Brazil’s legislators are expected to discuss in the next few days a bill that seeks to establish a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, which may be a major step toward making Bitcoin a legal “payment currency” in the country if approved by the congress.

Fast facts

  • Bill 2.303/15, proposed by Federal Deputy Aureo Ribeiro, aims to give Bitcoin legal status as a legal means of payment in the country, and received approval of a special commission of the Brazilian House of Representatives on Sept. 29.
  • The bill, if approved by the lower house, would force “virtual asset service providers to follow rules of communication of financial transactions, with identification of customers and record keeping,” according to a Portuguese-language text published on the Brazil congressional website.
  • The bill also stipulates that “only institutions authorized to operate by the Central Bank of Brazil may exclusively provide the service of virtual assets, or accumulate it with other activities,” which will occur within the framework of a regulation issued by an agency or entity chosen by the executive branch of the country.
  • Ribeiro stated earlier this month that with approval of the bill, new uses would be open for crypto holders, from buying big-ticket items such as houses and automobiles to food in restaurants like McDonald’s.
  • The bill stops short of calling for Bitcoin to be recognized as “legal tender,” as it now is in El Salvador, and it is unclear how a payment currency would be defined by the new law.
  • Brazilians show increasing enthusiasm for cryptocurrency investments. The country’s stock exchange currently lists four cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Mercado Bitcoin, the largest crypto exchange in Brazil, became the first Brazilian crypto unicorn after it got a $2.1 billion valuation in July.