not backed by central banks.
Argentina and Venezuela are increasingly using cryptocurrencies, with high inflation and economic problems leaving their currencies extremely volatile and unstable.