Costa Rica may be the next country to accept bitcoin as a legal payment option. Congresswoman Johana Obando presented a bill this week to allow Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency to be used as payment. It also provides for traditional banks to be allowed to act as cryptocurrency exchanges. This includes custody and wallet services.
Costa Rica to Regulate Cryptocurrency
Costa Rica might be moving towards integrating Bitcoin into its economy. As part of the modernization process, Johana Obando, a congresswoman, introduced a bill to allow bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to be accepted in Costa Rica.
Number 23,415 also defines bitcoin and other cryptocurrency as virtual currency. It protects citizens’ rights to own such assets. This bill serves two purposes: to provide clarity and protect those who invest in crypto assets and to attract further investments.
Obando said that while the bill is not intended to force people into accepting bitcoin payments for products or debts, it does allow them the option if they agree. This is in contrast to what El Salvador has done with bitcoin, where it’s been legalized.
In an interview on local TV, Obando declared:
This market in cryptocurrency assets is relatively new. This bill proposes Costa Rica as an investment centre for crypto-related individuals and companies. It also aims to make Costa Rica a niche in the cryptocurrency growth market.
Blockchain and banking
The bill proposes to incorporate the crypto economy into the existing banking system. Obando mentions that another of the goals of the bill is to “guarantee banking interoperability of cryptocurrencies through public and private banks in the national territory,” hinting at the possible roles of banks as custody providers and wallet operators, as well as cryptocurrency exchanges.
These efforts could help increase financial inclusion. Over the last five year, Costa Rica’s financial inclusion has increased with 82% of its citizens over 18 having access to a banking account. This could increase if the bill is passed and approved.
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