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Brazilian Premier League Soccer Club Launches Crypto ‘Fan Tokens’

Atletico Mineiro, a Brazilian premier league soccer club, is launching its own fan token “GaloCoin” based on Ethereum blockchain.

Brazilian premier league soccer club Atletico Mineiro has launched a fan token dubbed “GaloCoin,” Cointelegraph Brazil reports Friday, Dec. 14.

The GaloCoin is named after Atletico’s mascot, a rooster (“galo” in Portuguese). It is based on Footcoin — a platform that allows to launch utility tokens on the Ethereum blockchain. The GaloCoin is tied to the national fiat currency exchange rate and is equal to one Brazilian real.

Atletico’s token will allow fans to purchase game tickets, official apparel, as well as participate in discount programs. To use the club’s cryptocurrency token, one has to buy at least 50 GaloCoins (equivalent to approximately $13).

Utility tokens are steadily increasing in popularity among soccer teams. In September, one of the best-performing French clubs Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) partnered with the blockchain platform Socios.com to launch its own Fan Token Offering (FTO).

One of Italy’s most famous clubs, Juventus soon followed PSG’s example and announced “Juventus Official Fan Token,” also in partnership with Socios.com. The coin is set to launch in early 2019.

Moreover, seven United Kingdom premier league clubs — Tottenham Hotspur, Brighton & Hove Albion, Crystal Palace, Cardiff City, Leicester City Football Club, Newcastle United and Southampton — have partnered with local crypto trading platform eToro to integrate blockchain and cryptocurrencies in soccer stadiums.

As Cointelegraph reported in August, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has implemented a blockchain-based ticketing system. The association has already conducted a successful trial during the 2018 UEFA Europa League final in Lyon this May, where 50 percent of the tickets were sold using a blockchain-based application.

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Chilean Government Making Progress on Crypto Regulation, Says Finance Minister

The Chilean finance minister told local media that the government is making progress on clear crypto legislation.

Chile’s Minister of Finance Felipe Larrain claims that a group of state institutions “is making progress” in developing crypto regulation, local daily newspaper La Tercera reports Friday, Dec. 7.

According to Larrain, the Ministry of Finance is working with Chile’s central bank and Financial Stability Board to provide a balanced legal framework for the crypto industry. He noted that crypto regulations are but one aspect of a wider project to provide legal definitions for the fintech sector. Larrain noted that crypto regulation might take time:

“We are aware that it is important to move in this direction. But all countries in the world are facing similar problems [with crypto regulation], and there is no magic wand to solve them. We are exploring the best solutions to see how to regulate this brand new phenomenon.”

In March, following the closure of crypto-business accounts in major Chilean banks, Larrain promised to develop a legal framework to normalize the situation. Nine months on however, no such legislation has come forward, although the Chilean parliament has made some forays into regulating blockchain technology.

Larrain’s recent statement comes shortly after a Chilean Supreme Court decision, annulled a previous ruling by an anti-monopoly court to protect local crypto exchange Orionx and to reopen its banking accounts. In the decision, a judge claimed that cryptocurrencies “have no physical manifestation and no intrinsic value.”

Despite the alarming publications in local media, Chile’s crypto entrepreneurs told Cointelegraph that the new decision has nothing to do with prohibiting crypto exchanges. Both Orionx and Buda.com, which have been involved in a legal battle since March, assure that their banking accounts will not be affected, as the anti-monopoly court’s decision is still in force.

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Inside Chilean Power Battle: Crypto Exchanges vs. State Banks

The prerequisites and aftermath of the Supreme Court decision regarding crypto exchanges accounts.

On Monday, Dec. 4, the Chilean Supreme Court welcomed the decision of state-owned Banco del Estado to close the accounts of local cryptocurrency exchange Orionx. The new phase in the legal battle between the banks and several crypto exchanges — including Buda.com and CryptoMarket (CryptoMKT), which had appealed against the denial of services — may look somewhat sinister from the outside. But the main players of the Chilean crypto market assured Cointelegraph that the recent decision could not prevent them from operating in the country.

