Brazil's Central Bank to Launch Near-Instant Payments as a Response to Cryptocurrencies

The PIX payments system is coming to Brazil later this year, promising almost instant transfers for individuals and businesses.

AccessTimeIconFeb 20, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 12:19 p.m. UTC

A new payments system is coming to Brazil later this year, promising almost instant transfers.

Called PIX, the project from the country's central bank will provide 24/7 payments in up to 10 seconds via mobile apps, internet banking and ATMs, according to reports from Reuters and local crypto news site Livecoins on Wednesday.

Slated for launch on Nov. 10, 2020, PIX is aimed at speeding up and reducing the costs of fiat transfers between individuals and businesses.

At a launch event for the planned system on Wednesday, Central Bank of Brazil President Roberto Campos Neto said PIX is being developed as a response to new digital payments methods such as cryptocurrencies.

“PIX came from a need for people to have a payment instrument that is both cheap, fast, transparent and secure,” Campos Neto said, according to Livecoins. "If we think about what has happened in terms of the creation of bitcoins, cryptocurrencies and other encrypted assets, it comes from the need to have an instrument with such characteristics."

PIX will help cut costs by reducing the need for physical money, which the central bank chief said "generates a great cost for society."

At the launch, Joao Manoel Pinho de Mello, director of the central bank's Financial System and Resolution Organization, said PIX should be made available by banks to all market participants, payment institutions and other entities.

Mello explained that transactions using the system could be carried out by various methods, including QR codes or address keys – much like with cryptocurrency wallets and payments systems – or mobile numbers. Neither report indicates what technology PIX is being built with.

Among the possibilities cited at the event, PIX could be used to send funds to others, buy a cup of coffee, shop at online stores or pay a utility bill.

"The idea is to make it as easy as chatting in a chat," Mello said, as cited in the Livecoin report.

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