Cryptocurrency may not be as popular as it once was, yet it is still drawing users to Web3 daily – particularly in emerging markets like Brazil – according to José Ribeiro, CEO of crypto exchange Coinext. At the Web Summit in Lisbon, Ribeiro discussed with Cointelegraph’s Joe Hall his views on Bitcoin (BTC), the Brazilian crypto economy, and how regulatory clarity has increased competition in the country’s payments sector.
Ribeiro believes that Bitcoin transactions in Brazil will reach a high in 2023 due to the arrival of global crypto exchanges such as Binance, OKX, and Coinbase. He commented: “The competitiveness in the market has significantly increased, which is beneficial for adoption of crypto. The country has a history of inflation, and I think interest rates will be down next year, and then another cycle will begin.” The benchmark interest rate in Brazil is currently 12.25%, lower than 12.75%, and is predicted to be 9.25% by December 2024.
In addition to lower rates in Brazil, global factors such as the approval of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund in the US and the Bitcoin halving are expected to have an effect on prices. However, according to Ribeiro, the crypto community should focus on fundamentals instead of price changes: “People only hear about Bitcoin when the prices hit record highs […] But people don’t talk too much about fundamentals, and the fundamentals haven’t changed since its creation.”
Ribeiro highlighted the importance of regulatory frameworks in fostering innovation in the country. He said: “We are very advanced in terms of forms to comply with the tax authorities. They understand about crypto, they understand about the risks of our business, which is good. I won’t say that regulation is good, but regulation is needed somehow because we definitely want some rules to be competitive in the market because we are competing with companies outside Brazil, which are not paying taxes, so we are not competing in the same manner.”
In recent years, Brazil has implemented the Pix payment system, allowing instant payments between individuals and businesses. For these transactions, users only need the key identifier of the Pix recipient, such as an ID number, a cell phone number, or even an email address. The country is also working on its central bank digital currency, called DREX, which is anticipated to be available next year. According to Ribeiro, this will “put Brazil on another level in terms of Blockchain adoption, in terms of using blockchain as infrastructure for the whole financial market industry.”