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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Panama’s president says he won’t sign crypto bill into law ’at this moment’

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Laurentino Cortizo, the president of Panama, has stated he won’t sign off on a crypto bill just lately accredited by the nation’s National Assembly with out extra Anti-Money Laundering guidelines.

Speaking on the Bloomberg New Economy Gateway Latin America convention on Wednesday, Cortizo said the bill just lately handed by Panama’s legislature should undergo authorized checks earlier than reaching his desk, however added he wanted extra data earlier than doubtlessly signing it into law. Describing the laws as an “innovative law” and a “good law,” the president stated he accredited of sure elements of the bill however hinted at potential illicit makes use of of cryptocurrencies that wanted to be addressed.

“I will not sign that law at this moment,” stated Cortizo. “If the law has clauses related to money laundering activities — Anti-Money Laundering activities — that’s very important for us.”

Panama President Laurentino Cortizo talking on the Bloomberg New Economy Gateway Latin America convention on Wednesday

Panama’s “Crypto Law” passed in the National Assembly following the third debate on April 28. According to the legislative physique, the bill was aimed at regulating “the trading and use of crypto assets, the issuance of digital value, the tokenization of precious metals and other assets, payment systems and other provisions.” 

In distinction to El Salvador’s Bitcoin Law, which required native companies to accept Bitcoin, the Panama Crypto Law, if handed, would seemingly give residents and companies the choice of utilizing and accepting cryptocurrency. According to an early draft of the bill, many companies wouldn’t want a particular license to simply accept crypto.

Pro-crypto lawmaker Gabriel Silva has suggested passage of the Crypto Law would assist foster monetary inclusion in Panama and create extra alternatives for employment. However, economist Ernesto Bazán has called for President Cortizo to veto the bill, claiming the shortage of clear laws within the nation was unlikely to encourage belief in cryptocurrencies, risking the monetary stability of banks and the native economic system.

“It is essential to have competent professionals, supervisory capacity and sufficiency, even more so in such a novel and specialized subject,” said Bazán. “Weak regulation would open a window of opportunity for greater fraud, cyberattacks and criminal activities that would imply a loss of confidence in the country and its International Banking Center […] We await the veto of the law and that a comprehensive analysis of the risks that this regulation implies be carried out. For the good of the country.”

Related: Ukraine’s president signs law establishing regulatory framework for crypto

Silva helped introduce the Panama Crypto Law to the National Assembly in September 2021, on the identical day El Salvador formally started recognizing Bitcoin (BTC) as authorized tender. The bill moved out of the Economic Affairs Committee on April 21 earlier than being accredited by the National Assembly on April 28 and is at the moment awaiting approval or veto from President Cortizo.