- Colombia’s biggest bank to offer bitcoin trading.
- Colombians can now buy cryptocurrencies through Bancolombia, the country’s largest bank, beginning December 14.
- As part of a one-year pilot program, a limited number of Bancolombia clients will be able to purchase Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, or Bitcoin Cash from their accounts.
- Bancolombia will handle clients’ fiat funds, while Gemini will provide cryptocurrency exchange and custody infrastructure, whether for withdrawals, deposits, or asset holding.
Colombians will soon purchase cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin directly from their bank accounts. It’s part of Colombia’s new regulatory sandbox, which is slowly bearing fruit as more banks begin to offer cryptocurrency services to their clients through partnerships with leading crypto firms.
Colombians will be able to buy cryptocurrencies through Bancolombia, the country’s largest bank, beginning December 14, thanks to a deal struck between the bank and the Winklevoss-owned crypto exchange Gemini.
As part of a one-year pilot program, a limited number of Bancolombia clients will be able to purchase Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, or Bitcoin Cash from their accounts. The Financial Superintendence of Colombia, the country’s financial regulator, will oversee the program. Bancolombia will handle clients’ fiat funds, while Gemini will provide cryptocurrency exchange and custody infrastructure, whether for withdrawals, deposits, or asset holding.
Bancolombia is a subsidiary of the Bancolombia Group, which also owns Banistmo, Panama’s and Central America’s largest bank; BAM, Guatemala; and Banco Agricola, El Salvador. According to its numbers report, the group had 17.8 million customers as of December 31, 2020.
In a press release, Cynthia Del Pozo, who leads strategy and corporate development at Gemini, said that,
“The partnership also serves as an important step toward the strategic expansion of Gemini’s presence in Latin America. We look forward to working closely with the Colombian crypto ecosystem and to supporting crypto products that empower Colombians to take control of their financial lives.”
He added that,
“Crypto is borderless by nature, and we are committed to expanding crypto access to individuals across the globe.”
The Colombian government launched a one-year pilot program, Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia (SFC), to bring bitcoin and cryptocurrency services to citizens more straightforwardly. In January, the SFC announced it had chosen nine cryptocurrency exchanges out of 14 applicants to participate in the pilot. In addition to Gemini, the list included Binance and Mexican firm Bitso. Binance is set to partner with the third-largest bank in Colombia, Davivienda, and digital payments app Powwi, while Bitso will collaborate with Banco de Bogotá.
Colombia’s regulatory sandbox is unique among Latin American countries, but progress has been slow since its inception in April. According to TNT, only one of the nine approved projects has progressed beyond the planning stage: the MOVii-Bitpoint collaboration, which integrates both platforms so that users can buy crypto on Bitpoint using their MOVii fiat accounts.
The collaboration between Bancolombia and Gemini would be the second of nine projects to move forward and the first to involve a major cryptocurrency exchange. Although Binance, Bitso, and other exchanges have been attached to other projects, no progress has been made beyond the initial design phase.