🇧🇷BCR #36: The Forgotten Continent
Plus, 2TM hires JPMorgan to advise its stake sale talks with Coinbase, Bitso's big crypto giveaway
👋 Bom dia Brazil Crypto crew:
South America is sometimes referred to as “The Forgotten Continent” (most notably in a 2008 book by Michael Reid, a former editor for The Economist), in that it’s generally overlooked and seen as a backwater by the “Western” world.
I wrestle sometimes with why this is the case. Granted, I’m no historian, but in my mind, it’s due to in part to colonial legacies and mindsets that have carried over into the modern era. The Portuguese and Spanish were much more extractive in their approach to colonialism than, say, the British, who were more thoughtful in building infrastructure and legal and governance systems, etc (this is one of the reasons why former British colonies currently make up many of the “rich” countries of today). They also granted most of their Latin American colonies independence in the early 1800s as their respective empires were crumbling. The United States then came in as the de facto colonial power via the Monroe Doctrine, and the region was never able to truly assert itself as an independent player on the global stage.
As a result, South America feels like it’s been stuck on the middle rungs of the global political and economic ladder for two centuries. It’s not rich or powerful enough to be part of the “elite” club of nations, it’s not a new enough of a market to get excited about like some of the Asian Tigers, and it’s not poor enough to be the focus of NGOs, celebrities and philanthropies looking to create “social impact”.
This Forgotten Continent premise holds true as much with crypto as it does anything else. For instance, we’ve had some massive news out of Brazil the last couple of months with these Binance and Coinbase developments. These are easily the biggest news stories to ever emerge out of Brazil on the crypto front, yet there has been minimal chatter in “mainstream” crypto circles or social media.
Perhaps there’s just so much going on elsewhere in crypto that there’s minimal bandwidth to pay attention to these types of developments (anyone who’s working 14 hour days and still feels woefully behind can attest). And to a certain extent, I think Brazilians in particular simply aren’t very good at promoting their activities abroad to the rest of the world (very generalized statement I know). But I do think there’s an “unconscious bias” (if I can borrow that term) in the English speaking world to look condescendingly - or overlook altogether - what’s happening in this part of the world that I find perplexing.
Obviously, that’s one of the reasons I spun up this publication - to be bridge between what sometimes feel like two parallel universes.
Enough ranting for now… enjoy this week’s edition and as always thanks for reading!
Coinbase + 2TM Update
🔥 2TM, the parent company of Mercado Bitcoin, has hired investment bank JPMorgan to advise in its sale discussions with Coinbase, per reporting by Bloomberg Law.
CoinTelegraph Brasil reports that the deal talks are well advanced and that high-level 2TM employees are being informed of the acquisition. 2TM was also in talks to hire JPMorgan in April of last year to assist with a potential IPO, though this proposal was ultimately scrapped.
The acquisition figures to be one of the largest-ever sales of a Brazilian company given that Mercado Bitcoin itself is valued at R$13bn or US$2.2bn. By way of comparison, CT points out that Itaú Unibanco acquired 49.9% of investment firm XP for roughly R$6.3bn (US$1.35bn) in 2017, and pulp and paper firm Suzano paid R$29bn (US$6.23bn) for Fibria in 2018.
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💣 Trending Cryptos in Brazil
Here’s a weekly snapshot of trending cryptocurrencies in Brazil, per data provider CoinGecko. Bomber Coin, Smooth Love Potion and Baby Doge Coin retain the top three positions.
🎉 Upcoming Events
Crypto events in Brazil are a thing again. Here’s are some upcoming ones to keep on your radar
BITCONF by CoinPayments is happening May 20-22 in São Paulo.
