cbarbieriOriginally published in the online magazine Brazil Monitor

XP Investimentos, the biggest investment firm in Brazil, is reportedly planning to launch a cryptocurrency exchange.

XP Investimentos provides individuals with access to financial education with topics ranging from investment basics to advanced portfolio management strategies. The XP Group also includes an asset management company with more than $35 billion for over 500,000 clients under management and an insurance broker.

According to local news outlet Portal do Bitcoin, the company has recently registered XDEX Intermediacao, whose registered capital is about $7.3 million. An anonymous source told Portal do Bitcoin that the activity of XDEX will be in the over-the-counter market, meaning focused on movements of large volume transactions dealing in fiat and bitcoin.

XP Investimentos has been researching the crypto space for a while. In October 2017, the company filed a patent for the brand XP Bitcoin, as its first entry into the cryptocurrency space. One month later, the company hired Fernando Ulrich, a Brazilian cryptocurrency expert.

Brazil has been showing interest in blockchain technology like many governments worldwide, but the country has generally remained suspicious of interaction with bitcoin.

In October 2017, Brazil’s central bank president Ilan Goldfajn criticized bitcoin, comparing it to a pyramid scheme. Goldfajn said that the central bank is not interested in bubbles or illicit payments. He stressed that it is relevant to “separate” innovations and technology companies from this type of practice facilitated by bitcoins.

Despite the government’s negative stance on bitcoin, the cryptocurrency has been steadily gaining in popularity in Brazil. As a result, Brazilian universities have been incorporating cryptocurrency into their economics studies. Earlier this month, Fundacao Getulio Vargas (FGV), a Brazilian higher education institution, launched a Master’s degree focused on cryptocurrencies.

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