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Panama passes bill to permit use of crypto assets

The representation of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin can be seen in this figure taken on August 6, 2021.Reuters / Daddle Bitch / Illustration

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Panama City, April 28 (Reuters)-Thursday Panama Parliamentarians have approved a bill regulating the use and commercialization of crypto assets in Central American countries, which are well-known as hubs for offshore financial services.

The bill opens the door to private and public use of crypto assets and allows people to pay taxes in crypto currencies. Experts have warned that Panama’s reputation as a place of lack of financial transparency could be enhanced.

The scope of the bill is broader than the measures passed by El Salvador, which made Bitcoin the legal tender last year, said Gabriel Silva, an independent lawmaker and proponent of the bill.

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“We are seeing the emergence of many different types of crypto assets, such as works of art,” he said. “That’s why I didn’t want to limit myself to cryptocurrencies.”

The bill covers the trading and use of crypto assets, the issuance of digital securities, new payment systems, and the tokenization of precious metals. Tokenization is the conversion of rights to an asset into a digital format.

Under the new law, Panamas can use crypto assets as a means of payment for private or commercial activities not prohibited by national law.

Panama is on the list of tax havens in the European Union, and Romain Dromard, CEO of financial investment adviser K & B Family Office, said the crypto bill did not help make it look more transparent. rice field.

“Panama is already in a bad position and these payment methods skip the due diligence process that international organizations are asking Panama to accept,” he said.

Currently, the bill passed to President Laurentino Cortiso for signature has been approved by Parliament with 38 votes in favor, 2 abstentions and no negative votes.

Belisario Castillo Saenz, CEO of the tokenization company Feänor Corp, said that although Internet penetration is high in Panama, only one in four people has a bank account, so crypto assets are for those who do not have a bank account. Claimed to be able to help.

The bill could also make banks more cooperative, creating barriers to the use of cryptocurrencies, said Jose Fabrega of CryptoSPA, a hub for crypto and blockchain services.

Still, K & B’s Dromad said the role banks play under the new rules is unclear and predicts that it will take years for traditional institutions to use their assets.

In addition, he argued that small businesses would not be able to switch to such highly volatile assets.

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Reported by Elida Moreno and Valentine Hilaire.Edited by Cynthia Osterman

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters trusts the principles.


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