Exchanges vs. banks — a brief outline of the confrontation

In March, two crypto exchanges — Buda and CryptoMKT — came out with a joint statement, claiming that some banks in Chile had closed their accounts. “We are killing the whole industry long before exploring it and understanding its approach,” the release read. CryptoMKT also claimed that another bank received instructions not to deal with anyone who is related to cryptocurrencies. Both crypto businesses then urged the Chilean Association of Banks (ABIF), which coordinates all the private and foreign financial institutions in the country, to intervene — or at least clear up its stance on cryptocurrencies.

A response was given within a few days of the statement: The president of ABIF, Segismundo Schulin-Zeuthen, told Chilean business outlet Diario Financiero that the banks were free to moderate relations with their clients. Schulin-Zeuthen also criticized Buda and CryptoMKT for “[generating] false judgments about the institutional role of the ABIF,” while the association’s role consisted of discussing and analyzing existing regulation in the finance sector.

The bank that closed the crypto exchanges’ accounts was soon revealed to be Itau Corpbanca, the fifth-largest bank in Chile, along with a branch of Latin American banking giant Itau Unibanco and Scotiabank Chile, a branch of a Canadian banking group by the same name. They were soon joined by Banco del Estado — the only public bank in the country managing up to $52 billion in assets, as of 2017.

Later in April, Itau Corpbanca opposed the crypto industry’s stance that the move was illegal and insisted that the closure of accounts result in an internal investigation. According to Itau, Buda had failed to comply with their Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policy. Moreover, the bank accused the exchange of failing to verify the users’ data, as Buda’s website only requested basic information during the registration and did not verify the identities of its clients.

The whole story, including the media coverage and official responses, fueled a huge backlash on social media. As Cointelegraph reported in April 2018, crypto enthusiasts blamed financial institutions for “a huge negative blow to Chile’s reputation as a rational, innovation-friendly, free market economy,” stating that those actions “stifle innovation.” Twitter users created a hashtag #ChileQuiereCrypto (Chile wants crypto), urging the government to resolve the problem with crypto exchanges.

Chilean Banks Against Crypto Exchanges

In mid-April, the Chilean crypto exchanges decided to fight for their rights and started a legal battle, applying to Tribunal de Defensa de la Libre Competencia (TDLC) — an independent, anti-monopoly institution established to ensure that free competition rules are not violated. Buda and CryptoMkt, joined by Orionx (whose accounts had also been closed), had filed a petition against several banks, including Itau Corpbanca, Scotiabank and Banco del Estado.

Guillermo Torrealba, Buda’s co-founder and CEO, summed up the whole turmoil in an comment for Cointelegraph:

“There hasn’t been one regulator, legislator or government official saying that cryptocurrencies aren’t legal, it was just the decision of a very powerful sector of the economy: the banking industry.”

Blockchain regulation instead of crypto promises

Only a few weeks after the first complaint, TDLC ruled against Banco del Estado and Itau Corpbanca, forcing them to re-open Buda’s accounts.

Later in June, the same decision was made in favor of Orionx. As the company wrote on its official Facebook page, the anti-monopoly court ordered Banco del Estado and Banco de Chile — another major bank in the country that was mentioned in the initial lawsuit — to reopen Orionx’s accounts within three days.

It would be logical to assume that the long-term battle would force Chilean authorities to introduce relevant legislation on cryptocurrencies to prevent such situations in the future.

In late March, following the first news of the closure of the crypto accounts, Diario Financiero spoke to Chile’s Minister of Finance Felipe Larrain. He was reassured that both the Ministry and the Central Bank of Chile had started exploring the possibility of crypto regulation to normalize the situation:

“Technical progress and the digital economy bring people new services; we have to consider this fact. But when the regulation issues arise […], we have to avoid situations that could affect the normal development of markets and healthy competition.”

Chile’s central bank reaffirmed that intention in May. Mario Marcel, the president of the institution, proposed incorporating the crypto regulation in order “to allow having a registry of participants in these activities and thus have information to monitor the associated risks.” Marcel also stated that the industry needed more transparency and consumer protection — as cryptocurrencies could possibly be involved in illicit activities, such as money laundering and the financing of terrorists.

