A special committee of the Chamber of Deputies last week approved a bill that increases the penalty by up to two thirds for money laundering crimes with cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin (BTC). Under current legislation, prison time for this type of crime is three to ten years and a fine. However, with the proposed change, the penalty could be increased to up to sixteen years and eight months in prison.
Bill 2303/15 was approved by a special committee of the Chamber of Deputies. The text is a substitute for the deputy and rapporteur Expedito Netto (PSD-RO), but includes much more than just the increased penalty for money laundering with digital coins. The proposal also typifies crimes of fraud in the provision of services related to cryptoactives, creates a legal definition of for this type of asset and deals with its regulation.
As much as the project has advanced in the Chamber of Deputies, it will still be analyzed by the Plenary. “This is a matter that interests many Brazilians involved in investments today. We have many prisoners for crimes that come from the issues of digital currencies and trade with this new technology”, observed the rapporteur.
Bill defines digital asset
The bill’s replacement text creates an important legal definition for digital assets in Brazil. In this way, fitting them into existing laws becomes easier while creating a legal basis for new legislation.
As defined by Bill 2303/15, a digital asset is the “digital representation of value that can be traded or transferred by electronic means and used to make payments or for investment purposes”, according to News Camera Agency.
In addition, the text details what is outside this definition. Domestic and foreign currencies, for example, cannot be considered digital assets. Electronic currencies already provided for in Brazilian legislation, such as resources in reais held by digital means, banks and other institutions that allow payments and transfers to be made are also excluded. Loyalty points were specifically excluded, as their immaterial character could lead to confusion with the new legal definition.
Law would protect investors from scams and fraud
PL 2303/15 is authored by deputy Aureo Ribeiro (Solidariedade-RJ). Even with several changes made by rapporteur Expedito Netto, he celebrated the project’s approval. “In my state, more than 300,000 people were harmed by a financial pyramid made with cryptocurrency,” said the deputy in reference to the recent scandal involving GAS Consultoria Bitcoin, headquartered in Cabo Frio. “With the lack of regulation, people have nowhere to turn. A market remains in the dark.”
Deputy Ribeiro stated that the proposal guarantees that Brazil becomes a granary for investors and do not let those who commit crimes with cryptocurrencies go unpunished. “The market will advance and adjust in Brazil. There won’t be any more profiteers using technology to deceive millions of Brazilians”.
Finally, the project also defines cryptocurrency fraud as a financial crime, typified as: “organizing, managing, offering portfolios or intermediating transactions involving virtual assets, in order to obtain illicit advantage, to the detriment of others, inducing or keeping someone in error, by artifice, ruse, or any other fraudulent means”.
With information: Agência Câmara de Notícias