In Latin America, startups are experiencing rapid growth. The Mercury Cash team is aware of this, a Venezuelan initiative that has managed to consolidate in the US. UU. an exchange and wallet platform for bitcoin, ether and dash. The company facilitates the exchange of cryptocurrencies to fiat and is now looking to settle in Europe.
This Latin enterprise that promoted its bases in one of the most vulnerable territories of the continent, as Venezuela is today, has in mind that emerging companies are playing a fundamental role in the task of helping the region’s private sector to be more innovative.
The role of crypto
The team says that by putting in the foreground their role in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, they are constantly evolving. Its objective is to offer good services to meet the needs of the demanding Latin market. They also point out that they demand themselves to respond to their more than 10,000 users, of which 90% are native to Latin America, who provide a cryptocurrency bridge to fiat.
In this way, the leading cryptocurrency startup team, given the difficult situation they faced in their country, knows that the inhabitants of the region are challenging the rest of the planet. They face many problems, such as limitations on access to financing or the resolution of difficulties due to the need to aspire to global markets. It is a battle that they themselves have been fighting.
Víctor Romero, CEO of Mercury Cash, told CriptoNoticias how the company is becoming a benchmark for entrepreneurship in Latin America. He explained the transformation they have experienced since its foundation in 2016, when they planned to work on the construction of a new model of regulated digital banking.
They now offer their users facilities to manage business through a cryptocurrency exchange and exchange platform that, in a short time, has stood out among the 10 best ventures in Orlando, Florida, as a cryptocurrency startup.
The beginnings: from Venezuela to Florida
Víctor Romero is a native of Venezuela. He lived in that country since the exchange control was established that forced him to go to the black market to acquire foreign exchange. During that time I still didn’t know the world of cryptocurrencies.
Therefore, he recounts the experience he had to live at that stage, being the victim even of robberies. «The foreign exchange control pushed us down the brakes to the black currency market. When entering this market there are no regulations, there is no law, there are no guarantees of anything, ”he says.
They robbed me many times. There is practically no Venezuelan who has not been robbed trying to do something that today is done with any number of applications in the world. Víctor Romero, CEO of Mercury Cash.
Romero adds that at that time he heard about bitcoin, although the first time he paid real attention was in the World Economic Forum of Latin America that took place in 2012 in Panama. Two years later he decided to emigrate to Florida, in the USA. UU., But one of his great concerns was always how to send money to his relatives in Venezuela.
Finally one day I read a post that said: “If you want to learn how to use bitcoin, the best thing you can do is buy 10 or 20 dollars and pay for pizzas or beers with friends and test how it works.” I did it like that. My roommate at that time gave me his share of the rent in bitcoin and I paid the rest in fiat. I ended up buying a rig from Ethererum, and with the help of Marco Pirrongelli and Giordano Lugo, we put them together. They are today the CTO and CMO of Mercury Cash. Later we were buying more and more machines from Ethereum, that was in 2016-2017. Then there came a time when prices went up a lot and we wanted to sell everything, but we couldn’t because most of the exchange houses had limits. Then we decided that it was best to create our own startup, a portfolio with cryptocurrency exchange included. Víctor Romero, CEO of Mercury Cash.
A short time later they decided to create their own platform with a purse service and their priority was always to offer Latin America facilities for the exchange of cryptocurrencies to fiat. Soon they launched a round of financing to raise capital.
That’s how they got support from major Florida venture capital companies, such as Merging Traffic, which invested USD 500,000. A couple of months later, in another round of financing, they caught the attention of the former Disney world president, who invested USD 300,000.
All these facts, along with other smaller investments, gave him a great boost, obtaining the first license as an electronic money transmission company in the state of Florida. Therefore, the platform is authorized to offer accounts to all the inhabitants of that jurisdiction or to any person at international level as a cryptocurrency startup.
Then, they took steps that allowed them to move forward to consolidate in the ecosystem. Later they became members of the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance, just before making the official launch of the platform, which on its first day had about 200 users, mostly Latino.
