Bancolombia, Colombia’s largest bank, will soon provide customers with the chance to purchase and sell Bitcoin (BTC), the largest cryptocurrency by market cap, through a cooperation with the US-based cryptocurrency exchange Gemini.
This was stated by the bank in a statement issued on Monday, December 6, 2021. However, it is unclear whether users will be able to withdraw funds, which is a critical function for obtaining the financial sovereignty that Bitcoin (BTC) provides due to its decentralised structure.
The collaboration is part of a pilot programme funded by the government. It will go live on December 14, providing an initial cohort of Bancolombia customers with a seamless on-ramp and off-ramp to trading BTC via the exchange.
Reacting to the new development, Cynthia del Pozo García, Gemini’s principal of strategy and corporate development, said, “The partnership also serves as an important step toward the strategic expansion of Gemini’s presence in Latin America. We look forward to working closely with the Colombian crypto ecosystem and to supporting crypto products that empower Colombians to take control of their financial lives.”
The Colombian government announced a one-year pilot initiative, Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia (SFC), to provide bitcoin and cryptocurrency services to residents in a more transparent manner.
“Crypto is borderless by nature, and we are committed to expanding crypto access to individuals across the globe,” del Pozo García added. Bancolombia is part of the Bancolombia Group, a holding corporation that also owns Banistmo, Panama’s and Central America’s largest bank; BAM, Guatemala; and Banco Agricola, El Salvador’s largest bank. According to their figures report, the group had 17.8 million customers as of December 31, 2020.
The SFC said in January that it had picked nine bitcoin exchanges from 14 applicants to participate in the trial. Binance and the Mexican startup Bitso were also on the list, in addition to Gemini. Binance will collaborate with Davivienda, Colombia’s third-largest bank, and digital payments platform Powwi, while Bitso will collaborate with Banco de Bogotá.