Panama's Crypto Law: No Legal Tender, but Digital Assets Exempt From Capital Gains Tax

Panama's legislature on Thursday passed a bill aimed at making the country a favorable locale for crypto business.

AccessTimeIconApr 28, 2022 at 8:02 p.m. UTC
Updated May 4, 2022 at 8:48 p.m. UTC
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Andrés Engler is a CoinDesk editor based in Argentina, where he covers the Latin American crypto ecosystem. He holds BTC and ETH.

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Join the most important conversation in crypto and Web3 taking place in Austin, Texas, April 26-28.

Panamanian Congressman Gabriel Silva – the sponsor of a bill passed on Thursday regulating the use of cryptocurrencies in the country – said the bill doesn't allow for any crypto to become legal tender, but makes possible free use of crypto as a means of payment for any transaction.

  • "We can't just establish bitcoin because that will be unconstitutional and if it's unconstitutional, then the project won't happen," said Silva, speaking on Twitter spaces. Panama has no currency per its constitution, but has officially been on the U.S. dollar for more than a century.
  • Prior to the bill, said Silva, it was illegal for digital asset companies to set up shop in Panama, but that would change once the legislation becomes law.
  • Additionally, he said, the law treats crypto assets as foreign-source income, which in accordance with Panama's territorial taxation system, means no taxes on capital gains.
  • "The idea is to just respect the tradition that Panama has already had for many years, where the country taxes what happens inside of its borders, and the internet is obviously not in any country's borders," explained Felipe Echandi, a local crypto entrepreneur who assisted Silva in drafting the bill.
  • President Laurentino Cortizo still must sign the bill for it to become law, but the legislation was passed by a 40-0 vote, suggesting good prospects for that to happen.

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Andrés Engler is a CoinDesk editor based in Argentina, where he covers the Latin American crypto ecosystem. He holds BTC and ETH.


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Andrés Engler is a CoinDesk editor based in Argentina, where he covers the Latin American crypto ecosystem. He holds BTC and ETH.