Panama's president not ready to endorse crypto regulation bill

Although Panama’s National Assembly passed a crypto asset regulation bill in late April, its president Laurentino Cortizo said he would not endorse it as written today.

“If I’m going to answer you right now, at this moment, the information that I have — which is not enough — I will not sign that law at this moment,” Cortizo said on stage at the Bloomberg New Economy Gateway Latin America conference on May 18. 

The bill would need to sufficiently take actions against money laundering for it to get the presidential seal of approval. Cortizo explained that his legal team would have to analyze the bill and recommend whether to pass it fully or partially as written.


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“I have to be very careful if the law has clauses related to money-laundering activities, or anti-money laundering activities,” he told the audience. “That’s very important for us.”

Lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to advance the bill, which “regulates the commercialization and use of crypto assets,” according to a news summary on the National Assembly website. 

Cortizo also stated his view that the world needs global crypto regulation.

“It is an innovative law from what I have heard — it’s a good law,” he said. “However, we do have here in Panama a solid financial system, and one of the things that I’m waiting [for] is when you have a global regulation of crypto asset[s], and it is important that we need a global regulation of crypto asset[s].”

About Author

Kristin Majcher is a senior correspondent at The Block, based in Colombia. She covers the Latin America market. Before joining, she worked as a freelancer with bylines in Fortune, Condé Nast Traveler and MIT Technology Review among other publications.