Note: Written by Stacy Ndlovu
It used to be that if you were a pro-liberty student in Brazil, or merely just curious about the ideas, you were hard pressed for options and resources to further your activism or simply, satisfy your curiosity. For SFL alumnus Fabrício Sanfelice, this changed when he got involved with Students For Liberty in 2012:
“SFL is the best place to learn how to be a leader. Because there are very few channels through which young people get help and experience, it is great that with SFL you get trusted with responsibilities and you learn how to work with and motivate people,” says Fabrício.
Fabrício is one of the founders of Atlas Quantum, which he describes as an investment platform that “builds wealth through cryptocurrencies — using technology to make institutional investment strategies accessible to anyone, anywhere.” Founded in 2016, the company has grown to a team of almost 130 employees, some of whom are also SFL alumni and is now the biggest cryptocurrency company in South America.
It was during his time with Students For Liberty that he started to learn more about bitcoin and it was through SFL that he met his Atlas Quantum founding partner Rodrigo Marques dos Santos. This is why he insists that Students For Liberty is a community, “I got to know a lot of people through SFL and those people have helped me successfully run my business. I found the right people to work with, ambitious young people who wanted to achieve great things and those people connected me to their networks. That’s the thing about SFL, they work with others and we create much more value through collaboration.”
Yet, Fabrício’s path to liberty has been rather non-linear. Those who see his success today — as one of the pioneers of the pro-liberty student movement in Brazil and a leader in a crypto-company — can’t imagine his past as a radical socialist who voted for Dilma Rousseff, the Workers’ Party candidate for the presidency in 2010 who was later impeached.
So, how did he get here?
Fabrício’s first introduction to pro-liberty ideas was in a debate for a law class. For this debate, he had to support libertarianism against a classmate who was defending communism. It was during his preparation for this debate that he read John Locke, looked for other classical liberal authors and became obsessed with Frédéric Bastiat.
And, like anyone who’s discovered the truth, Fabrício was excited to share the ideas of freedom with others. He started sharing the ideas on Facebook, much to the dismay of many of his Facebook friends. After one too many unproductive Facebook fights, Fabrício was contacted by other pro-liberty students and together they decided to start a community called Clube Farroupilha in Santa Maria, Rio Grande Sul, and that is how he met an SFL coordinator and got introduced to SFL.
Through SFL’s trainings, Fabrício got the opportunity to further his understanding of the ideas, and the tools and resources to spread the ideas in his country. While Facebook fights led to few victories, SFL provided the training he needed to hone his persuasion skills. His proudest moment as a local coordinator came in 2013 when he organised his first conference in Santa Maria, with an attendance of 600! During his time with SFL, from 2012-2016, Fabrício focused on creating new student groups in Brazil and helped them with strategy and operations. By the time he left SFL, he had created almost 100 groups!
Although no longer a student, Fabrício continues to support SFL and is on SFL Brazil’s Board of Directors. He has hired close to 10 SFL alumni at Atlas Quantum, because SFL students have the skills he needs to run his business successfully. Because he has more experience and more contacts now, he finds it easier to help and mentor students, and his company is now a major sponsor of the liberty movement in Brazil.