99Pay, the digital wallet of Brazilian ride-hailing company 99, will enable the purchase and sale of bitcoin on its platform, the company announced on Tuesday.
Users of 99Pay will be able to execute commission-free transactions with a minimum purchase amount of 10 Brazilian reais and a maximum of 10,000 reais – equivalent to $1,800 – starting Nov. 3.
99Pay, part of the Chinese vehicle-for-hire company DiDi Chuxing, said that the platform will deliver bitcoin cashback promotions, as well.
The initiative comes amid rapidly increasing interest in cryptocurrency among Brazilians. According to data published by the country’s Central Bank (BCB) in October, Brazilians have acquired $4.27 billion in cryptocurrencies so far in 2021. On the legislative front, Brazil’s congress plans to discuss a bill that would regulate crypto companies.
Brazil’s 99 is a ride-hailing, food delivery and financial services company founded in 2012. It was acquired by DiDi, the Chinese equivalent of Uber, for $1 billion in 2018. The 99Pay platform has 20 million active users, according to the company.
99 launched its digital wallet in July 2020 within its app and introduced a 99Pay stand-alone app last week.
Users won’t be able to use bitcoin to pay for trips on 99, because the cryptocurrency will first have to be switched to fiat, 99Pay executive director Maurício Orsolini Filho told CoinDesk.
Orsolini Filho added that the company implemented the bitcoin trading feature following research conducted at the company’s request that showed strong demand for the service. According to the data, 81% of Brazilian digital banks’ users already know or have heard of cryptocurrencies, and 54% don’t invest in digital assets but have shown interest in entering the market.
In 2020, DiDi told CoinDesk it was forming a task force to design and run a trial of China’s central bank digital currency on its transportation platform.