Support from the private sector and banking communities is growing for a measure proposed by Gabriel Silva, a 32-year-old Panamanian congressman, last year, Bloomberg reports. In 2021, Silva introduced the bill "Crypto Law: Making Panama compatible with the digital economy, blockchain, cryptocurrencies and internet". Silva stated at the time that if the bill were passed, it would bring "legal, regulatory and financial clarity to the use, holding and issuance of digital value and cryptocurrencies" in Panama.
Congressman Gabriel Silva said the bill, which is scheduled to be discussed at the Panamanian congress, could enable it to boost jobs in the country, attract investors and promote government transparency.
José Abbo, head of the Panama Savings Fund and an independent financial advisor, has argued that Panama is "lagging behind" other nations in the application, uses and economics of cryptocurrencies. However, the bill appears to differ significantly from El Salvador's approach. Bitcoin and other coins, it will not try to make BTC the official currency as in El Salvador.
"A government-operated digital wallet has been created in El Salvador, but we have no such plans here."
In the bill, it is stated that “all natural and legal persons” can use cryptocurrencies as a legal payment tool in all “civil or commercial” transactions. He added that Panama will no longer "rely on legacy industries for its development". He claimed that crypto adoption will encourage technology investments. However, Otto O. Wolfschoon, Chairman of the Board of the Panama Banking Association, urged caution.
Like El Salvador, Panama previously adopted the US dollar as its official currency, but in recent years some politicians and economists have been calling for the country's removal from the dollar. Wolfschoon said a careful balance must be struck between risk and benefit when it comes to legislation and adoption. Wolfschoon also noted that it is really important for Panama to pay attention to the development of new technologies and new financial products, including the issue of digital assets.