Initial coin offerings (ICOs) have raised an estimated $3.6 billion this year, and regulators across the world have begun to eye them with increasing concern. In Bermuda, however, the government views them as an economic opportunity.
Announced on Thursday, the island territory’s government has established the Blockchain Legal and Regulatory Working Group, an initiative created to make Bermuda a “destination for utility tokens, tokenised securities, cryptocurrencies, and coin offerings”.
“Bermuda is committed to building upon its position as an innovative international business centre,” said David Burt, premier of Bermuda, in a media release, “and is considering a complementary regulatory framework covering the promotion and sale of utility tokens, aligned with the DLT framework.”
The working group will be spearheaded by the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA) and will be tasked with helping draft a business-friendly regulatory framework for Bermuda-based initial coin offerings and other cryptocurrency startups.
Bermuda has already served as the headquarters for several ICOs, including Unikrn, an e-sports startup that raised approximately $45 million between its presale and public token sales.
“It’s all part of our agency’s push for economic diversification, to bring new business to the island, help boost GDP and create jobs, and ensure existing industry service providers are able to benefit, grow and expand. It’s about innovating based on the strengths of the Bermuda market,” said BDA CEO Ross Webber.
Though sparse on details, the announcement indicated that startups will have to submit to KYC/AML regulations and join the soon-to-launch Bermuda Crypto Association. The government hopes to implement these regulations by early 2018 to avoid missing out on the chance to establish itself as a central hub within the cryptocurrency industry.
“There are significant opportunities in the sphere of cryptocurrency, but that window is getting smaller and moving faster than ever before,” said John Narraway, a BDA consultant who will chair the task force. “We are looking at all these areas and zeroing in on the key ones to move on,” he concluded.