South America

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country.

Brazil

Brazil Is One of the Top Countries With Users Affected by Malicious Apps on the Google Play Store: A global cybersecurity giant, Trend Micro, has recently made a worrying discovery as it exposed a computer spyware called ANDROIDOS_MOBSTSPY that hides itself as an Android application and steals personal information from users of the Apps available for download on the Google Play Store.

Although this is not a malicious crypto mining scam like before, the app was found phishing for information and reportedly affected wallet services and accounts installed on the phone. The attack impacted people from 196 different countries, with Brazil ranking at the sixth place in terms of the most downloads. Some of the apps affected by the problem include Flappy Birr Dog, FlashLight, HZPermis Pro Arabe, Win7imulator, Win7Launcher, and Flappy Bird.

Brazilian Fintech Picks Ripple Over Swift for International Payments: The Brazilian fintech Remessa Online has decided to switch from the traditional Swift banking network to a much cheaper blockchain-based Ripple solution.

Ripple has recently been making waves after being adopted by international banks and financial institutions. The network has grown to over 200+ partner banks around the globe. This move will cut down the cost of sending money from $40 per transaction to approx $1.6 with no extra fee while allowing transactions to 20+ countries, which comes as a massive relief for the frequent dealers.

Brazilian Exchanges Announce That They Will Support Hard Fork in Ethereum: Almost all major Brazilian exchanges including Bitcoin Market, Bitcoin Trade, Braziliex, Foxbit, 3xBit, and Stratum CoinBr have announced their support for the hard fork on the Ethereum network and the new implementations of Constantinople. They have already started the preparations to accommodate the changes.

Although there has been a delay in the execution of hard fork, originally scheduled to take place on January 16th due to some security vulnerabilities, the Brazilian companies have still decided to add additional security measures such as suspension of withdrawals and deposits or added layers of confirmations to ensure seamless adoption when it eventually occurs.

Brazilian Association Awaits Cade’s Response to the Closure of Exchange Accounts: At the closing of the year 2018, the Brazilian Association of Cryptoactive and Blockchain (ABCB) reported a staggering growth of their membership from 2 members just eight months ago to a total of 37 associated companies.

But, any similar success in 2019 hinges on the final decision of CADE (Administrative Council for Economic Defense) on the termination of exchanges’ current accounts by large banks. The alleged malpractice was reported to CADE on ABCB’s request last September, and cryptocurrency exchange hopes that the monetary authority will follow suit of similar organizations in Korea and Chile and rule in their favor.

Exclusive: Federal Revenue Intends to Launch Digital CNPJ With Blockchain in Brazil: The Brazilian Federal Revenue Service (RFB) has announced the expansion of its research and development in the field of blockchain and has decided this year to launch a digital CNPJ, on blockchain along with bCPF.

RFB’s also elaborated that they don’t want to develop a set of products for the market but want to make the cryptocurrency activities for the stakeholders easier and more centralized. The services are expected to be initiated in the first quarter of 2019, although there is no fixed date given.

Venezuela

Venezuelan President Multiplies the Value of El Petro Cryptocurrency by Ten: President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, has announced an increase of 10x in the country’s new national cryptocurrency, el Petro, to 36,000 Sovereign Bolivars while raising the minimum wage by 18,000 sovereign bolivars.

Given the hyperinflation veering towards 2,000,000% in the country, the step will hope to alleviate the crisis by increasing the minimum wage by 300%. Venezuela is looking to break the shackles of US sanctions via el petro cryptocurrency, and despite its volatility, many Venezuelans welcome and prefer Petro over the now increasingly valueless bank notes.

Venezuelan Government Giving Discounts for Property Bought With Petro: In a bid to increase the usage of their newly launched cryptocurrency Petro, Ildemaro Villarroel – Venezuela’s minister for Habitat and Housing, announced that they are offering 10% discount on all properties bought with Petro under the government’s Great Housing Mission scheme.

Although currently, only 15 local construction companies are using the state-backed digital currency,  Villarroel insisted that they are working with private companies to provide low-cost housing, with a goal of building 3 million+ houses, while using Petro for all concerned business deals.

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