Six months after the recent claim, there is still no sign of a legal framework for cryptocurrencies in Chile. In October, local deputies instead introduced a resolution on blockchain adoption to the lower house of the country’s parliament. Miguel Angel Calisto and Giorgio Jackson — along with eight other MPs — urged Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera to implement blockchain in all the country’s public areas, along with carrying out studies on the advantages of decentralized security and energy solutions.

The Supreme Court comes into play

A new, unexpected chapter began on Dec. 4, when the Chilean Supreme Court published its resolution in favor of Banco del Estado. As cited by major Chilean newspaper El Mercurio, the document reads:

“The resolution taken July 11, 2018, is revoked. It is declared in its place that the protection appeal filed by Orionx SPA against the Banco del Estado is rejected.”

The Supreme Court further explained that the actions conducted by Banco del Estado were not “unjustified” or “illegal,” as the bank acted correctly and did not violate any rules of the Chilean constitution. Moreover, the top court stated that the cryptocurrencies “have no physical manifestation and no intrinsic value.” The document also proclaimed that they are controlled neither by a government nor by a corporation, citing the characteristics of crypto as reasons for letting banks refuse services to the exchange.

No pasaran: How Chilean crypto exchanges treat the highest court’s decision

Despite the apparent harshness of the Supreme Court’s decision, Chilean crypto exchanges believe it will have no bearing on the case. Reacting to the aforementioned resolution, Orionx published a statement on their official Facebook page:

“Orionx wants to clarify that this ruling does not imply the closure of the company’s current bank accounts. [D]ue to the fact there is a current precautionary measure issued by TDLC, which prevents banks from closing the mentioned accounts.”

Moreover, Orionx emphasizes that it disagrees with the arguments provided by the Supreme Court and regrets the latest ruling.

Buda shares the same stance, also citing the ruling of the anti-monopoly court in its official statement:

“The valid ruling in our favor pronounced by TDLC assures that our bank accounts will be maintained during the trial that is held in the mentioned court.”

Moreover, the firm insists that the Supreme Court’s resolution on Orionx has nothing to do with their company. Speaking to Cointelegraph, Buda’s co-founder Agustin Feuerhake said:

“The situation with Buda.com has been slightly different. Since [the] very beginning[,] we had a relevant KYC [Know Your Customer] policy. We also tackle money laundering and terrorism financing, so the bank’s argument to close an account does not apply to our case. There are no anonymous users on Buda.com.”

Feuerhake further added that the Chilean courts are not evaluating the ban on crypto exchanges, but rather seek ways to “condemn banks for abusive behavior” toward them.

As the decision of the Supreme Court did not mention Buda and CryptoMKT, it might be a turning point in the plot. The legal framework for crypto, if introduced, could side with crypto exchanges or stand with the banks.

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Chile: Crypto Exchange Loses Ongoing Legal Battle in Supreme Court Ruling

Chilean Supreme court cancels previous rulings, allowing a state-owned bank to close the account of local crypto exchange Orionx.

The Chilean Supreme Court has ruled against crypto exchange Orionx, allowing a state-owned bank to close its account, local news outlet Emol reported Dec. 4.

The third chamber of the high court has revoked the decision taken in July that had guaranteed protection to Orionx and forced local state-owned bank Banco del Estado to reopen its account. The new judgement cited by Emol states that the bank acted correctly and did not violate any rules of the Chilean constitution.

In the decision, the judge also claimed that cryptocurrencies “have no physical manifestation and no intrinsic value.” The document states that they are controlled neither by government nor by a corporation, citing the characteristics as reasons for letting banks refuse services to the exchange. The court decision explains that the nature of cryptocurrencies prevents banks from receiving detailed information on transactions, customers and companies that interact with the assets.

In addition to that, the supreme court raised the question of the illicit use of cryptocurrencies, claiming that crypto was involved in money laundering and terrorism financing. Given all these considerations, the bank’s closure of Orionx’s accounts was found legal.

It was not immediately clear if the court’s decision is applicable to other two crypto exchanges that have filed complaints this year regarding similar closures.  

