Around the world with Crypto: news you can use
Bostoncoin update Oct-Nov 2022
Where in the world is Bitcoin van der Crypto?
Those of a certain age and certain background (OK, nerds over 30) may recall a computer adventure game called “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”
Designed as a clue-solving puzzle game for kids, it became popular in schools as teachers realized students could learn geography, problem-solving, cultural empathy, gender equality and many other valuable skills (not uselessly shooting at zombies!)
The famous femme fatale franchise “Carmen Sandiego” went on to multiple sequels in computer gaming as well as hard games, publications and a TV show that won several Emmy and Peabody awards. If you have kids whom you want to trick into learning things whilst having fun, investigate the Carmen Sandiego TV show, comics, books, computer games and board games.
The character herself, Carmen Sandiego is a powerful, independent and intelligent Latina woman who travels extensively; based on Brazilian triple-threat singer/dancer/actress Carmen Miranda. In her honour, we will start our crypto journey in Brazil.
What’s going on in Brazil?
In moves that seem to echo the world recently, southern American individuals are selling crypto to institutions. Who is the cleverest of them all?
The number of companies holding cryptocurrency in Brazil has reached new record highs amid an increased trust in cryptocurrencies and high inflation rates.
According to local media reports, the country’s taxation authority, Receita Federal do Brasil (RFB) — also known as the Federal Revenue of Brazil — recorded 12,053 unique organizations declaring crypto on their balance sheets in Aug/Sept 2022.
Meanwhile, the number of individual Brazilian investors holding crypto fell from the prior month, down to 1.3 million.
Brazilians’ trust in cryptocurrency remains high, however, according to a September Bitstamp “Crypto Pulse” report, with 77% stating they trusted digital assets.
If you, or anyone you know, is selling crypto, please consider who is buying. All markets need buyers and sellers. If uninformed individuals are selling their crypto, and large, well-researched corporations are buying it, we may have a problem or two.
Decentralisation: Crypto is supposed to be decentralised and less able to be manipulated than traditional stock markets and banking markets. Putting more crypto in the hands of big businesses and less in the hands of individuals may put markets at risk of manipulation.
Money, money, money: yes, we support the crypto pillars of anonymity, individual power and freedom, decentralisation and deflationary currency. We also support the idea of making big money. Imagine if most of the stock in Apple, Tesla or Amazon were owned by big banks and Wall Street: individuals would have almost no chance of making it rich. We are not promising you big gains from your portfolio, but if the portfolio were to make massive gains, is that money better off in your hands or the hands of Wall Street bankers? Think before you let your crypto into the hands of powerful corporations.
Unshackling from USD: Crypto in Southern and Central America
A quick stopover from Brazil in neighbouring El Salvador. Long-term readers will know that we first discussed Central American nations getting into crypto, way back in early 2019, a good two years before the El Salvadorean president decided to be the first nation to adopt Bitcoin as an official currency.
Critics may say the experiment failed and El Salvador has lost money on the bold decision. Others may point out that many smaller nations' currencies can be more volatile than cryptocurrency; particularly those at the mercy of the IMF, which can devalue a country’s currency on a whim.
Former comedian, motorcycle rider and self-confessed “cool guy”, El-Sal president Nayib Bukele is one of the world’s youngest leaders and one of the least politically conservative. Whether Bukele adopted gold, Bitcoin or coffee beans as a national currency, he would have faced criticism, particularly from the USA and the IMF: two entities who have the most to gain from keeping smaller nations under the heel of the USD.
A move away from inflationary, unbacked and externally-manipulated fiat currency may turn out to be a truly genius move for El Salvador. We must give Bukele time to see what happens.
Meanwhile, 16 politicians from other central and southern-American nations have shown positivity toward Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, with several leaders changing their Twitter profile pictures to “laser eyes”. Keep your eyes on Paraguay, Panama, Venezuela and Mexico, as these may be the next non-US American nations to eschew the USD and accept crypto as an official currency.
It's time for Africa
A quick hop across the Atlantic Ocean from the American continent to the African continent, where we check in on the Central African Republic or CAR.
El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as legal tender in 2021, and CAR followed in April 2022. Which nation will be third?
The IMF has subtly suggested that CAR could also stand for “Close Ally of Russia” and has accused the Central African Republic of supporting Putin. One should take those accusations with a grain of salt, as the allegations may be impossible to prove, and the main thing that CAR is guilty of, is trying to escape the control of the US dollar, US/IMF sanctions and the US-controlled SWIFT system.