President of Panama Turns Down Crypto Bill

  • June 21, 2022
  • Carlos A.
  • 2 min read

Panama’s cryptocurrency bill has been tabled and almost passed in its current form, but Cortizo the president of Panama refused the proposal. In a letter to lawmakers, Laurentino Cortizo explained that while he supported a “serene” digital currency that would “supply effective payment solutions,” such as Bitcoin, he could not support an unregulated and speculative virtual currency like that proposed by Panama.

The Panama Crypto Bill will have to go through another vote by National Assembly, and amendments can be made before it becomes law. The bill was first introduced in October, and the National Assembly has been working on it since then. It would establish a regulatory framework for digital currency, including licensing digital currency exchanges and payment services providers. It would also provide for national tax collection on revenues from digital currency trades and sales, as well as taxation of mining activities.

The National Assembly passed the Panama Crypto Bill in November, but President Varela vetoed it on December 10th. The president said that he supported the goals of the bill and its intent to develop a “serene” digital currency that would be used for payments within Panama. However, he said that his administration had concerns about some areas of the bill, explicitly concerning taxation and regulation of mining activities.

He said that he believed that Panama did not need to establish an “authoritarian” regulatory framework for virtual currencies because they were already being regulated by global bodies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or World Bank Group (WBG). He added that Panama should not establish its unique national cryptocurrency because there are already several virtual currencies with different characteristics, such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Ethereum, whose use is not regulated by any government entity.

The president also said there were other ways to regulate virtual currencies without creating a new national cryptocurrency whose characteristics could change over time without any regulatory oversight from Panama’s government or central bank.