Fundacao Getulio Vargas (FGV), a Sao Paulo-based higher education institution, has launched what it is calling the world’s first Master’s degree in crypto-finance.
Ricardo Rochman, who is the program’s coordinator, said that the program was born out of a recognizable need for specialized education in an industry that is less than ten years old: “it is a market with a profound lack of people with expertise. Cryptofinance has economic and financial fundamentals that are worth discussing, researching, and [being] taught.”
Bitcoin.com reported that the program will provide its students and the world with research on the cryptocurrency markets and industry from a more objective, academic perspective. Up until now, most of the research and knowledge gathered on crypto has been collected from a speculative perspective.
“There is a conceptual gain of knowing both the practical applications of the technology and cryptocurrency as an alternative investment,” said Michele Araujo, a 26-year-old student of economics at FGV.
Crypto Education in Brazil: A Small (but Growing) Movement?
The launch of the program represents perhaps the most significant step so far in a small movement of Brazilian universities incorporating crypto-finance into their economics studies. Professor Alan de Genaro at the Faculty of Economics and Administration at the University Sao Paulo integrated cryptocurrencies into the department’s Derivatives unit.
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Genaro believes that “people have to understand which factors are beneficial and which are not suitable” when it comes to cryptocurrency,” saying that “some issues have to be presented even though the [student] does not go to work in the finance market.”
A group of students has also taken their own initiative to found Blockchain Insper, a small organization that local news sources described as part study-group and part junior company.
The group’s two founders are Juan Perpetuo and Felipe Santos, both of whom are in their early twenties and study economics. Santos believes that the academic edge and collaborative spirit that the group has presents an advantage over most startup companies: “we thought we could create a hub that facilitates entry for all students and has a bias of innovation that sets us apart from a junior company.”
Crypto in Brazil
The Brazilian government has taken a somewhat cautionary and bearish attitude toward cryptocurrency. Even before the meteoric rise and subsequent crash of the crypto markets that took place last December, Brazilian central bank governor, Ilan Goldfajn, told journalists that people should not “[sell their houses] to buy these virtual currencies. He referred to Bitcoin as “a typical bubble, a typical pyramid.”
Gains made through cryptocurrency trading have also been hit by heavy taxes by the Brazilian government–traders who earn the equivalent of $11,000 or more must pay 15% of what they take home to the government.
However, the Brazilian populace appears to be very bullish on crypto. Brazil is the country with the largest crypto market in South America; a Bitcoin.com report from early January revealed that there are “at least twice as many Bitcoin traders in Brazil as stock investors.”