Mercado Bitcoin operator acquires Portuguese crypto exchange

After raising over $250 million from firms like SoftBank last year, Brazil’s 2TM Group is expanding into Europe.

Brazilian 2TM Group, the operator of Latin America’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Mercado Bitcoin, is moving to expand its global footprint with a strategic acquisition in Portugal.

The company officially announced Wednesday the acquisition of a controlling stake in CriptoLoja, a Lisbon-based crypto exchange licensed by the Portuguese central bank.

Subject to approval by Banco de Portugal, the new deal intends to help 2TM start its expansion into Europe with over-the-counter exchange services. The company also plans to offer the services of Mercado Bitcoin to retail and institutional investors in Portugal.

“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,” 2TM CEO Roberto Dagnoni said.

Dagnoni said that the new acquisition became possible after several major funding rounds in 2021, in which 2TM raised over $250 million from investors like the Japanese financial giant SoftBank, bringing its valuation to more than $2 billion by November.

“Crypto is a global business. 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,” Dagnoni noted.

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According to the announcement, CriptoLoja founders, Luis Gomes and Pedro Borges, will remain co-heads of the business while assisting 2TM’s expansion in Europe. “Cryptocurrencies are still an emerging topic in the country. All the virtual assets such as Bitcoin and Ether are generating a revolution and considerable demand,” Borges stated.

Portugal has been hailed as a crypto-friendly jurisdiction as its authorities have pushed for technological free zones for fintech development and innovation in the country. Last year, the central bank of Portugal licensed three crypto exchange businesses: CriptoLoja, Luso Digital Assets and Mind The Coin.

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