🇧🇷BCR News Rundown: Flamengo ❤️ Moonpay
Also: Metamask competitor Trust Wallet enables PIX purchases, Binance opens offices in Rio and SP, FTX + Visa debit cards coming to Latam
Boa tarde pessoal!
Welcome to the Brazil crypto new rundown for September 26 - October 7.
FYI for new subscribers, I sent out a post last night diving into the big stories of the week - most notably Deputy Expedito Netto’s unexpected loss in his re-election bid. Netto is the rapporteur and main sponsor of the much-contested crypto regulation bill that has been working its way through Congress. This much anticipated legislation would create a regulatory framework for crypto companies operating in Brazil and, many would argue, make Brazil a global leader on this front. Worth a read if you missed it.
Today’s post is focused on news from the region and is divided into six sections:
🕵️♀️ Trending Coins in Brazil
🎮 NFTs, Gaming and Metaverse
🏛 Public Policy, Regulation and Enforcement
💣 Elsewhere in Latam
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🕵️♀️Trending Coins in Brazil
Baby Doge Coin, Sweatcoin and Bitcoin are the top trending cryptocurrencies in Brazil as of October 10, per crypto data site CoinGecko. If you want to learn more about how this data is aggregated, please check out my recent podcast episode with CoinGecko COO Bobby Ong 🎉
🗞Brazil Crypto News Rundown
Crypto adoption by institutional and TradFi players in Brazil has reached the point of no return, argues a Valor Investe article that extensively interviews representatives from BTG Pactual, Genial, XP, Nubank more.
Foxbit launched its Foxbit Pro platform aimed at professional traders. The crypto-to-crypto product will open first to a beta group but will soon roll out to other markets in Latin America such as Argentina and Mexico. It will feature 24/7 customer service and 318 tradable currencies on the platform. Foxbit received an investment of R$110m (US$21.1m) earlier this year from OKG Ventures, the investment arm of OKX. Founder João Canhada commented:
“We are going to bring a higher quality product with features that have long been desired by global traders who were looking for this solution in a brand they trust.” (Valor)
The number of individuals who reported crypto transactions tripled in August over the prior year period to the highest number ever. 1.3 million unique CPFs reported crypto transactions to the Receita Federal for the month, roughly 75 percent more than August 2021. The total reported volume, however, was down to R$11bn (US$2.1bn) from R$16.5bn (US$3.7bn) in August of last year. (InfoMoney) (Valor) (Portal do Bitcoin)
Henrique Meirelles, former Finance Minister and Central Bank president turned Binance advisor, defended bitcoin as a payment method while ruling out the possibility of occupying a post in a potential Lula government - emphasising that “my focus is on Binance and not the government.” He also highlighted that Binance is aggressively implementing money laundering and terrorist funding prevention mechanisms across its platform.
“My idea now is to stay in the private sector, I have no plans to go to the public sector. I do not believe in working in the public and private sector at the same time, as the state demands absolute concentration and total focus, avoiding any conflict of interest.” (Valor)
At a dinner event with entrepreneurs and businessmen in São Paulo, Meirelles suggested that there will be multiple currencies in Brazil - the Digital Real plus various cryptocurrencies - living under a single regulatory scheme. He told Crypto Times:
“The tendency is that it [BC] does not have a monopoly on this precisely because of the characteristics of the digital currency. What we will have now are different currencies, the private ones and the Real Digital. Today, by law, it is mandatory that transactions in Brazil are made in reais. The trend is for this to end….The idea is that we have several currencies. All in one regulation.”
Brazilians purchased R$71 billion worth of US dollar-pegged stablecoins this year through August, which is 95 percent of the figure for the entire year of 2021, per data from Receita Federal. (InfoMoney)
Trust Wallet, which is owned by Binance and functions as a Metamask rival, has enabled fiat crypto purchases via Pix. The three payment providers facilitating the Pix onramp include Moonpay, Simplex and Transak. The announcement reads:
“We are pleased to announce that we have integrated with Pix, a Brazilian payment method that is supported by various crypto payment providers on the Trust Wallet app. This allows users in Brazil to easily and instantly buy cryptocurrencies directly from Trust Wallet.” (InfoMoney) (Portal do Bitcoin) (The Block)
Crypto exchange Gate.io is now allowing PIX deposits to its platform via a partnership with fiat onramp Simplex. However, the integration does not yet allow withdrawals of BRL. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Crypto’s correlation with TradFi risk assets will eventually break as more sophisticated investors enter the space, Hashdex CEO Marcelo Sampaio said in an interview with Exame.
