In brief

  • Mercado Libre has purchased $7.8 million worth of Bitcoin in Q1 2021.
  • It becomes the first major publicly traded firm in Latin America to add cryptocurrency to its treasury.

Latin America’s leading online marketplace Mercado Libre has added $7.8 million in Bitcoin to its balance sheet.

According to an SEC filing published on May 5, the purchase was executed at some point in Q1 2021; however, the exact timing of the buy—and the price at which the firm acquired Bitcoin—are not detailed.

“As part of our treasury strategy this quarter we purchased $7.8 million in bitcoin, a digital asset that we are disclosing within our indefinite-lived intangible assets,” reads the filing.

Headquartered in Buenos Aires and incorporated in the US, Mercado Libre is listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker MELI. In its earnings report, the company says its net revenues for the first quarter were $1.4 billion, a year-over-year increase of 111.4%.

Big Bitcoin buyers

By adding Bitcoin to its balance sheet, Mercado Libre joins the the ranks of MicroStrategy, Tesla, and Square, who have made headlines in recent months with their massive cryptocurrency investments.

According to Bitcoin Treasuries, MicroStrategy currently holds more than $5.2 billion worth of Bitcoin; Tesla, which sold 10% of its crypto stash in Q1, still holds a staggering $2.48 billion in BTC.

While Mercado Libre’s crypto investment might be substantially smaller than MicroStrategy and Tesla's acquisitions, it points to a growing trend of companies making smaller purchases of Bitcoin for their treasuries, such as Canadian fintech firm Mogo's $1.5 million purchase of Bitcoin in late 2020.

Mercado Libre's Bitcoin purchase isn't the company's first dalliance with Bitcoin, either; last month, the Argentinian company launched a dedicated crypto section within its online marketplace, enabling purchases of real estate in Bitcoin.