Lower Parliament in Antigua and Barbuda Passed a Cryptocurrency Regulation Bill
On May 27, the lower parliament in Antigua and Barbuda passed a cryptocurrency regulation bill to make the country a digital asset-friendly destination in the Caribbean.
The cryptocurrency regulation bill is a regulatory framework known as “The Digital Assets Business Bill 2020,” aimed at regulating cryptocurrency firms operating on the island as well as in protecting both exchanges and their customers.
One of the key features of the bill is the compulsory license which every business related to digital assets must obtain to issue, sell, or redeem virtual coins, to operate as a payment service or electronic exchange, provide custodial wallet services, and more.
Any business that fails to abide by the rules may pay fines of up to $250k while managers may likewise face criminal charges, as well as jail time. Interestingly, this new step towards the regulation of cryptocurrency industry in the country came through the advice of some players in the industry to the government.
Some of the industry members who advised the government to come up with the framework are Ayre Group, nChain, Bayesian Fund, and the Bitcoin Association. The country’s Economic Envoy for Technology, Calvin Ayre, has been actively speaking about the need to adopt cryptocurrency and come up with a regulatory infrastructure.
Further, the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) in Antigua and Barbuda will be empowered by the bill towards ensuring that cryptocurrency firms comply with the legal framework. The bill requires some final steps to be approved, including a review by the Senate before it is passed. Interestingly, some people think it is only a mere formality as the Senate will approve it.
Robust regulation is a major necessity in the cryptocurrency space as there are long-standing criticisms of the space regarding consumer and investor protections and possible vulnerabilities to manipulation. Legislative steps like the Digital Asset Bill will help in gaining the trust of entrepreneurs to join the space and further encourage innovation.