Lemon Cash, an Argentina-based crypto exchange, has opened operations in Brazil amid a crypto boom in the South American country, co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer Borja Martel Seward told CoinDesk.
On Monday, the company went live with a beta version of its platform allowing 10,000 users to buy and sell bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) using Brazilian reals through Pix, a real-time retail payment system launched by the Brazilian Central Bank, Martel Seward said.
The move comes as crypto trading ticks steadily upward in South America’s largest economy. According to Receita Federal, the Brazilian tax authority, between January and November 2021, locals traded $11.4 billion in stablecoins and almost tripled the total amount in transactions in 2020, as bitcoin trading reached $10.8 billion during the same period.
Lemon Cash plans to introduce a crypto card in 2022 in partnership with Visa, the same as in Argentina, Martel Seward said, without disclosing an exact date for the launch.
“We see an opportunity to launch a platform for the masses, something you can use without the need to be an expert,” Martel Seward said, adding that the proposal will be focused on young consumers.
Lemon Cash has no plans to make acquisitions in Brazil, but to grow organically, Martel Seward said.
Crypto in Brazil
Local crypto exchange Mercado Bitcoin leads the Brazilian crypto market, reaching 3.2 million users in 2021. Bitso, a Latin American crypto unicorn operating in Mexico, Argentina and Colombia, aims to become the biggest crypto exchange in Brazil in 2022, the company told CoinDesk in January.
Lemon Cash plans to hire 60 employees in Brazil by the end of 2022, said Martel Seward, adding that it now has 220 employees overall.
In July, Lemon raised $16.3 million in a Series A funding round that was led by British fund Kingsway Capital.
According to Martel Seward, the company isn't making new financing a priority in the short term.
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