Category Archives: Brazil

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Bitcoin Comes with Advantages Says Brazilian Presidential Candidate

Brazilian presidential candidate for the upcoming October elections in that country João Amoêdo has recently expressed pro Bitcoin views.

Amoêdo’s Brazil New Party aims for the privatization of public enterprises like Petrobras, Central Bank of Brazil and Banco do Brasil. Although the party supports welfare programs like Bolsa Família, it aims to privatize the public health system and public education. The state would give vouchers for health and education to people who couldn’t afford it, according to Wikipedia.

In terms of the country’s financial system, the party opposes extensive regulation in many aspects of Brazilian society. They believe the central bank should be independent of the state. When asked about cryptocurrency, Amoêdo said that Bitcoin comes with “advantages.” On the development of blockchain in Brazil, he was particularly upbeat about its place in the country’s economy.

“I see the blockchain as a protocol that increases the reliability and integrity of the data. There are obvious applications, such as for interbank transfers or to register as a notary. Another, not so commented, is to use the blockchain to follow the productive chain of products…. We could follow every step of the production chain of a product, ensuring less bureaucracy and more intelligence.”

When quizzed whether he thought that Cryptocurrency’s had a role in a new Brazil and whether it might be used as legal tender, he responded:

“As a means of payment, I see no doubts that bitcoin can be understood as a legal payment method. If both parties want to exchange a product via bitcoin… I do not see any legal barriers to doing so” adding:

“I do not think they are a threat to the traditional banking system. I see advantages in providing another means of payment for consumers,”

With a population of nearly 200 million and the largest economy in Latin America, Brazil is a significant economic force, and an increase in the adoption of cryptocurrency use would certainly have an impact under a liberal government, which on the whole tend to be more favorable towards crypto. It’s hard to say what stance Amoêdo would take regarding the sector if he becomes the new Brazilian president in October.  Like any other politician, he would want to be seen as a staunch supporter of the country’s national currency, the real, which is tightly pegged to the US dollar. On this he commented:

“But it must be clear that the country has only one national currency, one that has a legal course, that is, the one that people are obliged to accept, the real. No other currency, including the dollar, has this characteristic. Only the real. In addition, there are restrictions on the use of the dollar for payments and as a currency of account, which are the same for any other foreign currency, including crypto-coins.”

He suggests that governments must be made aware of the public’s assets held on-line as the internet shouldn’t become a “tax haven.”

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Universities Getting Clever with New Blockchain Courses

Despite Bitcoin’s current downturn, universities are increasingly opening up educational projects for blockchain technology reports Econotimes, with the number of universities and educational facilities running blockchain and cryptocurrency courses growing as financial markets expand and absorb more blockchain-related products.

There are now many opportunities for blockchain developers but clearly not enough skilled technicians to fill these gaps. Toptal, a marketplace for hiring tech talent, has recorded a 700% increase in demand for blockchain developers since January 2017. These positions can be well paid. According to Jerry Cuomo, VP of IBM’s blockchain technologies division, the best blockchain developers can command a salary above USD 250,000.

There are have been some early starters; institutions offering courses in digital information systems, the blockchain, and cryptocurrency. In the US, the Northeastern University College of Engineering in Boston and George Mason University in Virginia run courses in blockchain technology as part of other advanced educational postgraduate Science programs.  The University of Cape Town now offers a cryptocurrency and fintech elective module as part of its wider Data Science Masters program.

In Scotland, the University of Sterling – as part of its Financial Technology Masters program, offers participants a primer to blockchain technology, which includes cryptocurrencies, decentralized applications, smart contracts, and applications and case studies.

What is changing now is the way in which blockchain hard forks and other cryptocurrency specifics are taking the technology in directions which also require new specialized skills.

Professor David Yermack from NYC Stern School of Business was an early teacher of blockchain and crypto tech on the university’s MBA program suggests business schools will have to update their curricula due to the rapid rate in which the markets are moving. His current class has doubled over the past year and lessons are conducted at a larger auditorium because of the recent surge of student applications.

