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Brazil Upholds Crypto Donations Ban for Political Parties and Candidates

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
Brazil Upholds Crypto Donations Ban for Political Parties and Candidates

Brazilian authorities have upheld a ban on the use of crypto donations to fund political parties and candidates’ electoral campaigns in the country.

In a ruling published on its website, the nation’s electoral court (Tribunal Superior Eleitoral, or TSE for short) wrote that it would “maintain” an existing “ban on the use of donations made in cryptocurrency.”

The TSE’s ruling covers the period up until the 2024 municipal elections. Polls are slated for October 6 this year. A run-off vote is scheduled for October 27.

Blow to Community as Brazil Upholds Crypto Donations Ban

Brazilians go to the polls in October to vote for mayors, deputy mayors, and local councilors in over 5,500 regions.

The new ruling effectively updates the existing regulations surrounding the funding of political campaigns. The TSE wrote:

“The payment of electoral expenses with virtual currencies and pre-paid cards managed by third parties is prohibited.”

The headquarters of the Brazilian electoral court.
The headquarters of the Brazilian electoral court. (Source: Senado Federal [CC BY 2.0])

The TSE explained its reasons for upholding the ban, claiming its rules “aim to ensure transparency and the proper tracking of donations made to political campaigns.”

It said the ruling was made “in accordance” with its “legal and accountability requirements.”

The electoral regulator said that its updated rules would reinforce its “commitment to supervise the fairness of the electoral process.”

It added that it would continue to “protect elections against irregular or illicit practices.”

Banks Must Handle Political Donations, Says Regulator

The rules stipulate that donations to the value of just over $200 “must only be made by bank transfer,” and would be subject to cross-checking.

“All” crypto donations, even contributions worth less than $200, remain banned. The TSE first explicitly banned crypto as a donations tool in December 2019.

It has subsequently updated its guidelines on several occasions. In each case, it has explicitly banned crypto donations.

Crypto community members had been hoping for a change, considering the phenomenal rate of adoption in Brazil and the wider LATAM region.

Regulator Orders Candidates to Abide by Rules

The TSE also instructed all candidates to detail their expenses and donated income in mandatory financial statements.

The body warned that those who fail to adhere to its rules could face censure from the Public Prosecutor’s Office and its own court system.

Last month, Nubank, the country’s biggest neobank and the third-largest company in Brazil by market cap, announced it would begin allowing its customers to make Bitcoin and Ethereum withdrawals from its banking app.