The company is launching an exchange for Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) trading in the coming months, according to statements provided by CEO Guilherme Benchimol at an event in Sao Paulo. The firm has decided to venture toward digital assets due to the fact that around 3 million Brazilians already have exposure to Bitcoin.
Regarding the upcoming launch, Benchimol noted, “I must confess, this is a theme I’d rather didn’t exist, but it does. We felt obligated to start advancing in this market.”
This week, Brazilian regulators released a new set of laws that allowed funds to invest in cryptocurrency-related assets abroad, in accordance with some limitations. Previously, Brazil’s central bank chief, Ilan Goldfajn, compared digital assets to a bubble and Ponzi schemes.
Despite overall reluctance, the exchange, which will operate separately from Grupo XP’s other brokerage businesses, will be run by Thiago Maffra. The new exchange will be named XDEX and will start with around 40 employees.
The firm began offering online investment platforms to Brazil’s growing middle class over the past few years, which resulted in rapid growth rates. Itau Unibanco Holding SA, Brazil’s banking giant, agreed to purchase a minority stake in Grupo XP last year in a deal valued at nearly 12 billion real ($3 billion).
Grupo XP plans to have 1 trillion real ($245 billion) under custody by 2020, according to sources, approximately four times what the company expects to gather by the end of the year. Additionally, the brokerage has plans to launch a bank in the coming months.