The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, blamed Bitcoin for canceling an indigenous cryptocurrency project, despite not knowing what it is. And now he’s considering a South American ‘Euro.’
Cryptocurrency To Bank Brazil’s Unbanked
The 45 million Brazilian Real ($11.5 million) project planned to introduce a cryptocurrency for use by the indigenous population, who remain largely unbanked has been suspended by the government. The cause? Criticism from Bolsonaro shortly after taking office.
Bolsonaro is well known for his racist attitude towards indigenous Brazilians, even going so far as to advocate genocide. Short of that, he has promised to roll back protection of their lands, having said:
The Indians do not speak our language, they do not have money, they do not have culture. They are native peoples. How did they manage to get 13% of the national territory?
Obviously, giving indigenous peoples money in the form of cryptocurrency is not as attractive an option to Bolsonaro as simply stealing their land because they have no money.
Teach The Indian To Use… I’m Sorry. What’s Bitcoin?
When questioned on the project’s cancellation during a TV interview this week, Bolsonaro supported the move. His reasoning being that the project “wanted to teach the Indian how to use bitcoin”. When questioned on what exactly this mysterious bitcoin, of which indigenous peoples must have no knowledge, was, he replied:
I do not know what bitcoin is.
After the interview was finished, and he had been briefed by an advisor, Bolsonaro amended his statement. “Bitcoin is a virtual currency,” he triumphantly declared.
What is it with politicians and this narrative? They don’t fully understand Bitcoin. But still fear that it can undermine the state monopoly over money.