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Latam Insight: USDT Takes Over Brazil, Bukele's Administration Accused of Embezzlement

Welcome to Latam Insights, a compendium of Latin America’s most relevant crypto and economic news during the last week. In this issue: USDT dominates the Brazilian crypto market, Bukele’s administration is accused of deviating funds for Bitcoin projects, and Venezuelan exchanges create a new association.

USDT Dominates the Brazilian Market

The Brazilian Tax Authority (RBF) has acknowledged the growth stablecoins have experienced in the national cryptocurrency market. According to data provided by exchanges, stablecoins like USDT, USDC, and BRZ, a token pegged to the value of the Brazilian peso, are present in the most transactions.

The institution declared that the rise of these stablecoins in the Brazilian market “deserves attention, as it could have significant implications for the tax and regulatory scenario for cryptocurrencies in the country.” Tether’s USDT, the largest stablecoin by market cap, is also the most traded cryptocurrency in Brazil, being present in more than 80% of all transactions in 2023 and moving more than 271 billion reals (close to $54 billion) since the institution started receiving these reports in 2019.

Tether CEO Paolo Ardoino stated:

USDT adoption in Brazil is skyrocketing. When a product is useful for real, and solves RWP (real-world problems), it simply gets used.

Bukele’s Administration Accused of Embezzling Funds for Bitcoin Projects in El Salvador

A recently published investigation of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) found that the administration of Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele allegedly embezzled funds from Covid-19 relief loans for Bitcoin projects.

The report alleges that $425 million out of a $600 million loan given to the country by the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) in 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic was directed to fulfill state obligations. Furthermore, more than $200 million out of these funds were used to fund the process of making bitcoin legal tender in El Salvador.


Venezuelan Cryptocurrency Exchanges Launch New Association

A group of Venezuelan cryptocurrency exchanges has launched Acincrip, a new association to organize new policies in the face of a national seven-month crypto industry shutdown applied after the intervention of the national cryptocurrency regulator Sunacrip and the arrest of its former head, Joselit Ramirez.

The group is integrated by the four largest national exchanges in the country: Cryptobuyer, AFX, Amberes Coin, and Crixto. In an interview given to Criptonoticias, Acincrip president and Cryptobuyer CEO Eleazar Colmenares stated that the group has collaborated with Sunacrip’s investigations but failed to report on the actions that the group might take to regularize the cryptocurrency market in the country.

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