The Supreme Court of Panama will soon rule on the fate of the country’s cryptocurrency business, marking a new chapter in the ongoing story of the country’s crypto law.
On January 26th, President Laurentino Cortizo of Panama referred the crypto law approved last year to the high court for reconsideration, arguing that the so-called “crypto bill” breaches the constitution’s essential values and is thus unenforceable.
The Supreme Court needs to decide if they declare Bill No. 697 unenforceable or adopt it with amendments.
Articles 34 and 36 of the bill, which establishes administrative structures inside the government, are deemed unenforceable by the president’s office, according to an official statement.
After partially vetoing the law in June, President Cortizo said it had been adopted through an unsatisfactory mechanism. The president said that the law needed further work to comply with new standards advocated by the Financial Action Task Force to increase fiscal transparency and decrease money laundering.
This law has been the focal point of a disagreement between the National Assembly of Panama and the government. Panama’s legislature approved a bill to regulate Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies within the country in April. Nonetheless, President Cortizo warned that he would only sign it if it incorporated more stringent Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations.
Presented in September of 2021, the bill’s goal was to make the nation compatible with the digital economy, blockchain, crypto assets, and the internet. On April 21st, it was voted out of the Economic Affairs Committee and approved a few days later.
Hoy presentamos la Ley de Cripto. Buscamos hacer a Panamá un país compatible con el blockchain, los criptoactivos y el internet.
Esto tiene el potencial de crear miles de empleos, atraer inversión y transparentar el gobierno
— Gabriel Silva (@gabrielsilva8_7) September 6, 2021
This law states that any two Panamanians “may freely agree on using crypto assets, including Bitcoin and Ethereum” as an alternative payment method for any civil or commercial activity.
This measure would also govern tokenising precious metals and issuing digital currency. The government’s innovation authority will also look at digital identity solutions like blockchain and distributed ledgers.