The largest Latin American country could soon be the latest to regulate crypto, which lawmakers hope will increase its uses across the country.
The Brazilian Senate is set to vote on a bill which would make the country the biggest in Latin America to regulate cryptocurrency.
The crypto bill was unanimously approved by the Senate’s Economic Affairs Committee on Feb. 22, potentially increasing the chances that it will pass a vote on the Senate floor. Once passed by both the Senate and the lower house, it will be sent to President Jair Bolsonaro to be signed into law.
The legislation states that it provides “guidelines for the provision of virtual asset services.” Brazilian Senator Irajá Abreu said on Feb. 22 that he hopes the bill will curb various financial crimes that have been committed with crypto.
“The intention of the project is to curb or restrict illegal practices, such as money laundering, tax evasion and many other crimes. There is a market that is licit, legal, which is the vast majority of this market, but there are exceptions.”
Senator Abreu, who originally proposed the bill in 2019, also told Bloomberg on Feb. 22 that
“Once this regulation is approved, the trend is that (crypto) will be increasingly adopted in the supermarket, in commerce, in a car dealership.”
In the works for almost three years now, the bill defines various aspects of what constitutes a virtual asset (VA), a broker or exchange, and which arms of the Federal government would have jurisdiction over the matter.
The bill defines a virtual asset as a “digital representation of value that can be traded or transferred by electronic means and used to make payments or for investment purposes.”
According to the bill, a crypto broker or exchange is a legal entity that allows “participation in financial services and provisions,” and performs exchanges between VA and fiat currency, VA and other VA, transfer of VA, and custody of VA.
If the bill passes, it will make Brazil the largest country in Latin America to regulate cryptocurrency. Probably the most well-known LATAM nation to have such regulations is El Salvador, whose President Nayib Bukele has been vocal about his ambitions to make the country independent of U.S. dollar reliance through the use of Bitcoin (BTC).
Related: Top Latin American exchange Bitso officially expands to Colombia
There can be unexpected benefits from embracing crypto. In El Salvador, the tourism industry has seen a 30% increase since last September, when BTC was made legal tender.