06 Oct 2021 · 3 min read

Latin America Talks Bitcoin, Regulation, Mining & Cocaine

Source: AdobeStock/rpbmedia

Crypto regulation is on the cards in Latin America – where Brazilian MPs are set to vote on a regulatory framework and the Uruguayan central bank is readying its own moves. Meanwhile, in Colombia, a senator has urged people in the nation to ditch cocaine production in favor of new Bitcoin (BTC) mining efforts.

In Brazil, a private member’s bill put forward by the MP Aureo Ribeiro has passed the committee stage and is now heading for a vote in the lower house.

Per the official website of the Brazil House of Deputies, the bill will be debated in the house before a vote, although no timeline has been set for this.

If adopted, the measure would bring crypto exchanges under a regulatory umbrella and would oblige them to keep records of client transactions, de-anonymize customers and obtain permission to operate from the Central Bank of Brazil.

Ribeiro drew up the measure after a crypto-themed “financial pyramid” sucked in 300,000 victims in the Rio de Janeiro region.

He was quoted as stating that a “lack of regulation,” has left “people with no one to turn to.” Crypto, he noted, was a “market operating in the dark.”

As such, the bill seeks to increase the length of jail terms handed out for crypto-themed money-laundering crimes, boosting them from 3-10 years to 4-16 years.

If adopted, crypto operators would be handed a 180-day grace period in which to fall in line following promulgation.

However, there is also a brighter side to the bill, from a crypto perspective. Per the media outlet Livecoins, the MP recently gave a radio interview where he indicated that the bill would also grant legitimacy to tokens such as bitcoin.

Ribeiro was quoted as stating:

“We want to separate the wheat from the chaff, create regulations so that you can trade [crypto], know where you are buying it, and know who you are dealing with. [You could] have this asset [and use it] to buy a house, a car, go to McDonald’s to buy a hamburger. It will be a currency in the country, as is the case in other countries.”

He also claimed that crypto could be used in “real estate” deals and could even become a “daily-use currency.”

However, those hoping to see an imminent El Salvador-like BTC adoption in Brazil will likely need to curb their expectations, as the MP added that politicians would need to “work with” the Central Bank and the financial regulatory Securities and Exchange Commission of Brazil (CVM). These bodies are not overly crypto-friendly and would likely put a quick halt to any plans to use BTC in parallel with the fiat real.

Meanwhile, the Uruguayan Central Bank has made warnings about crypto, per El Pais. The bank said that it is currently working on draft proposals and an “action plan” that should be ready before the year is out.

But in the meantime, it noted, cryptoassets “are not legal tender” – unlike the fiat peso. The bank added that crypto-related activity is not within its regulatory remit, and are thus unregulated, adding that the public should conduct a “full examination of the risks” before making any crypto investments.

In Colombia, meanwhile, an outspoken Colombian senator has been talking about bitcoin mining. Gustavo Francisco Petro first made his name as a member of the revolutionary M-19 group during the 1980s, later going on to become the mayor of Bogotá. He has most recently become a senator for the Humane Colombia party after finishing second in the 2018 presidential elections.

Petro was commenting on Twitter in response to a news story about El Salvador’s “volcanode” BTC mining initiative.

The senator mused:

“What if the Pacific coast took advantage of the steep waterfalls on the rivers of the western mountain range to produce all the energy for the coast and replace cocaine with energy for cryptocurrencies? Cryptocurrency is pure information and therefore energy.”

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Learn more:
- Colombian Bank Begins Second Phase of its Crypto Pilot with Exchanges
- Colombia’s Banco de Bogotá Begins Crypto Pilot

- Brazilian Banking Boss Says Venezuelans Use Bitcoin & Alts as a ‘Vehicle’
- Brazil Dips a Cautious Toe in the CBDC Pool, Token May Debut in 2022

- Uruguay Senator Sartori Unveils Crypto Adoption and Regulation Bill
- Pundits Label Paraguayan MP’s Crypto Bill a ‘Huge Nothing Burger’

- Academic Says Bukele’s Bitcoin Mining Test Is ‘Bad Business’
- Level of LatAm Crypto Interest is Lowest in Chile, Survey Finds