Bitso, one of the largest Latin American cryptocurrency exchanges, is based in Mexico. Bitso was founded in 2014 and currently has a customer base of more than 750,000.
Bitso’s plan to provide financial services for both the banked and unbanked with blockchain technology and digital assets attracted Ripple’s interest and the companies formed a partnership early on. With xRapid, Ripple’s liquidity software (currently known as ODL, On-Demand Liquidity) going live, Bitso acted as an xRapid exchange partner. These exchanges would allow xRapid (now ODL) payments to move from one currency – into XRP – and back into another currency quickly and efficiently.
ODL exponential growth
With ODL live and kicking for more than a year and a half it is interesting to see its growth. Daniel Vogel (Bitso CEO and co-founder) shared a graph showing cross border remittances processed through Bitso with Ripple’s technology and by using the digital asset XRP.
What started with less than 7.5 million pesos ($310.000) in April 2019 reached almost 4.4 billion pesos ($183 million) a year later. That is a staggering growth of 58535% in a year. Considering the monthly remittances between the US and Mexico ($35 billion annually), more than 6% went through Bitso and XRP in April. With new Ripple ODL partners going live in Mexico, this percentage will only increase in the future.
In July 2019, Bitso became Latin America’s first DLT licensed exchange regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC), and a few months later, in October 2019, Ripple invested in Bitso. Bitso’s potential for a global expansion to LatAm matched Ripple’s ambition and strategy. Ripple launched its Brazil operations in June 2019 with plans to expand its footprint in South America. It was a match made in heaven.
Since then, Bitso expanded to Argentina in February 2020 with anticipation that it will be facilitating ARS (Argentine peso) remittances in the future. It has also added USD trading a week ago, only paired to BTC, for now.
With the US-Mexico corridor receiving a lot of attention and Ripple expanding in the LatAm region, Bitso will play a vital role. With Bitso being a long-standing Ripple partner and having a focus on XRP for remittances, it will be interesting to see how it expands, both geographically and in growth.