Panama’s hopes of officially embracing cryptocurrency may be prolonged as President Laurentino Cortizo confirms he will delay approving the virtual currency bill. On Thursday, he said the passage of the highly anticipated cryptocurrency bill into law would have to wait until some things fall into place.
In April, the Parliament passed a bill addressing cryptocurrency regulations and the operation of crypto-assets exchanges. The bill’s passage was applauded and built momentum leading to the signing of the new bill.
Cortizo’s statement on Thursday means adoption in the country faces uncertainty and will be slightly delayed until certain conditions are met. Crypto companies waiting to venture into the market may be disappointed by the decision.
Cortizo Clamors for AML Provisions
In his statement, Cortizo believes incorporating AML laws will be crucial to the success of Panama’s crypto industry and the financial sector in general. The nation has been identified as a haven for money laundering and other illicit monetary transaction in the past.
Panama was even called out as one of the countries with the weakest AML rules by the Financial Action Task Force. After carefully studying the bill, President Cortizo revealed he would only put pen to paper if the bill is amended with the inclusion of the AML laws.
Since the listing, his administration has been working hard to implement all the suggestions of the FATF to combat money laundering and other monetary crimes. He said with AML provisions, Panama can leverage the DeFi market to improve its financial services.
In addition, financial institutions will become more receptive to cryptocurrencies, and the unbanked will have more access to financial services.
Adopting Virtual Currencies Could be a Detriment
The crypto bill will allow virtual currency trading, the creation of more financial payment networks, and the approval of digital securities. Meanwhile, analysts believe adoption will make Panama less transparent and leave the nation in a worse position.
Nevertheless, crypto firms eagerly wait for the president’s consent on the bill amidst uncertainties. Some exchanges have already set up operational centers in Panama after the Parliament passed the bill but may face delays in operations.
Since 2020, interests in virtual currencies and NFTs have risen massively in Panama. Virtual assets have become a popular way for citizens to transact anonymously. The government is still investigating the viability of using blockchain.