Contxto – Carolina Herrera, CEO of AgenteBTC, wrote to Contxto to tell us about AgenteBTC. A Peruvian fintech founded in November 2019 but which just launched to the general public in February 2020. Just in time for one of the strictest lockdowns in Latin America.
For most, companies that would have been a disaster, or at least a good moment to pivot, but for a startup focusing on cryptocurrencies—specifically Bitcoin—the contactless, borderless, decentralized nature of the stuff couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time.
AgenteBTC’s goal is to allow Peruvians to access Bitcoin and remittances simply, quickly, and reliably. Furthermore, they offer corporate services to companies looking to sell cryptocurrency.
Currently, the fintech has been selected by USIL Ventures to participate in Startup Peru 8G. And they are also in this year’s Platzi DemoDay Startup competition; only one of two startups from Peru out of 26 to have passed to Phase 3.
AgenteBTC: Peru’s half-way fintech
Nevertheless, AgenteBTC exists both online and as a physical platform thanks to its network of brick-and-mortar partners. The idea is to bring the masses closer to the Blockchain world.
This hybrid model may seem strange given the circumstances, but it is most likely an essential half-way house between full physical and fully digital interaction in Peru.
Indeed, the country recently saw multitudes of people crowding around payment points in order to withdraw funds as lockdown commenced. Exactly the opposite sort of agglomeration one would want during a pandemic.
For AgenteBTC, Peru is the clue
The startup’s Peru-centrism helps explain why a fledgling crypto-fintech like would take on massive and established crypto-exchanges like Bitso or crypto-wallet services from alliances like the one recently announced between Tauros and Visa.
The key is precisely in their specialization.
In their delightfully prehistoric depiction of the crypto-services’ Cambrian explosion of 2018, Bitcoin.com saw the rise of a few winners and a competition for the dregs by the rest. However, only a year later, instead of hailing the age of the crypto-supercompany, the analysts foresaw the rise of even more crypto-startups.
The reason, both in business as in biological evolution, is diversification for the occupation of niches.
AgenteBTC has skillfully found its niche and it is at the top of its promotional material:
Furthermore, Herrera told us that “as opposed to Bitso, AgenteBTC focuses solely on Bitcoin”. It does this in order to dominate that niche’s remittance services, payment systems, P2P systems, and beyond.
Not so crypto anymore
Thus, the startup’s strategy revolves around becoming the unquestionable crypto-fintech leader in its native country and in its chosen cryptocurrency in order to then fly the nest.
Herrera’s funding plans underlined this strategy:
From there, the challenge is a question of basic economics.
Only when and if demand for crypto-slows—either due to the conclusion of widespread adoption or the equivalent of a hitherto unforeseen crypto-killing asteroid (transnational regulation?)—will we see the true battle for dominance in the market.
Until then, crypto-startups continue to provide some low-hanging fruit—for those specialized to know where to look for it.