Brazil Prepares to Make Bitcoin a Legal Tender

Brazil looks to follow El Salvador as the second country to allow legal payments in bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

From Real to Bitcoin

Brazilians are on the verge of being able to use bitcoin to make everyday purchases. News emerged from Brasilia that the largest South American country has moved a ‘bitcoin’ law through its highest federal congressional body, the Chamber of Deputies. 

What has been dubbed the ‘Bitcoin Law,’ PL 2303/2015 has been in the works in Brazil for some time. It is designed to regulate cryptocurrencies and is ready for a vote to be enacted. Authored by Federal Deputy Aureo Ribeiro (SD-RJ), the law would follow El Salvador as the second country to allow bitcoin payments as legal tender. 

“We want to separate the wheat from the chaff, create regulations so that one you trade, know where you are buying, know who you trade with, and have this asset to buy a house, a car, go to McDonald’s to buy a hamburger. It will be a currency in [Brazil] as it happened in other countries,” said Ribeiro (translated from Portuguese).

Brazil is preparing in a few ways for the role of cryptocurrency in the country. The PL 2303/2015 is not the only law sitting in the Brazilian Chamber related to cryptocurrencies. The country’s highest chamber currently has four other bills looking to advance the role and use of cryptocurrency in the country. One of the bills, PL 4207/2020, seeks to clarify norms and legal conditions related to digital assets and Brazilian central institutions like the Central Bank and its Securities Commission. 


Internal Impediments?

According to Ribeiro, the law has been approved by a Special Commission and now awaits a vote by the Plenary of the Chamber of Deputies. Ribeiro has full confidence in the coming vote following alignment from Plenary President Arthur Lima (PP-LL). As with most political endeavors being just a few steps away can still feel like a marathon is ahead. 

Despite the enthusiasm from many of Brazil’s public figures, there may still be institutional impediments that would prevent the adoption of the laws. Internal pressure from Brazil’s Central Bank President Roberto Campos Neto is strong and runs contradictory to the efforts by Ribeiro and others. 

Special Sources told CoinTelegraph Brazil that it is unlikely the law passes in 2021 but were optimistic for 2022 when Brazil will have presidential elections. The sources speculated that independent bodies could be needed to hash out the differences between parties.

Just as in the United States, there appears to be a showdown regarding the definition of the assets. Campos Neto’s recent comments firmly entrenched his stance and could make the final steps of Brazil’s law go through significant hurdles.

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