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The largest bank in Colombia to offer bitcoin trading

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Bancolombia will soon offer its clients the ability to buy and sell bitcoins through a partnership with Gemini.

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini will soon offer frictionless bitcoin trading in Colombia to clients of the country’s largest bank, Bancolombia, the company said in a statement Monday. However, it is unclear whether users will be able to withdraw funds, a vital resource in achieving the financial sovereignty that Bitcoin enables.

The association is part of a government sponsored pilot program. It will launch on December 14, which will give an initial group of Bancolombia clients an uninterrupted ramp into and out of BTC trading through the exchange.

“The partnership also serves as an important step in the strategic expansion of Gemini’s presence in Latin America,” Cynthia del Pozo García, Gemini’s director of strategy and corporate development, said in the statement. “We look forward to working closely with the Colombian crypto ecosystem and supporting crypto products that enable Colombians to take control of their financial lives.”

The Colombian government has launched a one-year pilot program through the country’s financial regulator, the Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia (SFC), to bring bitcoin and cryptocurrency services to citizens more directly.

“Crypto is borderless by nature and we are committed to expanding access to crypto to people around the world,” added del Pozo García.

Bancolombia is part of Grupo Bancolombia, a holding company that also owns Banistmo, the largest bank in Panama and Central America; BAM, from Guatemala; and Banco Agricola, which serves clients in El Salvador. The group had 17.8 million clients as of December 31, 2020, according to its figures report.

In January, the SFC announced that it had chosen nine cryptocurrency exchanges out of 14 candidates to participate in the pilot. In addition to Gemini, the list included Binance and the Mexican Bitso. Binance is partnering with Colombia’s third-largest bank Davivienda and digital payments app Powwi, while Bitso will collaborate with Banco de Bogotá.

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