The litigation started in mid-April 2018, when local crypto exchanges BUDA, Orionx, and CryptoMarket (CryptoMKT) applied to an appeals court to confront two banks, private Itau Corpbanca and state-owned Banco del Estado, that had shut down their platforms’ accounts. BUDA’s co-founder and CEO Guillermo Torrealba claimed at the time that the banks’ decision to close accounts was “killing the entire industry.”

In April and in July, the Antimonopoly Court and the Court of Appeals consecutively ordered Itau Corpbanca and Banco del Estado to reopen the accounts of Buda and Orionx.

In May, the president of the Central Bank of Chile Mario Marcel announced the institution was considering elaborating a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, in order to manage the risks associated with crypto trading. In October, Chilean MPs introduced a resolution on blockchain adoption that did not focus on cryptocurrencies.

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Major Latin American Bank Conglomerate Itau to Create Blockchain Platform for Small Loans

The largest private bank in Brazil, Itau Unibanco, has tested a $100 million loan on a blockchain platform powered by R3.

Brazil’s largest private bank has partnered with United Kingdom bank Standard Chartered to create a blockchain-based platform for small loans, according to a press release published by Itau Tuesday, Dec. 4.

Itau Unibanco, also a major Latin American banking group, and Standard Chartered both offer international banking services. The two entities have successfully conducted a proof-of-concept (PoC) for the mentioned platform, based on Corda Connect developed by New York-based blockchain startup R3.

Moreover, Itau and Standard Chartered, joined by United States multinational financial services company Wells Fargo, have issued a club loan of $100 million to test the platform. According to the release, the points of trial contract were effectively negotiated during the experiment, and the document was then checked for compliance with the conditions set and finally signed by both parties.

Ricardo Nuno, the head of treasury department at Itau, said that blockchain technology improved the communication between the banks, which is normally comprised of 2,000 words for a similar matter, Reuters writes.

Nuno further added that the money was not actually transferred, as it was a trial, but that the platform will definitely allow for that in the future.

Germana Cruz, head of financial institutions for Latin America at Standard Chartered, told Reuters that the company might use the results of the trial to issue loans on blockchain in the region.

Global banking groups have previously used blockchain to increase the speed of syndicate loan issuance, along with cutting operational costs. In 2017, seven major international banks —  including BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon, HSBC, and ING — partnered to conduct major tests in the blockchain technology-based marketplace for syndicated loans, called Fusion LenderComm and supported by R3.

Another banking giant, Spain-based Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), carried out a blockchain-based syndicated loan of $150 million in October. French banking group BNP Paribas and Japan’s bank holding Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) also participated in the trial.

Cointelegraph has also reported that U.K.-based bank Natwest was set to launch a similar blockchain platform based on R3 Corda technology in the syndicated loans market in November.

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Ripio Rolls Out Crypto-Powered Loans Across Latin America

Here’s something you don’t see every day: an ICO that has actually led to a shipped, working financial product.

Revealed exclusively to CoinDesk, Argentinian startup Ripio is making peer-to-peer microloans available today to all its 200,000 bitcoin wallet users in Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil. The Buenos Aires-based company raised $37 million in an initial coin offering (ICO) last year to build the Ripio Credit Network, which matches individual lenders and borrowers across the globe through ethereum smart contracts.

Today’s full rollout of that marketplace follows a closed beta in which more than 800 loans were facilitated to customers in Argentina. Ripio said it now has 3,000 lenders on the network, many of them located in Asia, issuing loans for up to $730, though so far the average loan size is $146.

Ripio CEO Sebastian Serrano told CoinDesk:

We have people from Asia funding people in South America, which is something you cannot do with another [app].”

Previously known as Bitpagos, Ripio is one of the longest-running startups in the crypto space, with well-established merchant processing, exchange and wallet services. It entered the credit business in 2016, lending its own funds to consumers in Argentina, before pursuing this more ambitious vision for global p2p lending.

While the borrowers receive their loans in fiat, the new network is powered by an ethereum-based token called RCN. Lenders send the funds in RCN, a cut of the tokens goes to third parties involved in the lending process – such as identity verifiers, credit scorers and co-signers of the loans – and Ripio (and, potentially, other wallet providers) converts the RCN to fiat before disbursing the money to the borrower.