In the UK, Garrick Hileman, a research associate and lecturer at the University of Cambridge and the first to develop a blockchain graduate course, said other departments including finance and law are now jumping on the blockchain educational bandwagon. “It wouldn’t surprise me to see some turf wars break out over who owns the blockchain curriculum at business schools,” comments Hileman.

Blockchain training and education is needed in many sectors now and is not simply limited to IT and finance. Even cattle farming has branched into the new tech. Take Bonita Carlson of Persson cattle Ranch in Wyoming who’s trying to create a worldwide-link-of-cattle supply chain, so that electronically tagged cattle can be on an immutable ledger verifying their free-range farming credentials.

From farming to health, the need for more blockchain specialists is clearly on the rise., and it appears that universities are now catching up with the market’s surge of new uses for the burgeoning tech across all sectors.


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Brazil Accepts Crypto Payments For Cross-Country Transportation

Two Brazilian public transportation companies Viação Garcia and Brasil Sul have become the first of their kind in the country to offer a cryptocurrency payment option. Both bus companies are owned by GSB Group.

Currently, just Bitcoin is accepted, although the buisnesses are looking to expand into offering Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin payment options by July.

How it works

To choose the cryptocurrency payment method, customers must use the online pre-pay service. They are required to open their person online wallets and scan a code that appears on the screen. Viação Garcia or Brasil Sul will then email a voucher to the customer as payment confirmation.

The bus services offer trips between major metropolitan regions for both urban, and semi-urban areas. Additional options offered include sightseeing trips for clubs, schools, companies, unions, religious groups, as well as general private hire events.

Speaking on the crypto-payment adoption, GSB Group Vice President Estefano Boiko Jr. noted: “Many of the economic and commercial operations are migrating to the digital world, and in the road passenger transport segment it’s no different.”

Mass-adoption milestone

The move is being praised as a significant step in the goal of bringing cryptocurrencies into the mainstream. Brazil’s last population census accounted for nearly 208 million people, a hugely significant market should cryptocurrency payment options be adopted by alternative public transport service providers.

In 2017, Brazilian cryptocurrency exchanges accounted for USD 2.5 billion in Bitcoin, particularly notable considering an estimated 60 million people in Brazil do not have access to a ‘traditional’ bank account.

The adoption of cryptocurrency method by GSB Group is also indicative of a larger, global trend in modernising public transport services. Brisk Pass, a German initiative, offers an international blockchain-based system for recording public transport transactions.

Smart contracts allow members of the wallet to use public transportation located all over the world without purchasing tickets with fiat currencies, as they purchase the native BriskCoin token to make their purchases on the platform.

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South America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 1st to 7th June 2018

South America

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.


Police attempt to steal $15,000 in Bitcoin from Bitcoin miner: Venezuela’s police has continued its crackdown against cryptocurrency traders and miners with one miner reporting that the local police tried to steal USD 15,000 worth of cryptocurrencies from him, according to local news.

Venezuela is in the midst of an economic crisis right now with the total outstanding foreign debt hovering around USD 141 billion according to latest figures by Moody’s Investor Service. The government has virtually been in default since last November with inflation hitting record levels around 13,000%, rendering the local currency worthless.

Many Venezuelans see cryptocurrencies as a means of survival against the crushing inflation and mining is gaining popularity but the government under President Nicholas Maduro is banking on its cryptocurrency Petro and is bent on eliminating the competition from the local market to increase the appeal of the currency.

According to Bloomberg, a Venezuelan businessman reported that the police raided his house and tried to extort USD 15,000 from him, threatening to take away all of his mining equipment and the mined cryptocurrencies with them. Eventually, the Venezuelan had to gather his belongings and make way to the Colombian border.

Government bans import of crypto miners: The Venezuelan customs has reportedly outlawed ASICs and GPU mining equipment and is confiscating everything it can fin,d according to latest reports from the beleaguered South American nation.

