Mercadobitcoin is a centralized cryptocurrency exchange, based in Brazil. According to the information in the footer of the website, the platform is operated by BITCOIN MARKET DIGITAL SERVICES LTDA under number 18.213.434 / 0001-35, and with address: R. Olympics, 205 - Conj. 41 - Vila Olimpia, Sao Paulo. The exchange also provides a phone number: (11) 3135-7695. However, searches in local corporate registries don’t return any results about the particular company.
The most concerning fact about the exchange is that its website is available only in Portuguese. Although this may be due to Brazil being the primary target market, it may lead to crucial information being twisted or lost during translation. However, what is evident is that nowhere on Mercadobitcoin’s website can be found information about the founders and the team running the project. In fact, the only source of information regarding the date of founding and the team behind the exchange is its LinkedIn page. According to it, Mercadobitcoin was founded in 2011. A further check in the Portuguese Wikipedia points out that, in 2013, the exchange was sold by its founder, Leandro Cesar to Rodrigo Batista. His LinkedIn profile points out to experience in financial institutions like Morgan Stanley and Banco Santander, as well as education from Harvard University. According to the exchange’s Twitter profile and several external sources, at the time of this writing, Rodrigo Batista remains the CEO of Mercadobitcoin. However, according to LinkedIn, the CEO of the exchange is an individual named Marcos Alves. It is worth noting that such a contradiction doesn’t help in the case of building a credible reputation.
On its home page, Mercadobitcoin urges investors to “Trade in the largest digital currency company in Brazil and Latin America!” At the time of this writing, the exchange claims to have more than 1.5 million users. It also claims to be “among the 50 most trusted exchanges in the world for trading cryptocurrencies, according to a study conducted by the Blockchain Transparency Institute (BTI).” As part of the strategy to strengthen Mercadobitcoin’s security, the team reveals that they had started a pioneering partnership with HackerOne, which they describe as “the global leader in security and vulnerability testing.” The exchange claims that a group of security experts “have been constantly challenged” to find flaws within the employed platform but have failed to do so as the exchange passed all tests. Such information is hard to confirm, considering the adopted security measures. According to the platform’s own information, it employs WAF and DDoS protection against hacker attacks and stores the majority of users’ funds in cold wallets. It also requires clients to come up with a “safe word” (that is then displayed on every page of the website so that the client knows that he isn’t browsing a phishing website) and assigns them a four-digit PIN.
Regarding the platform’s functionalities, it is worth noting that it offers two types of user accounts – a regular client and a VIP client. The latter type can use wire transfers and benefit from higher trading limits. However, to become a VIP account holder, the user must upload a digital copy of an official, government-issued document containing a photo. Aside from that, the exchange doesn’t offer something unique, when compared to other platforms on the market.
At the time of this writing, Mercadobitcoin’s online reputation is mixed. There are some positive opinions of Brazilian users who are appreciating the fact that there is an exchange serving their country, while at the same time there are lots of negative reviews as well. Users who complain about the exchange’s services point out a low trading activity, slow account information processing, problems with verification, and, in rare cases, system malfunctions as the primary reasons for their issues.
The exchange offers two main ways of communication – through an email customer support available Mondays to Fridays from 9 am to 6 pm and social media. It also provides a FAQ section that may help users find the answers to their issues.
Despite all the security measures and periodical audits that the Mercadobitcoin’s team claims to perform, it is worth noting that there are several reported cases of security breaches and missing funds, a consequence of hacker attacks. In 2013, the exchange sent an email to its users, describing the details related to the attack. Although it didn’t disclose how much funds were stolen, it made it clear that the cyberattack was conducted through the platform’s redeem code program. Mercadobitcoin promised to refund the victims “to the limit” of their payment capacity at the time.