The new Colombian president has proposed a five-year income tax exemption on cryptocurrency and blockchain startups if they can create employment. The president also said the country needs an ICT industry regulator besides promising to create a council to fast-track the digital transformation.
President Ivan Duque, according to El Tiempo Newspaper, spoke on Wednesday, August 29, while delivering an opening message during ANDICOM. This is an annual international congress on Information and Communication Technology that was held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.
Colombia Optimistic Towards DLT and Crypto
President Duque, who acknowledged his obsession with technology particularly robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), stated that he believed the use of technology was the best way to tackle the runaway corruption besides improving other areas like justice, security, and medicine.
The president suggested he would vouch for the use of blockchain and artificial intelligence in tracking public funds and detect fraud. The head of state proposed a tax relief for cryptocurrency businesses for five years as long as they promised to create a certain number of new jobs:
“If that is achieved, we will have a more modern, more efficient and more equitable State. Our country vision includes deregulation, digital society, the expansion of investment, entrepreneurship, ease of network expansion, legal facility. This gives us the possibility of generating sources of employment.”
Ivan Duque, who won the May 2018 presidential elections before assuming office in August, has a background in Finance apart from being a politician. He has served as the country’s Finance ministry besides being a top official of the Inter-American Bank. The country’s Senate is optimistic about the blockchain technology and has previously stated it had the potential to change lives during a debate in June. Despite the country establishing a national blockchain association in May, Colombia’s financial industry has similarly is still cynical about cryptocurrencies; local banks recently closed bank accounts belonging to the South American cryptocurrency exchange buda.com.
Colombia Joins the Blockchain Bandwagon
President Duque’s move follows a wave of support for cryptocurrencies from different countries, the most notable of which is Malta, which is on the verge of becoming a blockchain island and has attracted leading cryptocurrency firms. He believes the technology sector shouldn’t be entangled with regulations and paperwork that bars the development of a digital economy. He said:
“We have to deregulate the sector because the world is moving towards deregulation and we have excessive regulation. We continue with a normative environment where dad is with a shoe chasing the bug believing that regulatory repression is the technological advance.”