🇧🇷BCR #42: CZ, Brian Armstrong Meet with Brazil Central Bank President
Plus, Brazilian retail land grab intensifies as Nubank, XP, BTG Pactual and Banco Itaú announce crypto products for the masses
👋 bd friends,
Crazy week! Hope everyone is holding up okay. I have a lot to say about what’s gone on the last few days in crypto with regards to this Terra/UST situation, but in the spirit of civility (and because they are outside the scope of this newsletter) I’m going to keep those opinions to myself for now. TLDR is that if Michael Saylor starts selling his bitcoin, then I’ll start panicking.
🏦 The Banco Central do Brasil is in the crypto news cycle again as CZ and Binance representatives met with BCB President Roberto Campos Neto on Friday to discuss “institutional matters”. No other details about the meeting were offered.
Representing Binance was Changpeng “CZ” Zhao himself; Matt Shroder, VP of International Expansion and Daniel Mangabeira, who was recently hired by Binance away from Bitso and is becoming the face of the company in Brazil.
🔥 Not to be outdone, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong will be meeting with Campos Neto on Monday, May 16 as the firm looks to build out its presence in the country.
Fresh off announcing its Coinbase Brasil entity, Coinbase held a live virtual recruiting event on Thursday, May 12 aimed at drawing in developers. I popped in for a little bit to see what the experience was like. It kicked off with a 10 minute bumper video (with Portuguese subtitles) talking about Coinbase’s mission and its belief in crypto, featuring CEO Brian Armstrong and other executives.
Former CTO Balaji Srinivasan was also featured heavily in the promo. Given that he left the company in May 2019, we can conclude that this video is at least 4 years old (might be time to update that!)
Three Brazilian Coinbase employees then discussed their experience working for the company, explained the interview process and then took questions from the audience about how to best prepare for the interview. I’m not a dev so it wasn’t really my jam, but attendee engagement seemed pretty good based on the questions being asked via Slido - seemed there were at least 50 who were actively participating.
The key point here, as InfoMoney’s Paulo Alves points out in a good column, is that new crypto brokers, whether they be foreign like Coinbase or domestic like Nubank, XP, BTG Pactual and now Itaú (who are all launching crypto offerings this summer), are not being deterred by the stranglehold that Binance and Mercado Bitcoin currently have on the Brazilian market. Will they regret launching retail-focused crypto investment products into what looks like the beginning of a bear market? We shall see…
🏔 Side note, I’ll be in Davos the week of May 22-26 for the World Economic Forum. If anyone is going to be around please ping me and we’ll meet up. Filecoin Foundation (my day job) is organizing a hosting a big event space in the church directly across the street from the WEF Congress Center. It’s a a big partnership with CNBC, CoinDesk, Global Blockchain Business Council and others. We’re open to the public all week during the day, and just ask that people register. Also hosting a big kickoff reception on Sunday evening the 22nd that’s open to the public. Feel free to stop by and say hi if you’ll be around.
🎙Also be sure to check out the most recent BCR podcast with Kristin Majcher, Senior Correspondent for Latin America at The Block - a leading crypto news, research and data outlet. We chat about her introduction to crypto via a Ripio ad on the Buenos Aires subway in 2019 and how that led to her covering crypto full-time in the region. You can listen to the episode in your browser and on Spotify.
Next up in the queue are podcasts with Ze Paulo, president of Crypto Jr. in Brazil, and Conor Brady, founder of Ethereum Brasil and the organizer of Ethereum Rio and the upcoming Ethereum São Paulo - which will be held August 17-18. Keep an eye out for those!
🙏 Thanks to our partners at HBAR Foundation for supporting 🇧🇷 Brazil Crypto Report! If you're a Latam entrepreneur or developer with an up-and-coming project or idea and need some support, take a look at the HBAR grant program. They're seeding projects focused on DeFi, fintech, NFTs, sustainability and so much more. They also offer a plethora of other resources to help builders bootstrap. Do yourself a favor and check them out! 👊
💣 Trending Cryptos in Brazil
Here’s a weekly snapshot of trending cryptocurrencies in Brazil as of May 13, 2022, per data provider CoinGecko. Not surprisingly, Terra is this week’s most trending currency, with Sweatcoin down slightly from last week but still cracking the top 10.
