The Senate approved the project that regulates the cryptocurrency market in Brazil. The proposal creates rules for the sale of crypto-assets, establishes penalties for crimes related to this activity and exempts the purchase of equipment for mining the assets.
The project will now depend on a vote in the Chamber of Deputies. The government of President Jair Bolsonaro and representatives of the Central Bank supported the approval of the proposal in the Senate, which, if it passes the Chamber, will be sent to the Planalto Palace for sanction.
Trading virtual currencies is legal in Brazil, but regulations and rules to prevent fraud and abusive behavior are not defined in the legislation. The cryptocurrency market saw record investment last year, paving the way for regulation. According to the Central Bank, cryptocurrency imports totaled US$ 6 billion in 2021, almost double the amount recorded in 2020 (US$ 3.3 billion).
The proposal establishes that the commercialization of virtual assets must observe guidelines such as free initiative and free competition, the segregation of the resources provided by customers and the security of information and the protection of personal data. According to the project, the federal government will be responsible for appointing an agency to regulate this market, which may be the Central Bank itself.
The change approved by the Senate includes the crime of fraud in the provision of services of virtual assets, securities or financial assets in the Penal Code. The measure encompasses the act of organizing, managing, offering portfolios or intermediating operations involving virtual assets, in order to obtain an unlawful advantage or mislead someone, with a penalty of two to six years in prison and a fine. In the case of money laundering, which can lead to three years and ten years in prison, the penalty is increased from one third to two thirds if the conduct is committed using virtual currencies.
The senators also approved the exemption, with a reduction to zero in the taxation of PIS, Cofins and IPI rates, for the purchase of machines and tools for the processing and mining of cryptocurrencies. In order to have access to the tax benefit, companies will have to use renewable sources of electricity in the maintenance of equipment.