“The adoption came from the traditional financial market. People are still learning, turning positions, and have a strong memory of crypto market behavior as a risky asset, thinking less about fundamentals,”
In an interview with Valor Economico, CEO Beibei Liu emphasized that she isn’t concerned about Binance’s dominance in the country and emphasized that NovaDAX’s low fees, tradable token selection and focus on compliance will allow the exchange to remain competitive.
"We don't see Binance as number one. They are competitors, of course, but their strategy is very different. We started as a local company, regulated in Brazil. They continue to be a global company that does business here."
Digitra.com and Phemex enabled Pix deposits for their respective platforms. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Morgan Stanley identifies Hashdex’s HASH11 as the third largest cryptocurrency ETF in the world in terms of inflows. The product has more than R$1bn in assets under management. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Mynt, BTG Pactual’s new crypto platform, added three new cryptos for trading - Chainlink, Polygon and USDC. (Exame)
Banco Central President Roberto Campos Neto said that private banks will be able to issue their own stablecoins under the Digital Real regime in what will essentially be a public-private partnership model. He said, per Valor Investe:
“Banks will create stablecoins on top of deposits. And these stablecoins will be guaranteed by the Central Bank, one to one, in a digital currency. So you will have stablecoins from bank A, B and C, all are fusible, all have same value and all can be converted into the digital currency issued by the Central Bank."
The objective, Campos Neto said, of this mechanism is to “generate tokenization movement” without the Digital Real affecting banks’ balance sheets. The comments came in response to other regulators’ comments about limiting conversion of physical currency to digital - which he doesn’t consider a good solution.
"It's a question that to this day has not been well answered. We already have a system that does this at a non-digital level, which is the STR [Reservation Transfer System]. Basically what you would do is add a new layer of STR settlement in the digital world. I already have deposit regulation, so it saves me a lot of time in terms of having to make a new regulation."
Countries around the world, including the Bank for International Settlements, are seeking to replicate Brazil’s Pix instant payments network. BIS is reportedly testing a similar system that would allow for transactions across 60 countries, while blockchain networks like Stellar are angling to create a “global Pix” solution. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Binance’s office announcement prompted a debate between YouTubers about whether the broker would now need to begin to start reporting clients’ transactions to the Receita Federal - per Normative Instruction 1888. Binance responded in a note to Portal do Bitcoin:
“Each citizen has the responsibility to collect their taxes in accordance with the determinations of the Brazilian tax authorities, making sure to inform themselves with an accountant/tax consultant. Binance does not offer tax or financial advisory services.
Crypto payments unicorn Moonpay announced a sponsorship of the Flamengo football club, inclusive of an NFT series devoted to the club. Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed. Moonpay CEO Ivan Soto-Wright commented:
“The penetration of the crypto market in Brazil is twice that of the United States. We want to show everyone the experiences we can offer to this audience.” (Valor)
Hathor, a Layer 1 blockchain founded by Brazilians, reached US$17.8m in capitalization amid partnerships with Vórtx and QR Capital, as well as 9Block - a content creation studio founded by YouTube influencer Felipe Neto. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Tokenization startup Liqi will pay R$400,000 (US$76,000) to holders of its Coritiba Football Club token. The payouts are linked to FIFA’s Solidarity Mechanism whereby the club that develops a player receives a portion of future earnings. In this case, the payouts are tied to the transfer of Dodô from Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk to Italy’s Fiorentina for 18 million euros. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Bitcoin education program AfroBit_lab graduated 25 students from its inaugural cohort. The initiative is a partnership between Paxful and Instituto Guetto designed to provide bitcoin education to underserved communities in Brazil, and it looks to expand with new cohorts later this year. To learn more about this program please check out my podcast episode with Renata Rodrigues of Paxful. (BeinCrypto) (Portal do Bitcoin)
PicPay, the fintech giant which recently launched a crypto platform, enabled trading of two new cryptos on its platform - Litecoin and Matic, in addition to bitcoin, ether and USDP. (CriptoFacil) (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Comments by Paulo Guedes, Brazil’s Minister of Economy, during a recent interview on Flow Podcast about blockchain’s ability to allow full and unrestricted tracking of financial movements caused consternation among privacy advocates. (CoinTelegraph Brasil) (Livecoins) (Portal do Bitcoin)
The Digital Real will not end Pix once it becomes full operational, a Banco Central technology official emphasized. Rather, Aristides Andrade Cavalcante Neto, deputy head of the BC’s Information Technology Department, noted that the two platforms are complementary and seek to solve different problems, where Pix takes on a digital form based on bank reserves. “The digital real is going to take that one step further towards a more digital, decentralized economy,” he said in remarks at a conference hosted by ABFintechs. (Exame) (InfoMoney)
Speaking at the same event, Rodrigoh Henriques - director of innovation at Fenasbac, a trade group representing large banks, pushed back on the notion that the Digital Real would be used as means to control the population, as in China. He emphasized that there are no signs that the BC is taking this approach:
“The question is not what the government wants to do with it, but what we want to do with it…Brazilians are not Chinese, they do not accept a level of monetary interference like that of China.” (BlockNews)
Fabio Araújo, the director of the Digital Real project, made similar remarks about the CBDC at the Latin American Congress on Education and Financial Inclusion. Specifically, he added color about how Digital Real is looking to leverage decentralized finance primitives and apply them to the mainstream economy:
When you look today at the services that are available within the decentralized finance (DeFi) environment, they are very focused only on reproducing the cryptocurrency environment. The BC wants these technologies to be used for more traditional financial products, to move resources within the real economy, to finance economic activity, to bring these services to small and medium-sized companies and for people's day-to-day use.”
