Brazil’s largest independent brokerage firm Grupo XP has made plans to put up a cryptocurrency exchange in the country, to take advantage of high demand for virtual currencies, according to Bloomberg.
Grupo XP CEO Guilherme Benchimol said at an event in Sao Paulo that of the over 200 million people in Brazil, about three million are already holding BTC, while only about 600,000 are invested in stocks.
“I must confess, this is a theme I’d rather didn’t exist, but it does. We felt obligated to start advancing in this market,” Benchimol said.
Grupo XP is the owner of XP Investimentos, that offers brokerage services for stocks and various funds.
The planned cryptocurrency exchange, dubbed XDEX, will have 40 employees, and will allow for the trading of BTC and ETH.
News outlet Blockchain Focus noted that XP Investimentos had registered the ‘XP Bitcoin’ mark back in October 2017, prompting speculation that the firm was interested in expanding into cryptocurrencies. It had also registered ‘XP Coin Intermediacao’ in August 2017, which would later become XDEX.
Benchimol’s pronouncement is timely, coming just as the Brazilian government’s antitrust watchdog, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense, begins an investigation on whether the country’s banks had abused their power by limiting cryptocurrency exchanges’ access to financial services, after reports from some exchanges that banks had closed their accounts without due explanation.
The banks, such as Banco do Brasil, Banco Bradesco and Itau Unibanco, have claimed to be merely following anti-fraud requirements, as implemented by the country’s central bank, and that many exchanges have been unable to provide sufficient client data.
Last month, Brazilian exchange Atlas Quantum was hacked, wherein private information of over 264,000 users was compromised. The exchange, however, denied that any funds were stolen.
Last July, it was reported that members of an international criminal network were using BTC to transfer millions of dollars. Twelve individuals in Brazil were arrested in connection with this.