Business 6 February 2019

Ed Drake

Isle of Man eyes ‘premium’ businesses with new blockchain initiatives

The Isle of Man has launched two new blockchain initiatives, in a bid to shore up its position as a jurisdiction of choice for the blockchain sector.

The self-governing British dependency announced a regulatory sandbox for blockchain development, as well establishing a Blockchain Office, with officials indicating the Isle of Man was keen to welcome new business.

The Blockchain Office will liaise between regulators and businesses, while working with developers to ensure both current and future legal compliance. The agency will also arrange collaborations between blockchain businesses, as well as providing advice and support to blockchain projects based on the Isle of Man.

The regulatory sandbox will provide legal space for blockchain developers to create and test their platforms, without the need for full regulatory compliance. Applications for inclusion in the sandbox open from March.

Lyall Wraxall, Digital Isle of Man’s chief executive, said the Isle of Man wanted to attract the world’s leading cryptocurrency businesses by offering an attractive regulatory landscape.

“We are looking to attract premium blockchain businesses and the world’s top exchanges to the Island, and we will be creating new tech-agnostic regulation inspired by best practice that we’ve seen from other high-quality jurisdictions around the world,” according to Wraxall.

Daphne Caine, a lawmaker on the Isle, said this would build on their reputation as a blockchain-beneficial jurisdiction. She explained, “The Isle of Man – which was among the first jurisdictions in the world to establish a legislative framework for virtual currencies – has been home to leading exchanges since 2013, and is the headquarters of blockchain businesses including CoinCorner, Quanta, Luckbox and Qadre.”

The announcements come at a time of increasing competition between states looking to become dominant in the crypto and blockchain industries.

Switzerland’s Crypto Valley, Malta, Gibraltar, and Singapore amongst others have all enjoyed a crypto boom by legislative design, attracting startups from around the world because of their favorable legal and commercial conditions for the blockchain sector.

With the Isle of Man now going further on its measures to support the blockchain sector, the territory is set to benefit from the expansion of its cryptocurrency industry.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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