Panama lawmaker introduces proposed crypto regulation law


An independent lawmaker in Panama has introduced a bill to the country’s National Assembly that if approved will regulate crypto assets and promote blockchain adoption.

The proposed law aims to make Panama “compatible with blockchain, crypto assets and the internet,” tweeted congressman Gabriel Silva, whose profile photo features the red laser beam eyes popular with bitcoin enthusiasts. Silva, who tweeted about the proposal on September 6, is encouraging people to leave comments and feedback on his website.

“Our proposal is simple and seeks, first, to give legal certainty and safety to crypto assets in Panama—for example, cryptocurrencies,” Silva says in a video explaining the potential law. In addition, the law aims to attract digitally-focused entrepreneurs, companies and investments that could create local job opportunities and broaden financial services with lower prices. The proposal also seeks to offer citizens the option of paying taxes and fees with crypto assets.

The drafted “crypto law” specifically mentions bitcoin and Ethereum as types of crypto assets. 

“Natural persons located in the Republic of Panama or legal entities organized in the Republic of Panama may freely agree to use crypto assets, including without limitation Bitcoin and Ethereum, as means of payment for any civil or commercial operation not prohibited by the legal system of the Republic of Panama,” the bill states.

It has been a busy week for cryptocurrency developments in Latin America and the world, mainly due to El Salvador’s rollout of its own bitcoin law and wallet called Chivo. That country was the first to make bitcoin legal tender. But while Panama is also located in Central America and uses the U.S. dollar, its own crypto law has some important differences.

For starters, Panama’s law would focus more broadly on crypto assets and blockchain, while El Salvador’s is written to focus on bitcoin.

According to explanatory materials Silva shared on Twitter, Panama’s proposed law will not require companies to accept bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. El Salvador’s law, on the other hand, indicates that businesses need to accept bitcoin as a form of payment, although it remains to be seen how widely it will enforce this (those without access to the necessary technologies would be excluded from the mandate).

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May 5, 2022, 3:17PM UTC