In Brazil, crypt acceptance — as legal tender, no less — is on the horizon. But it will come with a host of new regulations and oversight.
As reported by sites such as Coinrivet, authorities in that country are introducing a bill that would allow bitcoin to be used across all manner of transactions, large and small. The bill would reportedly be introduced to the Plenary of the Chamber of Deputies in the next few days by Federal Deputy Aureo Ribiero.
“With this asset you will be able to buy a house, a car, go to McDonald’s to buy a hamburger — it will be a currency in the country as it happened in other countries,” he said in a statement.
But beyond the movement to use bitcoin as legal tender — which would follow El Salvador’s own ongoing efforts to promote bitcoin as a national currency — Brazil is also looking to toughen cryptocurrency regulations.
In Brazil’s case, the bill must pass the chamber, and that vote may come as early as this week. But in addition to proposing that bitcoin be used in a variety of payments, the bill also offers a range of regulations that would boost the fines tied to crypto-related money laundering. Those fines would increase from one-third of the amount of money laundered to two-thirds of the amount. The maximum prison time for those crimes would increase from 10 years to more than 16 years.
The idea, of course, is to make it onerous to use the cryptos in the service of fraud and to make consumers feel a bit more confident in using bitcoin for everyday activities. Panama is also reportedly on track to legalize bitcoin, as reported by coingape.com.
It’s important to note that these smaller economies launching their embraces of bitcoin and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) — El Salvador, Nigeria, the Bahamas among them — are much smaller than Brazil, where the GDP is roughly $1.4 trillion. How bitcoin use fares in Brazil, then, may be watched closely by nations in their own various stages of crypto acceptance, particularly in gauging whether the more far-reaching penalties will indeed reduce fraud.
Within that nation, too, there seems to be a bit of ambivalence about bitcoin. Research cited by Sherlock Communications estimates that 48 percent of Brazilians want bitcoin adoption. That implies that over half of the nation is less than enthused about bitcoin — in fact, 21 percent are against using it. And therein lies a challenge in promoting new payment methods: Garnering interest and, ultimately, trust.
Interest certainly is running high in a number of countries, the United States among them. In a study done jointly between PYMNTS and BitPay, we surveyed more than 8,000 consumers. As many as 12% of consumers have owned cryptos at some point; about 18% of the adult population is likely to use crypto to make a purchase, which translates to 46 million consumers.