Bancolombia, Colombia’s largest bank launches stablecoin, crypto offering

Earlier this month, the Bancolombia group unveiled Wenia, its innovative cryptocurrency offering. Given that Colombia is Latin America’s third most populous country after Brazil and Mexico, Wenia has the potential for significant reach. The bank aims to target 60,000 users in its first year. Besides offering cryptocurrencies, Wenia is launching its own stablecoin, COPW, which will be backed 1:1 by the Colombian Peso.

Unique Regulatory and Operational Framework
One of the distinctive aspects of Wenia is that it will not be regulated in Colombia. Although it primarily targets Colombian citizens, Wenia is registered in Bermuda and holds a license from the Bermuda Monetary Authority. The service’s website emphasizes its independence from Bancolombia, describing itself as “an idea of Grupo Bancolombia.”

“Our purpose is to help people connect with the crypto side in a more accessible, inclusive, and efficient way,” said Pablo Arboleda, CEO of Wenia.

Colombia’s Crypto Landscape
According to Chainalysis, Colombia ranks as Latin America’s fourth most crypto-active country, following Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina. Although Argentina’s economic challenges have spurred greater crypto adoption, Colombia remains a significant player in the region’s crypto ecosystem.

While Colombians generally cannot hold US dollar bank accounts, Wenia plans to support the USDC stablecoin alongside Bitcoin, Ether, and Polygon’s Matic. Despite the relative stability of the Colombian peso exchange rate in recent years, the introduction of the COPW stablecoin could offer a new dimension of financial stability and flexibility.

COPW Stablecoin: Conventional Backing and Blockchain Integration
The COPW stablecoin will be issued on the Polygon blockchain, backed by deposits and other assets, including treasuries. Unlike tokenized deposits, COPW represents a conventional stablecoin model, aligning with Wenia’s independent positioning. Wenia has partnered with Alphapoint to provide the necessary technology for crypto trading.

Colombia’s Blockchain Initiatives
Colombia has been proactive in the blockchain space. The central bank is trialing Ripple’s technology for high-value payments, and the Bolsa de Valores de Colombia (bvc) is exploring blockchain for its digitally native crowdfunding platform, a2censo.

Wenia’s launch by the Bancolombia group marks a significant step in Colombia’s evolving crypto landscape. By targeting a substantial user base and introducing the COPW stablecoin, Wenia aims to enhance financial inclusion and accessibility. Its unique regulatory approach and strategic partnerships position it well to navigate the dynamic crypto market in Colombia and beyond.


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