Uruguay: Senator introduces bill to enable use of crypto for payments

Uruguayan Senator Juan Satori has introduced a draft bill to regulate cryptocurrency and enable businesses to accept crypto payments.

Satori joins a growing list of politicians from South American and Spanish-speaking countries that are seeking to bring crypto adoption into the mainstream. The Senator is not proposing the use of crypto as legal tender as in El Salvador, however.

The crypto-friendly Senator tweeted on Aug. 4 that “today we present a bill, pioneer in the world, that seeks to establish a legitimate, legal and safe use in businesses related to the production and commercialization of virtual currencies in Uruguay.”

The bill proposes that “crypto assets will be recognized and accepted by the law and applicable in any legal business. They will be considered a valid means of payment, added to those included in the Law of Financial Inclusion.”

The Senator belongs to the National Party which is the ruling party of Uruguay and holds 10 of the 30 seats in the Senate. If the bill gains support the government will issue three types of licenses for businesses using crypto. The first enables “companies to trade any crypto-asset such as intermediaries (exchanges) except transactions of non-financial origin.”

The second license allows the approved party to “store, retain or safeguard crypto assets” and the third allows the issuance of “crypto-assets or utility tokens with financial characteristics.”

The country’s National Secretariat for the Fight Against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing (SENACLAFT) will be tasked with “regulating, controlling and auditing” the license holders.

Satori asserts that “the percentage of people who invest in cryptocurrencies compared to the total number of inhabitants per country is low,” and emphasizes the importance of adopting crypto regulation to “promote investment and protect investors.”

Related: Bank of America outlines 4 potential benefits of El Salvador’s Bitcoin strategy

Columbia seeks crypto security

The development is the latest among a number of countries looking to bring crypto into the fold, including Paraguay, which saw a Bitcoin bill submitted last month, Panama which is looking at adopting cryptocurrency on a national scale, and Argentina with a bill calling for workers to be paid in crypto.

Columbia has also thrown its hat into the ring, with Senator Mauricio Toro who introduced a bill on July 27 that targeted crypto exchanges and consumer protection.

Toro highlighted on Twitter that the bill is seeking to “guarantee security” in crypto transactions, stamp out the black market and promote crypto as an alternative to the traditional banking system.

If approved, the bill will introduce regulations that require domestic and international crypto exchanges that operate in the country to register with the national commercial register.

Firms will need to comply with anti-money laundering and terrorism financing laws, implement customer awareness and due diligence measures such as reporting unusual or suspicious activity to the Financial Information and Analysis Unit.

In Spain, a crypto bill was also put forward recently by the People’s Party (PP), seeking to legalize the use of crypto and blockchain tech for mortgage and insurance purposes.

The bill calls on Spanish banks to deploy blockchain tech for managing mortgage and insurance by automating related processes using smart contracts.

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