The Brazilian government has reportedly sent the country’s top cryptocurrency exchanges an inquiry in an attempt to know more about their businesses and study their potential use in money laundering.
According to a report from local news outlet Portal do Bitcoin, the government has been sending the crypto exchanges a 14-point questionnaire through their contact forms for the last two weeks. The document is reportedly being sent under the Ministry of Finance’s name.
The document, signed by prosecutor Ana Paula Bez Batti, warns cryptocurrency exchanges they have five days to reply to the questionnaire and that their replies will be part of a private dossier to “protect the interiority of the financial system.” Although the questionnaire itself can’t legally be shared, Portal do Bitcoin reportedly obtained a copy.
The 14 questions in it revolve around the cryptocurrency exchanges’ operations. Some of them address how they check customers’ documents, the trading limits they offer clients according to their earnings, how they control operations on their platform, how they identify users, and more.
Some notably ask for information regarding their “wallets’ hashs” and for data on the exchange’s operators, reportedly under the pretext of subsidizing a “study to combat corruption and money laundering.” Question 13, for example, asks:
“Does the crypto-exchange use some type of system to avoid trading in its platform cryptocurrencies with a blockchain history considered to be risky (as risky, consider bitcoins linked to known thefts, illicit markets and other criminal activities)?”
The local news outlet claims to have contacted three cryptocurrency exchanges among the top 10 by trading volume in the country. One claimed to have answered all of the Ministry of Finance’s questions, while another one revealed it didn’t found the questionnaire and would be reviewing its communication channels looking for it.
A third cryptocurrency exchanged claimed it wouldn’t be replying to the Brazilian government’s inquiry, as it was sent through its contact form and wasn’t an official document. As Portal do Bitcoin points out, however, most online forms inform users they’ve received their messages through an automatic reply, which means the exchanges will not be able to deny they’ve received the inquiry.
The Ministry of Finance’s move comes shortly after a top Brazilian cryptocurrency investment platform, Atlas, was hacked. Although the firm claims users’ funds are safe, the data of over 264,000 users, including their email addresses and how much BTC they deposited on the platform, has been leaked.
As CCN covered, Atlas notably claims to let users take advantage of arbitrage opportunities in the crypto space through a supposed bot. All users have to do to make a profit is deposit fiat or BTC on the platform for a specific amount of time, in a way similar to that of the now-defunct BitConnect scheme.