Bitcoin (BTC) and crypto adoption on a state level may soon extend beyond El Salvador, with politicians elsewhere in the Americas – and even one European royal – mulling moves that could see the cryptocurrency brought into their financial systems in some form or other.
Per Bloomberg, support in the private sector and banking communities is growing for a measure proposed last year by Gabriel Silva, a 32-year-old Panamanian congressman. In 2021, Silva – an independent – brought forward a private member’s bill named “Crypto Law: Making Panama compatible with the digital economy, blockchain, cryptoassets, and the internet.”
At the time, Silva stated that the measure, if adopted, would bring “legal, regulatory, and fiscal certainty to the use, holding and issuance of digital value and cryptoassets” in Panama.
Silva claims that his bill, which is slated to be debated in the Panamanian congress, could allow the country to boost job creation, attract investors, and promote governmental transparency.
The head of the Panama Savings Fund and an independent financial advisor, José Abbo, claimed that Panama was “lagging behind” other nations “in terms of the implementation of cryptocurrencies, in their use and in the economy.”
However, the bill appears to differ significantly from the more bullish approach of El Salvador. While it would give bitcoin and other coins a proper legal footing, it would not seek to make BTC legal tender, as is the case in El Salvador.
Abbo was quoted as explaining:
“In El Salvador, a [state-run] digital wallet was created, but that is not the plan here.”
The bill instead specifies that “all natural and legal persons” can use cryptoassets as a legal means of payment in all “civil or commercial” transactions.
Abbo added that Panama “can no longer continue to depend on the same old sectors” for its development. Instead, he argued, crypto adoption would spark tech investment.
Otto O. Wolfschoon, the President of the Board of Directors at the Panama Banking Association, urged some degree of caution, however.
Like El Salvador, Panama has previously adopted the USD as legal tender, but in recent years, some vocal politicians and economists have been pushing for de-dollarization. Wolfschoon claimed that a careful balance needed to be struck between risk and benefit when it came to legislation and adoption.
But he also conceded that it was indeed “important that Panama remains attentive to the development of new technologies and new financial products, including the issue of digital assets.”
Meanwhile, rumors on a number of internet sites have been circulating centering on the Honduran President Xiomara Castro’s own adoption plans. The rumor mill has it that Castro is poised to announce that Honduras will also adopt bitcoin as legal tender in a move not unlike El Salvador’s in September 2021. Sites variously quoted her as stating that El Salvador “should not be the only country to escape dollar hegemony.”
And in Europe, the American-born Prince Philip of Serbia and Yugoslavia – the second son of the last crown prince of the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia – has been speaking of his support for bitcoin on Serbian television.
The Prince wields no power in Serbia – he actually works as an asset manager in London. But he is a BTC advocate. He told a TV presenter during an interview:
“Bitcoin is freedom. And this is something I want for everyone. This is something everyone has to learn. They will learn slowly. Some people will not want to learn it because they are not used to it. They want to protect the system that they do well in. We need to take the money away from the state. We need to have good quality money that’s not subject to inflation.”