New York-based crypto exchange Gemini has announced that it will be expanding into Latin America through an upcoming partnership with Colombia’s largest bank, Bancolombia.
A limited number of users will be able to buy crypto directly from their Bancolombia bank accounts through the Gemini exchange, which will provide crypto-specific infrastructure for exchange and custody of assets. It remains unclear whether the users will be able to withdraw the crypto holdings directly from their accounts.
In a Dec. 6 announcement about the partnership, Gemini stated that it “serves as an important step toward the strategic expansion of Gemini’s presence in Latin America.”
“We believe that crypto can play an important role in the development of Latin America as interest in blockchain and innovative technologies proliferates throughout the region.”
The partnership will run as part of a year-long pilot program run by Colombia’s financial regulator, the Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia (SFC). The regulatory sandbox, “la Arenera” was approved by the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit in September 2020.
In January, the SFC announced that it had chosen 9 out of fourteen crypto exchanges that applied for the project including Gemini, Binance, and the Mexican exchange Bitso.
Since El Salvador adopted BTC as a legal tender on Sept. 7, Latin America has moved in strides towards mainstream crypto adoption. In Oct., CEO of multicurrency investment platform Uphold JP Thieriot told Cointelegraph that Latin America stands to “benefit the most from crypto.”
Gemini currently operates in over 60 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay in Latin America.
Bancolombia operates in Colombia, Panama, Guatemala, and El Salvador. According to an internal report from last year, it has 17.8 million users.
In March, Colombia’s oldest bank Banco de Bogotá also announced that it would also be piloting crypto services as part of la Arenera. A year prior in March 2020, Cointelegraph reported that Latin America is the region with the third-largest number of crypto users in the world.