Gibraltar considers token sales as ‘security offerings by default’

The government in Gibraltar has announced that token issues are to be considered securities by default unless proved otherwise, in a development that could influence how other authorities worldwide treat token sales.

Gibraltar’s minister for digital and financial services, Albert Isola, was quoted saying firms were welcome to issue tokens under license of the government of Gibraltar, subject to rules which consider all token issues to be a form of security issue.

The minister also said financial firms based in the jurisdiction would soon be required to submit employees for a university course on anti-money laundering, noting firms could offer securities in the jurisdiction as long as they meet the compliance requirements of the territory.

“Our last position was that we would assume that every token was a security token unless you could demonstrate that it was a utility token. So instead of giving the benefit of the doubt to the utility token, we say ‘if you are a token sale, we are going to assume you are a security unless you can unless you can demonstrate that you’re not.’”

The minister said the government was “keeping a very close eye on that as to whether we introduce separate frameworks for token sales with an avenue for utility and a separate avenue for security.”

The new regulations are being introduced in line with similar measures for gambling firms, featuring training to better identify problem gamblers.

“Consumer protection, quality and reputation are things that are at the forefront of everything that we do. Why? Because we’re a very small jurisdiction. We can’t afford to go wrong.”

“If you’re a big country, the U.K., if you make some mistakes it doesn’t really matter. But in our position, we can’t afford to set ourselves the luxury of adopting that philosophy. So we’re far more careful. And it has served us well.”

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