The President of Brazil, Mr. Jair M. Bolsonaro, has recently revealed in an interview with a well-known TV show host that he does not know what exactly bitcoin is while speaking about the decision of his administration to shut down an indigenous crypto asset project.
According to local news outlet Portal de Bitcoin, the TV show host has been participating in various crypto asset related events recently and was talking to the president of Brazil regarding a crypto asset related project barred by Brazil’s Minister of Human Rights, Family, and women, Damares Alves. Bolsonaro, with a disapproving tone, said, “She [Damares] discovered at the end of the transition last year that they were earmarking Funai for RS $40 million, and do you know why Ratinho? To teach indigenous people how to mess with bitcoin.”
The “indigenous cryptocurrency” project Bolsonaro refers to was signed three days before the mandate of Michel Temer, the former president of Brazil, ended. It would see the nation spend nearly $12 Million USD to bring an alternative currency for its indigenous communities, with an aim which purportedly could “transform the reality of these people.” However, the project saw the government sign a contract directly with the National Indian Foundation [Funai] and with the Universidade Federal Fluminense [UFF], instead of seeing firms compete for it via a traditional bidding procedure.
At the time, officials claimed that the UFF was chosen because of its expertise in such projects. But it is worth noting that Funai employees claimed the work that was set to be done was of questionable technical importance. Reacting to the disapproving tone of Bolsonaro, Ratinho asked the Brazilian president if he knew what bitcoin was. Bolsonaro replied that he did not know but with help from the host managed to get a little more out: “It’s that virtual coin. I do not know how to operate that ‘train’ yet.”
According to the reports of Portal do Bitcoin, “Bolsonaro’s son Carlos Bolsonaro appears to not yet properly understand cryptocurrencies.” On the microblogging platform Twitter, he claimed the halted crypto asset project had blocked millions in bitcoin when in reality it had blocked millions in fiat currency.