Latin America’s Merchants Slow to Adopt Cryptocurrencies, Survey Shows

A recent survey conducted by Ripple and the Fast Payments Council (FPC) reveals that merchants in Latin America are expected to begin accepting cryptocurrencies as payment in 2025, a longer time frame compared to other regions.

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Merchants located in Latin America could begin to massively accept Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies as a means of payment, but from 2025 onwards. A little later in relation to the rest of the world’s regions, where everything points to a shorter term adoption.

This is suggested by the most recent survey conducted by Ripple and the Fast Payments Council (FPC), which encompasses companies that offer payment services. The study was conducted among more than 300 payment companies located in 45 countries.

As seen in the graph below, the survey results show that 67% of representatives of payment companies with a presence in Latin America believe that more than 50% of merchants will start accepting cryptocurrency payments within 3 years or more.

Latin America's Merchants Slow to Adopt Cryptocurrencies, Survey Shows

The above percentage contrasts with the results obtained in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, where it is suggested that mass adoption of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies among merchants will begin within the next year.

Overall, most payment companies believe that merchants globally will use cryptocurrencies more in the near term, according to data from Ripple and FPC.

Although the study points to waiting until 2025 to see more Latin American merchants entering the Bitcoin ecosystem, the truth is that there is currently a growing adoption of the sector in Latin America, with more and more formal and informal businesses accepting cryptocurrencies.

As suggested by investment firm VanEck, there are at least six countries in Latin America that are highly likely to adopt bitcoin. This, in a massive process that would include from users to merchants.

In fact, advances in adoption are underway. More and more service companies, restaurants, private sellers and other merchants in several Latin American countries are already accepting cryptocurrencies.

To that end, they have been able to take advantage, for at least two years, of payment gateways developed by companies in the sector.

Lack of regulation is a barrier

The regulatory issue was also discussed in the Ripple and FPC survey. For the majority of payment companies surveyed (89%) the lack of regulatory clarity in the cryptoasset sector is a “barrier” to using blockchain technology as a means of payment.

However, it should be remembered that in recent months there has been progress in the regulation of the cryptocurrency sector in several countries in the region. This has allowed nations such as Venezuela and El Salvador to operate with cryptoassets within a legal framework.

In addition, there are countries in the region that are already making progress in their own regulation, as is the case of Colombia, Chile, Uruguay, Panama and Costa Rica.

97% believe in the power of cryptocurrencies for remittances

The Ripple and FPC survey also found that 97% of the companies surveyed believe that cryptocurrencies will play a very important role in enabling faster cross-border payments within the next three years.

“For respondents, blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies hold particular promise with respect to transforming cross-border payments,” the study notes.

The surveyors determined that companies’ “optimism” for this market could be in response to a “growing appetite” for “access and inclusion to broader financial services.”

It highlights “other payment solutions” enabled, such as mobile payments and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), which are on their way to countries around the world.

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