Panama’s President’s Blocks Law that Should Have Regulated Bitcoin and DAOs

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For a while, Panama’s been on the list of the next countries to legally recognize Bitcoin and DAOs. The crypto law was supposed to be passed soon, but it’s now all back to the drawing board. Crypto enthusiasts were undoubtedly excited about it until president Laurentino Cortizo threw a wrench in those plans and ruined it all.

Before the bill could be passed, the Panama president decided to block it. He partially vetoed the bill stating that it “needs adaptation” to Panama’s financial system. The move means that the law is back to the National Assembly for debate which can go on for a long time before it’s approved, if ever.

Back to the Drawing Board

Bitcoin and cryptos are the hot topic in the world right now. They have a wide range of use from Bitcoin casinos to paying taxes in certain countries. El Salvador has legally accepted it as a legit currency, and other countries are contemplating the same move. Panama would have been next on the list until president Cortizo put a halt.

It was a surprising move for a law that was expected to be passed right away. There’s been a lot of debate surrounding it but eventually lawmakers approved a bill that was supposed to regulate Bitcoin. The only thing missing was the president’s bill.

When that came to happen, he decided not to sign the bill. Not that he’s against it – the president believes it should only adapt to the norms in the Panama financial system, which essentially means going back to the drawing board. He cited anti-money laundering standards compliance as one of the issues he has with the law. “I have to be very careful if the law has any clauses in relation to money laundering activities,” he said in an interview. Now the National Assembly has new things to discuss and eventually include new policies in the law.

What Was It Supposed to Bring?

The law aimed to make Bitcoin a legal form of payment for many legal civil and commercial operations. In layman’s terms, it means it was supposed to let Panamanians pay for everyday goods with cryptocurrencies. It also meant to formally recognized DAOs, or decentralized autonomous organizations as legal entities. Thanks to that, Panama was supposed to become a Central American tax haven for many.

But, those plans were put to a halt by president Cortizo who wants guarantees it won’t backfire. He agrees that the country deserves financial inclusion, but only under the right circumstances. If the bill gets signed after a debate in the National Assembly, it’ll make Panama the second Latin American country that essentially legalized crypto. The first is El Salvador who became the first country to make Bitcoin legal tender nearly a year ago.

That experiment has had its ups and downs, so you’ll find supporters and opponents to that law. On the contrary, Panama’s bill won’t make Bitcoin legal tender, but it will give businesses the opportunity to take crypto as payment.

June 22, 2022: • No Comments

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