By the end of 2017 Mercury Cash processed 100,000 to 400,000 dollars per month in transactions. Today it processes about USD 20,000,000 per month, with more than 10,000 active users, mostly from Latin America. However, not everything has been a path of flowers, as we were just beginning and with our lack of experience in the industry, in 2017 we were victims of many frauds, most with credit cards. We suffered hacks and for that reason we decided to join forces and collaborate with the FBI and the Computer Police of Argentina. Thanks to that, we managed to sentence the first cryptocurrency crime in Latin America. Víctor Romero, CEO of Mercury Cash.
After that experience, linked to the fight against crime, they did not lower their arms again. Even today they collaborate with other victims and with the computer police. Romero says that Mercury Cash users have never been directly affected and 100% of transactions have been delivered, which has earned a good reputation.
Romero says that Mercury Cash has consolidated important alliances, such as the one that emerged with Dash Core Group, the company behind one of the most popular cryptocurrencies in Latin America. Thanks to this society they managed to implement Dash on the platform.
For us the challenges of building the software have been immense. The learning curve has been incredible. We always look forward, without giving up in the face of adversity, always saying that the one who leaves is not necessary, but the one who comes. The members of the team that leads our technology department today are titans, so I think Mercury Cash is already a benchmark for entrepreneurship in Latin America. Víctor Romero, CEO of Mercury Cash.
A path of challenges
Víctor Romero, writer of the book ¡Do not wait, do it now !, reference in the field of microeconomics, talked about the news that is preparing the company he runs.
The team works on the task of integrating, in the short term, several tools to your wallet, including payment modules for employers that handle between 100 and 500 employees. Also, from the application, it will be possible to download account statements in various formats (pdf, .csv and .xsv) so that users can manage their own accounting. That, among other services that will soon be announced, as indicated by Victor Romero.
Mercury Cash prepares for January an industry software, which will put us in the world’s top portfolio. Among the new products is the public version of Mercury Gate, a payment processor for physical and online stores with 6 different integration libraries. In addition, the bitcoin wallet will allow zero confirmation transactions to expedite operations between merchants and retailers, such as restaurants, supermarkets and others. We will also enable Lightning Network. Víctor Romero, CEO of Mercury Cash.
The company in 2018 integrated its Cyber Insurance function, which it launched for the prevention of cyber risk. Recently it included support for SegWit (Segregated Witness), in order to optimize the signing time by 60%.
Other advantages that the platform offers is that it avoids malleability attacks and allows the control of script versions. Their concern is, each time to offer better exchange services for their Latin American market, which they assure that they have captured thanks to the facilities they provide for the real-time settlement and transfer of cryptocurrency to fiat currencies.
Romero points out that among the services offered by the platform, the OTC desk (over the counter) also stands out for institutional investors and clients that require operations that exceed the limits of the platform (above USD 100,000).
The platform also allows users to register with their passport number so it is not necessary to have US papers. UU. Another feature is that if the user does not have a dollar account, they can only store them in the portfolio of the platform and make a Paypal transfer.
Likewise, users with international accounts that wish to buy cryptocurrencies can do so using credit or debit cards issued in their respective countries.
Mercury Cash has a license issued by Estonia to operate in the world of cryptocurrencies, something that the ecosystem usually recognizes as an award of maximum prestige. This is due to the reputation that that country has earned as one of the safest places in the world to invest in crypto assets.
Estonia’s commercial legislation encourages investors to create companies, establishing simple registration procedures, along with a transparent tax system. With a promising market and a government that supports cryptocurrency initiatives. Therefore, that country is of great attraction for companies seeking to conduct business, something that Victor Romero confirms thanks to the experience of Mercury Cash.
Recently we were benefited by an Estonian government program for which few startups qualify. That allowed us to offer residences at a very low cost to the members of the Mercury Cash team and we obtained three licenses as a financial institution, wallet service and exchange service between fiat and cryptocurrencies. The process of being regulated in the USA made it very easy for us. UU. Víctor Romero, CEO of Mercury Cash.
But how difficult is it to register as a cryptocurrency startup and obtain a license to operate in Estonia? Romero recounts how his experience of conducting a process was through a completely online process, with the addition that the bureaucracy in Estonia is one of the lowest in the world. “The entire country is managed as a startup because everything, except getting married or buying a house, can be done online.”
He adds that the process is quite difficult and that is why they feel proud, especially since now the company has two strong legal frameworks: that of Europe as a financial institution and North America as a transmitter of money. This accredits them as a secure platform to operate legally.