Brazil's Nubank to introduce cryptocurrency as part of rewards program

The logo of Nubank, a Brazilian FinTech startup, is pictured at the bank's headquarters in Sao Paulo, Brazil June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

SAO PAULO, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Brazil's Nubank on Wednesday announced plans to release its own cryptocurrency as part of a new customer rewards program.

Warren Buffett-backed Nubank said in a statement the Nucoin digital currency is expected to be launched in the first half of 2023.

Its goal is to offer customers benefits such as discounts and perks as they accumulate Nucoins.

Nubank's announcement follows a similar move by South American e-commerce giant MercadoLibre Inc (MELI.O), which had announced in August the creation of its loyalty program-related cryptocurrency MercadoCoin, whose value can fluctuate as it is also tradeable on exchanges.

Nubank said it is holding out the possibility that Nucoins could be tradeable in the future. The lender currently allows its Brazilian customers to make Bitcoin and Ethereum transactions on its banking app.

"This project is another step ahead in our belief in the transformative potential of blockchain technology and to democratize it even more," said Fernando Czapski, general manager for Nucoin at Nubank, which currently has over 70 million clients.

Polygon Technology, an Ethereum scaling blockchain developer, will provide technology and technical support for Nucoin's expansion, the firm said, adding that around 2,000 customers will be selected within the next month to test Nucoin.

Reporting by Gabriel Araujo, Editing by Angus MacSwan and David Gregorio

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