On Sept. 6, the Republic of Panama introduced a bill on regulating cryptocurrencies, aiming to make the country “compatible with the blockchain, crypto assets and the internet.”
Announcing the news on Twitter, Panamanian pro-crypto congressman Gabriel Silva stressed that the new legal initiative has the potential to generate thousands of jobs, create new investment sources, as well as make the government “more transparent.”
According to the draft bill document shared by Silva, the new legislation intends to recognize crypto assets like Bitcoin as an alternative global payment method for “any civil or commercial operation not prohibited by the legal system of the Republic of Panama.” The bill authors emphasized that cryptocurrencies enable fast and low-cost payments allowing them to finalize a financial transaction “regardless of the distance between parties and the transaction volume.”
In contrast to the government of El Salvador, which has required local businesses to accept Bitcoin in exchange for goods or services alongside the U.S. dollar, Panama’s new crypto bill does not intend to force obligatory Bitcoin acceptance. Instead, the legislation calls to establish freedom to use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum in Panama, local TV network Telemetro reported.
Silva said that the new draft bill was prepared in collaboration with Panamanian citizens and a multidisciplinary team, including industry and technology experts. The legislation was created taking into consideration important guidelines provided by international organizations like the Financial Action Task Force, he noted.
Amid El Salvador deciding to accept Bitcoin as an official currency, more countries in Central America have been moving into the crypto industry. In late August, a company in Honduras reportedly installed the country’s first Bitcoin ATM, allowing users to buy BTC and ETH using the local fiat currency, lempira.