Brazil takes the first step to regulate cryptocurrencies with new law

Any law proposal must go through the Congress of Deputies and then be debated and subsequently approved by the Brazilian Senate before reaching the Presidency of the Republic to finally become Law.

The project includes the legal definition that “virtual assets” would have a name that would cover all cryptocurrencies in Brazil. In the legal framework the term “virtual assets” refers to a “digital representation of value” that can be used as a means of payment or investment in the South American country.

According to the local portal Exame the definition seeks to differentiate cryptocurrencies from other digital assets such as the digital Real. Last May the Central Bank of Brazil published the guidelines that will govern the development of its own central bank digital currency (CBDC).

During the session deputy Aureo Ribeiro said that currently more than 600 thousand people carry out transactions with cryptocurrencies in Brazil, the proposal approved by the lower house of the Brazilian Congress was presented for the first time in 2015 by deputy Aureo Ribeiro. Since then, it has gone through various administrative changes and delays due to the end of the parliamentary term, the election of the new parliament, and the COVID-19 lockdown.

The project was approved with several reforms

Several of the modifications added to the text were proposed by Deputy Expedito Netto, draft rapporteur. Among them the increase in criminal penalties for crimes such as cryptocurrency fraud or money laundering which will receive sentences of between 3 and 10 years in prison.

On the other hand, it contemplates the appointment of a supervisory entity for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by the Executive. Deputy Netto told a local media that “surely” the Central Bank of Brazil will be in charge of supervising cryptocurrencies.

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It should be noted that there are two other projects waiting to be discussed by the Brazilian parliament. In August of  last year  Senator Soraya Thronicke introduced a bill to define the Brazilian government’s competence in supervising cryptocurrency transactions depending on the context in which they are used.

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