Panama President refuses to sign the crypto bill into law. Here is why!

Key Takeaways:

  • Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo has refused to sign the country's crypto bill into law
  • According to reports, President Laurentino Cortizo has asked for stricter anti-money laundering (AML) controls
  • Lawmakers in Panama unanimously approved legislation last month to regulate cryptocurrencies in the country.
Panama President refused to sign the country's crypto law, asking for stricter anti-money laundering (AML) controls before giving his consent
Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo has refused to sign the country’s crypto bill into law. Pic Credit: Flickr

YEREVAN (CoinChapter.com) – Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo has temporarily pulled the plug on the country’s crypto aspirations. Cortizo has asked for stricter anti-money laundering (AML) controls before giving his consent to the crypto bill legalizing digital assets like Bitcoin (BTC).

As CoinChapter had earlier reported, lawmakers in Panama unanimously approved legislation last month to regulate cryptocurrencies in the country. The new legislation, (Project Law No 697), would regulate the commercialization and use of cryptocurrencies and the issuance of digital assets. In addition, it also dictated other provisions, such as the tokenization of precious metals and the use of crypto in payment systems, among other things. 

After the national assembly passed the bill, lawmakers sent it to the country’s president for his approval. However, the president may now use his powers to refuse to sign it into law until the parliament implements its modifications.

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Why is the President of Panama worried about the crypto bill?

According to Bloomberg, President Cortizo wants to ensure Panama’s crypto bill adheres to global anti-money laundering standards. The President considers the risks, at this stage, far outweigh the benefits of legalizing cryptocurrencies. 

Considering the recent developments, he has every reason to be worried. In 2019, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a Global intergovernmental watchdog added Panama to its Grey list. Ever since the country has pledged to strengthen its anti-money laundering (AML) policy. 

“If I’m going to answer you right now with the information that I have, which is not enough, I will not sign that law. I have to be very careful if the law has clauses related to money laundering activities. Anti-money laundering activities are very important to us,”

 Cortizo said while speaking at the Bloomberg New Economy Gateway Latin America conference in Panama City.

However, this does not mean the end for cryptocurrencies in the country. Although Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo has raised concerns, he is not against cryptocurrencies and the bill in toto.

“It is an innovative law from what I have heard, it’s a good law. However, we do have a solid financial system here in Panama and one of the things I’m waiting on is when you have a global regulation of crypto-assets,” 

the president added.

All eyes now will be back on Congressman Gabriel Silva, who tabled the bill, and the country’s parliament. The changes they bring to strengthen the anti-money laundering (AML) policy will determine if the bill will become a law soon. 

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Panama President, Panama President refuses to sign the crypto bill into law. Here is why!

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