🇧🇷BCR #56: Ripio Unveils 5% Bitcoin Cashback Card in Brazil
Plus: BlueBenx mystery continues to unfold, Bitfinex officially launches in Brazil
Greetings and welcome to 🇧🇷Brazil Crypto Report for the week of August 22-26, 2022.
Quick FYI that I’ll be attending both Blockchain Rio next week and Ethereum São Paulo Sept 9-11 representing Filecoin Foundation.
I look forward to meeting readers at both of these events as well as connecting with new and old friends as well as doing up some interviews, etc. I’ll try to put out a special edition or two of this newsletter also for each event. If you’re attending either event feel free to ping me at email@example.com or @AaronStanley on Telegram.
🙏Special thanks to Fernando Martines of Portal do Bitcoin for writing this nice profile of Brazil Crypto Report.
As always, I do appreciate you reading and hope you enjoy this week’s edition.
🙏Help keep 🇧🇷BCR free! If you find this content valuable, please consider supporting the mission of building a reliable English-language resource for the Brazil crypto ecosystem 👊
🎙Be sure to check out the latest episodes of the 🇧🇷Brazil Crypto Report podcast.
This week I chatted with Conor Brady who runs Ethereum Brasil about his upcoming Ethereum São Paulo event.
I also spoke with Guilherme Rebane who is head of Brazil and Latam at OSL - one of the largest liquidity providers and digital asset platforms for institutions.
This week’s featured job opening is for a P2P Merchant Business Development Manager for Latam at OKX.
The Federal Senate is looking to hire two legislative consultants with knowledge of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The roles will pay a salary of R$33,000 (US$6,500) per month. (CriptoFacil) (Exame)
🕵️♀️Trending Coins in Brazil
Bitcoin, Baby Doge Coin and Smooth Love Potion are the top trending cryptocurrencies in Brazil as of August 28, per crypto data site CoinGecko. I have a fun podcast episode with CoinGecko COO Bobby Ong coming out next month so be on the lookout for that 🎉
🗞Brazil Crypto News Rundown
Bitfinex announced its official arrival in Brazil, with plans for expanding throughout the region. The Bitfinex platform and mobile app are now available in Brazilian Portuguese and will use Smartpay’s Swapix solution to integrate Tether (USDT) and the national financial system via Pix, thereby allowing BRL deposits to be converted into USDT. Bitfinex will also bring new solutions to the market like Lightning Network integration. CTO Paulo Ardoino told CoinTelegraph Brasil:
"We look forward to working with all Latin American countries and would be honored to realize our vision and deliver financial freedom solutions to all people in the region"
Bradesco CEO Octavio de Lazari Junior isn’t as enthusiastic about getting into crypto markets as other Brazilian banks. In an interview, he said that crypto is a “small market” and that the bank has no plans to create its own platform for trading crypto assets, though its investment platform Agora does offer the service for customers.
“Cryptocurrencies are investments that are not tangible and are riskier investments that people will know the risk they are taking and might want to. For me it will be a very small market. People will put a very small part of their resources in cryptocurrencies.” (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Cointrader Monitor released proprietary data showing the most searched crypto exchanges on its site for the month of July
Ripio and Visa partnered to launch a bitcoin rewards debit card for Brazilian customers. The card will be an international prepaid card that holds a balance in both BRL and crypto.
Ripio will be reponsible for converting between crypto and fiat currencies, while Visa will be responsible for processing payments.
The card will be available for all customers who hold a balance on the Ripio platform, thus eliminating the need for a credit check for approval.
The card will still allow cash withdrawals and will not change acquisition or monthly fees. Customers will also be able to make payments in 28 different cryptocurrencies.
Henrique Teixeira, Global Head of New Business at Ripio, expects 250,000 users by this December.
Rico, the investment platform owned by XP which is targeted toward young audiences who make more than R$5,000 per month, has plans to launch a cryptocurrency exchange next year. The move comes as part of a broader XP strategy to meet customer demands while keeping funds inside the XP ecosystem. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Australian payments firm Banxa plans to enter the Brazilian market but has not indicated which companies it will be working with. It will not be providing services to Binance, despite an initial report claiming otherwise. (CoinTelegraph Brasil) (InfoMoney)
Brazilian startup LoopiPay, which connects DeFi to centralized banking networks, is now the world’s leading platform in terms of total assets available for purchase - with 1,960 assets total. Instead of having its own order book, it LoopiPay draws upon liquidity from the world of DeFi, allowing it to list an abundance of coins. LoopiPay CEO Ricardo Bechara explained:
“The inclusion of new tokens is a commitment we have with our users, we are always on the lookout for new cryptoassets that make sense for the community. Easing usability on Web3 is our goal, and having not only traditional tokens, but cryptos that are complex to buy and sell meets our purpose”. (InfoMoney)
Brazil accounted for 1.99% of total traffic of the 35 largest global exchanges over the last 90 days, putting it in 9th place worldwide. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
In his recent visit to Brazil, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse highlighted that Brazil is ahead of the United States in cryptocurrency solutions and adoption and urged entrepreneurs to not start a business in the US. Ripple is currently embroiled in a lawsuit against the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Garlinghouse commented:
“I think this is sad for the US crypto market, but honestly, it benefits the market outside of the US. If you are an entrepreneur who wants to start a business in crypto or blockchain, one piece of advice I have for you is: don’t do it in the US.”
