It has been reported that the news follows similar moves from rival exchanges, including Crypto.com peer-to-peer platform Localbitcoins. The integrations come as the Central Bank of Brazil (BCB) published preliminary guidelines for a central bank digital currency (CBDC).
However, the announcement emphasizes that the CBDC will operate “as an extension of the physical currency,” and is intended to improve the retail payment system, foster new business models, and bolster Brazil’s participation in regional and global trade by increasing the efficiency of cross-border transactions.
The report said that research into a CBDC was authorized as part of a broader move from Brazil’s central bank to modernize the country’s payments sector, including the launch of PIX in November 2020.
The guidelines were compiled by a working group established to explore a CBDC in August 2020. The BCB has previously indicated it hopes to have developed its CBDC by 2022.
CBDCs are coming soon as similar tech gains adoption. LocalBitcoins and OkEx have integrated Brazil’s PIX instant payments system. The addition comes as the Central Bank of Brazil explores crypto. https://t.co/bsVZKrpmPr (Reporting via @samuel_haig) — Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) May 31, 2021
Likewise, with the president of the Central Bank of Brazil, Roberto Campos Neto, previously emphasizing the role of PIX in supporting its CBDC ambitions through providing “an instant payment system that is efficient and interoperable,” the BCB’s response to PIX being adopted by off-shore cryptocurrency exchanges remains to be seen.
Thus, in June 2020, the BCB suspended WhatsApp Pay to investigate risks posed to the competitive environment of its payments sector, with the suspension coming just months after the central bank revealed PIX as a response to the growing popularity of crypto assets.