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"Brazil's Crypto Market Is Setting an Example for the World” – An Interview with Coinbase's Fábio Plein

"Brazil's Crypto Market Is Setting an Example for the World” – An Interview with Coinbase's Fábio Plein

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Digital currency trends may shift constantly, but Brazil appears to offer firm support with its innovative spirit and straightforward regulatory approach. This supportive environment has led to a boom in the country’s crypto purchases, with cryptocurrency imports reaching $14.8 billion in the last 12 months as of March. Amid this growth, Coinbase, one of the world's leading crypto exchanges, has made significant strides in Brazil. Classified as a "Go Deep" market in Coinbase's growth strategy, Brazil's large, tech-savvy population aligns perfectly with the company's vision. Mike Ermolaev spoke with Fábio Plein, Regional Managing Director, Americas at Coinbase, to gain deeper insights into how Coinbase is navigating this dynamic market. Powered by GoMining, this conversation is part of our ongoing GoCrypto interview series.

Brazil's Favorable Regulatory Landscape Starts to Pay Off

According to a report by Valor Economico, purchases from foreign cryptocurrency exchanges, considered imports, have set new records in Brazil, impacting the nation’s trade balance. In March, the country’s cryptocurrency purchases totaled $14.84 billion on a yearly basis, up from $12.3 billion the previous year. Additionally, in Q1 2024, crypto imports amounted to $4.69 billion, a 118% increase compared to Q1 2023. This growth is largely attributed to the country's favorable cryptocurrency regulations.

"Fábio Plein, Regional Managing Director for the Americas at Coinbase, took part in meetings with the Brazilian government regarding crypto regulation. His involvement appears to have positively influenced Brazil's regulatory framework, which is expected to be finalized by June 2024."

"We are heartened by the constructive posture of Brazilian policymakers, who understand the value of crypto and Web3," Plein says.

He highlights that the public consultation was essential for consolidating a robust and comprehensive set of rules for the crypto industry. 

He believes that Brazil's law will contribute to the development of the crypto ecosystem, allowing players in the sector to remain innovative. “Major markets like Brazil are working on providing regulatory clarity and essentially setting an example for the rest of the world. The initiatives launched by Governor Roberto Campos Neto on blockchain, digital assets, and other innovations are promising and help to shape the financial markets of the future,” Fábio Plein explains. 

Targeting Brazil for Growth Amid Young Tech-Savvy Population and Strong Crypto Adoption

Coinbase views Brazil as a priority market, classified as a "Go Deep" in its growth strategy. Plein points out that Brazil's large and young population, which embraces new technologies, aligns with Coinbase's vision. 

“The fact that the country has a large (215M) and young population (avg age 32y) that embraces new technologies and ranked 9th in the Global Crypto Adoption Index (Chainalysis) confirms our vision. Our approach globally is consistent with our approach in the United States: we work with governments and regulators in different markets and will always aim to be the most trusted and compliant crypto company in any market. Brazil's economy has been much more stable in recent decades, but the high inflation fear and consequences are still remembered for many parts of the society. For that reason, we see a strong adoption of certain digital assets such as BTC & stablecoins," he notes. 

In terms of products and services, Coinbase's commitment to trust and safety starts with being secure and compliant. According to Plein, as a publicly traded company, Coinbase is transparent about its track record, financial strength, and risk management practices. The company holds customer assets 1:1 and has no gating for client loan recalls or withdrawals. Additionally, the exchange maintains a strong capital position and employs an experienced risk management team.

Also, Coinbase has launched the Learning Rewards campaign #AprendaeGanheCripto in Brazil, where users are rewarded in cryptocurrencies for engaging with educational content about them. This initiative aims to promote education about crypto assets, a fundamental factor in encouraging the adoption and development of new projects. Fábio Plein reveals that the campaign has benefited around 40,000 Brazilians with R$7M ($1.3M) and is being scaled globally to other crypto markets. 

Customizing Products for Brazil with Focus on Regulatory Clarity and Security

Plein emphasizes Coinbase's commitment to product customization for Brazilian users. "When we say that Brazil is a promising market, it's working on providing regulatory clarity and that this will contribute to the development of the crypto ecosystem in Brazil, allowing players in the sector to remain innovative. This absolutely includes us," he states. 

Plein highlights the integration of Pix for easy account top-up using Brazilian Reals, which makes it easier for people in Brazil to access the crypto economy. 

“In Brazil, we operate not only in accordance with local transparency and compliance standards but also with the same security and transparency standards applied throughout the world, which have led us to be the most trusted and secure exchange. Additionally, we hold 50+ transparency and compliance licenses and around 8% of our employees are dedicated to security and safety globally,” he claims. 

Aiming to Strengthen Developer Community in Brazil with Base Ethereum L2

Plein believes that onchain is the next chapter of the internet, more fair, accessible, efficient, and transparent. Incubated within Coinbase, Base launched mainnet in August 2023 to serve as a trusted home for Coinbase’s onchain products and an open ecosystem where anyone can build.

"Our goal is to build a secure, low-cost, builder-friendly Ethereum L2 that will bring the next million developers and billions of users onchain," Plein shares. 

He notes that there is a growing interest in the development of decentralized applications, and Coinbase aims to establish an active community of Base users and developers in Brazil. “Therefore, one of our objectives for 2024 is to further strengthen our relationship with Brazilian developers through exclusive events and initiatives, so that we can leverage the Base ecosystem towards its full potential,” he explains. 

Strengthening Institutional Partnerships to Enhance Crypto Services in Brazil

Coinbase has formed institutional partnerships with Brazilian banks and fintechs, including a partnership with EBANX to integrate Pix for easy account top-up using BRL. 

“Coinbase is always focused on improving its platform and offering the best services and products for Brazilians and we are constantly attentive to possible new investments in projects and partnerships with companies that can contribute to the development of the crypto ecosystem around the world. We are committed to working with innovators to expand access to the cryptoeconomy and web3, with the aim of bringing these benefits to even more Brazilians,” Plein concludes. 

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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