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Tech Roundup: This Brazilian fintech wants to save the Amazon

. Jul 24, 2020
Tech Roundup: This Brazilian fintech wants to save the Amazon Image: Thanumporn Thongkongkaew/Shutterstock

You’re reading The Brazilian Report’s weekly tech roundup, a digest of the most important news on technology and innovation in Brazil. This week’s topics: the fintech that wants to save the Amazon; e-government in Latin America; and an assessment of Brazil’s major telecoms firms.

The fintech that wants to save the Amazon

Brazilian fintech Moss was created

four months ago with an ambitious goal: to help save the Amazon rainforest by providing liquidity to local carbon credit markets. It developed a marketplace connecting individual investors to internationally-certified conservation projects that sell carbon credits.</p> <ul><li>Using blockchain technology, Moss has already traded 1.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents, amounting to BRL 12 million (USD 2.3 million) —&nbsp;which makes the startup Brazil&#8217;s largest carbon-credit purchaser.</li></ul> <p><strong>Why it matters.</strong> The foundation of Moss comes as Brazil faces enormous pressure internationally due to its underwhelming anti-deforestation efforts, especially in the Amazon.</p> <p><strong>How it works. </strong>Instead of simply neutralizing carbon footprints with donations — as normally happens in carbon-removal platforms — Moss users may purchase carbon credits and keep them as an investment. The process is certified with a blockchain system that permanently preserves records, preventing the same bond being sold twice.</p> <p><strong>How to save the Amazon?</strong> &#8220;With money,&#8221; Moss CEO Luis Felipe Adaime tells <strong>The Brazilian Report</strong>. &#8220;If carbon credit prices [are high enough], then preserving the forest becomes a better business for landowners who see cattle herding and farming as their only way to make money.&#8221;</p> <p><strong>Not an e-shop.</strong> Instead of offering a laundry list of projects for customers to choose which one they want to support, the fintech only shows one at a time.</p> <p><strong>Fintech from Brazil.</strong> So far, only four of Moss&#8217; 1,000 registered investors are foreign nationals. However, Mr. Adaime believes international interest will grow as soon as they assemble a credit-card payment system, which is set to happen in the next few weeks.</p> <p><strong>Valuation.</strong> The fintech is currently valued at USD 10.5 million. It plans to raise more money, though, through the listing of a Brazilian Participation Fund (FIP) at the São Paulo stock exchange, in order to reach institutional investors.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Latin America improves in UN e-government index</h2> <p>The UN has published its latest E-Government Development Index (EGDI), which ranks countries according to their availability and quality of online services, telecoms infrastructure, and human capacity to operate it. The <a href="https://publicadministration.un.org/egovkb/Portals/egovkb/Documents/un/2020-Survey/2020%20UN%20E-Government%20Survey%20(Full%20Report).pdf">report</a> praised Latin American countries — particularly Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Costa Rica — for consistently improving their results.&nbsp;</p> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-scatter" data-src="visualisation/3269870" data-url="https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/3269870/embed"><script src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/embed.js"></script></div> <p><strong>Why it matters. </strong>Countries with strong, versatile e-government systems can be more effective in policymaking — and more transparent with the public. The pandemic has made it clearer that digital governments can react faster to crisis situations.</p> <p><strong>What they are saying.</strong> The UN said Latin America&#8217;s progress reflects sustained efforts to create and implement comprehensive national e-government strategies, the evolution of supportive legal frameworks, and high levels of cooperation with regional and international actors in relevant digital fields.</p> <ul><li><strong>Argentina.</strong> &#8220;The Digital Agenda of Argentina is focused on creating a strong technology-driven institutional and governance framework supported by initiatives aimed at accelerating digital transformation.&#8221;</li><li><strong>Brazil.</strong> The country &#8220;has prioritized the digital transformation of both the government and the economy. The country’s Digital Governance Strategy is behind the digital transformation of the public sector, whereas the Brazilian Digital Transformation Strategy (E-Digital) deals with the transformation of the economy.