Peter Greenhill

Isle of Man moves to tackle digital currencies

Peter Greenhill
Peter Greenhill

The Isle of Man is to take ‘specific actions’ aimed at helping protect businesses and customers utilising digital currencies and provide an environment for high-quality businesses in this rapidly emerging field who wish to operate here. The online gaming jurisdiction is looking to recognise digital currencies as a property, rather than a currency, and apply the appropriate anti-money laundering controls.

The Department of Economic Development ’s Director of E-Business Development Peter Greenhill stated: ‘The Isle of Man recognises both the risks and opportunities presented by digital and virtual currencies. We are conscious of issues that have surrounded these activities but also can identify serious and credible entrants to the market wishing to explore this innovative technology. Therefore, the Government has instructed the relevant departments and statutory bodies to ensure there is a regime that promotes both business opportunities but also applies appropriate anti-money laundering requirements.

“Our stance is intended to welcome those who can meet the necessary standards while also preserving the Island’s good reputation as a financial centre. We will work with the Isle of Man Financial Supervision Commission, Department of Home Affairs and industry to ensure a fair and appropriate regime is implemented. This is not at this stage expected to embrace a full prudential suite of requirements, so consumers will need to be aware of this when making their decisions. ”

He added: “While it will take a period of time to instigate, it is a clear demonstration of the Isle of Man’s commitment to keep abreast with market developments but also maintain its international responsibilities. We anticipate that this market will develop and change rapidly and, as a result, we will keep market changes under review and with a view to consider future regulatory regimes as required. Of course, if any business were to undertake activities that are regulated under existing regulations, we will expect them to comply fully.”

The Minister for Economic Development John Shimmin MHK commented: “I welcome this move to create a framework for the regulation of digital currencies. The Isle of Man is synonymous not only with innovation, but for a regulatory environment that is both effective and pragmatic.

“With this announcement the Isle of Man reinforces its status as a jurisdiction that welcomes well-controlled and compliant businesses while sending a clear message to those who would seek to operate outside the law that we are open for good business only. We will work with the business community in the coming months to ensure that a proportionate and appropriate regime is implemented that meets international standards.  We anticipate other jurisdictions will follow the Isle of Man’s lead.”

Isle of Man Digital Currency Q&A

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