Brazilian crypto exchange Mercado Bitcoin may start operating in Mexico sometime in 2022 after receiving regulatory approval.

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Speaking to Cryptooshala on Thursday, Mercado Bitcoin CEO Reinaldo Rabelo said the company was awaiting regulatory approval to begin operations in Mexico. The details of the expansion are unclear, but Rabelo said in an April interview that acquiring a cryptocurrency exchange was an easier way to operate in a new market rather than starting from scratch.

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In January, operator Mercado Bitcoin 2TM Group bought a majority stake in Lisbon-based crypto exchange CriptoLoja as part of the company’s expansion in Portugal. Coinbase was also reportedly in talks to buy 2TM — valued at over $2 billion at the time — but ended talks in May.

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It is reported that Rabelo said 2TM “has been watching the Latin American market a little more cautiously due to the macroeconomic scenario” but did not suggest where or if the company could expand next. At the time of publication, 2TM operates in Brazil and Portugal through firms including Mercado Bitcoin. , Blockchain Academy, Bitrust, CriptoLoja and Portal make Bitcoin.

Ricardo Salinas says making bitcoin legal tender in Mexico will be an “uphill battle”.

If Mercado Bitcoin moves to Mexico, it will likely compete with the Bitso crypto exchange, which currently provides services to that country, as well as Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador and Colombia. Some legislators in Mexico have proposed accepting bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender in the country, as neighbor El Salvador did in September 2021, but there are also plans to introduce a central bank digital currency in 2024.