Colombia has reiterated the need to regulate digital currencies. Through statements made by the Minister of Finance, Ricardo Bonilla, the debate on how to regulate cryptocurrencies was reopened, and it was revealed that the Colombian government is already preparing a legal draft on this issue. Colombia is the fourth country in Latin America to address issues of cryptocurrency use and the thirtieth in the world to use them.
“Today we are looking at whether there should be a digital currency or what we should do with cryptoassets, regarding which there is a lot to talk about and regulate. Today we are obligated to regulate what we do with digital currencies,” Bonilla said in his participation in a forum at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Call for central bank to regulate
Ricardo Bonilla said that central banks are “very conservative, because they are tied to the past. This means that it is more difficult and there is a resistance to change things, to establish new parameters. Today, in terms of the credit world, there is an attempt to regulate guarantees, conditions and levels of capitalization. But in the end, what regulators want is security. New technologies go further and break paradigms, and regulators are lagging behind.”
The minister urged Banco de la República, the issuing and regulatory entity in the country, to participate in the national debate to move towards the regulation of digital currencies in Colombia. The minister stressed that, despite the global popularization of the term “cryptocurrencies”, there are still fundamental aspects such as transparency and clarity in transactions that must be addressed to enable the eventual adoption of a digital currency in the country.
In his speech, Bonilla also referred to the progress of the digitalization of banking and how the transformation of the means of payment allows increased financial inclusion. However, as well as creating opportunities, the transition towards the digitalization of the economy and means of payment involves numerous challenges.
Colombia is thus positioned as one of the countries seeking a balance between innovation and financial security, outlining a legislative future that could lay the foundations for the full integration of cryptocurrencies in the national economy.
Colombian law to regulate cryptocurrencies
This is not the first time that Ricardo Bonilla has referred to the need to regulate digital currencies in the country. He had already done so during his speech at the conference “The Banking of the Future: One Hundred Years Later”, organized in October last year at the Javeriana University.
In that forum, the minister stated that “one of the issues that has to be resolved is whether Colombia is going to have a digital currency, since today in the world there is talk of cryptocurrencies, but these are not necessarily the best medium for clear and transparent transactions”.
In this context, Ricardo Bonilla announced the creation of a working table between the Bank of the Republic, the Financial Superintendence, the Ministry of Finance and the Congress of the Republic in a bill to regulate cryptocurrencies.
With what was said today in Davos, a further step is taken towards the realization of a bill for which, subsequently, the government will have to reach a consensus in the Colombian Congress to achieve its processing and final approval.
Defense of the role of the central bank
The minister affirmed that the central bank’s leading role as the main regulator must be defended, thus marking a distance from the decision of the Argentine President, Javier Milei, who has repeatedly announced the disappearance of the issuing entity of the southern country, which he blames for Argentina’s hyperinflation.
“The central bank will continue to be the primary issuer and any digital currency must necessarily be based on that primary issuer. So, this project that is being built includes pointing out that the central bank will have to have control over anything that happens regarding cryptocurrencies and the potential of issuing a digital currency,” Bonilla explained.
The use of digital currencies, according to the minister, will continue to increase in the world, including in Colombia, especially among the new generations, with more and more commercial transactions likely being made with this type of currency. He therefore stressed the need for countries to regulate the use of this means of payment, to ensure the safety of users.