The Santos fan token was listed on Poloniex, leading to a 9% appreciation in just 24 hours. (Livecoins)
Distrito Federal Metro passengers can now purchase tickets with cryptocurrency via debit card through a new partnership with Mastercard. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Hyperledger-based enterprise blockchain startup GoLedger was one of 23 winners of the Petrobras Connections for Innovation Program. (BlockNews)
St. Paul’s Pub, a bar in the Pinheiros neighborhood of São Paulo, enabled cryptocurrency payments via a partnership with Bitso Brasil. (BlockNews)
🎮 NFTs, Gaming and Metaverse
Flamengo, the Rio de Janeiro football club, is launching an NFT card game via a partnership with Futster. The Polygon-based game will feature online matches and “cards” as rewards for victories and also includes Santos, Avaí, Atlético Goianiense as participants. (BeinCrypto) (CoinTelegraph Brasil) (Exame)
Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin has joined the board of BAYZ, the Brazilian play-to-earn gaming guild and publisher. He commented in a statement:
“Acting to expand the gaming culture and innovating in the ways of consuming games is the challenge that moves my career. Joining the BAYZ team means, for me, to continue exploring the potential of an industry that continues to grow.” (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Dux Cripto, the Brazilian crypto gaming startup, is rolling out NFT gaming tournaments with more than R$2,000 (US$385) in weekly prizes. (CriptoFacil)
An NFT version of Picasso’s “Fumeur V” painting, nicknamed “The Burnt Picasso” will be hosted in a Brazilian metaverse hosted by NFT fractionalization startup NFTFY. (Exame)
The PurpleCats digital bank is launching a 10,000 piece NFT collection in Brazil called Dream with 95 percent of proceeds going toward social projects. (BeinCrypto)
Banco do Brasil announced its first investment in the metaverse, an experience called BraBlox within Roblox designed at providing financial education to children and teenagers. (Portal do Bitcoin) (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Former footballer turned Senator Romário is launching an NFT gallery in Florianpolis. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
Sebastião Salgado, considered to be the greatest ever Brazilian photographer, is launching a collection of photos in NFT format. (CriptoFacil)
MCO2, a carbon credit token issued by Brazilian startup Moss, surged in popularity among Ethereum whales. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
NFT startup Rough Diamonds announced a launch of 300 NFT passes for World Cup football games via a partnership with Crypto.com. (Crypto Times)
São Paulo startup Mobiup launched the beta version of its NFT driven loyalty program. (Exame)
ZCore announced a 100 percent Brazilian-developed metaverse project called ZCore City. It will allow players to connect their Metamask wallets and make in-game purchases using cryptocurrencies.
