If you’re not familiar with the name MercadoLibre, it’s basically South America’s version of Ebay. In fact, since 2001 — two years after it launched in Argentina — its main shareholder has been the US-based e-commerce titan itself.
MercadoLibre was founded by Marcos Galperín — who still serves as CEO —, it currently employs over 3,000 people and operates in 12 South American countries aside from Argentina: Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Portugal, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Today, MercadoLibre Mexico announced the integration of Bitcoin into its associated payments platform, MercadoPago (MercadoPago is to MercadoLibre what Paypal is to Ebay). Customers will now be able to pay using Bitcoin within MercadoLibre by choosing the option through the MercadoPago platform; this payment processor is also available for off-site payments and purchases thousands of stores but is mainly used within the e-commerce site.
The announcement was made via its email newsletter to users registered on the platform and it seemed to be targeted towards users that are already familiar with cryptocurrencies, since it doesn’t include an explanation about what Bitcoin is or instructions about how to purchase and store them.
For those getting paid, the process won’t change at all, since they will still receive money in their local currency which can then be withdrawn into their associated bank accounts. In fact, the only sign of Bitcoin being involved will be a simple note in the details of each transaction.
Mexico is a moderate player in the Bitcoin world, with its two main exchanges, BITSO and meXBT placing respectively #59 and #60 on the worldwide rankings and a combined average of 141,03 BTC changing hands during the last 24 hours at the time of this writing. MercadoPago could potentially boost adoption in the rest of South America if their experiment in Mexico goes well since the platform boasts over 90 million users and over 150,000 accepting businesses spread over the region.