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Brazilian bitcoin brokers win Cade in case against banks


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The war between bitcoin brokers and banks will have new chapters. This is because on Wednesday (20) Cade (Administrative Council for Economic Defense) decided to reopen the investigation to investigate anti-competitive conduct by banks for closing exchange accounts.

The topic returned to Cade's agenda after a decision by counselor Lenisa Rodrigues Prado, who asked for the continuation of investigations last Wednesday (13). At the end of the opening, the board had closed the issue and given victory to Brazilian banks.

“I understand that this Court deserves to look into the matter more. In my view, there is a certain selectivity of financial institutions in electing cryptocurrency brokers as unwanted customers. And this attitude of financial institutions to exclude brokers from their services leads to their market in a limbo of the financial system ”, said the counselor during the trial.

Survey continues

Prado initially defended the immediate opening of an administrative process on the case. The other directors, however, decided to continue the matter as an administrative inquiry, which had been closed at the end of April.

“I envision the possibility of continuing the process based on the deepening of diligences that could be important to exhaust remaining doubts. I vote for the continuity of the process as an administrative inquiry ”, said the board member Maurício Bandeira Maia.

Maia followed the advisors Sergio Ravagnani, Paula Azevedo, Luiz Hoffmann and Luis Braido. The latter also proposed that Cade establish communications in parallel with other bodies to counter competition and control issues – Coaf (Financial Activities Control Council), Central Bank and CVM (Securities and Exchange Commission).

Based on the votes of the other councilors, Lenisa reformulated the proposal and made the decision to proceed with the administrative inquiry unanimous.

Victory for the sector

For Safiri Felix, director of ABCripto, Safiri Felix, Cade's new decision represents a victory for the cryptocurrency sector in Brazil.

“The decision is positive, as it will allow the collegiate body to evaluate the merit of the process in more detail and in light of the recent progress in the sector. It is a great opportunity to build a mutually satisfactory relationship between the ecosystem and the incumbent financial system ”.

Also according to the director of ABCripto, the decision can be seen within a context of greater recognition of crypto activity in Brazil, together with the recent creation of a CNAE (National Classification of Business Activity) specific to the cryptocurrency sector.

Understand the case

In September 2018, Cade opened an administrative investigation to investigate possible violations made by financial institutions in closing exchange accounts. The lawsuit was filed by the Brazilian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain (ABCB).

The complaint was rejected in December 2019 by the General Superintendence of Cade, giving approval for banks to close accounts held by these companies. He also asked for the case to be closed.

According to the entity in the crypto sector, financial institutions are undermining companies' access to the banking sector. At the same time, they would still be hindering the development of a new branch of the digital economy with the closings.

Banks, for their part, claim to use closing exchange accounts and those responsible for them as a way to curb possible money laundering actions. They also cited the absence of legislation to regulate their operation by cryptocurrency brokers and the lack of a clear KYC policy (Know Your Client, in free translation).

In January this year, the entity appealed to Cade to reopen the administrative inquiry, which was eventually denied by the Council in late April.

However, the order of counselor Lenisa Rodrigues Prado brought the issue back to Cade's agenda, which opted for the reopening of the inquiry.

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