Bitcoin infrastructure provider IBEX Mercado and Guatemalan startup OSMO Wallet are partnering to enable Central American users to buy, sell, and transact with Bitcoin.
The two companies are building out Bitcoin infrastructure in areas where 70% of the population are still unbanked despite the wide adoption of smartphones.
With increasing smartphone use and rising connectivity in Guatemala, OSMO Wallet was able to partner with money transfer services like AirPak in order to help users exchange Bitcoin for cash. AirPak currently operates in over 8,000 retail locations throughout countries like Mexico and Costa Rica.
Co-founder of OSMO Wallet Piero Coen reiterates Latin America’s current situation stating that it “has one of the most under-banked populations in the world, and Bitcoin has the potential to be truly transformational.”
Coen goes on to explain that the main challenge for Bitcoin adoption in these countries has been the lack of available options to exchange Bitcoin for cash. “By bringing cash convertibility for the unbanked across LATAM [Latin America], we’re changing the game,” he says.
IBEX’s infrastructure will help OSMO Wallet’s platform be able to perform both on and off-chain Bitcoin transactions by leveraging the Lightning Network and other tools. Customers will be able to buy, sell, and transact without having to change any of the settings within their accounts.
In addition, through IBEX’s application programming interface (API), OSMO Business is able to onboard more merchants and utilize the benefits of transacting with the Lightning Network.
Esteban de la Peña, partner at IBEX, is excited for the recent partnership with OSMO Wallet and explains how easy and quick the process is for enabling financial services through the Lightning Network and how local communities may be empowered with this technology.
“Our infrastructure services will transform people’s lives, while making LATAM a compelling case study and proof of concept for other under-served communities across the globe,” Peña says.
OSMO aims to onboard 1 million retail points and merchants by adopting a Bitcoin standard within the next five years.