Panama: The Upgrade Crisis

This weekend Panama had an unplanned banking Holiday that will continue through tomorrow. Debit card use as well as international and interbank wire transfers are suspended for the duration of this event. This whole shindig happened with an element of surprise for something being justified to:

Esta suspensión es necesaria para implementar la Fase II del proceso de actualización de la plataforma tecnológica de la entidad que tenía 30 años y que el año pasado empezó a modernizarse, para ofrecer un servicio más óptimo a todos los clientes y seguir aumentando la red sucursales en el país

So decrees Dario Berbey , General Manager of Banconal.1 People on the net are speculating all sorts of nefarious things. Surprises like this tend to lead people to suspicion. Given the Snowden leaks though turning what seems like they should be scheduled IT upgrades into surprise upgrades may become a trend in the future.2 Maybe it will come out in time that something in between happened where this was part nefarious banking plot and part reasonable security decision is a post-Snowden world.

Whatever happens in Panama, this incident highlights one of the greatest virtues Bitcoin offers: Bitcoin imposes ownership and responsibility on its users. You don't have to buy into the Ponzi scheme. It's your responsibility to filter out the idiots and shills who insist avoiding the Ponzi is an uneconomical decision, and you do so because you realize counterparty is the most important word in Bitcoin and a mystery business promising incredible returns and a bunch of idiots coins on deposit makes a horrible counterparty. You don't lock all of your coins away in the same online service to get "hacked" because you care what a proper wallet is and know the person with the keys to spend them owns the right to the coins.

Don't be this guy. When you push the responsibility for protecting all of your things to others and don't care to learn how, there is a lesson many people in Panama probably learned this weekend. If you refuse responsibility for yourself, that responsibility will impose itself later through your hunger.


  1. Roughly this translates as: " This suspension is necessary to implement Phase II of the upgrade process of the 30 year old technological platform that last year began to modernize, to provide optimum service to all customers and further increase the network branches in the country, " I offer the original Spanish in the post, because that is what was actually said. My probably imperfect translation is offered as a courtesy.  


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *