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Brazil’s President Bolsonaro Attempts to Shut Down Indigenous Cryptocurrency

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Brazil’s President Bolsonaro’s administration cancelled a contract for a project that included the creation of a cryptocurrency for Brazil’s indigenous communities. The contract had been approved by the Temer government three days before Bolsonaro became President.

On Monday January 7, Bolsonara tweeted:

With only a few days of government, not only the black box of BNDES, but other bodies are being raised and will be released. Many contracts have been broken down and will be exposed, such as the $ 44 million to create indigenous crypto that was barred by Minister Damares and others.

The agreement was suspended by Damares Alves, the head of the new Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights. Bolsonaro blamed an improper bidding process for the cancellation.

The now cancelled agreement was with the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) of Brazil for a budget of 44 million reais (US$11.83 million) to partner with the Universidad Federal Fluiminense (UFF) to create the cryptocurrency program. Wallace Bastos, the president of FUNAI, told local Brazilian news that the contract was done without bidding because it took place between two government funded agencies rather than with a private company.

According to Telesur, the project included the “study and diagnosis of socioeconomic viability of the creation of an indigenous cryptocurrency; development of the cryptocurrency platform; and implementation of that platform.” The cryptocurrency was nicknamed the “Bitcoin of the Indian” and would have been circulated among Brazil’s indigenous communities. The Brazilian Report says the University was also supposed to provide mapping services and create a database of indigenous territories.

The Bolsonaro administrations cancellation has been interpreted by critics as a continuation of his statements towards indigenous communities.“There is no indigenous territory where there aren’t minerals. Gold, tin and magnesium are in these lands, especially in the Amazon, the richest area in the world. I’m not getting into this nonsense of defending land for Indians,” Bolsonaro once said.

The administration’s actions could also foreshadow how the administration plans to treat cryptocurrency in Brazil.


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