Bloomberg Línea — While the United States and Europe tighten regulations on cryptocurrency operations, crypto exchanges have been looking to Latin America as a favorable space for growth.
In an interview with Bloomberg Línea, Maggie Wu, CEO and co-founder of Galactic Holdings, a Mexico-based cryptocurrency platform, talks about the company’s plans to offer a wide range of payment methods, including the integration of its TruBit Wallet with traditional banking services such as transfers, credit cards, and debit cards in Latin America.
Wu explored investment opportunities in various countries, and identified Latin America, particularly Mexico, as a region with enormous potential for crypto growth due to its natural resources and conducive regulatory environment. Inspired by the market’s untapped potential and the need for international resources, Wu founded Galactic in Mexico in 2020.
The startup recently announced a pre-A Series funding round of $10 million. The company aims to launch its own payment solution in the near future, allowing users to conveniently utilize their cryptocurrencies for daily transactions through Mastercard prepaid cards and remittances, providing an alternative to traditional methods.
“Not only in Mexico, we’re going to do other countries too,” she said.
Currently, the company has set up entities in four markets in Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, but only has an office in Mexico City.
In other countries, the company operates in a remote environment, with employees in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, for instance. “I visited Brazil last year. We plan to set up an office once we start hiring more people. And Argentina is the same. We just started slowly hiring more people because right now for the whole industry it is a bear market,” she said.
“We are applying for the license in Brazil and Argenti
na, and we just set it up in Colombia,” Wu said.
Meanwhile, the platform already has users from Venezuela, Peru, Chile and other countries, and a total of over 300,000 users.
To cater to different user preferences, Galactic Holdings has developed a QR code feature.
Wu hinted at a broader range of crypto financial products and a comprehensive crypto payment platform that could be described as a “crypto bank.” She also highlighted the company’s TruBit Pro platform, which offers features such as trading.
The startup’s ecosystem includes a cryptocurrency wallet, a cryptocurrency exchange, and a stablecoin.
Wu, with a career in venture capital and entrepreneurship, was born in China. She immigrated to the United States over 18 years ago, where she kick-started her entrepreneurial endeavors while still in college. Wu’s entrepreneurial journey spans almost two decades, during which she established and sold ventures.
Her interest in the crypto industry emerged in 2016 when she began investing in Bitcoin. As she delved deeper into the technology behind blockchain projects, she co-founded Crypto Group, a venture capital firm specializing in the crypto space. Since then, she has invested in over 100 projects worldwide, ranging from infrastructure to applications.
The startup’s initial funding came from individual investors rather than Wu’s venture capital firm. She actively engages with potential investors in Asia.
She also acknowledged the challenges that emerged since the Terra Luna scandal and the recent scrutiny crypto has been under given the collapse of FTX, but says the overall fundraising environment has become more challenging for both crypto and non-crypto companies.
In Mexico, Galactic Holdings is connected with SPEI, the Mexican funds transfer system.
Avoiding FTX problems
Wu highlighted the importance of close communication with authorities and the presence of a strong legal team to ensure compliance with regulations. She expressed confidence in her company’s ability to meet regulatory requirements and obtain licenses in the future, and emphasized that regulations should be fair and applicable to all participants in the industry, rather than favoring specific groups.
She recognized that certain regulations might impose financial burdens on entrepreneurs, such as the need to maintain security funds or meet specific technological requirements. When asked about the possibility of cryptocurrencies being banned or restricted, Wu remained optimistic, stating that she did not foresee a complete prohibition on cryptocurrencies.
Instead, she believes that companies will have the opportunity to apply for licenses and comply with regulations.
Discussing the risks associated with certain cryptocurrency platforms, Wu mentioned her reservations about using tokens issued by platforms such as FTX and the potential pitfalls they pose. She stressed the importance of transparent risk control and cited her company’s refusal to list high-risk tokens as an example of their commitment to user protection.