🗞Brazil Crypto News Rundown
Nubank, Brazil’s largest digital bank which has 54 million users in the Latam region, will enable bitcoin and ether trades for all users by the end of July
Trading and custody will be powered by crypto infrastructure firm Paxos
Users will initially unable to withdraw or deposit crypto
Customers can make purchases for as little as R$1
Nubank will “do frequent curation” to add more coins
Nu Holdings, Nubank’s parent company, said it is allocating roughly 1% of cash on its balance sheet to bitcoin
Notorious crypto antagonist Warren Buffett is a key investor in Nubank
Previously, Nubank customers could access crypto only through ETFs and funds available on its NuInvest platform
Nubank CEO and co-founder David Vélez commented:
“There is no doubt that crypto is a growing trend in Latin America, one that we have been following closely and believe will have a transformational impact on the region. Yet the trading experience is still very niche as customers either lack information to feel confident to enter this new market or just get frustrated by complex experiences.” (CoinDesk) (Portal do Bitcoin) (The Block) (Valor Investe) (InfoMoney)
XP, the largest brokerage in the Brazilian market with 3.5 million users, intends to launch its crypto trading platform next month.
XTAGE, as it will be known, uses Nasdaq’s technology and will be integrated into XP’s app.
The platform will allow bitcoin and ether purchases, though crypto deposit and withdrawal services will not be available (similar to what PayPal and Robinhood offered upon first launching crypto products).
Bitso launched its Bitso+ service which offers customers up to 15% yields on bitcoin and stablecoins.
Users will be able to earn the yields simply by keeping the assets in their wallet, and the feature will be automatically available in the latest version of the Bitso app.
It will offer 6% yield on bitcoin (for wallets with 0.4 BTC or less) and up to 15% on dollar-pegged stablecoins
In an interview with Forbes Brasil, new Brazil country manager Thales Araújo de Freitas said that Bitso has hired 170 people in the country and that its customer base has quadrupled the last six months
BTG Pactual will launch its retail cryptocurrency platform Mynt by July at the latest, which would make it the first Brazilian financial institution to offer direct exposure to crypto. The announcement was made by president Roberto Sallouti during the company’s Q1 earnings call. The Mynt project was originally announced in September 2021. It will have initial support for bitcoin and Ethereum. (CryptoFacil) (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Banco Itaú is making available to clients shares of BLP Crypto, one of the first actively-managed crypto asset investment funds in Brazil. BLP offers three fund options catering to different profiles - professional investors, accredited investors and retail investors. The funds can be accessed via the Itaú, Itaú Personnalité and Íon Itaú platforms. (Money Times) (Blocknews)
Vitreo launched a “dynamic” crypto ETF called the CRPT11 which offers exposure to 20 leading cryptoassets. It will rebalance monthly using the Teva Cryptocurrency Top 20 index as a benchmark. (Money Times) (Exame)
R$5.1bn (US$1bn) worth of crypto-linked investment products (primarily ETFs) traded on the B3 stock exchange during the first quarter of 2022, with individual investors accounting for 90% of that total. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
META11, asset manager Hashdex’s sixth crypto ETF, will commence trading on the B3 exchange on June 3. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Mercado Bitcoin listed six new assets to its platform: Power Ledger (POWR), Holo (HOT), Tellor (TRB), DIA (DIA), Stargate Finance (STG) and Jasmycoin (JASMY). (Portal do Bitcoin) (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Binance announced a three-year sponsorship agreement with the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), the country’s biggest football competition. The agreement provides the opportunity to issue fan tokens and NFTs for engagement purposes. Lorenzo Perales, CBF’s commercial and marketing director, commented:
“The industry is constantly changing in the digital and technological ecosystem. The fans of the Country of Football are already engaging in the world of fan tokens and NFTs and, in this scenario, it is a great advance and an innovative step to have these competitions Brasileirão Assaí, Brasileirão Feminino Neoenergia, Brasileirão Feminino A-2 and Brasileirão Feminino A- 3] associated with Binance, a global giant in this market. For us, it is a strategic partner to increasingly understand the profile of Brazilian fans and connect them with competitions”. (Livecoins) (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Victor Hespanha, a 28 year-old Brazilian engineer, won a trip to space after acquiring an NFT from Crypto Space Agency. He will travel to space with Blue Origin, which is Jeff Bezos’ space tourism company. He would be the second Brazilian to travel to space. (CriptoFacil) (Livecoins) (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Latam residents downloaded finance and cryptocurrency apps 62% more in 2021 than in 2020 compared to 34% for the rest of the world, according to a study by market research firm Adjust. The average time per session in crypto apps jumped from 8.05 minutes to 15.44 minutes for the same period. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
