Cryptocurrency continues to spread across Latin America at a rate that outstrips almost anywhere else in the world. The number of blockchain-based startups nearly doubled in Mexico alone between 2018 and 2020, while a steady influx of new cryptocurrency exchanges continues to drive competition and innovation in the sector.
As one of Latin America’s biggest hotbeds for cryptocurrency adoption, Mexico offers a unique glimpse of both the past and the future of cryptocurrency trading in the region.
With the launch of Mexo exchange on August 20, Mexican crypto enthusiasts now find themselves exposed to a wide range of options when it comes to buying, selling and trading digital assets. Let’s take a look at those options as they exist today.
Launched just a few days ago, Mexo introduces a wide range of new features for use by local crypto traders. In addition to offering typical spot trading, Mexo also brings leveraged trading to Mexican and LATAM traders for the first time.
Users can leverage their trades up to 100x the original amount, while Mexo also promises to educate users on the use of leveraged trades via its Mexo Trading Academy.
At the time of writing, Mexo has 20 digital assets available for trade, including major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, EOS, Cardano (ADA) and more. Additionally, Mexo hosts various assets rarely seen on major LATAM exchanges such as Tezos (XTZ) and Ontology (ONT), as well as privacy coins Zcash (ZEC) and Monero (XMR).
The most expensive tier of trading fees on Mexo is actually cheaper than the lowest tier on other exchanges. Mexo’s first tier of transaction fees begins at 0.095% – less than one-fifth that of Bitso, listed below. From there, maker and taker fees fall as low as 0.05% and 0.07% respectively, with increasing volume. Mexo uses a dynamic pricing structure in its setting of withdrawal fees, which usually works out cheaper than the fixed rate fees set by other platforms.
With 30 trading pairs active at launch, Mexo already stands out as one of the best cryptocurrency exchanges in terms of pure choice. Its use of cold-storage vaults and banking standard protection procedures also inspires confidence on the customer level.
Mexo also features a mobile-based app, available for Android and iOS, and offers users 30% of the future trading fees of anyone they refer to the exchange.
Heralded as the first cryptocurrency exchange to launch on Mexican soil, Bitso has been in operation since 2014. In the six years since opening its doors to digital asset traders, Bitso has acquired a total of 10 cryptocurrencies, and allows for deposits in pesos and other local LATAM currencies.
Bitso claims to have reached over 1 million customers prior to its recent expansion into Brazil, cementing its claims as the most utilized platform for crypto trades in the region.
However, Bitso demands a relatively high price for use of its platform, as evidenced by its maker/taker fees for trades against the Mexican peso. The first tier of trades incur maker and taker fees of 0.5% and 0.65% respectively. Fees then reduce at a steady rate as the customer commits more and more trade volume to the platform.
Bitso allows for a range of fiat funding options, including bank transfers from Mexican and Argentine banks, as well as the ability to deposit cash into Bitso’s accounts from any local OXXO store. Although it should be noted that customers pay a price for this convenience: cash transfers from OXXO stores incur a flat fee of 2.6% plus tax.
Like Bitso, the Volabit exchange has been in operation since 2014, and like Bitso, it also makes claims on being the first cryptocurrency exchange to break ground within Mexico’s borders.
At the time of writing, Volabit has four cryptocurrencies listed: Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), XRP (XRP), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
Unlike Bitso, Volabit doesn’t offer trades against the Mexican peso. Instead, any deposits of MXN to a user’s Volabit account are automatically transferred into the dollar-pegged stablecoin, USDC (USDC), before it can be used on the platform.
For this reason, deposits and withdrawals to the platform using SPEI – Interbanking Electronic Payment System – are free. Once on the exchange, however, users can expect to pay a flat fee of 0.8% plus VAT for every cryptocurrency trade that is made, either buying or selling.
The direct withdrawal of cryptocurrencies from Volabit incurs a range of fees depending on the asset being withdrawn. For Bitcoin withdrawals, users must pay a mining fee of 200 MXN. Both Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash withdrawals incur a fee of 100 MXN, while XRP withdrawals are free. Any direct withdrawal of USDC demands a fee of 1 MXN.
All three of these exchanges have something to offer the LATAM crypto community. While Bitso and Volabit have first mover advantage, Mexo has a broader range of assets and features, including leveraged options, to woo Latin American traders.