Subcommittee to analyze bills aimed at regulating the use of cryptocurrencies and SBP announces work on bill to promote financial technologies
22 febrero 2022


On February 22, the Committee on Commerce and Economic Affairs resumed the analysis of the bills that seek to regulate the use of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment in Panama. Thus, the body decided that both Bill 696, presented by Cenobia Vargas (PRD – ruling party), and Bill 697, presented by Gabriel Silva (independent), will be dealt with in a subcommittee where they will be unified into one text. The vice-president of the committee, Raúl Pineda (PRD – ruling party), confirmed that he expects to meet on March 8 with the authors of the bills to promote the discussion in the sub-committee.

On the other hand, the Committee received opinions on the initiatives under study from the Superintendency of Banks of Panama (SBP in Spanish). The entity indicated that it is working on a own bill that “aims to lay the foundations for a correct and orderly access to other non-traditional participants in the provision of payment services and other financial technology companies”, through clear rules to guarantee the stability of the financial system and of the funds of the users of such platforms.

The development of this initiative, explains the SBP, is based on the lag faced by Panama in terms of existing technological financial solutions at a global level. In this sense, the entity mentioned its commitment to “advance and develop the necessary foundations for the constitution of a modern, safe and efficient national payment system, which allows the application of gross settlement in real time”.

With respect to the initiatives under study by the Committee, the SBP indicated that, based on the analysis carried out by its interdisciplinary team, it endorses both bills as they aim at incorporating technological innovations into the country’s legal framework to “improve the provision of financial services and promote financial inclusion”. 

Finally, it is worth remembering that bill 696, presented by Cenobia Vargas of the ruling party, seeks to establish the optional acceptance of cryptocurrencies and authorized tokens as a method of payment for civil and commercial transactions. On the other hand, bill 697 by independent congressman, Gabriel Silva, proposes to guarantee Panama’s compatibility with the digital economy and blockchain, regulating the use of cryptoassets for commercial or civil transactions, including Bitcoin and Ethereum.