Cryptocurrencies have been banned in the restive country following the government’s audacious decision to launch its own oil-backed state cryptocurrency Petromoneda. While Petro has failed to gain international recognition, other cryptocurrencies are being adopted by local populace but the government is now fighting back and initiating sweeping crackdowns.


Exchange banned in China enters Brazil: Huobi cryptocurrency exchange has opened a new office in Sao Paulo with an intention to enter this big Brazilian market, according to Coindesk. The move marks one of many new entrants to the local market as the cryptocurrency boom engulfs the biggest South American nation.

Huobi was officially founded in China but once the cryptocurrency trading was completely banned by the Chinese government, Huobi moved to other parts of the world, with Brazil a realistic target. Other cryptocurrency exchanges may also open their offices in the country following government bans in other parts of the world.


Bitcoin non-profits creating awareness on crypto: After the government announced an intention to open thousands of crypto ATMs across the country, two Bitcoin non-profits are engaging in a mass campaign to spread knowledge about cryptocurrencies, according to CoinTelegraph reports.

The two non-profits, Bitcoin Argentina and Bitcoin Americana, are touring the rural areas of the country to spread knowledge of cryptocurrencies and their incredible usefulness among the larger population that may have missed the crypto revolution due to remote locations.

According to local news source Infobae, the movement has been christened as “Bitcoineta” by both the startups, which means “Bitcoin van” in Spanish, because their movement involves a Bitmobile of sorts touring each village and spreading information. The ‘Bitmobile’ is equipped with a projector and other multimedia to help in the presentations to the local populace.

The Bitcoin movement has been greeted with enthusiasm across the country as it battles chronic inflation. Investing in cryptocurrencies is seen as a way to conserve the value of money in the hands of Argentinians like other areas experiencing hyperinflation.

Argentina declared top destination for tourists aiming to pay in Bitcoin: Software developer turned traveler Felix Weiss has toured the world with only Bitcoin in his wallet and has rated Argentina among other countries as one of the top places for tourists who are willing to use popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether.

Some airlines have started accepting payment in cryptocurrencies. Shopping has especially become easier as more and more businesses start accepting cryptocurrencies, according to Weiss.

A Bitcoin ATM is often seen as a last resort and Argentina is close to becoming a leader in Bitcoin ATMs shortly with over 30,000 machines planned.


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Huobi Crypto Exchange Enters Brazil

The Huobi cryptocurrency exchange has set up an office in Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo, and has announced its intent to enter the Brazilian market, according to an interview with Coindesk.

Employees from Huobi were seen distributing their cards and talking to well-known industry leaders at a local cryptocurrency event in Sao Paulo. On LinkedIn, Huobi is seeking to hire staff for their Brazilian office including a chief compliance officer who is responsible for preventing money laundering and fraud, and a digital marketing manager who is supposed to develop Huobi’s brand in Brazil.

This expansion into the Brazilian market follows China’s cryptocurrency trading ban last year; Huobi was originally founded and headquartered in Beijing, China. Three of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in China were forced to close after the ban, a major hit to the global cryptocurrency market.

Huobi has not only opened an office in Brazil, it has opened offices in the United States and Canada and moved its headquarters to Singapore. Clearly, Huobi has used the Chinese cryptocurrency trading ban as an impetus to spread across the world.

Huobi is one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, with USD 1.2 billion of trading volume in the past day comprising 10% of Bitcoin’s total volume. Only Binance and OKEx had more trading volume than Huobi in the same period but were within a few hundred thousand dollars of Huobi’s volume.

The volume of the main exchanges in Brazil is equivalent to only 0.265% of Huobi’s volume. Huobi will provide a massive amount of liquidity to the Brazilian cryptocurrency market, leading to lower cryptocurrency prices and increased trading. Also, fees on Huobi are 0.2%, half that of Brazilian cryptocurrency exchanges.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, EOS, and Huobi Token are the main cryptocurrencies traded on Huobi, but in total there are 224 cryptocurrencies listed on the exchange providing a multitude of trading opportunities.


