Brazil's Ministry of Justice Reveals It's 'Studying' Bitcoin Over Potential Use in Crime

Brazils Ministry of Justice and Public Security, led by Sérgio Moro, has recently revealed through an interview that it’s ‘investigating« (studying) bitcoin, the flagship cryptocurrency, to better understand how it can be used in crimes.

The Ministry’s goal is to reportedly be able to understand the nascent technology it’s based on, and to potentially launch investigation norms authorities can use. Within the Ministry the National Strategy to Combat Corruption and Money Laundering (ENCCLA) is responsible for overseeing cryptocurrencies, and has been having regular meetings on the issue.

According to local news outlet Criptomoedas Fácil, the ENCCLA has over 70 agencies in it, and has revealed cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology have been debated with the goal of “deepening the study on the circulation of these assets to individuals and companies in Brazil.”

Speaking to the news outlet, the Ministry revealed:

Despite the good use that can be made of the new technologies regarding virtual assets, they unfortunately have also been used to commit crimes. The theme still poses challenges not only for our country but for the international community.

Camila Colares, director of the Asset Recovery and International Legal Cooperation Department (DRC) noted that there’s still a lot to discover when it comes to the topic, and as such the ENCCLA is set to continue looking into it with a criminal approach in mind.

Colares was quoted as saying:

The regulatory difficulty we have today is because we still do not know the potentialities - negative and positive - of these virtual assets.

Some of the so-called actions the ENCCLA has already taken to debate the topic has seen it create a glossary of cryptocurrency-related terms, create a survey on the typologies of money laundering and corruption through the use of cryptocurrencies, and hold a workshop on the use of cryptos with “national and foreign participants from the public and private sectors.”

The organization has also studied cryptocurrencies to understand how these can be used to launder money, and determined there’s a need for regulations that can prevent it to be used by criminals, although an exact approach hasn’t been determined.

It’s worth pointing out the cryptocurrency scene has been growing in Brazil. Last year the country launched a national blockchain association, and soon after a university within launched the world’s first master’s degree in cryptofinance. Earlier this year, the country’s new president Jair Bolsonaro shut down an indigenous cryptocurrency project.

India’s Finance Minister Says Countries Are 'Rushing' Into Cryptocurrency

  • India's Finance Minister and Reserve Bank Governor cautioned against countries rushing into digital currencies. 
  • IMF Director Kristalina Georgieva said the organization is taking a "balance approach" to regulation.

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das and Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman cautioned that countries are rushing into cryptoassets, in the wake of Facebook’s handling of libra. 

Das spoke on cryptoassets earlier in the week at the annual meeting for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Sitharaman told Indian reporters of the meeting, 

On our side, the Reserve Bank Governor spoke about it during our turn to intervene. I got the sense that many countries were cautioning on rushing into this.

Das continued, explaining how some officials took issue with libra being labeled a ‘stablecoin,’

Some of them [countries] of course even suggested that they shouldn't be using, all of us shouldn't be using the name stable currency because that's the expression they used. Many cautioned to the extent saying even the name should not be stable currency, it should relate to virtual currency or something of the kind.

Sitharaman said the general consensus was that countries need to show “extreme” caution in the handling of digital currencies. However, she also admitted there were discussions about the benefits of digital currencies, saying that "presentations were also highlighting the strenghts of such virtual currency."

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the organization is taking a “very balanced approach” to crypto-assets while being “mindful” of the risks they pose for consumers. 

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