Unlike most exchanges and mobile lending services, Ripio’s offerings are available to unbanked crypto users. This is essential for Latin American markets where people have diverse but overwhelmingly complicated histories with the banking industry. For example, according to World Bank statistics from 2017, around 30 percent of adults in Brazil are unbanked, compared to 54 percent in Colombia.

Although the startup doesn’t have data on how many unbanked users are on its platform, a survey of 1,000 Ripio users revealed 19 percent didn’t have a credit card. They often fund their wallets by depositing cash at convenience stores that partner with Ripio.

With the credit network, however, they now have a way to build a track record of repaying debts, which could help them obtain financial services in the future. Further, “the entire lifecycle of the credit and the loan” is contained in the smart contract on the blockchain, Serrano said.

“It gives the user credit history. Even if the marketplace disappears the code will continue to execute,” he said.

To make credit histories recorded in smart contracts widely useful, Ripio has proposed a standardized way to present claims about an identity (e.g. “Joe made all his car loan payments on time”) on ethereum. Serrano explained:

“In order for it to work across products and networks, ethereum needs to get a standard for identity claims so that every project uses one or two claim standards, kind of like we have ERC-20 [for tokens].”

Cross-border markets

Over the next year, Ripio plans to expand services to Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay.

“Every market has these different characteristics, regulations, things you have to comply with,” Serrano told CoinDesk, “Things you have to do to make it easy for users to deposit cash.”

Political instability can create roadblocks, however. For example, Ripio once operated in Venezuela and still maintains staff there, but security concerns and opaque regulations forced the startup to halt operations.

“We hope to extend service there as soon as this madness ends,” Serrano said. “It’s become very, very difficult to maintain operations in Venezuela, legally.”

In order to expand, Ripio is looking for more fiat-centric partnerships like the ones it established in Brazil with Neon Bank and Banrisul. Since users are handing over cash, Ripio needs banks for storage. Plus, expanding such partnerships in each nation could provide crucial liquidity.

Santiago Siri, the Argentinian founder of a blockchain governance project called Democracy Earth, told CoinDesk that Ripio’s partnerships are already making an impact across the continent.

For example, through its partnership with the e-commerce giant Mercado Libre, shoppers and sellers can transfer funds between their e-commerce accounts and Ripio wallets, offering new avenues for people to earn or spend crypto.

“Large populations in countries like Brazil and Mexico are unbanked,” Siri said. “So companies like Mercado Libre have to find ways to do business without credit cards. Ripio has been leading this, allowing people to do payments [indirectly] with bitcoin.”

Serrano said 15 percent of Ripio wallets’ transaction volume, millions of dollars per month, now comes from Mercado Libre. Rosine Kadamani, the founder of the educational Blockchain Academy in Brazil, praised this partnership with the largest e-commerce platform in the region, as well as Ripio’s crypto-powered loans, saying:

“When we’re trying to get people in the crypto space, it’s a good strategy to reach people where they are already comfortable… Why not provide a space for peer-to-peer loans? I see no reason at all for credit to be monopolized by banks.”

Speaking to the demand for such cross-border conduits, Siri added: “Latin America is a very fertile region for the deployment of cryptocurrency infrastructures.”

Sebastian Serrano image courtesy of Ripio

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Peru Shows Signs of “Accelerated Growth” in Crypto Trading

Latin America has turned out to be one of the most promising markets for cryptocurrencies around the world, with a dizzying growth in recent years. According to data from various sources, although other countries have a higher user base, the growth rate of some South American countries far exceeds that of other nations in the world where even the number of users has decreased.

The reasons for the success of cryptos in South America are diverse since the region is socially and politically heterogeneous. From curiosity to political crises, many factors have encouraged users to adopt cryptocurrencies as a mechanism for exchanging or storing value.

One of the countries that had a significant expansion in the cryptomarket is Peru. The nation has seen the volume of trades increase at a fast pace, with a monthly rate that has sometimes grown by up to 50%.

The South American country registered a record number of transactions worthing 106 BTC per week in localbitcoins, during the month of May, in the middle of the bearish market.