News aggregator app Squid will add feeds from CriptoFácil and CoinTelegraph Brasil in Huawei cellphones in Brazil, Portugal and more via a new editorial partnership. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Transfero will put 15 Rio de Janeiro students through its Transfero Academy, a six month program consists of training in coding, data, blockchain, economics and financial education. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
A group of Brazilians will participate in a reality show called “La Casa da Bitcoin” during LaBitConf 2022 in Argentina. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Five Brazilian fintechs advanced in the Visa Everywhere 2022 Initiative, which seeks to find new products related to crypto, blockchain and crowdfunding. One of the finalists is the Valora app, which operates on the Celo blockchain. (Livecoins)
Capitual is giving away prizes for Bitcoin Pizza Day - May 22 for followers of its Instagram account. (Livecoins)
Crypto.com is giving away 70 pairs of tickets for games of Brazilian teams participating in the Copa Libertadores, of which it is the official partner. (BeinCrypto)
Brazil is leading the Latam region in creation and adoption of fintech products, according to a new study by the Inter-American Development bank. (BeinCrypto)
🎮 NFTs, Gaming and Metaverse
Brazilian comedian Sérgio Mallandro launched the initial copies of his “Mallandro Boy” NFT collection on OpenSea, which will ultimately consist of 1000 items in the collection. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Housi, a Brazilian real estate rental startup, is launching a space in Decentraland, where visitors will be able to experience living in virtual environments that replicate physical reality. (Livecoins) (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Brazilian heavy metal band Angra is launching its own NFT platform on May 17. (Exame)
🏛 Public Policy, Regulation and Enforcement
Lula, the presidential candidate for the PT, again expressed that he would push for a single currency for the Latam region as a means of reducing dependence on the US dollar. He stated:
“We are going to re-establish our relationship with Latin America. And God willing, we will create a currency in Latin America, because there is no such thing as depending on the dollar.” (Estadao)
Brazil’s “Bitcoin Law” which passed the Senate last month, has been widely cheered by observers, but CoinTelegraph Brasil highlights several skeptics of the bill who assert that the compliance requirements will crush small startups in the space.
The Foreign Trade Chamber (GECEX) and the Ministry of Economy have eliminated the import tax on bitcoin mining equipment. Specifically, the rate is intended for machines that run the SHA256 hash function, the mining algorithm of the Bitcoin protocol. The devices must also meet energy efficiency requirements, specifically equal to or less than 32 joules/terahash (Portal do Bitcoin)
A court has ordered that the airline miles of Atlas Quantum owner Rodrigo Marques be blocked at the request of a victim of the alleged ponzi scheme. The business collapsed after the CVM ordered it to stop attracting new customers in 2019, and clients have been unable to get their money back. 62,929 miles, worth about R$1,500, will be blocked. (Livecoins)
Atlas Quantum is the subject of another investigation by Federal Police and the Federal Public Ministry. (Livecoins)
“Pharaoh of Bitcoins” Glaidson Acácio dos Santos is running for Federal Deputy for Rio de Janeiro on the Christian Democracy (DC) party ticket. The GAS Consultoria founder has been imprisoned at the Gericinó Penitentiary Complex in Rio for the last eight months. He aims to present himself as a “Moses” style hero who liberates followers from the traditional financial system. (CriptoFacil) (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Glaidson also alleges that he is a victim of racism and that he would be treated as a hero and sophisticated businessman if he lived in the US. (Portal do Bitcoin)
Elite Bank is being investigated by São Paulo Civil Police over an alleged cryptocurrency scam that resulted in reported losses of R$10m (US$1.98m) to investors. Similar to other crypto pyramid scheme operations, the bank promised daily income and 10% monthly returns. (Livecoins)
Daniel Kaminski de Souza, an Ethereum Classic developer, is wanted by authorities in Curitiba for allegedly creating a crypto pyramid scheme through his company Blockchain IT Kryptons. (Livecoins)
An Alagoas investor is suing an ATM operator that used a similar name to Coin Cloud, the crypto ATM operator with 19 machines throughout the country, but in fact had no affiliation. (Livecoins)
Crypto broker Blockchain.com is suing a Brazilian woman who lost 30 bitcoins on its platform in response to a São Paulo court ruling that the exchange must freeze and return the assets. (Livecoins)
Crypto mining equipment was seized outside Florianópolis in Santa Catarina in an operation called “Deu Zebra”. The action was taken to fight an organization that runs illegal gambling and Jogo do Bicho operations. (Livecoins) (CoinTelegraph Brasil) (Portal do Bitcoin)
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