Colombia looks to be the next nation on the map that, like Malta, is making a strong pivot to blockchain and virtual currencies.
As the cryptocurrency and blockchain worlds continue to expand, a growing list of nations have begun to place heavy emphasis on both industries.
Chief among these is the small island nation of Malta, which has rapidly become a global heavyweight when it comes to crypto.
Officials have successfully wooed a slew of leading exchanges to set up shop on the Mediterranean island, while Parliament approved a trio of bills in July that was said to make Malta the first nation to establish “legal certainty” for the cryptocurrency field.
The crypto craze has also spread across South America, but many headlines out of the region have not been as positive.
The Venezuelan government has turned to the oil-backed Petro during a crippling economic crisis, but a variety of reports cast doubt if the pledged oil reserves even exist, or if the coin could actually change anything at all.
Things could be quite different in neighboring Colombia.
Newly-elected President Ivan Duque has expressed a strong interest in cutting-edge technologies, and officials across the nation are seemingly quite interested in blockchain technology and virtual currencies.
A New Way to Stamp Out Corruption?
President Ivan Duque made several notable comments at the ANDICOM conference held each year in Colombia.
According to local news outlet El Tiempo, President Duque explained how his “obsession” as President would be to turn Colombia into a technological leader in the region, and noted how the government will now maintain an official who focuses on issues related to digital society.
Additionally, he remarked how technologies like blockchain could be used to overcome corruption by helping keep tabs on public funds.
President Duque also said that companies in the information and communications technologies field would be exempt from taxes for the first five years if they are able to generate a specific number of jobs. This mandate would presumably apply to crypto and blockchain-related companies.
High Time for Technological Innovation?
President Duque brings a financial background to the nation’s highest office, having worked in the Inter-American Development Bank prior to his role in politics.
Some see his interest in technology, business, and innovation as a breath of fresh air, while others worry his lack of political experience could hinder efforts to keep the nation’s peace deal with FARC in force, plunging the nation into turmoil.
Other officials have also expressed interest in nascent technologies like cryptocurrency and blockchain.
In June, Senator Antonio Navarro Wolff said blockchain could help change the lives of citizens through securing the voting system and helping with public resource management.
The Colombian government also set up the INNOVA group in order to learn more about blockchain and understand how to protect citizens that get involved with it.