How popular is Bitcoin in Brazil?

As Bitcoin (BTC) explodes in popularity across Latin America, Coin Rivet investigates cryptocurrency adoption in Brazil

Latin America is leading the way in Bitcoin mass adoption, with the continent being dubbed ‘Decentral America’ following the legalisation of Bitcoin in El Salvador by pioneering President Nayib Bukele.

While the Bukele government has cut a pathway for others to follow, institutional eyes in the space are eyeing up the big fish of Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil – all of which are set to drive a quantum leap in the everyday use of Bitcoin for as a store of value, means of remittance, and increasingly popular digital payment option.

Brazil is by far the biggest country on the continent – in size, population, and economic weight. However, under the firebrand leadership of controversial Jair Bolsonaro, cryptocurrency adoption has slowed with the president infamously declaring “I don’t know what Bitcoin is”.

But, as in many other environments worldwide, the decentralised revolution is grassroots in nature and adoption is fuelled not by the permissions of policymakers but by the everyday people that choose to use it.

And one thing is crystal clear – Brazilians are choosing Bitcoin.

It is estimated that 5% of Brazil’s entire population now own cryptocurrency – in excess of 10 million people.

This impressive figure allows Brazil to boast the fifth-biggest crypto community in the world, with demographic research showing that holders are largely male and under the age of 40.

Bitcoin popularity in Brazil driving adoption

However, not all of the state machinery is asleep – BACEN and Banco do Brasil are awake to the revolution in their doorstep.

Despite the dismissive stance of Bolsonaro, the Central Bank of Brazil (BACEN) officially recognised Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as monetary assets in 2019, and Banco do Brasil became the first state bank in the world to enable consumer exposure to Bitcoin through ETF products – a huge move for the industry earlier this year.

The mass adoption and excitement around Bitcoin since the onset of the 2021 bull run has now landed cryptocurrencies firmly on the desks on Brazil’s legislators – with a legislative bill underway that aims to give Bitcoin full legal tender status, similar to El Salvador.

There was also the recent passage of amendments that brought in stricter punishments for crypto fraudsters and cyber criminals.

Brazil’s crypto economy is also benefiting from the Bitcoin boom – the Brazilian-based Mercado Bitcoin, has succeeded in raising $200m in its recent Series B funding round.

This investment in Mercado Bitcoin made 2TM (Mercado’s parent company) the eighth most valuable ‘unicorn’ company in South America.

Read more: Brazil sports betting market to be worth $1.6bn annually.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.

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