Brazil’s 2TM Group, the owner of MercadoBitcoin.com, Latin America’s largest crypto exchange, announces the acquisition of a controlling stake in CriptoLoja, the first licensed Lisbon-based crypto exchange operating since July.
In June 2021, CriptoLoja received Portugal’s first official licence as a “virtual asset service provider” from Banco de Portugal, the nation’s central bank, which still needs to approve this acquisition.
“Crypto is a global business. Our Series A & B funding rounds gave us the momentum we needed to expand our international footprint. In addition to the financial capacity, the investors provide us with the outstanding technology required to compete globally,” said Roberto Dagnoni, CEO of 2TM group. “Portugal is a strategic market for us, because it requires a specific license, is becoming an important hub for crypto in Europe and opens a gateway into the larger European market.”
The Brazilian holding company will start its expansion into Europe with an over-the-counter (OTC) operation. As a second phase, it intends to take the entire MercadoBitcoin.com platform to retail and institutional investors. “We will access the European market using the clear synergies with our presence in Latin America, as we share the same language, a recognized brand, and cross-sell opportunities for customers. There are many Brazilians living in Portugal who would love to invest through our platform,” said Dagnoni.
2TM views the EU-regulated environment as a highly beneficial operating space. “It is a path that we are looking for in Brazil, and we see it as the necessary one for the institutionalization of the market. Being in Portugal is an important competitive advantage for large B2B customers and OTC operations,” explained Dagnoni. This acquisition establishes the 2TM’s presence in an emerging fintech and blockchain ecosystem in Europe, as Portugal is considered one of the continent’s most crypto-friendly countries.
CriptoLoja’s founders, Luís Gomes and Pedro Borges will remain co-heads of the business while also leading the 2TM’s expansion on the continent. “There is no doubt that being part of a company backed by SoftBank, as well as funds such as Tribe and 10T, contributes to building our reputation in Portugal. In addition, there is 2TM’s expertise in building a strong exchange, the largest in digital assets in Latin America, and in spearheading the transformation of the sector in the region. We aim to do the same with Portugal and Europe,” said Luis Gomes.
Pedro Borges explains that the crypto ecosystem is flourishing in Portugal. “Cryptocurrencies are still an emerging topic in the country. All the virtual assets such as Bitcoin, Ether, etc., are generating a revolution and a considerable demand.” He says the platform also intends to be the place to go for individuals or companies when thinking about investing, trading, exchanging or hedging crypto assets. Criptoloja also want to work with companies that already accept crypto assets as a payment form and want to convert them into euros.