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Panama President Wants AML Measures in Place Before Signing Crypto Law

2 mins
Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • President Laurentino Cortizo said that the bill requires tougher anti-money laundering controls.
  • The bill focuses on granting licenses to crypto exchanges and regulating transactions.
  • Many other countries are also looking to incorporate crypto and blockchain tech in some form.
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The president of Panama has refused to sign into law new crypto legislation saying it needs stricter anti-money laundering (AML) compliance measures.

The bill was passed by the country’s legislative assembly and focused on granting licenses to crypto exchanges and regulating transactions. President Laurentino Cortizo stated that the bill requires tougher anti-money laundering controls for cryptocurrencies.

President Cotizo was speaking at the Bloomberg New Economy Gateway Latin America conference in Panama City. He is not against crypto but is adamant that the market complies with global AML standards.

“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,” he said.

One lawmaker even introduced legislation to make bitcoin legal tender, though that plan never took off. Instead, the crypto law that was passed by the national assembly offers the option to pay for various goods and services in crypto. It also plans to launch an official digital wallet to further legitimize this process.

Crypto rousing interest in lawmakers

Panama is joining a growing list of countries looking to introduce cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. El Salvador is at the top of this list, though the results of its experiments have been mixed at best.

Recently, the Central African Republic made bitcoin legal tender, resulting in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) saying the decision posed risks to the economy.

Other counties have expressed an interest in taking advantage of blockchain tech and crypto to bolster their economies, but do not want to go so far as making bitcoin legal tender.

Instead, they are finding a middle ground that permits the use of crypto or blockchain tech with restrictions, which should do the market some good. Adoption of the crypto market is looking good this year, even though current prices may not reflect that.

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Rahul Nambiampurath
Rahul Nambiampurath's cryptocurrency journey first began in 2014 when he stumbled upon Satoshi's Bitcoin whitepaper. With a bachelor's degree in Commerce and an MBA in Finance from Sikkim Manipal University, he was among the few that first recognized the sheer untapped potential of decentralized technologies. Since then, he has helped DeFi platforms like Balancer and Sidus Heroes — a web3 metaverse — as well as CEXs like Bitso (Mexico's biggest) and Overbit to reach new heights with his...