&#8221;</li><li><strong>Costa Rica.</strong> &#8220;The National Digital Strategy and similar mechanisms are focused on improving human capital and digital literacy.&#8221;</li><li><strong>Chile.</strong> &#8220;Among the factors driving e-government development in Chile are the improved telecommunications infrastructure (and the accompanying expansion of high-speed broadband into remote areas of the country) and the high level of penetration of mobile devices and mobile internet. Chile is also committed to supporting international and regional cooperation in digital government development.&#8221;</li></ul> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Comparing Brazil&#8217;s telecom providers</h2> <p>OpenSignal, a mobile analytics company which &#8220;quantifies mobile network experience&#8221; has published its latest analysis of Brazil&#8217;s top 4 telecommunications providers: TIM, Claro, Vivo, and Oi. While we discuss the implementation of 5G technology, the study offers a snapshot of the current state of 4G networks.</p> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/3269337" data-url="https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/3269337/embed"><script src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/embed.js"></script></div> <p><strong>How the study was made.</strong> According to OpenSignal, 13.3 billion measurements on 11.5 million devices were made between May 1 and 29, 2020.</p> <p><strong>What they are saying.</strong> TIM leads in 4G availability and coverage. Claro wins on download and upload speeds&nbsp;— besides video, gaming, and VoIP experiences.</p> <p><strong>Meanwhile.</strong> Brazil’s fourth-largest telecom company Oi announced it has entered exclusive talks with Highline to <a href="https://brazilian.report/newsletters/brazil-daily/2020/07/23/brazil-central-bank-optimism-recovery-telecom-amazon/">sell its mobile telephony operations</a>. The bidders — which made a better offer than competitors Vivo, TIM, and Claro — are a telecom infrastructure company owned by Digital Colony, the digital infrastructure investment platform of Colony Capital, Inc.</p> <ul><li>An acquisition by the top three players could face hurdles with antitrust authorities, and it would divide the market into three 33.3 percent shares —&nbsp;which lowers companies&#8217; incentives for competition and innovation.&nbsp;</li></ul> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Take note</h2> <ul><li><strong>Cryptocurrency.</strong> Argentinian platform International Credit Open Exchange (ICOE) is now providing an IO Token that allows users to use credits obtained in loyalty programs as money. IO Tokens may be traded as cryptocurrency and its value will vary depending on the exchange rate of the day. According to website Infotechnology, businesspeople will also be able to <a href="https://www.infotechnology.com/online/Llego-al-pais-la-unica-empresa-que-te-deja-cambiar-puntos-promo-por-efectivo-como-se-usa-20200715-0005.html?utm_term=Autofeed&amp;utm_medium=Social&amp;utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1595253656">issue IO Tokens</a> based on their inventory, which could be a solution for unsold goods. </li><li><strong>Solar power.</strong> Startup Solfácil, which provides funding for consumers willing to adopt solar power solutions, raised BRL 21 million in a new funding round. It intends to use the money to invest in technology, commercial expansion, and new products. </li><li><strong>Smartwatches.</strong> Samsung kickstarted the production of <a href="https://link.estadao.com.br/noticias/inovacao,startup-de-energia-solar-solfacil-recebe-aporte-de-r-21-milhoes,70003371379">smartwatches in Brazil</a>, eyeing the booming local market, which grew by 218 percent in the first quarter per IDC data. The company will produce its Galaxy Watch Active2, Galaxy Watch Active, and Galaxy Fit E models at its Manaus factory.</li><li><strong>Legal tech.</strong> Startup Juridoc is expanding its collaborative contract management platform to the B2B segment. Initially focused on helping individuals to make contracts in a much faster and less error-prone system, the company just launched a new platform that allows entire teams to collaborate and assemble a contract, also using CRM data and digital signature tools. The system allows companies to save different versions of the same document, work on a single clause, and bring different departments of the company to work together.

 
Natália Scalzaretto

Natália Scalzaretto has worked for companies such as Santander Brasil and Reuters, where she covered news ranging from commodities to technology. Before joining The Brazilian Report, she worked as an editor for Trading News, the information division from the TradersClub investor community.

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