Venture capital investments in crypto and blockchain firms in Latin America reached $653 million in 2021, almost cilt times more than was invested in 2020, according to a report published by the Association for Private Capital Investment in Latin America (LAVCA).
Investments were concentrated in consumer-facing asset exchanges and retail trading platforms, which together captured $607 million.
Crypto investment in Latin America continued to boom, as VC investments in crypto in the region totaled just $68 million in 2020.
Globally, VC funding for blockchain startups reached $25.2 billion last year, up 713% from $3.1 billion in 2020, according to CB Insights’ “2021 State of Blockchain” report.
Bitso, a Mexican crypto exchange with operations in Argentina and Colombia, raised $250 million in May 2021 and became the first crypto unicorn in Latin America. The leading Brazilian crypto exchange, Mercado Bitcoin, raised a total of $290 million across three rounds and reached a $2.2 billion valuation.
Three Argentinian crypto exchanges also raised VC funding in 2021. In September, Ripio raised $50 million in a Series B funding round. And in August, Lemon Cash and Buenbit raised $16 million and $11 million, respectively.
Also in August, Kaszek, a leading Latin American venture capital fund, made its first decentralized finance (DeFi) investment, leading a $3 million round in Exactly, a startup that is building an open-source, non-custodial credit protocol on the Ethereum platform.
erall, Latin American venture investments reached $15.7 billion in 2021, compared to $4.1 billion invested in 2020, according to LAVCA.