Brazil is becoming one of the most interesting countries for the cryptocurrency sector, which in the large South American country seems to have found many admirers, both among the less affluent class and wealthy investors. Proof of this is that the country’s largest digital currency exchange, Mercado Bitcoin, with 5 billion transacted, tripled its 2020 volumes in the first six months of the year alone. Colombia and Argentina are also posting record numbers related to cryptocurrency trading.
US giant Visa opens up to cryptocurrencies in Brazil
And it is precisely on the basis of this data that large financial institutions are moving to meet the needs of citizens. A few days ago Visa, the American credit card giant, said that it is about to launch some cryptocurrency services for its Brazilian customers.
From what we can learn from company sources, Visa is planning to launch a direct cryptocurrency payment system for customers of traditional banks in the country.
According to initial rumours, Visa is in talks with some of the country’s major institutions, such as Zro Bank, Alterbank and Ripio, to issue crypto credit cards. The exact timing for the implementation of such a service is not yet known, although the company’s CEO in Brazil, Fernando Teles, had said in March that the company would probably launch a service related to cryptocurrency payments by the end of the year.
“The company has plans to develop applications (APIs) to unite traditional banks with cryptographic products. In this way, it would be possible to make investments in cryptocurrencies and ETFs within banking platforms with no intermediates”, said Eduardo Abreu, executive vice president of Visa Brazil, in an interview a few days ago with a Brazilian financial newspaper.
The company’s manager claimed also that Visa was also interested in developing projects related to NFTs, without adding further details on the matter
The cryptocurrency boom in Brazil
When Ripple decided to establish a South American office at the beginning of the year, the choice inevitably fell on Brazil, a country that has seen the cryptocurrency market grow exponentially over the past two years.
The country’s leading cryptocurrency exchange Mercado Bitcoin (with over 2.8 million customers in the country), after raising a $200 million funding round from Softbank in early July, has surpassed $1 billion in capitalization and become one of the fastest-growing unicorns in Brazil’s history.
The latest Global Digital Report by Hootsuite and We Are Social on the digital world, reveals that Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world in terms of cryptocurrency holders. Furthermore, according to data from the research company emarketer, around 80% of those who own a smartphone also use it to access their bank account. According to Next web, Brazil has the seventh-largest number of cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. The CEO of Ripio, an Argentinian exchange, which has been operating in Brazil since 2016 said that since November 2020 they have seen volume and customer growth of around 10% every month.
The great success of Pix, the digital payment service of Brazil’s central bank
At the beginning of 2020, the country’s central bank launched an instant payments service called Pix, which was immediately a huge hit with users and which some operators believe could be a big advantage for the crypto world. Pix uses an app that acts as a digital wallet and creates unique QR codes to facilitate transactions between users,
It is therefore quite clear how this system, which has no limitations for digital currencies, could be a great help for the crypto sector. Just think of how money transfers between users and exchanges or between exchanges themselves can be speeded up and simplified.
As there are currently no rules or limits to the payment system, it will be possible to transfer funds from one exchange to another simply by using a QR code. And the success that Pix is enjoying is also demonstrated by a survey in May 2021, which certified that about 73% of respondents use it as their main method of payment.
However, some say the problems may come from the total lack of regulation in the sector. It was only in September last year that a Liberal Party senator, Soraya Thronicke, presented a bill, currently being debated in the Senate, that would regulate the cryptocurrency sector legally and fiscally.