Mass adoption looms as South America's second-largest company accepts crypto payments
The largest Latin American online marketplace, MercadoLibre (MELI) launched a real estate section dedicated to cryptocurrencies.
The $81 billion worth of retail company is the second largest company in South America and is present in 18 countries having its three largest markets - Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico. Although the company does not settle property transactions directly, it legitimizes the category as a payment system.
The group also owns a digital payments system, Mercado Pago, along with Mercado Envios, a logistics platform that provides fulfillment, warehousing, and shipping services. The current offers include houses, condos, vacant lots, land and commercial real estate located in Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, and Cordoba.
As is already the case with properties paid in U.S. dollars, Argentine pesos, or Brazilian reais, the transaction is handled outside the Mercado Libre platform and combined between the parties. Thus, after choosing the property of preference, the buyer contacts the real estate agent and requests to carry out the transaction in cryptocurrency at the deal closing exchange rate.
Argentina might end up being the poster-child for cryptocurrency adoption as the country's gross domestic product decreased by 10% in 2020, and its cumulative inflation hit 42.6% over the last 12 months.
Keeping in mind that people have been limited to buy $200 of foreign currency on the monthly basis by the central bank, cryptocurrencies have been effectively functioning as a store of wealth for its citizens.
It seems just a question of time that how long it will be to cryptocurrencies gain center-stage as one of the leading digital payment options and major marketplaces in Latin America. Meanwhile, the real estate dedicated section should be interpreted as a test drive for consumer demand.