this is an op-ed by joão, founder of boletim bitcoin, a brazilian bitcoin-focused website, and contributor to bitcoin magazine.
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in an exclusive interview with the brazilian portal boletim bitcoin, andrea senko, secretary of finance and planning of rio de janeiro, commented on the city’s adoption of bitcoin and mentioned the likely purchase of bitcoin for government coffers of the city.
Reading: Bitcoin to become brazil
rio de janeiro and bitcoin
for some months now, the government of the city of rio de janeiro has been getting closer to bitcoin. On several occasions, city representatives, such as Mayor Eduardo Paes, have commented on their plans.
During Rio Innovation Week, Eduardo Paes met with Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who is seeking to integrate Bitcoin in Miami. paes stated that miami is one of the inspirations for rio de janeiro and then said that the city was studying “applying 1% of the treasury to cryptocurrency”.
during the event, pedro paulo, finance secretary, also stated that the city government is open to receiving tax payments in bitcoin. Paulo said, “We are studying the possibility of paying taxes with an additional discount if you pay with bitcoins.” this would encourage the use of bitcoin as a means of payment.
plans for the city
when asked about the idea of the city integrating bitcoin, senko highlighted it as a pillar of technological growth in rio de janeiro.
“rio, due to its vocation as a global city, is attentive to the main changes and innovations in the world, and is always at the forefront of these issues. the city looks to the future, and the mayor’s office has been following technological advances and economic […]. the objective is to make rio the cryptographic ecosystem of brazil, contributing so that the city becomes the capital of innovation and technology of the country”.
To help with integration, the government of the city of Rio de Janeiro created the Municipal Committee for Crypto Investments (CMCI). When asked about the activities under discussion by the institution, the Treasury Department stated:
“the municipal crypto-investment committee (cmci), constituted in March 2022, works on an investment policy in crypto assets and a governance model for decision-making.”
senko commented on the idea of the city allocating 1% of the mayor’s treasury in bitcoin:
“This purchase will follow a methodology that is attentive to the ups and downs and risks of this market and is being developed by the city council.”
On the adoption of bitcoin by el salvador and the central african republic, senko said that it is “positive that the country is open to the cryptoactive market.”
despite the positive statements of the representative of rio de janeiro about the adoption of bitcoin, it was reported that no other local municipality has contacted her to jointly study the possibility:
“To date, we have not been contacted by other public entities to study this possibility together with Rio de Janeiro.”
despite the isolated initiative at the municipal level in rio de janeiro, brazil follows a positive regulatory path for bitcoin adoption. In May of this year, the Brazilian government published a resolution that sets the import tax on equipment for bitcoin mining to zero, as long as the activity is carried out with renewable energy.
Due to the hot tropical climate and unfavorable economic conditions for the activity, large-scale mining is practically non-existent in the country. however, the change in legislation could unlock a gigantic market since the country of more than 210 million inhabitants has a predominantly green energy matrix, coming mainly from hydroelectric plants.
cities and bitcoin
In the last year, several cities have begun to integrate in different ways with bitcoin, in what appears to be the beginning of modest adoption by governments.
In March 2022, the Swiss city of Lugano established bitcoin as legal tender and pledged to become an educational center for cryptocurrency.
in addition, lugano will host the plan b forum, an event focused on discussing the global adoption of bitcoin and the defense of freedom of expression.
fort worth city government was the first city in the united states to start a bitcoin mining operation. Through a grant from the Texas Blockchain Council, an institution focused on mining advocacy in the state, three mining rigs were installed in the city’s IT solutions department.
“With blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies revolutionizing the financial landscape, we want to transform Fort Worth into a tech-friendly city,” said Mayor Mattie Parker.
Probably the most notorious case of a city embracing bitcoin is miami, which is serving as the inspiration for rio de janeiro. Through a series of initiatives by Mayor Francis Suarez, the city is incorporating bitcoin into its local economy.
during the innovation week event in rio, francis suárez reaffirmed his commitment that taxes can be paid in bitcoin:
“I see very quickly a world where the satoshi system is the one used to make payments, we need to take that leap,” said the mayor. “we need people to understand that the value of bitcoin is increasing and yes we want you to have bitcoin, a better currency frankly.”
In this way, cities begin to spontaneously integrate with bitcoin. its network effect and success in becoming a sovereign store of value could radically change which regions adopt it first.
miami, rio de janeiro, lugano, el salvador and other regions are taking the lead in global bitcoin adoption in what could be called the “digital gold rush”.
If bitcoin becomes the dominant money, the wealth provided by a bitcoin standard has the potential to transform these regions into the new financial and technology capitals of the world, fueled by the use of sound money and the adoption of revolutionary technology .
this is a guest post by joão. The views expressed are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or bitcoin magazine.