Mastercard adds two start ups from Latin America to its crypto program for fintechs
MIAMI, April 5, 2022- Mastercard has just announced the 3rd edition of Mastercard Start Path Crypto program, and at this time, two Latin American start ups – Bitfy, from Brazil, and Belo, from Argentina, will be joining the Program. Mastercard Start Path Crypto is dedicated to supporting fast-growing digital assets, blockchain and cryptocurrency companies. Since its launch, in July 2021, Mastercard Start Path Crypto has incorporated several fintechs to reach more people with the benefits of blockchain technology and collaborate with the financial inclusion of this and other regions of the world.
“Mastercard has been engaging with the digital currency ecosystem since 2015. As a leading technology player, we believe we can play a key role in digital assets, helping to shape the industry, and provide consumer protections and security”, comments Kiki del Valle, executive vice president of Market Development, at Mastercard Latin America and Caribbean.
Bitfy is a Brazilian crypto wallet. It was founded by Lucas Schoch, a software developer from São Paulo who in 2011 invested more than 1,100 bitcoin inside World of Warcraft. Without knowing it then, Schoch would turn his lousy investment into an application that makes cryptocurrency transactions simpler and more secure. Bitfy is currently worth more than 25 million dollars and counted 120000 clients by the end of last year (although it hopes to triple this number in 2022).
Belo is a digital wallet created in Argentina by Manuel Beaudroit. Launched in the midst of a pandemic, it is the first fintech in Argentina to offer a Mastercard prepaid card, which allows transactions from cryptocurrencies balances and offers crypto cashback refunds of up to 21% of the money spent. Belo -which aims to add 1 billion users from all around the world to its platform in the long term- was designed to be completely interoperable between local currencies and crypto, in a simple and intuitive way.
The Latin American crypto economy
A recent study conducted by Americas Market Intelligence for Mastercard shows that cryptocurrencies have a 19% penetration among Latin American adults and that their use is rapidly expanding towards consumers with fewer resources, traditionally excluded from the financial system. In this region, the adoption of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment is growing precipitously, especially in El Salvador, where Bitcoin is considered legal tender. The study shows that 10% of SMEs in the region already take cryptocurrencies as means of payment, while another 15% are in the experimentations stage.
Belo and Bitfy now join the global group of fintechs backing Mastercard Start Path Crypto, along with bitsCrunch y Fonbnk, Ankr and SPENN. These innovative companies -and the previous 12 startups incorporated in 2021- benefit from the program, which -along with Mastercard’s experience- offers technological infrastructure, a big payments network and alliances that can only catapult their growth.
“Working along with a massive company like Mastercard, who decide to take crypto seriously is a real pleasure & responsibility. We are really eager to work together and accomplish the objectives we have defined. We are sure the Starter Path will help us achieve this while they provide a lot of value to the company & the team”, says Manuel Beaudroit, CEO at belo.
“We're a startup that aims to be giant. Being close to a giant can help us to learn with the experience of one. Sharing knowledge will make us go faster”, comments Lucas Schoch, CEO at Bitfy.