Bitso Targets Mexico's Mobile Phone Users With SMS Bitcoin Buying

Mexican exchange Bitso has partnered with mobile payments firm Pademobile to bring bitcoin to up to 3 million users.

AccessTimeIconSep 12, 2014 at 5:45 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 11:10 a.m. UTC
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Bitso has teamed up with mobile financial services company Pademobile in an effort to bring bitcoin to millions of mobile phone users in Mexico.

The news marks the latest move from mainstream digital wallet provider Pademobile, which first joined the bitcoin ecosystem this February, and whose executive team members are currently involved in Fundación Satoshi Nakamoto, the country's local Bitcoin Foundation affiliate.

With Pademobile's digital wallet users can send and receive money, make purchases or top up their cell phones using the account for their service, which they can fund with bitcoin. Users can fund it by depositing cash at numerous cash-in locations country-wide, receiving funds through any of their apps like Exchange Messenger or adding funds from their existing Pademobile account credit.

Further, its system is SMS-based, which means even those without smartphones or Pademobile wallets can receive funds.

Thanks to the new partnership, Pademobile users can now buy bitcoin from Bitso using credit cards and prepaid balance accounts. Bitso users simply need to set up a Pademobile account and add the balance, and then select 'Pademobile' as the method of payment in the 'Fund MXN' page.

The move is also a potential boon for Bitso, which launched in April and left beta last month and can now gain exposure and easy access to Pademobile's large user base, around an estimated 3 million users.

The exchange says it is now one of only a handful bitcoin exchanges in the world to support credit card funding.

— Bitso Exchange (@BitsoEx) September 10, 2014

Integrating new users

The company hopes that the new feature will expand bitcoin's functionality in Mexico, given the it leverages more widely available SMS technology.

Bitso CEO Pablo Gonzalez told CoinDesk:

"It gives the unbanked an opportunity to participate in the local bitcoin exchange, meaning they can buy bitcoin at market price without the necessity of going through a broker and paying a large premium for it."

Bitso is developing the back end connections to provide a more seamless user experience with bitcoin payments, Gonzalez said. This is their first stage of integrating the Pademobile platform.

In the second stage, users will be able to sell their bitcoin through Bitso and quickly pay their phone and electricity bills, among others, or send funds to their friends through Pademobile's Exchange Messenger.

Multiple payments partnerships

Upon exiting beta last month Bitso was quick to announce a number of partnerships and promotional programmes, including a 10% referral bonus. The exchange operates with a 1% commission.

It is already integrated with Mexican payments service Compropago, which is available at more than 130,000 locations across Mexico, including chains like 7-Eleven and Walmart. The partnership allows Bitso users to fund their accounts from any Compropago terminal in the country.

"I believe that partnerships is a good strategy in this rapidly growing [bitcoin] economy," Gonzalez told CoinDesk. "Companies have different specialties and targets, and together we can enhance the user experience and expand bitcoin exposure more quickly."

In addition to Compropago and Pademobile partnerships, the exchange is also the first and only Ripple gateway in Mexico.

Tanaya Macheel and Pete Rizzo contributed reporting.


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