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Brazil’s Experiment with Digital Currency

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Marica Brazil

QUESTION: Hi, Mr. Armstrong
I noticed that the national news agency in my country had an article about a local digital currency in Maricá, Brazil. It is called Mumbuca. What I read about Mumbuca sounds good and all that, but I am curious if the news is just conditioning people to a new age of digital currency.
Do you have any comments about Mumbuca?
Thank you for your time and what you stand for.
Best Regards

ANSWER: It is important to highlight that Mumbuca is a local digital currency whose name is a reference to the main river and to one of the native peoples of the city. A unit of Mumbuca is equivalent to R$ 1.00 (US$ 0.19). What is interesting is that this is a local city currency much like the Depression Scrip of the 1930s. This is really an experiment of guaranteed basic income. Increasingly, customers in the city don’t pay with cash but with this digital currency. They receive it as part of the town’s basic income program. They pay with a quick scan of a QR code, using their phones. So far, just over 42,000 inhabitants can pay local merchants with Mumbuca.

This is Brazil’s first big experiment with digital currency. Those without smartphones can pay using a card, which has a scannable barcode. They are way ahead of the game and, actually, it is being followed closely internationally.