Brazil’s New President Jair Bolsonaro Shuts Down ‘Indigenous Cryptocurrency’ Project

Brazilian President Jair M. Bolsonaro has recently revealed through social media his administration has shut down a project that would see Brazil launch an “indigenous cryptocurrency.”

The revelation came as he was criticizing the “BNDES black box” referring to contracts associated with the National Bank for Economic and Social Development, a federal public company associated with the Ministry of Development, Industry, and Trade with the goal of contributing to Brazil’s development by financing projects.

The $12 million project for the “indigenous cryptocurrency” was seemingly halted as the contract wasn’t assigned through a traditional bidding process but through a direct contract signed by the National Indian Foundation (Funai) and the Fluminense Federal University (UFF).

According to local news outlet Estadão, on January 2 the country’s Minister of Human Rights, Family and Women, Damares Alves, vetoed a project that included the development of the “indigenous cryptocurrency,” and suspended the above-mentioned contract.

The contract itself was signed on December 28, three days before the mandate of Michel Temer, Brazil’s former president, ended. It was seen as a “bulky” contract over the large number of funds involved. It wasn’t just set to develop the cryptocurrency, but also to develop services such as “functional mapping,” and a “territorial database.”

The cryptocurrency that was to be created was dubbed an “innovative idea” that would essentially bring in an “alternative currency for the natives, which could transform the reality of these people.”

Wallace Bastos, the president of Funai, stated at the time the contract wasn’t assigned without the traditional bidding process, but through a “Decentralized Execution Term.” When asked why the contract was signed near the end of Temer’s mandate, he told the news outlet:

[The resources] were made available through a Bill that was only approved and sanctioned in mid-December

As another local news outlet, Portal do Bitcoin, pointed out. his comments didn’t clarify which bill he was referring to, or who else did Funai look into to work on the project. Per his words, the UFF was chosen over its “expertise” in “projects of this nature.”

Notably, according to Globo, Funai employees revealed the work that was set to be done was of “questionable technical relevance,” and that people “without technical analysis of any sector” were hired.

As CCN has been covering the cryptocurrency scene has been growing rapidly in Brazil. Last year, various cryptocurrency exchanges ran into problems with local banks, but one exchange, Bitcoin Max, managed to win a standoff to get a bank to reopen its account.

A Brazilian football club called Atletico Mineiro has launched a cryptocurrency for its fans in December, and about a week later it was revealed local supermarket chain Oásis Supermercados started accepting Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin payments.

Featured image from Shutterstock.