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Brazil Cracking-Down on Crypto Money Laundering With New Bill

2 mins
4 October 2021, 19:13 GMT+0000
Updated by Ryan James
4 October 2021, 19:14 GMT+0000
In Brief
  • Brazil's Special committee of the Chamber of Deputies approved a bill to raise penalties for cryptocurrency money launderers.
  • Under the new bill, two-thirds of assets can be seized, and prison sentences can run up to 16 years.
  • Officials believe that the bill will not only help to squash crypto crime, but also create a new revenue stream for the government.
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The bill will double the fines imposed on those found guilty of laundering money via crypto, along with a harsher prison sentence. 

Brazil’s Câmara dos Deputados (Special Committee of the Chamber of Deputies) has approved a bill to crack down on cryptocurrency crimes. The bill will focus specifically on individuals or groups who use cryptocurrency to launder money in Brazil. 

Bill 2303/15, an update on Deputy Expedito Netto (PSD-RO), will see the penalties for laundering money increase from 33% to 66%. This means that those who are caught washing money via crypto will have to surrender ⅔ of their funds instead of ⅓ as was the previous law. The update also lengthens the possible prison terms offenders may face. The sentence for money laundering is currently three to ten years along with the fine. The updated rules raise the minimum to four years, with the maximum to 116 years and eight months. According to the announcement, “The proposal has yet to be analyzed by the Plenary of the Chamber.”

The bill outlines what a virtual asset is, specifying them as “a virtual asset as the digital representation of value that can be traded or transferred by electronic means and used to make payments or for investment purposes.” The bill does, however, specifically omit national and foreign currencies, electronic money provided for in the legislation, loyalty programs or points rewards, and securities and financial assets provided by laws or regulations. 

A win for regulators in Brazil 

Deputy Aureo Riberio (SSolidariedade-RJ), who penned PL 2303/15, said in a statement that “in my state, more than 300,000 people were harmed by a financial pyramid made with cryptocurrency,” referring to Cabo Frio. He adds that the report was designed to ensure that Brazil becomes a place that crypto investors want to look at and not allow criminals to go unpunished. “The market will advance and adjust in Brazil. There will no longer be profiteers using technology to deceive millions of Brazilians,” Riberio pledged. 

Deputy Luis Miranda (DEM-DF) added that he hopes that the bill will help to create revenue for the government via asset seizures and “it is a report to be used as an example in other countries.”

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