Brazilian Central Bank Adds Crypto Exchange Mercado Bitcoin in CBDC Pilot Including Mastercard

The approved consortium includes Mastercard, broker Genial, registrar Cerc and financial software fintech Sinqia as partners.

AccessTimeIconJun 23, 2023 at 8:27 p.m. UTC

Brazil’s central bank authorized on Thursday the largest local crypto exchange, Mercado Bitcoin, to participate in the pilot of the digital real, the South American country’s central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The consortium led by Mercado Bitcoin counts Mastercard, broker Genial, registrar Cerc and financial software fintech Sinqia as partners, local newspaper Valor reported.

Also on Thursday, the central bank gave its green light to state-owned Brazilian bank Caixa to participate in its CBDC pilot, along with card provider Elo and Microsoft.

Mercado Bitcoin had been left out of the central bank’s choice of 14 participants in late May because the consortium lacked at least one regulated financial or payment institution with direct access to Brazil's national financial network. That changed after Mercado Bitcoin received the payment institution license from the central bank, on 2 June.

“Our participation validates the Central Bank's intention to bring innovation to the financial system with those who have already been working with this technology and not just with the incumbents who have appropriated it,” said Fabricio Tota, director of new business at Mercado Bitcoin, Valor added.

“We are pleased to be part of the consortium selected to join the Real Digital pilot in Brazil. Mastercard continues to engage in a series of partnerships to build trust and compliance in the digital assets ecosystem, while also solving real-world problems,” Walter Pimenta, executive vice president of Products and Engineering at Mastercard Latin America and the Caribbean, told CoinDesk in a statement.

The central bank will begin incorporating participants into the Real Digital Pilot platform in mid-June 2023. According to Glovo, the consortium intends to participate in testing the issuance of the CBDC and treasury bills, and will seek to test technical aspects of the network and the governance model of the distributed ledger technology.

The CBDC is slated to be rolled out by 2024 by the central bank, which sees a digital currency as a way of increasing participation in the financial system.

Edited by Aoyon Ashraf.


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Andrés Engler

Andrés Engler was a CoinDesk editor based in Argentina, where he covers the Latin American crypto ecosystem. He holds BTC and ETH.

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