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Bitcoin Could Be a Brazilian Bureaucracy Breaker

Cryptocurrency can promote entrepreneurship and social justice, writes Ruairi Luke McCallan in Hacker Noon, and this is no more evident than in Brazil.

The Brazilian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain (ABCB) was launched in São Paulo last week with the aim of increasing the debate around digital currencies with the government. Bitcoin News reported recently that Febraban, the Brazilian Federation of Banks with 126 associated members, has now published tests of its research into blockchain technology. A survey conducted by Febraban in 2017, found that 65% of industry executives in Brazil said their businesses are currently studying blockchain implementation. The digital direction appears to be forward thinking.

Such moves are progressive, but McCallan argues that it seems that the “free-flowing nature of Brazilian soccer or salsa dancing” doesn’t translate into the country’s economic policy. Often cited as an economy on the rise, Brazil is one of the most corrupt and economically controlling governments in Latin America, ranking 153rd in the world for economic freedom, according to new Heritage Foundation think tank study. Also, both former and current presidents are facing charges of economic corruption and mismanagement.

The decentralized nature of Bitcoin and blockchain is currently allowing some Brazilians to avoid and circumvent prohibitive lengthy government legislation and over-regulation. New technology allows some traders, consumers and business owners to upload encrypted documents backed by blockchain, thereby avoiding lengthy verification processes.

Writing in Valuewalk, Brazilian author and Youtube star Raphaël Lima laments: “Brazil needs Bitcoin… According to a study by Credit Suisse, Brazil’s productivity has not risen since 1981, and it’s not going to rise if the government keeps banning everything that can make us more productive.”

It appears that the Brazilian government is listening. The new ABCB agency, which was started by a fintech Atlas Project, has said that it wants to lead projects based on global cryptocurrency and blockchain advances. ABCB’s management believes that the lack of a legal framework is the main barrier towards Brazil’s further progress in crypto space, and with the World Cup and Brazilian presidential elections imminent, no quick fix is expected.

With a wait of 83 days or more for a business permit for anyone wishing to do business in Brazil, it appears that the government isn’t in a hurry.


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Brazil University to Launch Bitcoin Masters Program

Sao Paulo university Fundacao Getulio Vargas (FGV) has announced that it is to offer a Masters Degree in Cryptofinance as part of its program in order to “prepare students for the coming era of digital currencies”.

FGV’s new Masters’ program is a reflection of Brazil’s forward thinking approach to new developments in the financial global market. The university’s program officer, Ricardo Rochman, regards the move as an important one towards training professionals as “leaders” in Brazil’s start-up ecosystem. Rochman claims that the current market suffers from a lack of expertise and that economic and financial fundamentals need to be both researched and taught so that cryptofinance can move ahead.

The Faculty of Economics and Administration at the University of Sao Paulo (FEA-USP) is also embracing the new technologies, adding a Cryptocurrencies module to its Derivatives course. In this module, students can learn about Bitcoin and how markets react in the cryptocurrency environment. Alan de Genaro, a professor at the faculty, made the decision to run the course because future professionals “need to decipher which factors are beneficial and which are not”.

The education market, through major universities around the globe, is beginning to embrace the need for further research and teaching programs with regard to blockchain technology. New York University began offering one of the first classes on the subject in 2014. Other top Universities, such as Duke, Cornell and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are now offering a range of crypto courses. Stanford and Princeton Universities also offer courses on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

In Russia, some major universities have added courses to existing programs on banking, finance and financial markets. Saint Petersburg State University of Economics and Moscow’s Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) both run blockchain technology courses.

With cryptocurrency’s growing popularity, Bitcoin ‘labs’ are increasingly being introduced at universities around the world. Students enrolling for Edinburgh University‘s new course, Blockchains and Ledgers, will be required to build their own blockchain in a course aimed at fourth-year undergraduates and first-year masters students.


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