Blockchain Rio - September 1-4 in Rio de Janeiro
🗞Brazil Crypto News Rundown
Liqi, the fintech and tokenization platform, will launch a token linked to the biotech sector with SoluBio Tecnologias Agrícolas intended to discount the difference between the face value of an asset and the value it which it is actually traded. SoluBio has brought to market tools for lowering production costs for rural producers. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
The city of Rio de Janeiro pushed back against rumors that it is scrapping plans to accumulate cryptocurrency in its municipal treasury. To the contrary, the city affirmed that it “has not lost interest in accumulating cryptocurrencies” but noted that “this movement needs to be studied carefully.” (InfoMoney)
BitFinex will enter the Brazilian market using a new platform called Swapix, built by Smartpay. The payment solution uses Pix to swap BRL into USDT without needing to create an account. BitFinex CTO Paulo Ardoino commented:
“We recognize the importance of the crypto space in Brazil and launched our Portuguese language website to continue growing our user base in the region. This alliance with Smartpay is the entry point for many to buy and sell bitcoin direct from the platform. Bitfinex is very excited to offer professional trading services to the millions of Brazilians navigating the crypto space with this direct solution between currency and digital created by Smartpay.” (CoinTimes) (Exame)
Binance is responsible for 80% of trading volume in Brazil between cryptocurrencies and BRL, despite being officially in the market just two years negotiating BRL. The success is attributable to Biannce’s large array of trading pairs and low trading fees, which have in turn forced local exchanges to lower their fees to retain customers. (Livecoins)
Vórtx QR Tokenizadora, a joint holding company between QR Capital and Vórtx, launched the first phase of its token-based exchange operation in the CVM regulatory sandbox. The stage primarily consists of registering investors and issuers interested in the project. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
MB Digital Assets, a firm specializing in asset tokenization and blockchain records, announced that it will originate R$600m (US$130k) in new tokens linked to real assets in 2022. Among the areas being explored by MBDA currently include real estate, energy, entertainment, agriculture and claims and receivables. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
NovaDAX will be the newest sponsor of the Campeonato Paulista de Futebol, aka the Paulistão, on HBO Max and TNT Sports channels. The move is intended to further build the exchange’s visibility in Brazil. CEO Beibei Liu said in a statement:
“NovaDAX is a Brazilian company whose mission is to popularize the crypto market in the country and, for that, nothing better than investing in the national passion: football. We are very proud to announce that we are the newest partner of HBO Max and TNT Sports channels”. (CoinTimes) (BeinCrypto)
Moss, the Brazilian carbon credit tokenization platform, is becoming and DAO and launching a governance token. The Moss Governance Token will allow holders to comment, discuss and vote on changes to the MCO2 token, as well as decide on future endeavors such as adding new carbon credit providers to the platform, decentralizing processes, new partnerships, etc. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Crypto exchange Bitso gave out one bitcoin every 10 minutes to fans in a match between São Paulo FC and Palmeiras, distributing a total of R$1.8m (US$387,000) worth of coin to 36,800 fans who tuned in and scanned the QR code embedded on SPFC jerseys. Framed as a “game within a game”, viewers had to find the right angle to take a snapshot of the codes embedded on the jersey sleeves. They were then redirected to a portal where they could claim R$50 (US$10.85), and then use those funds to purchase crypto on the exchange (The Block) (CoinTelegraph Brasil) (Portal do Bitcoin)
Mercado Bitcoin and Binance were elected the best crypto exchanges in Brazil at the CriptoAwards ceremony, which was held during BitSampa event in São Paulo on March 26. Other award winners included: Capitual was voted best crypto bank, Criptomaníacos was named best male influencer and Use Cripto were named best female influencers. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Crypto ATM operator Coin Cloud installed four new machines at Carrefour properties across Brazil. Each device will allow for the purchase and sale of crypto provided that the user has a digital wallet. Coin Cloud now has 23 terminals across Brazil. (CoinTelegraph Brasil) (Portal do Bitcoin) (Valor Investe)
Environmental group Ambipar is launching carbon credit tokens - AMBP3 - through the launch of its Ambify application. The tokens will allow users to calculate their personal carbon footprints and offset these by purchasing credits on the platform. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
The Banco Central will award scholarships to four student projects that are involved in DeFi as a way of encouraging new contributions to the Digital Real. The scholarships will be given out in conjunction with Mercado Bitcoin. (Portal do Bitcoin)
Foxbit Pay announced a partnership with VDV Advogados, one of the largest law firms in the country, allowing clients to make payments with cryptocurrency. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Gustavo Franco, former president of the Banco Central, extolled the success of Brazil’s Pix instant payments system during a World Economic Forum webinar.
