OmbuShop has announced a new partnership that will allow 2,000 merchants in Latin America to add bitcoin as a payment option for their online stores.
Founded in 2011, the e-commerce website provider primarily caters to clothing and accessory merchants. OmbuShop is based in Argentina, but serves Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Spain.
Speaking to CoinDesk, OmbuShop CEO Ernesto Tagwerker described the service as one way his company is looking to embrace the future of online shopping while enabling its international merchants to sell more effectively in a global economy.
Tagwerker told CoinDesk:
"We see in bitcoin a great medium to get paid from clients all over the world. Now, Argentine shops can sell to the US and all over the world without having to worry how to get paid."
Tagwerker added that bitcoin will provide his merchants with a key advantage given that payment gateways in Argentina are less evolved than popular international options such as PayPal and Stripe. Notably, under an amendment passed in 2012, Argentinian consumers are barred from using PayPal.
OmbuShop has raised more than $40,000 in funding to date, netting the capital from Start-Up Chile, a Chilean government-backed investment fund aimed at attracting high-potential entrepreneurs to Chile.
To launch bitcoin payments, OmbuShop partnered with Argentina-based bitcoin merchant processor BitPagos.
Speaking to CoinDesk, BitPagos CEO Sebastian Serrano described OmbuShop as Argentina's homegrown version of Shopify, the online marketplace that allows merchants to set up their own websites through its service.
Like Shopify, OmbuShop lets merchants set up online storefronts by registering with the website, uploading products and customizing their design.
OmbuShop offers a free 15-day trial of its services, while Shopify offers a 14-day no-risk trial.
Tagwerker indicated that enabling bitcoin payments on the platform will be similarly easy, saying:
"Once you have your BitPagos account, enabling the option for your online shop only takes a few seconds."
In addition to bitcoin, OmbuShop accepts Argentine pesos, Colombian pesos, Chilean pesos, euros, Mexican pesos and US dollars.
High adoption rates expected
Tagwerker suggests that OmbuShop isn't treating bitcoin as a novelty offering, and that it expects the new feature to be widely implemented by its customers in the coming months.
He went on to suggest that OmbuShop has been observing the bitcoin space with interest for a period of years, but that it only recently decided to integrate the payment option due to the decisions of major US-based merchants.
Tagwerker indicated that other factors were at work as well, adding:
"Our decision was influenced by news about major players in the e-commerce industry, like WordPress and Dell, and by the current situation of the Argentine economy."
Merchant adoption rises
Though noteworthy for Argentina's entrepreneurs and merchants, the partnership is also the latest success for BitPagos, which raised $600,000 earlier this year with the goal of enlisting new, high-profile clients in its processing service.
The partnership is the second major deal inked by BitPagos so far this August, following its agreement with major e-commerce newcomer Avalancha. The company also launched Ripio, a new service that will enable consumers to buy bitcoin at 8,000 convenience stores.
Serrano told CoinDesk that these recent successes are simply a by-product of the company's measured approach to the market.
"I think a lot of ground work we have been doing in past months is starting to pay out and we hope to be able to keep the momentum high."