You can now find the full show notes of the Crossing Borders podcast on LatamList.com’s new podcast section. I’ll still post the audio of the podcast on my blog and I’m planning to start writing more again on my blog, like I used to.
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Thanks for listening to Crossing Borders all these years! If you have any feedback or questions, please feel free to reach out here, or contact me on social media.
Outline of this episode:
- [01:20] – About Belo
- [01:59] – What does inflation look like in Latin America versus the U.S.?
- [04:30] – Manuel’s background
- [06:00] – Previous ventures before Belo
- [10:27] – Why is bitcoin popular in Argentina?
- [13:25] – Why Manuel started Belo instead of anything else
- [16:30] – How clients use Belo
- [19:43] – How will Belo’s use cases and products evolve?
- [23:11] – Misunderstandings of crypto and Web3
- [25:56] – Book recommendations
- [26:45] – Advice to younger self
- [28:20] – What’s next for Belo
Shownotes on Latamlist.com
In the US, most people gloss over payment processing because almost everyone has a credit card, Paypal account, or another simple way to pay. Developers use Stripe and can process in seconds. For consumers, Amazon even created one-click purchasing for some customers and physical buttons that automatically reorder your favorite products.
In China, paying is even easier; almost everyone uses Wechat or Alipay to scan QR codes and pay for everything automatically without ever taking out their wallet.
Startups have filled almost every niche in the payments industry, providing solutions for any vendor. Need to pay someone for something you bought in an online shop? PayPal can help. Setting up online payments for your business? Try Stripe. Want to compensate your roommate for your half of the gas bill? Venmo can help you do that.
We tend to take these solutions, as well as more traditional payment systems such as credit cards, for granted in the US. Only 6.5% of households in the US don’t have a bank account, although 18.7% of households are considered underbanked. If someone in the US wants to sign up for a Netflix account or buy a t-shirt online, they enter their credit or debit card information, and that’s it.
In Latin America, completing an online transaction is not so simple.
Blockchain and cryptocurrency initiatives in Brazil are a double-edged sword. While startups and government agencies work to implement blockchain technologies to increase compliance and reduce corruption, Brazil’s 35th President, Lula da Silva, is on his way to prison in part for a Bitcoin-based money-laundering scandal.
Brazil, like the rest of the G20, sees cryptocurrencies as assets rather than legal tender. However, one of São Paulo’s most prestigious universities debuted a Cryptocurrencies Masters’ program this year, so it is unclear where Brazil will land on this contentious debate. What’s more, Brazil’s private and public sectors are rapidly adopting blockchain technology to manage the political and economic challenges of a population of 210 million people.
Here are some of the ways governments and businesses are implementing blockchain and cryptocurrencies in Brazil.
Blockchain and the Brazilian government
The Brazilian government already uses blockchain in a variety of ways for their operations. Two of the most prominent initiatives include a way to regulate land titles in the Amazon as well as a management system for Brazil’s ‘popular petition’ electoral process.