NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Caribbean Blockchain Alliance (CBA) is seeking to engage The Bahamas government in discussions around potential regulatory framework to direct the industry’s growth and help advance it to the heights seen by regional counterparts.
With huge steps taken by countries like Bermuda and Barbados, CBA head Stefen Deleveaux said many companies were already looking at the Caribbean region for potential business opportunities. But, he noted that operating within a gray area now would only hinder future business growth.
“You can have individual companies doing things, but we need to be operating as a region and as a block in terms of finance and growth,” the Bahamian-born blockchain specialist told Eyewitness Business. “That’s why it’s important now to keep everyone on the same page, so no one goes too far now and the rules change later. So we are pushing for and collaborating on the best kinds of regulations and the best ways government can interact with blockchain in general.”
With regional partners all on the same page with moving forward with government engagement, the advocacy group has been having informal talks with stakeholders in order to flesh out how the industry would be regulated.
“We will be engaging with regulators and governments in different countries,” he added. “Hopefully we will get more of a convergence to have a regional regulatory framework to push and get everyone on the same page, so that government and regulators can approach this new technology in the right way without stifling and blocking growth.”
A part of this process is educating the decision makers and the greater population on the possibilities that lie ahead in the future. It comes as the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the Barbados-based fintech company Bitt Inc. last year inked a deal for the latter to conduct a pilot in the member countries.
The project would see the development, deployment and testing of technology focusing on data management, compliance and monitoring for Know Your Customers regulations as well as Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT).
Just last week, The Bahamas was on a list of jurisdictions considered deficient in AML/CFT, which the government is now addressing in hopes of having this nation removed off of that list.