🏛 Public Policy, Regulation and Enforcement
Cellular operators Claro and Tim are accusing Binance of leaving security loopholes that can are be exploited by scammers, while holding the operators responsible for thefts. (Portal do Bitcoin)
João Pedro Nascimento, the new CVM president, reiterated that he intends to create an “adequate” and “non-invasive” regulatory environment for cryptoassets and that "the cryptoeconomy cannot be seen as something negative; it is a revolution". The comments came at an event promoted by ABFintechs. He also said that he aspires to use new technologies like blockchain to modernize the agency. (Exame) (InfoMoney) (Valor)
Federal Police in Brazil dismantled a gang involved in operating a bitcoin pyramid scheme that reportedly led to R$30m (US$5.8m) in investor losses. Operation Technikós, as it is called, targeted a conglomerate (name was not disclosed) of 15 companies based in Santa Catarina and São Paulo that operated the scheme between 2017 and 2020. Vehicles, documents, cell phones, jewelry and passports were seized in the raids. (CoinTelegraph Brasil) (Valor Investe)
Vinicius Poit, a governor candidate for São Paulo, promoted the idea of using blockchain technology for tracking amendments in a recent debate. (Livecoins)
The Banco Central regulation director Otávio Damaso said that fully decentralized financial markets are ultimately unfeasible. He expects crypto entities to eventually give up decentralization in favor of more integration with the traditional finance system, and that the tokenization and digitization process will begin by complying with the existing regulatory framework and growing from there. He stated:
"In the area of 100% decentralized finance, you can even have small things working, but when you go to scale, if you don't have controls, things don't grow. The crypto world was born to challenge the 'status quo' and today it wants regulation to scale."(CoinTelegraph Brasil) (Valor Investe)
“Pharaoh of Bitcoins” and GAS Consultoria founder Glaidson Acacio dos Santos received 38,000 votes for federal deputy despite being imprisoned and having his candidacy blocked by electoral authorities. If he had earned enough votes to win, the matter would have been referred to the Superior Electoral Tribunal. (Livecoins) (Portal do Bitcoin) (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
The database of Sport Club do Recife supporters was hacked by criminals who are now using the information to blackmail members in exchange for bitcoin. The hackers have already received at least R$10,000 blackmail payments. (Portal do Bitcoin)
The Banco de Brasilia, which is mainly controlled by the Federal District government, was the victim of a ransomware attack in which the hackers are asking for a payment of 50 bitcoins in exchange for not leaking customer information. (Portal do Bitcoin)
Brazil’s flirtations with a blockchain-based voting system continue to gain momentum. (Crypto Times)
💣Elsewhere in Latam
FTX is expanding its debit card partnership with Visa to include 40 countries outside of the United States. Latin America will be a big emphasis, although no specific countries were identified. The card will allow users to directly spend crypto funds while making purchases. It first introduced the product in the US nine months ago. (Decrypt) (The Block) (CNBC)
Paraguay’s Senate has overturned a presidential veto of legislation that would allow bitcoin mining and create a licensing framework for crypto businesses. The bill, which was vetoed by President Mario Abdo Benitez last month on the grounds of high energy consumption, lack of supervision and volatility, now returns to the Chamber of Deputies. The veto is a major win for bitcoin miners and other stakeholders in the country, which has an abundance of cheap hydroelectric energy generated by the Itaipu Binacional Hydroelectric Power Plant. (Portal do Bitcoin) (Livecoins)
YPF, Argentina’s state-owned energy company, is supplying power to a 1 megawatt crypto mining facility in the south of the country and plans to launch a second project eight times larger by the end of the year. The facility will use electricity generated via natural gas flaring. YPF CEO Martin Mandarano told a local news outlet:
“We started to develop this generation pilot for cryptocurrency mining with a vision of sustainability and business from flare natural gas, which cannot be harnessed during exploration and at the beginning of the production of an oil field.” (CoinDesk)
El Salvador President Nayib Bukele penned a Bitcoin Magazine op-ed pushing back fiercely against critics alleging that the country’s bitcoin experiment is a failure.
Bitcoin miner FMI Minecraft raised R$10m (US$1.9m) from Brazilian asset manager New Asset to invest in a mining operation run out of the Zapala Free Zone in northwest Argentina. The firm was founded by bitcoin mining veteran John Blount. The project has been met with some criticism, however, due to its projected energy usage. (Valor) (BeinCripto)
Softbank’s Vision Fund laid off 10 people in Latin America, 18 percent of its total staff in the region. The cuts come after the venture arm reported a US$21.6 billion loss in August. Still, Softbank is keen to continue investing in Latam but is finding it difficult as startups aren’t looking to raise at current low valuations. (Bloomberg Linea)
Argentine UFC fighter Guido Cannetti will receive 100% of his salary in USDC stablecoins through a partnership with Bitwage. (Portal do Bitcoin)
Samsung Latin America is opening its own space in the Decentraland metaverse called “House of SAM”. (Livecoins)
A Solana developer was reportedly robbed upon arriving in Bogota, Colombia or Devcon. (Livecoins)
Latin America is the third-largest region in the world in terms of crypto usage and is growing by 40% annually in terms of transaction volume, according to a Chainalysis report. The region is only surpassed by North America and the Middle East. (CriptoFacil) (Exame)
The treasurer of South Carolina took an “exploratory trip” to El Salvador to learn about bitcoin adoption and financial education in the country. (CoinTelegraph Brasil)
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