Grupo XP, Brazil’s biggest brokerage and the owner of XP Investimentos SA, is going to enter the crypto industry. In the upcoming months, the company will launch an exchange for Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).
Speaking at an event in Sao Paulo, Guilherme Benchimol, the Chief Executive Officer of Grupo XP, said:
“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 added that 3 million Brazilians “have exposure” to Bitcoin, while around approximately 600,000 invest in stocks. And it is this popularity of cryptos that is pushing traditional exchanges, such as Grupo XP, to join this market.
The new exchange, called XDEX, will be set apart from the firm’s other brokerage businesses. Run by Thiago Maffra, XDEX will employ around 40 specialists.
Grupo XP is the largest independent broker in Brazil. Currently, it offers access to equities, fixed-income products, investment funds, real estate funds, futures, and other financial products. Grupo XP has 500,000 active customers and over 120 billion in the country’s currency reals ($30 billion) under custody. By 2020, Grupo XP is planning to raise $1 trillion reais ($245 billion), which is four times what the company expects to have by the end of this year. In the next few months, the company is going to launch a bank.
The news about XDEX comes after a release from Brazilian regulators. The authorities have offered a regulatory framework, which outlines the tax laws aimed at cryptocurrencies. The Securities and Exchange Commission of Brazil (CVM) offered this guidance to fund managers who are looking at adding cryptocurrencies to their portfolios.
With the growth of cryptos’ popularity in Brazil, the number of hacking attacks has increased as well. In August of this year, a popular Brazilian platform known as Atlas became a victim of hackers. The platform claimed that all funds of users were safe, jowever, personal information of 261,000 – 264,000 customers was lost. Stolen data included names, phone numbers, email addresses, and account balances. The company itself is seen by some as a Ponzi scheme by lan Goldfajn, Brazil’s central bank chief, who described cryptocurrencies as a bubble.
Currently, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) of Brazil is carrying out an investigation into six large national banks regarding alleged monopolistic practices in the crypto space. The investigation came after after receiving complaints that crypto exchanges received subpar financial services from local banks.
Officials at the Administrative Council for Economic Defense commented:
“However, it does not seem reasonable for banks to apply such restrictive measures a priori on a straight-line basis to all cryptocurrency companies, without examining the level of compliance and the anti-fraud measures adopted by individual brokerage firms conferring unlawful treatment per se on businesses brokering cryptocurrencies.”
As the banks reportedly claim, the brokers’ accounts were closed due to the absence or lack of client data.