Brazil aims to toughen penalties for crypto-related financial crimes

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Brazilian lawmakers are working to provide stricter regulations for crypto-related crimes, approving a raft of new penalties for money laundering with cryptocurrency.

The Brazilian Special Committee of the Chamber of Deputies has approved a bill that significantly tightens penalties for financial crimes using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), according to an official announcement on September 29.

The latest regulatory amendments are part of Bill 2303/15, which increased the amount of fines from one-third of the amount of money laundered to two-thirds. The bill also proposes raising the minimum prison sentence from three to four years, increasing the maximum prison term from 10 years to 16 years and eight months, in addition to a fine.

According to the announcement, the bill is subject to further discussions in the chamber’s plenary session.

Federal Representative Aureo Ribeiro stressed that the new bill will help the state protect Brazilians from crypto fraud schemes, noting that more than 300,000 people have been affected by “pyramid schemes with cryptocurrency” in Rio de Janeiro.

“With the lack of regulation, people have nowhere to turn. The market will advance and adapt in Brazil. There will no longer be beneficiaries who use technology to deceive millions of Brazilians,” Ribeiro stated.

Related: The Brazilian Stock Exchange wants to present the Oracle of digital reality

Ribeiro was bullish on other aspects of the bill, which regulates broader cryptocurrency operations such as trading, custody, cash exchange and payments. According to a report by Cointelegraph BrazilRibeiro said bitcoins will be accepted as payment in Brazil once the bill is passed into law.

Brazil has seen some signs of the growing development and adoption of cryptocurrency recently. In August, the head of Brazil’s central bank, Roberto Campos Neto, called on the country to embrace the cryptocurrency market by reshaping local regulations. In June, the Brazilian Stock Exchange launched the trading of another bitcoin trading fund, following the previous listings of several other crypto ETFs earlier this year.