Digital asset legislation hailed as “big win”

Digital asset legislation hailed as “big win”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Legislation regulating the sale and issuance of digital assets could provide The Bahamas with much-needed avenues to new industries and allow new entrants into that space, according to Caribbean Blockchain Alliance President Stefen Deleveaux.

“It’s going to be a big win for us,” Deleveaux told Eyewitness News.

The Digital Assets and Registered Exchanges Bill, 2020 (DARE Bill) debated and passed in Parliament on Wednesday will provide the legal framework to regulate the issuance and sale of digital assets, or crypto assets, including digital tokens.

Deleveaux said: “This is very important legislation. The Securities Commission has worked very hard on this and a lot of effort has gone into this. I think it will be very good for us.

“It shows that we are embracing the digital assets space, the Blockchain and crypto space and also provides us an avenue to new industries, which we really need. It’s going to be a big win for us.”

He added: “This is going to really bring new entrants into the space in terms of locals looking to start companies in these industries but also gives exposure to people [who] want to domicile here and have businesses here as well.”

The DARE Bill sets out the legal framework for new, expanded financial technology (fintech) offerings and opportunities in the financial services sector.

Leading debate on the Bill, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest noted that the legislation sets the legal framework for the regulation of digital asset businesses involved in the issuance or sale of digital assets.

He said: “These digital assets businesses include digital token exchanges and distributed ledger technology platforms.”

The minister further noted that the Bill incorporates the best practices and the most suitable standards for this jurisdiction to provide a strong, inviting regulatory environment for participants in a manner that was safe for investors and consistent with best practices and standards.

“One of the distinctive features incorporated into this bill is a very simple process for registrants under the Securities Industry Act, 2011, and licensees under the Investment Funds Act, 2019, or the Financial and Corporate Service Providers Act, 2000 to apply to the commission to add digital assets business as an additional line of business,” Turnquest said.

“This feature of the bill represents an awareness of the need to create regulation that is not overly burdensome or unwieldy for the end user.”