In 2021, Alter was bought by Méliuz, a technology company that connects brands to consumers through its marketplace and financial services offerings. According to Alter founder and CEO Vinicius Frias, the purpose of the new acquisition, estimated at R$ 26 million, is that the Méliuz platform wants to continue expanding the vertical financial services, including the cryptocurrency segment.
In an exclusive interview with PanoramaCrypto, Frias, who remains as CEO of Alter and Director of the crypto vertical at Méliuz, talks about the importance of popularizing cryptoassets, mentioning that the platform is an excellent tool for this.
“Many people use Méliuz because of the discounts and cashbacks. However, as soon as there are options, such as using cashback for crypto purchases, or payments with cryptoassets, users will become more confident about this market. And those who are entering the sector now get to know the new possibilities”, he stressed.
It is worth noting that cBRL, the stablecoin created by Alter and a consortium of other companies, was acquired by Transfero, the issuer of the BRZ stablecoin. Thus, all cBRL holders now hold BRZ. The deadline for exchanging currencies was December 31. As of January, transactions will take place in BRZ.
“BRZ is already integrated into Alter’s app, with all the functionalities that were possible with the cBRL stablecoin. Méliuz is another app that will start only with bitcoin. Nothing prevents us from integrating stablecoins like BRZ and USDC in the future for Méliuz’s giant user base”, explained Frias.
According to him, this exposure can be an important gateway for people who don’t invest in crypto or don’t know the market, democratizing access. Check out some excerpts of the interview.
What is the great benefit for users of Méliuz integrating the Alter platform?
Méliuz is a big company and cashback pioneer with partnerships with major retailers such as Americanas, Amazon, and Submarino. Its best-known product is when a consumer purchases through its platform and receives a ‘commission’, which is the cashback, directly into the account. This value, which is a percentage of the purchase made by the customer, is a company strategy to attract more consumers – the cashback is paid by the companies that advertise their products and, therefore, gain more exposure. It is a win-win-win.
With the integration with Alter, which should take place entirely in the coming months, the expectation is that consumers will be able to use the cashback received also for the purchase of crypto directly in the Méliuz application.
What’s Alter’s differential?
We started in the cryptoasset market in 2018, with another name (“PagueCripto”), which was a site focused on bill payments for people who had cryptoaset and wanted to use them for that purpose.
We noticed interesting traction, especially from customers who were users of digital banks, paying their credit card bills on our platform. So we thought: and what if we offer a card to these users, would they stay with us longer?
The result was positive, and we started to offer differentials, such as cashback in bitcoin. Today, who has an Alter card (Visa flag), receives 0.5% cashback in bitcoin in any purchase over R$ 10. In some promotional opportunities, we increased this percentage to 1%. This is one of our significant differentials. Today we have 135,000 registered users (individuals resident in Brazil).
So the main benefit for the user would be the cashback?
Yes, this is one of the essential benefits, but not the only one. Our platform offers simplicity, making it easy for new users to join.
We have simplified brokerage solutions. For example, the user can buy and sell bitcoin without understanding the order book. The transaction is simple, a more over-the-counter experience identical to buying at a conventional exchange.
We have also added other functionalities to our app, such as payment of bills, cell phone recharge, and Pix key registration, which guarantee convenience and improve the user experience.
This is a gateway for those who do not know the market well because of the ease of use; for those who have more experience, the simplicity is extra convenience.
Why should people invest in crypto, in your opinion?
With the pandemic and its effects on the economy, the purchasing power of Brazilians has dropped significantly. Even people who have not lost their jobs or their source of income are going through this difficulty, due to the rise in prices caused by inflation, without the recovery of income to the same level. Inflation has eroded everything, everything is more expensive, and anyone can see this in a purchase at the supermarket or when filling their tanks up.
Those who managed to buy bitcoin before this period preserved or even increased their purchasing power. So this shows people that the crypto market can be an instrument for protection.
Some people have, in the past, invested in bonds abroad as a form of protection for the present moment. But this is still quite restricted. On the other hand, BTC is more popular, it is possible to access it even with little money and without much bureaucracy.
This has been one of the main reasons people buy crypto. Fiat currencies lose value very quickly. I think the economic/inflationary context has “woken up” people to new possibilities.