The Colombian Senate held a debate on cryptocurrencies and blockchain “as mechanisms to modernize the digital economy” on Wednesday, according to a Senate press release published today, June 7.

The Third Committee of the Senate was convened by the senator of Colombia’s Green Alliance party, Antonio Navarro Wolff, with participants including the Colombian central bank, the Ministry of Finance, the ICT Ministry, and Colombia’s Financial Superintendent.

Navarro Wolff opened his speech by advocating that the Colombian state investigate blockchain “in greater depth,” saying that the technology “could change the lives of Colombians” in its application across the administrative, economic and political spheres.

The senator mentioned blockchain’s potential to reinforce the security and transparency of the electoral system, facilitate smart contracts, and benefit the management of public services.

Navarro Wolff characterized both cryptocurrencies and blockchain as "mechanisms to modernize the country's digital economy.” He also noted that digital assets have come to Colombians’ attention following the meteoric rise of crypto markets in 2017, with widening interest raising the need for regulatory protections. To this end, he appealed to the Ministry of Finance to pursue both implementation and regulatory oversight of the new technologies.

A representative from Colombia’s Financial Superintendent spoke of a new taskforce, dubbed INNOVA, that was recently founded to investigate the uses of blockchain, as well as to promote “prudence and protection of citizens.”  

For his part, Juanita Rodríguez of the ICT Ministry said that blockchain systems “generate confidence and are safe,” and should be pursued if the country’s digital economy is to thrive.

Last month, the Colombia Blockchain Association was launched in order to act as an interlocutor to the national government and encourage “informed” adoption of new financial technologies, without compromising the decentralized principles of blockchain. A Green Alliance representative similarly warned against stifling overregulation of the emerging industry, suggesting that disintermediated systems would help to allay Colombians’ “distrust” of the traditional financial sector.