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Antigua’s Parliament Accepted New Crypto Regulation Bill

04 June 2020 11:05, UTC
Denis Goncharenko

On May 27th, Antigua and Barbuda’s House of Representatives were having a meeting to discuss the new cryptocurrency regulation called “The Digital Assets Business Bill 2020”, which ended with a positive outcome and thus achieving a milestone as Antigua and Barbuda’s first stepping stone for becoming more crypto-friendly region. The bill aims to establish regulation for crypto companies running their operations from these islands and ensure the protection of both customers as well as exchanges.

23-03-2020 17:15:10  |   News
One of the most important new steps for businesses, in both Antigua and Barbuda, to start trading crypto is to acquire a license for issuing, selling, and redeeming virtual coins as well as for operating as an electronic exchange, providing custodial wallet services, and etc. Failure to comply with the new regulations is subject to a fine of up to $250,000 for the company as well as criminal charges for the managers including jail time.

Many would say that this was a bit excessive from the regulator’s part but as it is very clearly discussed by numerous financial experts and organizations, a regulation can never be too excessive considering what it is governing at the time. The issue is very clearly outlined in the traditional financial industry, especially by market participants. A financial marketing company, Finance Makers outlines the importance of regulation quite well in a competitive market such as global finances. According to them, if a service is something that very few people would find hazardous in a limited way, then yes a strict regulation would be universally opposed, but when there’s a discussion about the life savings of millions of people, then security and compliance with all necessary guidelines is an absolute must.

Who Worked on the Bill?

One of the most likable factors for this bill is that it was drafted while working with major players in the crypto industry. Companies such as nChain, Bitcoin Association, and Bayesian Fund which were all among those who helped draft the bill are quite commonly known in the crypto community. It will also allow the local Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) to enforce the new regulation on the operating companies.

One of the most prominent voices in the industry Calvin AYRE, who was appointed as an Economic Envoy for Technology for Antigua and Barbuda, has stated on his website:

“I believe we can create an entire new industry around the original Bitcoin’s massive scaling abilities in Antigua. This technology can now tokenize everything in the world and I want my home country of Antigua to be a major player in this new industry.”

What’s Left?

The final approval is on the side of the Antiguan Senate, however, it is mostly considered to be a formality rather than an actual debate.

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) proposed a pilot program back in 2018, to issue a blockchain-based digital currency that would be backed by the central bank itself. This is something Antigua and Barbuda adhere to since they use the common currency — Dollar of the Central Caribbean.

The program was called DXCD and it included phrases like development and testing and subsequent rollout and implementation in the Caribbean countries. Judging from how the situation is set right now this could occur as early as December 2020 so financial experts state.

Image courtesy of RTT News