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Brazil's CBDC pilot participants include Visa, Microsoft and Santander

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(Kitco News) - The Central Bank of Brazil (BC) has released the roster of participants for its upcoming central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot project, highlighting the national and global firms that will explore the implementation of a digital real (RD).

According to an announcement published by the BC on Wednesday, following the call for applications they put on in early May, the central bank received a total of 36 proposals of interest from companies looking to participate in the RD pilot, which included more than 100 institutions from various financial segments.

The BC ultimately settled on 14 participants that represent “financial institutions from the prudential segments S1 to S4, payment institutions, cooperatives, public banks, developers of crypto asset services, operators of financial market infrastructures and institutors of payment arrangements,” the release said.

Some of the listed participants represent groups of companies, such as the Brazil-based Banco Inter in partnership with Microsoft and digital technology company 7Comm.

Other well-known participants include Visa, Santander, the Bank of Brazil, and several other Brazilian banking institutions, including BV Bank, Nubank, BTG Bank, and Banco Bradesco. Participants were selected based on the criteria established in the RD Pilot Regulations.

“These firms have an established payment network and integrating their technologies can help the Central Bank secure a headstart in its digital real development journey,” said Eugen Kuzin, Head of Marketing and PR at CoinsPaid, in a note shared with Kitco Crypto. “For the firms, aligning with nations with functional CBDCs can help them develop a system where their existing payment solutions can be used in tandem with these national stablecoins.

The next phase of the RD pilot will focus on testing privacy and programmability functionalities through the implementation of a use case involving a federal public title delivery against payment (DvP) protocol between clients of different institutions, along with the services that make up this transaction.

“This use case allows us to focus on privacy testing, since it promotes the exchange of information between the various participants of the platform, and also tests the programmability of the services offered and their interoperability,” the BC wrote.

Nubank and Santander move to integrate blockchain into the Brazilian banking system

The RD pilot was announced in 2022 and the project was officially launched in March. The value of the digital real will be pegged against the national fiat currency, the real, and the CBDC will have a fixed supply to be minted over time.

Brazil has been one of the most welcoming countries for digital assets since 2021 and is a lynchpin for cryptocurrency activity in Latin America.

“Brazil is the primary reference point for digital currency advancement in Latin America, a recognition the country attained by the government’s introduction of favorable policies to help guide the crypto innovation from homegrown startups,” said Kuzin. “The Central Bank’s pilot CBDC test is another testament to the nation’s reception to monetary evolution.”

In October, the Tether (USDT) stablecoin was integrated into more than 24,000 ATMs across the country, allowing users to exchange reais for USDT and vice versa.

In November, Brazilian investors were able to start accessing a Bitcoin spot ETF for the first time with the launch of the IT Now Bloomberg Galaxy Bitcoin ETF (BITI11) on Brazil's B3 Stock Exchange as part of Itaú Asset's broader ETF suite, the IT Now Series. That same month, Brazil’s lawmakers approved a cryptocurrency framework bill that allowed Brazilians to use Bitcoin for payments and recognized digital assets as an investment class.

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