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Bolivia Lifts Bitcoin Ban: Banks Authorized for Crypto Transactions

by Tatjana
5 minutes read

Bolivia’s central bank, Banco Central de Bolivia, has lifted its ban on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This change in regulation ends a ban on crypto use that has been in place since 2014. Now, financial entities can conduct transactions with digital assets to modernize Bolivia’s payment system.

New Cryptocurrency Regulations

The central bank’s decision aims to help Bolivia’s struggling economy and align its regulations with other Latin American countries. Bolivia prohibited banks from interacting with cryptocurrencies in December 2020 under Board Resolution N°144/2020. The new rules now allow banks to transact in cryptocurrencies through approved electronic channels. However, cryptocurrencies are not recognized as legal tender, meaning businesses are not required to accept them as payment.

Economic Impact

Bolivia’s move to lift the ban on Bitcoin is part of a broader effort to boost the economy. By allowing financial entities to engage in digital asset transactions, Bolivia hopes to attract more investment and improve financial inclusion. The central bank believes this will help modernize the national payment system and support economic development.

Financial Education and Awareness

As part of its Economic and Financial Education Plan, the Banco Central de Bolivia plans to create an awareness program for the public. This program will inform people about the risks and benefits of cryptocurrencies and how to manage them responsibly. Education is crucial to ensure that the public understands the potential dangers and uses of digital assets.

Collaboration with Financial Authorities

The new legislation was introduced in collaboration with the Financial Investigations Unit and the Financial System Supervisory Authority. These three government bodies worked together to update the regulations, which became effective on June 26, 2024. The updated rules align with the suggestions of the Latin American Financial Action Task Force.

Latin America’s Pro-Crypto Stance

Many Latin American countries have turned to cryptocurrencies to address economic challenges. For example, El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as legal tender in 2021, while Mexico allows cryptocurrency for value transfers and taxes profits from crypto sales. Brazil introduced income-tax regulations for crypto profits, and Argentina recently elected a pro-Bitcoin president to combat inflation.

Bolivia’s Press Release

In a press release on June 26, 2024, the Central Bank of Bolivia announced the repeal of Board Resolution No. 144/2020, allowing transactions involving virtual assets. The decision was made in coordination with the Financial System Supervisory Authority and the Financial Investigations Unit. This move follows recommendations from the Latin American Financial Action Task Force.

Modernizing the Payment System

The Banco Central de Bolivia has been promoting the modernization of the national payment system. By adopting new payment schemes and technological innovations, the central bank aims to improve financial infrastructure. This includes promoting interconnection, interoperability, and digital financial inclusion.

Regulatory Oversight and Education

The Financial System Supervisory Authority will oversee financial entities and ensure they comply with the new regulations. Additionally, the authority will offer financial education to inform the public about purchasing virtual assets. The Financial Investigations Unit will apply measures to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing through cryptocurrency transactions.

Legal Framework and Risks

The Central Bank of Bolivia emphasized that the Boliviano is the only legal tender in the country. Virtual assets are not recognized as legal tender and are not considered cash. Users of digital assets will bear the risks associated with their use. The central bank plans to incorporate information about these risks into its Economic and Financial Education Plan.

Benefits of Cryptocurrency Adoption

The adoption of cryptocurrencies can bring several benefits to Bolivia. Digital assets can provide a new economic model, helping to address inflation and economic instability. By embracing cryptocurrencies, Bolivia joins other Latin American nations in seeking alternative solutions to economic challenges.Conclusion

Bolivia’s decision to lift the ban on Bitcoin and authorize crypto transactions via banks marks a significant shift in the country’s approach to digital assets. By modernizing its payment system and aligning with Latin American crypto regulations, Bolivia aims to boost its economy and improve financial inclusion. The new regulations and educational initiatives will help the public understand and manage the risks associated with cryptocurrencies, ensuring a responsible approach to digital asset use.

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