Grupo XP is Brazil’s largest independent brokerage and has announced plans to clear the way for bitcoin and Ethereum investing to more than 3 million customers by the end of the year.
Crypto is big in South America, with many countries’ governments including Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela taking an official, positive stance on virtual currencies. In line with this trend, the largest brokerage firm in Brazil, Grupo XP, has announced that it will be launching its own platform for bitcoin and Ethereum trading before the end of the year.
Company CEO Guilherme Benchimol made the announcement at an event in Sao Paulo on Thursday. He explained that three million Brazilians had invested in crypto compared with six-hundred-thousand which invests in the traditional stock market, highlighting the demand for cryptocurrencies in the country. Benchimol made it known that he had his reservations about crypto, but made it clear that interest in digital tokens was so high they would go ahead with offering them anyway.
“I must confess, this is a theme I’d rather didn’t exist, but it does,” said Benchimol. “We felt obligated to start advancing in this market.”
Grupo XP is a conglomerate of numerous firms and businesses. The new crypto exchange is being launched under the name XDEX, and will be set apart from all current Grupo ventures. The exchange will have around forty employees working for it, and be led by Thiago Maffra.
Brazil’s increasingly positive stance on crypto marks a departure from its previous outlook. The Comissao de Valores Mobiliaros – the Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission – previously prohibited investment funds from holding crypto assets in any form. The head of the central bank even publicly compared crypto to a Ponzi scheme. However, new regulation has seen this stance softened, now permitting funds to invest in cryptocurrency assets abroad.
Brazil’s blooming crypto market is however facing hostility from the country’s traditional banking sector. The national anti-trust watchdog, the CADE launched an investigation last week into accusations that some of the country’s major banks were engaging in activity to limit financial services provided to crypto firms. This has reportedly involved practices including closing accounts associated with the country’s crypto brokerages. The banks in question however have responded to claims, saying that the accounts in question were closed due to absence of KYC information required by law. Similar accusations were made three months ago against banks in Poland, accused of similar practices. The investigations are ongoing.
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Alex has been putting words on paper since he was old enough to hold a pen; when he bought his first bitcoin in January 2017, those words discovered their place within crypto as well. He holds a master’s degree in international relations from Leiden University in the Netherlands, and his special expertise lies in European cryptocurrency regulation.