“We have a relationship with the central bank of Brazil, and they are already talking about CBDCs so without a doubt, I think Brazil is ahead of many countries. The PIX and LIFT Challenge are examples where Brazil has demonstrated its leadership.” (Exame) (InfoMoney)
Fenasbac selected 8 fintechs to participate in its NEXT accelerator program, including NFTFY, Credix and Moeda Seeds. The program will provide assistance to startups operating in sectors such as blockchain, open finance, DeFi and Web3 and will assist with business development, legal and regulatory compliance, as well as access to new markets and investors. (CoinTelegraph Brasil) (Exame)
Not Brazil-related specifically, but BBC Brasil published a good six minute video exploring the rise of cryptocurrency mining in Paraguay.
Eric Altafim, a director at Unibanco, believe that all financial assets could be tokenized in five years’ time. During a panel at DigiTalks and a subsequent interview with Crypto Times, he highlighted his bullish view on tokenization and Brazil’s position as a global leader:
“One of the things I noticed at the event was how Brazil is an early adopter of technology, and how the country may be on a leadership path in the world of tokenization…The environment that is being created in Brazil is conducive for Brazil to be a protagonist in this tokenization industry.”
iCoLab, a Hyperledger-based digital health project, is gaining traction in Rio Grande Lab. (BlockNews)
Nodle, a Polkadot-based startup that uses mobile phones to create a decentralized mobile data network for internet access, is planning an expansion in Brazil. (BlockNews)
The Freedom and Democracy Forum in Belo Horizonte will have a focus on bitcoin, with speakers such as Fernando Ulrich on the program. The conference convenes leaders from around the country on topics of entrepreneurship, leadership and innovation. (Livecoins)
Nelogica and Ibmec are launching an MBA program focusing on cryptofinance. (BlockNews)
C9 Coin, a Brazilian crypto that acts as a tokenized discount coupon for use by retail users, reached 100,000 transactions registered on the blockchain less than six months after launching. The coin has more than 26,000 users and can be used in more than 150 retail stores. (BeinCrypto)
Itaú was chosen was chosen by the Banco Central to create a DeFi liquidity pool using stablecoins tied to the Brazilian Real and other fiat currencies.
The Supremo Tribunal Federal is offering a free class on blockchain technology through its educational arm. (Livecoins)
The Flamengo fan token surged 340% as the team advanced to the championship of the Copa Libertadores. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Brazil is the seventh largest country in the world in terms of crypto adoption, a news study by the firm Triple A says. (CriptoFacil)
Ambify, a token issued by multinational firm Ambipar that fractionalizes and facilitates retail access to carbon credits, will be listed by the exchange Foxbit. The token also trades on Bitcoin To You and BitPreco. (Valor)
Several Digital Real use cases are beginning to take shape as firms like Tecban, Capitual, Santander and others selected into the Banco Central’s LIFT challenge earlier enter the testing phase.
🎮 NFTs, Gaming and Metaverse
Formula 1 racing will launch a collection of NFTs in September to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of the Brazilian Grand Prix. (BeinCrypto)
Brazilian singer-songwriter Nando Reis will host an NFT-ticketed performance in the metaverse to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the release of his flagship album. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Indigenous leader Sônia Guajajara is the subject of a new NFT collection conceived and produced by artist Ibraim Nascimento. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Giba Neles, the Brazilian volleyball icon, is launching an NFT collection featuring digital collectibles of his greatest moments. (Exame)
Brazilian brands Campari and Fanstation are also launching their own respective NFT collections. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
🏛 Public Policy, Regulation and Enforcement
Rodrigo Monteiro, executive director of ABCripto, commented on the status of the crypto regulation bill in Congress in an interview with CoinTelegraph Brasil. He cast aside the notion that Brazil would take the same route as India by “legalizing” crypto through the imposition of a 30% surcharge, mainly because the country already maintains a high rate of taxation.
“Regarding India, I do not see Brazil specifically surcharges crypto in relation to any other product, I think at the end of the day, whatever the taxation, there will be a lot of line with financial market investment and we will be there, on an equal footing, with an investment opportunity, like traditional applications, which is normal.”
Monteiro also reaffirmed his organization’s support for the asset segregation and CNPJ proposals that were stripped from the bill’s text in the Chamber of Deputies:
"Asset segregation as an instrument to protect investors' investments, it is widely used in the financial market, capital markets, as well as in the real estate market, which is the figure of the assigned equity. So we think that this is an additional security If we look at cases of liquidation of brokers and other crypto companies that, at the time of verifying the available equity, to enforce the right of the depositaries, there was a real confusion in which he was the true owner of the cryptocurrencies because the equity of all the depositors and the brokerage house itself was applied in a mixed way. So this patrimonial confusion, we think it doesn't help anyone.”
