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GP Investimentos and Parallax Ventures Lead R$200m Round in Bitcoin Exchange Mercado Bitcoin

21 January 2021

GP Investimentos’ Inova Fund and Parallax Ventures led a R$200m round in Brazilian bitcoin exchange Mercado Bitcoin, with participation from Evora Fund, HS Investimentos, Banco Plural, and Gear Ventures. Mercado Bitcoin is one of Brazil’s biggest Bitcoin exchanges, along with Foxbit and Bitcambio, according to the Financial Times.

(Press Release) – Founded by brothers Gustavo and Mauricio Chamati in 2013, Mercado Bitcoin has become the largest crypto-currency exchange in Latin America. With the investment received in early 2021, the startup plans to invest BRL 200 million in order to accelerate its growth and consolidate its leadership as the largest digital asset platform in the region. The deal, led by fund management company GP Investimentos and Parallax Ventures, also includes the participation of Fundo Evora, of Ze Bonchristiano, HS Investimentos FIP, Banco Plural and Gear Ventures.

The investment will be aimed at expanding the startup’s international operations with the opening of new operations in Latin American countries. Currently, Mercado Bitcoin already serves international customers from its operation in Brazil. In addition to international expansion, the company will invest on two important fronts to consolidate its leadership: Bitrust, a qualified custodian with dedicated service, which will allow institutional investors access to the crypto-currency and digital-assets market; and Meubank, a true digital wallet, in the process of being regulated by the Central Bank, in which the customer will be able to store various digital assets (rewards, miles, crypto assets, game collectibles) and convert, invest, pay bills and transfer money.

In 2017, the startup was bolstered by Reinaldo RabeloRoberto Dagnoni and Mauro Negrete, former executives of B3, who were in charge of the sale of GRV to Cetip and Sascar to GP. Arnaldo Rocha, a partner in DealMaker also joined the team. In the same period, an advisory committee was formed, composed of ten executives from traditional institutions, and together with the Chamati brothers, the group began to design a market infrastructure to guarantee the ability to tokenize, guard and trade digital assets.

This was the first step in transforming the business. At the time, the company had just over one million registered customers and since its founding, it had traded around BRL 10 billion, with only four digital currencies on the platform.

In the last two years, the number of customers jumped to 2.2 million and in 2020 alone, BRL 6.4 billion were traded on the platform. In January 2021 alone, the company traded more than 50% of the entire volume of 2020. Last year, Mercado Bitcoin also doubled in size, going from 100 people on the team to more than 200 people, and launched the world’s first token linked to soccer, the Vasco Token. The company is in advanced talks with several clubs to make new tokens of this kind, based on FIFA’s solidarity mechanism. At the same time, it obtained a license from the CVM to operate Clearbook, a crowdfunding platform for startups to raise funds and for investors who want a new form of investment.

“We want to develop the crypto ecosystem in Brazil and create a market as developed as that of the United States. To do this, we want to be one of the five largest digital exchanges in the world. Today, we are already the largest exchange in Latin America, operating almost exclusively in Brazil. Now, we’re going to look at the other markets, like ChileMexico and Argentina, which have a regulatory culture closer to ours. Our long-term purpose is to participate in the construction of a new infrastructure for the financial market (IMF), based on blockchain, smartcontracts and crypto assets”, explains Reinaldo Rabelo, CEO of Mercado Bitcoin .

Over the past eight years, with a diverse and creative team, Mercado Bitcoin has set out to build the financial market of the future. At this rate, it will achieve its goal of democratizing access to high return investments, and go on to reach greater heights. For 2021, the plan is to end the year with more than 300 people on the team, in addition to reaching the mark of approximately 3 million customers on the platform.