Buy Bitcoin via WhatsApp or Telegram in Colombia thanks to Panda
Jun 02, 2020
BY MARIANA LÓPEZ
Cryptocurrency startup Panda is side stepping Covid-19 constraints with its latest feature. Last Thursday (14), it announced users would now be able to buy digital assets like Bitcoin and Dash via WhatsApp and Telegram through a bot.
Previously, users in Colombia were only able to do so through PandaBTMs. These devices resembling a POS terminal are physically located at various points throughout the country. Or could be purchased directly by users.
But with Covid-19 and quarantine, just as people can’t go to an ATM, they can’t reach these PandaBTMs. So commonly used social media networks and the startup’s bot will have to do. Panda added that it will also launch this service through Facebook Messenger “soon”.
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Other fintechs, like Mexican Clip, may be facing similar problems. In early March of this year, it had released a payment terminal for small businesses. But as these have (temporarily) closed, its income from its transactional fee may have waned.
To be or not to be (physically present)
Why it’s a big deal: Many products like PandaBTM and Clip’s payment terminal require users to be physically present to use them. But the pandemic has shown that offerings must be readapted to these “worst-case scenarios.”
And this same logic will push startups into envisioning how their products can continue to work despite these types of constraints.
Simultaneously, there are a handful of startups in Latin America whose solutions do just that.
For example, Venezuelan Locha Mesh is working to make it possible to exchange cryptocurrencies without electricity. Meanwhile, Mexican Bridgefy’s messaging service lets users talk amongst each other without an internet connection.
It will be worth watching what types of brand-new products emerge as a result of the global pandemic.