Category Archives: Colombia

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Colombia’s New President Has Big Plans for Blockchain

Newly-elected president of Colombia Ivan Duque has outlined his desire to turn the country into a leader in technology on the global stage, with an emphasis on harnessing blockchain to fight corruption.

President Duque has said the official focus of the government will now be directed towards issues relating to digital society, with blockchain linked to the plan by being utilized in helping increase the transparency of public expenditure.

One specific policy he plans to implement is a tax exemption for the information and communications technologies sector for their first five years should they employ enough staff, something that could encourage new blockchain-related startups. The government has also organized the INNOVA blockchain research group to find ways to protect citizens utilizing the technology.

The new Colombian leader comes from a background in technology and business rather than politics, which some consider a beneficial change while others have criticized his lack of experience. His work history includes time at the Inter-American Development Bank, the largest source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Following a regional trend

In June, Senator Antonio Navarro Wolff of the Green Alliance said that blockchain technology had the potential to change the lives of Colombians. He highlighted its use cases in administration, protection of rights, electoral legitimacy and transparency, and management of public services, to name just a few.

Senator Wolff went on to explain the basics of cryptocurrency transactions to the Senate committee, and how blockchain enables the transactions to alternative wallets. He applauded that ease and nearly costless nature at which this can be achieved compared to the difficulties in making international bank transactions.

A lack of regulation in Colombia was cited by the senator as problematic; without comprehensive laws, there are no ways to prohibit illicit activities such as tax evasion or sale of illegal goods.


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Brazil to Receive 1,000 Multi-Crypto Point of Sales Terminals

Brazil is set to receive 1,000 point of sale (POS) terminals that can accept multiple cryptocurrencies as payment.

Indonesian POS terminal suppliers Pundi X Labs have finalized a deal with Brazilian company BitCapital that will see 1,000 X POS devices distributed to hundreds of retail outlets, according to a joint press release. BitCapital states one of its main goals as creating an infrastructure network that can make cryptocurrency to fiat transactions as straightforward as is achievable.

Pundi X recently established headquarters in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with this being the company’s second distribution deal; 1,000 X POS units are also planned to be distributed in Colombia over a period of six months. Recent trends of Bitcoin adoption in South America indicate there is a growing market for the cryptocurrencies, with a growing number of retailers accepting cryptocurrency payments surely welcome to those living across the continent.

Zac Cheah, CEO and co-founder of Pundi X described the region as quickly gaining a reputation as being central for cryptocurrency adoption, calling Brazil, in particular, an ”ideal point of entry”, saying the demand from merchants has validated the company’s decision to expand into South America.

Ricardo Guimaraes Filho, founder of BitCapital believes there is still a lot of room for cryptocurrency to develop in Brazil. “Brazil and Sao Paulo lead on every metric when it comes to traditional finance and tech in South America. Yet, crypto lags unaccountably behind,” he said, blaming an anti-crypto attitude from banks as the real problem hindering adoption.

A positive move for South America

Getting 1,000 POS terminals active in retail outlets across Brazil and Colombia respectively is certainly a step in assisting adoption across the continent as residents are given more ways to spend their cryptocurrency funds on a day-to-day basis.

Bitcoin News recently spoke to Bitcoin Venezuela founder Randy Brito who described one of the main struggles of Bitcoin adoption in Venezuela as the lack of proper tools stopping citizens even having cryptocurrency wallets. One of the projects his non-profit is working on includes creating cheap devices that can be kept in every house and shop, working on their own network rather than relying on Wifi, that can be used for instant Bitcoin sales or exchanges.

While POS terminals are a good option for the more affluent regions of South America, it is perhaps not the most accessible way for the regions that suffer from a harsher economic climate as many people cannot afford to have and keep smart devices with them. A combined approach may be the best way to assist wide-scale adoption on the developing continent.


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Buda Cryptocurrency Exchange Loses All of Its Colombian Bank Accounts

The Buda cryptocurrency exchange has lost all of its bank accounts in Colombia, effectively disabling its cryptocurrency operations in the South American nation. Bancolombia, BBVA, and Davivienda simultaneously closed Buda’s bank accounts on 7 June 2018.

The Financial Supervisor of Colombia sent out a letter in February indicating that cryptocurrency exchanges in Colombia were under surveillance and that banks are not authorized to facilitate any cryptocurrency activity. The CEO of Buda in Colombia, Alejandro Beltran, said that he thought this letter was a recommendation and the banks had no official obligation to comply. However, the wording in the letter is very strong, and Colombian banks are now clearly complying.

Buda has also been experiencing similar issues in Chile. Banks in Chile attempted to close down accounts associated with all cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the country, but there was a successful legal challenge and Chile’s anti-monopoly court ordered banks to re-open Buda’s accounts. This success is only a temporary order while the case is ongoing.

Buda is a cryptocurrency exchange that primarily facilitates Bitcoin trading, but also has Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin functionality. Buda is available in Colombia, Chile, Argentina, and Peru. It is obviously very bad news for the exchange that 2 of the 4 countries it operates in are attacking its access to bank accounts, which are essential to facilitate fiat to cryptocurrency trading.

On the upside, even if Buda were to be completely banned in Colombia and Chile it would still be able to operate in Argentina and Peru.

The Colombian senate held a debate on the same day Buda’s bank accounts were closed, and they stated that cryptocurrency and blockchain technology could change the lives of Colombians. They said blockchain could make elections more secure and transparent and help manage public services.

It is surprising that the Buda cryptocurrency exchange lost its bank accounts on the same day that the Colombian senate said such positive things regarding cryptocurrency and blockchain, but it just goes to show that there are many different organizations in any given country’s government, and these organizations often have opposing views.

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