Colombia moves forward on the cryptoregulation.
Gabriel Santos, President of Colombia Fintech, Juanita Rodríguez, cybersecurity and crypto consultant, and Alejandro Beltrán, country manager of Buda.com in the South American country, met at the recent Blockchain Latam Summit. The experts discussed the convenience of providing a regulatory framework for the sector, under the conduction of Mauricio Tovar, CEO of Tropykus. Indeed, the right ordination of actions allows them to achieve their purpose. And this, which is true in the human sphere, also applies to the business world.
In the opinion of Beltrán, one of the most versed panelists on the subject, and who has gone hand in hand with exchange from 2015 to 2022, the narrative on the functionality of cryptocurrencies has changed on more occasions than he would like. From a freedom to operate, for example, to the closure of bank accounts for the mere use of cryptos in Colombia. Thus, he said:
“We started, when we began to validate the model in Buda and worked to validate the regulations from Chile, the origin of Buda.com. In 2016, we established the platform in Colombia and sought to validate the regulatory status, meet with the bank of the Republic with the financial superintendence, and the Bank of the Republic indicated at that time that cryptocurrencies were not their concern.”
In 2018, he added, the first change in narrative occurred thanks to the rise of cryptocurrencies, which motivated the Financial Superintendency to begin supervising the operations of this matter. Beltrán states that the exchange suffered “systematic persecution that included the closure of personal and family accounts, even in 2023 some of them remain closed.”
Current and futures perspectives
Despite the challenges of the industry in Colombia, Gabriel Santos considers that political measures are the channel for a change of perspectives in the sector. In fact, he maintained that they have a committed industry and that “with the arrival of people like Juanita, they experienced a generational change in the unions, and in this way they managed to foster a collective consciousness in the industry, uniting as a sector to establish an open dialogue with the political sector of the country”. In the same sense, Santos continued, “It was notable to observe the congressmen exalting their sovereignty, despite the negative concepts that surrounded the project. On the day of the debate, they found themselves in an interesting position, considering the possible outcomes and consequences of the project and, based on that, they managed to postpone the debate in the hope that a decision would be made that would not be detrimental to the industry,” despite the initial rejection of more than one state entity.
Later, during a banking convention, the Treasury Department showed interest in eventual regulation. Indeed, today the Financial Superintendence is preparing a bill to present to the Government and, later, to Congress.
Rodríguez explained that thanks to the times of negotiation, conviction and explanation about these technologies and their benefits in regulation, an awareness has been created in the industry that will facilitate the adoption of the regulations by responding to the same demand of the sector. In the same sense, the cybersecurity consultant emphasized that both motivation and opportunity came together when her sector and Congress began more constructive and collaborative work, which was not without challenges since “there was a change of finance minister.” , Super financial change and we had time against us,” he said.
Thus, Rodríguez pointed out the need to set a deadline for the debates on the bill to take place, so that it would not be forgotten. However, “there was always a desire to sit down with the government and ensure that it was a bill where we would all be happy.” Furthermore, he clarified that, despite the absence of direct regulation from the superintendency, the agency provided certain guidelines for the regulation.
Between optimism and moderation: conflicting views on the new regulation
In that sense, Rodríguez views the attitude of the Treasury Department with optimism regarding the future regulation of cryptocurrencies in Colombia. Indeed, Colombia is the fifteenth country in the adoption of cryptocurrencies “with 26.9 billion dollars more or less annually in transaction volume.” Hence, promoting confidence in the financial superintendent is a reasonable position. Rodríguez, certainly, presented himself as optimistic about the future since the growth opportunities for the country that cryptocurrencies offer seem to be in sight: “at this moment I am optimistic, I hope not to be here in a year talking about how we were close”.
A little more moderate, Beltrán showed reserves regarding asset segregation and regulatory demands, but especially on “the sanctioning regime, which will equate us with a monitored financial entity.” However, this did not prevent him from stating that the current evolution of the situation “has made me trust and have faith in the government again, but let’s say I still have some reservations regarding the issue.”
For his part, Gabriel Santos offered his vision on regulation in the cryptographic industry. “The issue of crowdfunding, he said, is the perfect example of a regulation that slaughters an industry that has incredible potential”, which explains the need for serious regulatory changes that lead to the promotion of a new perspective of this market and that promote innovation and competition in the financial sector. Indeed, Santos welcomes the future regulation that will open new doors for development, which translates into sharing his enthusiasm for the future scenario, since “I have a moral duty with my affiliates not to offer them the market they have but offer them the market they could have”, as well as inviting them to think “about legal authorization to allow this type of schemes to prevail”.
It is, therefore, a golden opportunity for Colombia to capture the attention of the globe, attract investors and attract experts in the field, since “we are facing the possibility of modernizing” and the “time is now, I can’t think of a better time.” ”, he concluded.