Chamber approves regulatory framework for crypto assets in Brazil

The Chamber of Deputies approved this Tuesday (29) the basic text of Bill 4401/21 (former PL 2303/15), which regulates the cryptocurrency sector in Brazil. The matter now goes to presidential sanction.

According to the text, it was determined that companies have 180 days to adapt to the new rules, only then will the law come into force. In addition, the deputies also rejected the highlight that called for property segregation.

The PL, authored by Deputy Aureo Ribeiro (Solidariedade), creates the new crime of embezzlement specializing in virtual assets, with a penalty of between 2 and 6 years and a fine, and stipulates the creation of a license for a “virtual service provider”, which should be claimed by companies in the sector, such as exchanges and other intermediary companies trading cryptoassets.

In addition, the matter deals with the competence of regulatory bodies over the market. According to the project, crypto-assets that are considered securities will be under the purview of the Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM), while assets that do not fall into this category will be the responsibility of another body that will be appointed by the Executive Branch. It is expected that the Central Bank will be chosen.

In view of Congress’s delay in approving the PL, the CVM recently published an opinion to the market with guidelines on investments in crypto assets that are considered securities. The document also presents the regulator’s limits of action, indicating the possible ways to standardize, inspect, supervise and discipline market agents.

The PL approved today had already passed through the Senate in April, but it stalled in the Chamber in June and, although it has been on the voting list several times, it was only appreciated again today, almost six months later. There was no consensus for some points of the text, mainly in what involved the patrimonial segregation.

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On the controversial point, national brokerages defended the entry of the item in the text, while some foreign ones, such as Binance, were against it. This mechanism, in short, provided for the separation of the equity of investors and the exchanges themselves, ensuring that companies did not use the values, serving as protection.

In recent weeks, the FTX crisis has raised the debate on segregation again after the discovery that the company used client funds to carry out its own operations and those of its subsidiaries. After filing for bankruptcy, it becomes more complicated for users to recover their investments.

Specialists argue that, with segregation, the clients’ equity would be guaranteed in the event of a brokerage failure, facilitating the return of values. Exchanges opposed to the measure argue that the point was not clear in the original text approved in the Senate, and that segregation could prevent the operation of products from yield common in the crypto environment, such as staking (passive income in crypto).

Due to the impasse and the proximity of the elections, the project ended up being delayed, but it returned to the list of priorities after the fall of FTX, and amid strong pressure from industry players not to see the text return to square one next year, especially after the rapporteur for the PL in the Chamber, Deputy Expedito Netto (PSD), was not re-elected for a next term. Those interested in quick approval also wanted the PL to be sanctioned before the change of government, to ensure that the Central Bank is even appointed as supervisor.

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