Softbank-backed Brazilian crypto firm acquires Portuguese exchange

A representation of the virtual currency Bitcoin is shown in this illustration taken on June 14, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su/Illustration/File Photo

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Softbank-backed Brazilian 2TM that operates Latin America’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Mercado Bitcoin said on Wednesday it would acquire a controlling stake in Lisbon’s CriptoLoja exchange.

The Brazilian company, valued at about $2.2 billion, declined to disclose the terms of the acquisition, but said the deal was awaiting approval with Banco de Portugal, the country’s central bank.

CriptoLoja has been in business since July of last year. In June 2021, it received Portugal’s first official license as a virtual asset service provider.

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“Portugal is a strategic market for us, as it requires specific licensing, has become an important hub for cryptocurrency in Europe and opens a gateway to the larger European market,” said Roberto Dagnoni, CEO of 2TM Group, in a statement. .

The Brazilian holding company will begin its expansion in Europe through an over-the-counter (OTC) process. As a second stage, it intends to transfer the entire MercadoBitcoin.com platform to retail and institutional investors.

CriptoLoja founders Luis Gomez and Pedro Borges will remain co-chairs of the business while also driving 2TM’s expansion in Europe, 2TM said.

In the statement, Borges said that the cryptocurrency ecosystem is thriving in Portugal, but it is still an emerging topic in the country.

The Portuguese Stock Exchange is one of the many acquisitions that 2TM is looking to make, not only in Europe, but also in Latin America.

“We are looking at several jurisdictions where we can acquire companies that already have existing licenses or have applied for licenses,” Daniel Carneiro da Cuna, CEO of 2TM Corporate Development, told Reuters in a previous interview.

“We will be looking at other jurisdictions as well to set up monopolistic operations and through that be able to be exposed to regulatory and existing licenses.”

The Brazilian company raised $200 million from Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. (9984.T) for Mercado Bitcoin in a funding round over the summer. Read more

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(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfus) Editing by Richard Boleyn

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