After almost 6 years in the pipeline, the bill to regulate bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in Brazil was approved by the Chamber of Deputies of that country. The legal text was discussed and sanctioned in the session of this Wednesday, December 8 at night, as reported by local media.
Approval in the Chamber of Deputies is the first instance of the camino that the proposal should go through. Now it must be debated and approved by the senators of the Brazilian Congress, before reaching the Presidency of the Republic, to finally become law.
The project includes the legal definition of “virtual assets”, a name that would encompass bitcoin and other 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 points or miles from frequent flyer programs, and even from the Brazilian CBDC, or digital real. Last May, CriptoNoticias reported that the Central Bank of Brazil made public the guidelines that will govern the development of its own central bank digital currency (CBDC).
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 several changes and administrative delays, due to the culmination of the parliamentary term, the election of the new parliament and the quarantine due to COVID-19.
The project was approved with several reforms
Several of the modifications added to the text were proposed by Deputy Expedito Netto, project rapporteur. Among them, the increase in criminal penalties for crimes such as cryptocurrency fraud, or money laundering, which will receive penalties between 3 and 10 years in prison.
On the other hand, it contemplates the appointment of a supervisory body for Bitcoin, by the Executive. Deputy Netto told a local media that, “surely”, the Central Bank of Brazil, will be in charge of the supervision of cryptocurrencies.
It should be noted that there are two other projects awaiting discussion by the Brazilian parliament. As reported by CriptoNoticias, in August this year Senator Soraya Thronicke presented a bill to delimit the competence of government entities in the supervision of transactions with cryptocurrencies, depending on the context in which they are used.
Another bill was made public at the beginning of November, by the deputy Luizão Goulart. In this case, the proposal seeks to legalize the payment of wages with Bitcoin. The author of the text suggests that the system would be optional for all workers, both in the public and private sectors, in Brazil.