Online marketplace Mercado Libre, Latin America’s answer to Amazon, announced the launch of its own cryptocurrency today. The currency, Mercado Coin, can be used to make purchases on Mercado Libre and receive it as cash back on purchases. Mercado Libre expects the cryptocurrency to be available to its 80 million users in Brazil by the end of August, and said it plans to introduce it in other countries “soon”.
Mercado Coin will be tradable on Mercado Pago, the company's digital wallet, at an initial price of 10 cents, which will be subject to market conditions. Mercado Libre will operate its cryptocurrency in partnership with the crypto company Ripio, which will provide custody and trading services on Mercado Pago. The cryptocurrency was developed using the ERC-20 token standard on the Ethereum blockchain. During the first stages, users will not be able to transfer it to external wallets.
“The blockchain technology behind Mercado coin allowed us to develop an open and extremely secure solution,” Guilherme Cohn, senior manager of corporate development, said in a statement. “We continue to follow the evolution of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, as we believe in the potential of these tools”. In December, Mercado Libre launched a crypto trading feature in Brazil, which reached 1 million users two months later. The company has plans to launch the same product across Latin America.