Graph provided by coin.dance

Walter Salmeri: A Bullish CMO in a Heterogeneus Market

In an interview for the Latin American portal “Cripto Noticias,” Walter Salmeri, CMO of BitInka, a south American crypto exchange, spoke about the situation of the Latin American market, especially the growth of the Peruvian segment.

Regarding the current situation of the Peruvian market, he commented that it is not very different from the general trend. He was particularly optimistic about possible growth for the last quarter of 2018:

“As is the case all over the world, cryptomarket always grows in the long run and a lot. Although it has shown a retraction and stagnation during the first months of the year, as a result of the enormous fall in the prices of most crypto actives, it is currently showing an accelerated growth and, as many believe, it will be further boosted in the last three months of 2018.

Our estimates also show this growth. As for stability, there is still a long way to go to ensure that current growth is stable. In Peru, we already have over 20,000 users on our platform.”

Walter Salmeri

Cryptos Are Taking Over Latin American Markets

Salmeri also commented that Bitcoin is the most popular token, followed by Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin. He noted that from the legal point of view, even though not illegal, there is no defined regulatory framework for crypto money.

He also spoke of their presence outside Peru:

Venezuela had been one of our most important, if not historical, markets. We had a local presence in the country but, unfortunately, we had to conclude our operations…

As for other countries in the region, Brazil and Argentina continue to lead the markets and the crypto industry in general terms.

Likewise, countries such as Colombia and Chile have increased their volume of operations in a sustained and robust manner.

Punctually on our platform, volumes in Chile and Colombia have surpassed those of Brazil and Argentina at specific times in the last six months.

An overall Optimistic Opinion

The interview ended with a somewhat optimistic outlook on what many people referred to as the “blockchain revolution.” The BitInka team firmly believes not only in the potential of cryptocurrency but also of blockchain technologies in general:

“We believe what we have always believed, since day 1: Blockchain technology and everything that goes with it will be the future of all industries. Everything will be influenced by this technology; nothing will escape it.

It is a universe in which everything is yet to be created, and that is our passion. People’s lives will improve because of all this, inevitably. When something good is imminent and inevitable, there is no other option but to feel excited and motivated to participate in such a change, so promising and so positive for everyone’s life.

Walter Salmeri

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Chile Court of Appeals Orders Bank to Resume Business With Crypto Exchange Orionx

Chilean Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of crypto exchange Orionx, resolving that the state-owned bank Banco Estado should reopen the company’s deposit account, local news outlet La Tercera reported July 12.

The Fourth Chamber of the Court of Appeals of Santiago has accepted the appeal filed by Orionx crypto exchange against Banco Estado, which closed the company’s deposit account in late March. At that time, the bank cited the lack of “regulatory recognition of [cryptocurrency trading]” as justification for its decision.

Now, by the ruling of the Court of Appeals, Banco Estado has been ordered to reopen the deposit account of Orionx. The Court called the bank’s original decision to close it an “arbitrary and illegal action, which constitutes a deprivation of the right protected by Article 19 No. 2 of the Political Constitution of the Republic, that is, the right to equality before the law.”

In late April, Chile’s anti-monopoly court similarly ruled that two banks, Banco del Estado de Chile and Itau Corpbanca, have to reopen the previously closed accounts of crypto exchange Buda.

In May, the president of Central Bank of Chile Mario Marcel announced that they are considering the development of a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, in order to better manage the risks associated with crypto trading.

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Ivan Duque: The President Who Trusts in Blockchain to Fight Corruption

Ivan DuqueIvan Duque: The New President of Colombia

The new president of Colombia, Ivan Duque, is firmly determined to renew the damaged image of Uribism in the country and provide a sense of security among Colombians by using blockchain technologies to promote political transparency in the region.

According to a cable from the NSA, Alvaro Uribe, former Colombian president and mentor to Ivan Duque, was a “close personal friend” of Pablo Escobar, the most influential drug trafficker of all time. Something Uribe — obviously— denied.

