In a statement, Softbank-backed 2TM, which runs Latin America’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange Mercado Bitcoin said, it will acquire a controlling stake in Lisbon-based crypto exchange CriptoLoja.
2TM declined to disclose the terms of the purchase saying the deal is pending approval with the country’s central bank – Banco de Portugal.
CriptoLoja has been operating since July 2021. In June 2021, it received Portugal’s first official license as a virtual asset service provider.
“Portugal is a strategic market for us, because it requires a specific license, is becoming an important hub for crypto in Europe and opens a gateway into the larger European market,” said Roberto Dagnoni, 2TM group’s CEO, in a statement.
At first 2TM will start its expansion into Europe with an over-the-counter (OTC) operation. During the second phase, it intends to take the entire MercadoBitcoin.com platform to retail and institutional investors.
After the closure of the deal, CriptoLoja’s founders, Luís Gomes and Pedro Borges, will continue to remain co-heads of the business while also leading 2TM’s expansion in Europe, said 2TM.
In a statement Borges said, the crypto ecosystem continues to flourish in Portugal, and is poised to grow further in the country.
“We’re looking at several jurisdictions where we can acquire companies that have already existing licenses or have filed for licenses,” said Daniel Carneiro da Cunha, 2TM’s executive director, corporate development. “We will be looking at other jurisdictions as well to set up proprietary operations and through that be able to gain exposure to regulatory and existing licenses.”
In its latest funding round last summer, 2TM had raised $200 million from SoftBank Group Corp.