Brazil is Latin America’s biggest economy and also one of the key regional players in the cryptocurrency market. The nation reached a new record in Bitcoin trading volume of nearly 100,000 BTC, according to a report by the local analytical tool “Cointrader Monitor”.
The increase in Bitcoin trades on April 10 is linked to a recent jump in the price of this popular cryptocurrency, which now trades comfortably above the BRL 20,000 mark. This price dynamic has presumptuously boosted positive sentiment among cryptocurrency traders, enabling Bitcoin to gain bullish momentum in the local market.
Based on Cointrade Monitor’s tool, top Brazilian cryptocurrency exchanges NegocieCoins, TemBTC, and MercadoBitcoin posted record volumes of 57,099 BTC, 41,296 BTC, and 448 BTC respectively on that date. Other minor players, such as bTCBolsa, Bitcoin Trade, Bitcoin Market, BitBlue, 3xBit, and BitCambio also experienced rising volumes.
Some crypto exchanges in Brazil have seen Bitcoin trading volume surge by 500 percent. Mercado Bitcoin average daily trading volume jumped from 200 BTC to over 1700 BTC, while BitcoinTrade negotiations moved from R$ 3 million to R$ 17 million between April 1 and 3, the exchange’s founder reported.
The rising trading volumes in Brazil come despite multiple efforts by traditional banks to pressure local cryptocurrency exchanges. Last February, Bradesco, one of the country’s largest banks, closed banking accounts of crypto exchange Bitblue and its owners.
The local Association of Crypto and Blockchain (ABCB) submitted a complaint to the Brazilian Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE), an antitrust regulator under the supervision of the Ministry of Justice. According to ABCB, Bradesco had no legal basis to support the accounts closure, pointing out at a potential violation of free competition rules.
This is not an isolated case. Mercado Bitcoin has also faced problems with local banks. Back in 2018, Itaú Unibanco closed their accounts without any kind of justification. An action that was supported by the Superior Court of Justice, the second-highest court in Brazil.
This same exchange was also targeted by Banco Sicoob, which unsuccessfully tried to close its accounts without proper arguments. In this case, the 21st Civil Chamber of the Court of Justice of Rio de Janeiro ruled in favor of the exchange, explaining that “there should be a justified reason to close an account but the bank did not provide one,” and adding that despite a warning in communiqué 31.379/17 on the risks arising from the custody and trading of so-called digital currencies, the Central Bank of Brazil hasn’t prohibited trading operations.
Asides from Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela are also showing remarkable developments in the cryptocurrency landscape. Untrustable banking systems and high levels of inflation seem to be the two main reasons behind the booming interest for cryptocurrencies in these three countries.
Unlike Brazil, the other two South American governments are betting on digital currencies, which also contributes to local adoption. Last month, Mauricio Macri’s administration announced a partnership with Binance — one of the world’s largest crypto exchange — to co-invest in 40 blockchain-related projects. The Argentinean government agreed to invest up to $50,000 on each Binance Labs project for the next four years.
Argentinean officials have also shown interest in the prospects of tokenization. Following a meeting with Huobi in Beijing, Deputy Minister of Finance, Felix Martin Soto, said:
“We would like to learn how to participate in cryptocurrency and blockchain industry from Huobi. [...] Through tokenization on Huobi’s platform, for example, Argentina’s plentiful agricultural, mineral and energy resources could be well financed by global investors.”
Shortly said, the government is looking at Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a viable option for citizens to fight the unstoppable hyperinflation.
The latest figures by the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INDEC) indicate that Argentina's inflation rate has accelerated for the third consecutive month in March. Consumer prices rose 4.7% last month, while the year-to-year measure stood at 54.7%.
Venezuela is no stranger to digital currencies or inflation, either. After recording an 80,000% inflation rate in 2018, the government led by Nicolas Maduro introduced ‘Petro’, the world’s first government-issued digital currency.
Since then, the public administration has been promoting the use of cryptocurrencies with controversial measures, like converting retirement pensions into Petro or forcing citizens to pay for passports with it. While Petro might not be the best cryptocurrency in the market, it has played a vital role in terms of crypto mass adoption in Latin America.
Figures speak for themselves. Bitcoin trading volume in oil-rich cash-poor Venezuela spiked from 1530 BTC (December 2018) to an all-time high of 2,454 BTC on February 14.
Over the past five years, millions of Venezuelans have fled to other countries in search for better living conditions. Argentina and Brazil are among the top destinations.
Official data provided by Argentina’s Immigration Directory, the number of Venezuelans entering the country in 2018 has duplicated from the previous year.
"There’s still a lot of people that come without documentation, so they’re waiting for an appointment at immigration offices," noted Elisa Trotta Gamus, leader of a non-profit organization assisting Venezuelan immigrants, in an interview with Bloomberg.
Caracas-based consultancy firm Ecoanalitica estimates that Venezuelans living abroad account for nearly $4 billion entering the country each year. That said, Bitcoin remittance has become one of the fastest and cheapest alternatives for Venezuelans.
Cryptocurrency remittance has become so popular that the Maduro’s imposed a tax earlier this year to collect fees on Bitcoin payments, adding a new income stream for the cash-strapped administration. However, bitcoin remittance remains the best way to send money back home compared to traditional services such as Western Union or Moneygram:
With the number of remittances on the rise and as government keep failing to stabilize their economies, more people are set to learn of the advantages of using cryptocurrencies to protect themselves from inflation and send money abroad. Crypterium allows people to store, send, receive and transfer digital assets with the same ease as local currencies, without any fees or long waits. Taking all of this into account, the increase in trading volumes is likely to continue to grow for years to come.
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Our goal is clear: with Crypterium, whatever you can do with traditional money you will able to do with digital assets. This idea is supported, among others, by the co-founder of TechCrunch Keith Teare and over 400,000 registered users, and the number is growing by day.
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