LatinNews Daily - 29 April 2022

In brief: Panama approves bill regulating use of crypto assets

*Panama’s 71-member unicameral legislature has approved a legislative initiative (Ley 697) regulating the use and commercialisation of crypto assets. The bill, which now goes to President Laurentino Cortizo for promulgation, covers the trading and use of crypto assets, issuance of digital securities, new payment systems and the tokenisation of precious metals. The move is likely to spark transparency concerns regarding Panama which currently features on the European Union’s list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, as well as the “grey list” of jurisdictions which require monitoring by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The initiative was approved with 38 votes in favour, two abstentions and no votes against. Independent legislator Gabriel Silva, who promoted the initiative, said that it seeks to provide clarification and juridical certainty to the optional use of crypto assets. El Salvador adopted cryptocurrency bitcoin as legal tender in September 2021, a move which has been very controversial, prompting concern from institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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