In 2021, Latin America saw a soaring rise in crypto adoption among the 20 countries and 14 dependencies that make up the region. Last year was a fascinating one for Latin America with a host of conferences, associations and new regulations. The region also saw a rise in crypto adoption among the 20 countries.
Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting developments in the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem in Latin America in 2021.
Colombian financial firms partner with crypto exchanges
Early in 2021, the Financial Superintendence of Colombia authorized several partnerships between banking institutions licensed in the nation’s financial system and cryptocurrency exchanges.
The nine partnerships were led by major cryptocurrency industry names like Tyler and Binance, as well as Cameron Winklevoss and Gemini.
The regulator stated that the approvals were made in a regulatory sandbox to test technological solutions in world financial markets and will be valid for up to one year.
Crypto recognition in Latin America
In 2021, the rapid growth of digital currencies led some Latin American countries to officially recognize their use as a payment instrument, despite their reputation for volatility. El Salvador’s official recognition of Bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender — a world-first — made waves not only in Latin America but across the world.
Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele approved the Bitcoin Law by a majority vote at the Legislative Assembly. It was in effect since September.
In August 2021, Cointelegraph reported that the Central Bank of Cuba was expected to recognize cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Tether (USDT) for commercial transactions and investments.
The president of the Central Reserve Bank of Peru, Julio Velarde, announced in November that the nation will partner with the central banks of India, Hong Kong and Singapore to develop its own central bank digital currency.
Blockchain events in 2021
As a result of lockdowns and subsequent confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic, many blockchain companies and organizations reevaluated their strategies and took to cyberspace to meet up and attend conferences.
Blockchain Summit Latam
The Blockchain Summit Latam conference is considered to be one of the most important crypto events in Latin America, promoting the crypto and blockchain ecosystem in the region. In September 2021, its 5th edition hosted 100 expert speakers from the broader ecosystem.
Over five days, more than 60 virtual spaces hosted seminars and discussions focused on blockchain technology. Topics covered infrastructure and applications, Ibero-American ecosystems, business, decentralized financing, blockchain in traditional financial systems, and many other topics.
In November 2021, the ninth edition of the Spanish-speaking Latin American Bitcoin and Blockchain Conference, also known as LaBitConf, was held. The conference combined face-to-face and virtual meetings, and the agenda featured more than 150 industry experts giving more than 40 presentations on topics such as Bitcoin mining, the future of exchanges in Latin America, regulation, and privacy and security, among others.
Cripto Latin Fest
In December, the fourth edition of Crypto Latin Fest combined online and in-person meetings over two 14-hour days featuring talks and seminars with experts in the cryptocurrency space. Notable people from Latin America’s crypto ecosystem — Jose Rodriguez, Director of Blockchain Land at Talent Land and Elian Huesca (Community Lead for Latin America at Bitso) — discussed topics like blockchain, stabilitycoins and legality.
The massive Spanish-language Blockchain Land conference — presented by the same company that produced Talent Land Latinoamerica — launched for the first time in 2020 and was broadcast simultaneously in the Decentraland and Cryptovoxels metaverses.
The April event was the largest Spanish-speaking event and was considered the most innovative because it was simultaneously broadcast in two virtual worlds on the Ethereum blockchain that allowed users to interact, talk and network.
NFT boom in Latin America
Last year, nonfungible tokens took off in Latin America and around the globe.
In September, Argentine NFT marketplace SeSocioNFT opened up shop, promoting and selling pieces from Latin American artists. According to reports, the platform plans to convert pieces from various artists into NFTs that can be then sold on the market.
The NFT boom led to the first digital art gallery in Ecuador, NFTs Exhibition UIDE hosted at the International University of Ecuador. The gallery was open from Nov. 24 until Dec. 23 and displayed around 40 works by four Ecuadorian artists and 15 foreigners, valued at $160 million in total.
A collective of Venezuelan artists known as La Tokenia, inaugurated their NFT exhibition on the Tezos network in December.
Meanwhile, in November, the Colombian government signed a mining contract with the National Mining Agency that was registered as NFT on the Ethereum-compatible GoChain blockchain.