NSA identifies Alvaro Uribe as a Close Personal Friend of the World’s Most Important Drug Lord: Pablo Escobar

Ivan Duque mentioned that to combat the growing corruption in his country, he will use various technologies to track data and have greater control over how public funds ‘move’ throughout the nation:

“I want mobile applications to be a mechanism from which the state can begin to think about how to facilitate citizens’ access to services. I am therefore proposing to use big data and blockchain as tools.
Big Data in health, agriculture, infrastructure, technology, and security.
If we want to make the bidding processes in the state more transparent, blockchain technology has to help.”

Sen. Antonio Navarro

Various Colombian government agencies are already discussing the use of blockchain as a tool to help government management. Previously, Senator Antonio Navarro Wolff had promoted a similar pro-blockchain initiative in the Colombian legislature.

While it is true that Colombia can see potential in the blockchain, the picture is different when politicians talk about cryptocurrencies. Not only is this issue separate from the discussions about blockchain, but commercial banking has actively hampered the development of financial activities of exchanges and crypto-related businesses.

Despite this, Colombia was the country with the highest growth in Bitcoin’s buying and selling operations during 2017, according to BBC information.

Colombians use Facebook and other means to trade their cryptos

According to the famous international portal, transactions in Colombian pesos increased 1200%. A figure that places Colombia in third place worldwide, below China and Nigeria, which grew over 2000% and 1400% in the same period.

The primary uses for Bitcoin in the country are the sending of remittances and the protection against the economic crisis through pure speculation, explained Marcelo Granada, director of Investopi in an interview with the BBC:

“That makes it much easier for a person to send money to a relative via bitcoin and receive the money as well. In Colombia, remittances are received more and more frequently in bitcoins…. The vast majority of people invest looking for short-term returns, that is their greatest desire”.

Credit: marcoorozco.netMarcelo Granada

So far there is no date for a real implementation of the project, however, despite the mistrust in the politicians, many Colombians are confident that the new president’s decisions will be beneficial and will not repeat the mistakes of Alvaro Uribe and other politicians in the country.

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Colombia “Loves” Crypto but Closes Accounts of its Main Crypto Exchange

Cryptocurrencies and governments have not had an easy relationship. The Colombian people do not escape this reality and in less than 24 hours they witnessed the country’s contradictory position, seeing how on the one hand a new “digital economy” and blockchain technologies were being promoted while at the same time the bank accounts of one of the main crypto exchanges in the country were being blocked.

Colombia is not the only government with a relatively contradictory stance. Other countries like China, Russia, and India have similar positions: they seem enthusiastic about blockchain but utterly restrictive about cryptocurrency.

Within the same hemisphere, its neighboring country, Venezuela has also kept the community in the same state of uncertainty: They intensively promote the use of cryptos as an evolution of the digital economy. However, they have expressed their intention to  those who are trading cryptocurrencies at “speculative” prices.

Colombia loves crypto

Sen. Antonio Navarro

On June 6, 2018, the Colombian Senate published a Press Release in which they spoke about cryptos as a powerful tool for the development of the country.

The website of the Colombian Senate published the statements of Antonio Navarro Wolff, a Colombian legislator with a very pro-blockchain stance:

“Regulation is required to protect the consumer and the user, in many countries cryptocurrencies have been created to capture money; regulation should not impede the use and development in the country. Also, he reported that in Latin America over 100 projects are using this technology, including stock exchange transactions, electric energy information, land titling, state contracting, among others.

According to the publication, other leading personalities supported Wolff’s position. Juanita Rodriguez of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies – ICT declared in a very similar way:

“In the country, we have to make an effort to position this advanced technology one step further; this system prevents cyber attacks. This is how we thrive in the digital economy.”

Colombia Hates Crypto

While the Colombian Senate was talking about promoting the use of cryptocurrency, Buda, one of the leading exchanges in the country and Latin America, announced its users that Colombian Banks blocked all of its bank accounts.

According to the statement, the accounts of Buda in Bancolombia, Davivienda, and BBVA were unilaterally and surprisingly frozen.

Alejandro Beltrán, CEO of Buda.com in Colombia confirmed the news. It is important to note that the banks had previously closed his personal accounts without notice.

Buda said in the statement that the funds are in proper security, so users can be sure not to lose their money or their cryptos