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Brazilian ride-hailing giant 99 to enable Bitcoin trading
The Brazilian ride-sharing company 99 has announced that it will offer users of its digital wallet, 99Pay, commission-free buying and selling of the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. It currently has 20 million active users.
Some background: 99 launched its digital wallet in July 2020 within its app but it launched a 99Pay’s stand-alone app just last week. 99 was a ride-hailing company founded in 2012 and then pivoted into a super app that offers services like food delivery and financial services. It was acquired by DiDi Chuxing, the Chinese equivalent of Uber, in a $1 billion transaction in 2018.
The initiative comes amid rapidly increasing interest in cryptocurrency among Brazilians. According to data published by the country’s Central Bank (BCB) in October, Brazilians already hold $4.27 billion in cryptocurrencies so far in 2021.
uh oh? Though users can trade crypto on the platform they will not be able to use Bitcoin to pay for trips on 99 since crypto will first have to be switched to Brazilian Real.
Brazil is serious on the legislative front as its Congress is planning to discuss a bill that would regulate crypto companies and launch Bitcoin as a legal tender.
"The company implemented the Bitcoin trading feature following research conducted at the company’s request that showed potentially strong demand for the service. According to the data, 81% of Brazilian digital banks’ users already know or have heard of cryptocurrencies, while another 54% do not invest in digital assets but have shown interest in entering that market." said Orsolini Filho, 99Pay's director.