Brazil’s senate took a first step toward regulating the domestic cryptocurrency market as a bill that creates ground rules for digital currency funds and their day-to-day use passed a key legislative stage.
The senate’s economic affairs committee unanimously approved the text on Tuesday. The bill now goes to a vote on the senate floor, followed by the lower house if approved, before President Jair Bolsonaro can consider signing it into law.
The text starts from ground-zero by defining virtual assets and classifying their service providers. Under the proposal, the federal government decides which body will be responsible for regulating business with cryptocurrencies.
The draft’s rapporteur, Senator Iraja Abreu, said by phone Monday that he expects this responsibility will fall to the central bank, which actively participated in the construction of the bill.
If the bill is approved, Brazil will become the biggest Latin American country to regulate cryptocurrencies, reducing the potential for money laundering as well as risks for investors. Some smaller nations in the region are more advanced, with Cuba issuing rules that recognize and organize their use and El Salvador making Bitcoin legal tender alongside the U.S. dollar.
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