Brazilian Regulator: Cryptocurrency is Not a Financial Asset

Bitcoin is popular in Brazil, but government cracks down.

Brazilian investment funds are now effectively prohibited from buying cryptocurrency.

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The Securities and Exchange Commission of Brazil (CVM) announced on Friday that digital currency cannot be considered a financial asset, and direct investment is thus not allowed. A fund looking to invest via foreign funds “should await further clarification”, according to Reuters.

This follows a warning against investing in Bitcoin which the CVM issued along with the central bank back in December. Previously, central bank President Ilan Goldfajn had said: “The bitcoin is a financial asset with no ballast that people buy because they believe it will appreciate. That is a typical bubble or pyramid…The central bank is not interested in bubbles or illicit payments.”

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A commission was set up by the government in May 2017 to discuss regulation of cryptocurrency in the country, and seven public hearings were held since then, during which experts spoke to politicians on the subject. The last was held in December, and the final decision made by Federal Deputy Expedito Netto was not positive: “We have decided to position ourselves by the prohibition of issuance in national territory, as well as to prevent its commercialization, intermediation and even acceptance as a means of payments for settlement of obligations in the Country.”

Writing in Valuewalk, Brazilian author and Youtube star Raphaël Lima laments: “Brazil needs Bitcoin…According to a study by Credit Suisse, Brazil’s productivity has not risen since 1981, and it’s not going to rise if the government keeps banning everything that can make us more productive.”

Brazil is a big market for Bitcoin, with some reporting that it is the fourth largest market by volume (infomoney.com.br).

Two Brazilians (one government adviser and one Ethereum programmer) have proposed an idea to integrate Ethereum into the country’s legislative process, according to Quartz. In a country with 26 political parties in congress and 145 million voters, collecting and validating signatures for petitions can be a challenging process. An application designed on the Ethereum blockchain aims to streamline this process, and thus make it more likely that petitions will be heard in parliament.

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