Brazil’s MercadoLibre Introduces Crypto Loyalty Program With MercadoCoin

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One of South America’s largest e-commerce firms has created a new cryptocurrency that it will implement in Brazil as part of its loyalty program.

MercadoLibre Inc. announced that customers shopping on its platform will be able to earn MercadoCoins as cashback when purchasing products. The digital currency, adherent to Ethereum’s ERC-20 token standard, can be used to make further purchases on the e-commerce site or trade it on the company’s financial services unit MercadoPago.

Upon release, MercadoCoins will be available at $0.10 apiece for 500,000 clients in Brazil, before opening to market fluctuation and then the company’s total 80 million client base by late August. While the firm currently has no plans to expand MercadoCoin to other Latin American countries besides Brazil, for now, it said that trading of the digital currency will be kept exclusively on MercadoPago. 

MercadoLibre’s country lead Fernando Yunes said the company was focusing on long-term opportunities rather than short-term market movements with the move. The company hopes to gain an edge as e-commerce competition in Brazil heats up. Rival Sea Ltd’s Shopee reported a 270% revenue hike in the second quarter, while China’s AliExpress has also been gaining ground.

Meanwhile, other companies in Brazil have started supplementing their offerings with cryptocurrencies. Last month, Santander Brazil, a unit of Spanish banking giant Banco Santander, said it would offer cryptocurrency-related services to institutional and individual customers in the coming months. “We expect in the next few months to have definitions about it, who knows in the next release [of quarterly results], or even before,” CEO Mario Leao told Folha de S. Paulo.

Additionally, Brazil’s largest brokerage, XP, announced that it would open its Xtage crypto trading platform to some clients this month. While only Bitcoin and Ethereum would be available initially, XP said a total of ten digital assets would be available by the start of 2023. XP’s director of financial products Lucas Rabechini told Reuters that the Xtage platform would be accessible to clients with an “adequate investment profile for such operations.” 

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