Tech giant Microsoft has made a notable entry into the pilot project for the Brazilian central bank digital currency (CBDC), joining as one of the participants.
In collaboration with Banco Inter, a Brazil-based bank, and 7COMm, a digital technology firm, Microsoft has established a prominent presence in the initiative.
On May 24, the central bank unveiled the conclusive roster of participants for the CBDC pilot, following an extensive evaluation process. Out of 36 bids received from individual companies and consortia, encompassing over 100 institutions, a total of 14 participants were selected. Some participants represent groups of companies.
The applicants for the CBDC pilot project had diverse involvement in various financial sectors, such as payments, banking, cryptocurrency, and financial market infrastructure. The Brazilian central bank will commence the process of onboarding participants onto the Real Digital Pilot Platform around mid-June.
In addition to the consortium led by Microsoft, the CBDC pilot project will feature the active participation of other major players in the financial industry. This includes global financial services corporation Visa, multinational banking group Santander, as well as prominent Brazilian banking institutions such as Itaú Unibanco, BTG Pactual, and Banco Bradesco.
In the current phase of the digital real pilot, the central bank will test the privacy and programmability functionalities of its platform through a single use case: a delivery versus payment protocol for federal public securities.
In 2022, the Brazilian CBDC pilot was officially announced, unveiling the plan to create a digital real pilot. This digital currency would be pegged to the national fiat currency, the real, ensuring a stable value.
To maintain control and manage its supply, the digital real would be gradually minted over time, resulting in a fixed and limited issuance of the currency.
Digital Real Takes Center Stage As Possibilities Unfold
Boasting a population of 214 million, the largest country in Latin America continues to attract global cryptocurrency companies. Its size and significance make it an appealing destination for businesses in the crypto industry.
A collaboration between Binance and Mastercard resulted in the introduction of a prepaid crypto card in Brazil earlier this year. In March, Coinbase forged partnerships with local payment providers, enabling users to purchase cryptocurrencies and facilitating deposits and withdrawals in the local currency.
On May 19, the Brazilian central bank granted Latam Gateway, the payment provider for Binance in Brazil, a license to operate as a payment institution and electronic money issuer.
The digital real pilot program represents a significant milestone in Brazil’s financial landscape, as it welcomes a diverse range of participants, including financial institutions, cooperatives, public banks, crypto service developers, payment institutes, and infrastructure operators. This inclusive approach is set to enhance the country’s growing digital economy.
According to the timeline provided by the central bank, the process of integrating the chosen participants into the digital real pilot platform is scheduled to begin in mid-June 2023.
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