"Understanding that you are going to work in a country, which for any economic activity requires a local registration, a local headquarters, a local registration number, a local official, and to think that this will not happen in the crypto sector in Brazil, seems to me to be extremely unfounded and then to say that it is the bill that is innovating and placing a new obligation, it seems to me to be an invalid argument, because for any activity in Brazil, the CNPJ is required."
São Paulo Court of Justice ordered a partial blocking of BlueBenx and its partners’ assets of up to R$10,500 in response to a complaint filed by the a client who had invested that amount. The judge, noting irregularities in the company’s business model, said that it “seems to be a fraud”. (CoinTelegraph Brasil) (Portal do Bitcoin)
Banco Central president Roberto Campos Neto said that many central bankers around the world “have a fetish for regulation” and central banks should not be able to dictate "what a person should buy or not.” “But I insist that people know what they are buying,” he added. The remarks came at a speaking engagement where he highlighted the efficiencies of blockchain tech:
“People focus a lot on the [crypto] currency, but I focus more on the process…The blockchain process, which is digitizing value and trading, that drives efficiency.” (Valor)
BlueBenx also announced the beginning of its restructuing plan and will begin paying some customers who had requested withdrawals before July 25. Customers who have filed lawsuits against the exchange, however, will not be paid. The company said in a statement:
“The company will use the proceeds from trading the company's physical assets and systems. In all, around 150 customers will be refunded with a maximum amount of R$ 2 thousand, among the 404 customers who had requested the withdrawal until July 25th.” (Crypto Times) (Portal do Bitcoin)
CVM, Brazil’s securities regulator, teamed up with Mercado Bitcoin to create a study group focusing on decentralized finance. The group will be housed under the Laboratory of Financial Innovation, which was created in partnership with CVM, Brazilian Development Association and Inter-American Development Bank. (BeinCrypto)
Philip Han, the Brazilian “serial entrepreneur” of South Korean descent, and his wife Carla Moreira Han were targets of São Paulo Civil Police for allegedly creating six different cryptocurrency pyramid schemes, including WCM777, Mr. Link, ifreex, Fx Trading, F2 Trading and My Hash. (Livecoins) (Money Times) (InfoMoney)
São Paulo is still considering the creation of an official day for cryptocurrency traders. (Valor Investe)
The current bitcoin law being considered in Congress is just the “tip of the iceberg”, Bitso public policy head Karen Duque told Crypto Times at the DigiTalks conference in Sao Paulo.
“The bill is the tip of the iceberg, it's just the first step we need to take so that we can have a framework that sets high standards from a customer awareness perspective, anti-money laundering practices, and anti-funding practices. of terrorism”.
Duque also explained in an interview with InfoMoney that Bitso supports the asset segregation rule that was controversially removed by Expedito Neto, rapporteur for the bill in the Chamber of Deputies. Bitso opposes, however, the so-called transition rule that states exchanges could only apply for licenses in Brazil if they already had a specific CNPJ registration and Siscoaf registration at the time of the law’s signing. She said:
“It doesn't have much of transition. Coaf is unable to give access to Siscoaf to everyone who requests registration. It is unreasonable to create non-existent obligations in a law without having time to adapt.”
The Rio de Janeiro Public Ministry is challenging the candidacy of “Pharaoh of Bitcoins” Glaidson Acacio dos Santos, who is running for Federal Deputy despite being currently imprisoned for running a cryptocurrency pyramid scheme. The agency argues that he does not meet the constitutional requirements to run for the office. Glaidson has seven days to challenge the decision. (Portal do Bitcoin)
Portal do Bitcoin ran a profile of Glaidson detailing the GAS Consultoria saga over the last 18 months.
GAECO, a division of the Rio de Janeiro public ministry focusing on combatting organized crime, has joined an international research group, hosted by the US Department of Justice, focused on cryptocurrency investigations. (Livecoins)
Federal Police arrested a cryptocurrency trader who bought fake BRL banknotes to be flaunted on social media. (Portal do Bitcoin)
140 public employees from COAF, Receita Federal and the Public Ministry are receiving training in cryptocurrencies through a workshop promoted by ABCripto and Blockchain Academy. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Federal Police targeted individuals accused of laundering money from the Unick Forex pyramid scheme using cryptocurrencies in “Operation Temple of the Mask II”. Three people were arrested and five search warrants were served in Curitiba. (CriptoFacil)
A 19 year-old crypto investor was kidnapped in Sao Paulo and had R$58,000 in crypto stolen after leaving a nightclub where he met with a friend he’d only previously met over the internet. (Livecoins) (Portal do Bitcoin)
Paulo Kogos, an anarchocapitalist running for state deputy in São Paulo, is proposing that the state of São Paulo accept bitcoin as payment for taxes and fees. (Livecoins)
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