“This Brazilian situation is possibly one of the best on the planet in terms of technology and approximation between the public and the payment system. I don't know if there is anything like what Brazil has.” (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
The Pix instant payments system is being “put to the test” amid a general strike by Banco Central employees threatening to block its operation. The employees want a salary increase of 26 percent. According to the union, the strike could “interrupt, totally or partially,” the functioning of Pix. (LiveCoins)
The winner of “Masked Singer Brasil” was awarded R$100,000 in bitcoin (CriptoFacil)
🎮 NFTs, Gaming and Metaverse
Former Brazilian football superstar Ronaldinho Gaúcho announced his new NFT collection of 10,000 iconic moments from his career. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Vasco da Gama is partnering with MetaSoccer to become the first Brazilian football team to be officially licensed in the metaverse. MetaSoccer, a play-to-earn platform for football in the metaverse, will release the team’s NFT and will have its logo featured on Vasco game uniforms. Marc Cercos, CEO of MetaSoccer, commented:
"This is just the beginning of a long list of international teams that will join football in the metaverse. Vasco da Gama is a pioneer and dared to be the first team to enter the MetaSoccer ecosystem, but it will soon become clear that the future of football also goes through the metaverse, and that we have all the tools to create an unparalleled digital football environment." (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Tune Traders launched its music royalty tokenization platform for Brazilian artists. The platform allows for copyrights to be enforced via smart contracts to better track and process royalty payments via NFTs. (CoinTelegraph Brasil) (BeinCrypto)
Marcelo Bonfá, drummer for the famous band Legião Urbana, is launching his own NFT collection in the metaverse starting April 19. Three unique works will be released per week for 30 days. (Portal do Bitcoin)
Chiefs.Group is launching a blockchain platform for C-level talent management in Latam that allows executives to tokenize their work time (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
NFTs created by Brazilian artist and photographer Livia Elektra will be displayed in more than 20 airports around the world. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Brazilian pop culture personality Cauã Reymond is joining the metaverse to launch a new fashion campaign. The MetaHeat jacket, produced by men’s fashion brand Aramis, sold 25 hybrid units (physical article plus NFT) at a price of R$2500 (US$538). (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
CryptoRastas, a Brazilian NFT collection that fuses reggae culture and CryptoPunks aesthetics, commemorated its first anniversary with a new auction and announced the likely launch of a music label in 2022. The CryptoRastas collection has seen more than R$12m (US$2.6m) in trading volume since launch and is owned by many high profile holders, such as Snoop Dogg. (CoinTelegraph Brasil
🏛 Public Policy, Regulation and Enforcement
Senator Irajá, the rapporteur for crypto legislation in the Senate, requested that two key pieces of legislation - PL2303 and PL 3825 - be debated jointly. Both bills are currently being processed by the Senate under different time frames, so merging them together in the same package should theoretically expedite the crypto regulation timeline in Brazil. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Brazil’s Congress will pass crypto legislation later this year, Senator Soraya Thronicke said at the Portal do Bitcoin Summit. She explained that Senate leadership has given a positive signal towards the legislation and that providing a framework for crypto is a priority despite everything else happening around the world:
“Even with all the challenges we are experiencing, such as the pandemic that has not ended, the war in Ukraine and Russia, an election year, we will be able to deliberate. I guarantee you that,”
RentalCoins, an alleged cryptocurrency pyramid scheme, is being investigated by authorities in Paraná amid a suspected default.
The company takes customer deposits and offers fixed monthly yields of 6% against a temporary 12 month lease of BRCP.
BCRP is a BRL-pegged token issued on the Tron blockchain and is backed by stock of Compralo, a crypto payments company.
Both Compralo and RentalCoins both belong to Intergalaxy Holdings, and both have Francisley da Silva Valdevino as a managing partner
The first delays in transfering customer funds began in November last year, and soon after the company became a target of complaints on Reclame Aqui from customers unable to receive their funds. 40 such complaints were posted on February 18 alone.
Gabi Martins, a singer and former Big Brother Brasil contestant, has been promoting RentalCoins on social media, where whe has 12.6m followers on Instagram. (Portal do Bitcoin)
A Paraná court is calling for R$7.2m (US$1.6m) worth of assets to be frozen in the GAS Consultoria case. The funds are currently held with seven crypto brokerages, including Binance, BitFinex, BitMex, BitStamp, Bittrex and Poloniex. (Portal do Bitcoin)
Binary options and crypto brokerage Olymp Trade is challenging the CVM, the Brazilian securites regulator, and will continue promoting its activities in Brazil after CVM ordered it to suspend activities in 2019. The company explained to Portal do Bitcoin:
“Like many brokers without local licenses, we faced a situation where the CVM warned users against doing business with us. It is an unfortunate situation, but since then Brazilian traders have continued to use our platform and we have received a lot of support from our local community. This does not mean that we are unregulated – we have been members of the International Finance Commission (FinaCom) since February 2016.”
A Brazilian teenager is suspected to be involved with a series of ransomware hacks last month that impacted companies like Microsoft, Nvidia, Ubisoft. (Livecoins)
A hacker accused of diverting R$600,00 (US$130k) from bank accounts and converting the funds into crypto was arrested in the Federal District in “Operation Insider”. The suspect allegedly used his IT knowledge to gain access to a bank’s mobile system and access client accounts. (Portal do Bitcoin)
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