The Isle Of Man Embraces Virtual Currencies

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Local authorities promote the island as the perfect base for Bitcoin and Litecoin operations, say they can prevent money laundering

The authorities on the Isle of Man are planning a number of measures aimed at making it a better place for businesses that rely on emerging digital currencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin and Dogecoin.

‘The Isle of Man recognises both the risks and opportunities presented by digital and virtual currencies. We are conscious of issues that have surrounded these activities but also can identify serious and credible entrants to the market wishing to explore this innovative technology,” said Peter Greenhill, head of e-business at the island’s Department of Economic Development.

“Therefore, the Government has instructed the relevant departments and statutory bodies to ensure there is a regime that promotes both business opportunities but also applies appropriate anti-money laundering requirements.”

The Isle of Man follows the Channel Island of Alderney, which made a similar declaration last year.

New money

The Island is working to recognise digital currencies as a property, rather than a currency, and apply the appropriate anti-money laundering controls.

vonDUCKGreenhill said that the island will welcome innovative businesses that operate in this yet unregulated sector, as long as they “meet the necessary standards while also preserving the Island’s good reputation as a financial centre.”

It is hoped that virtual currency start-ups will bring jobs and income to the Island and create enhanced career opportunities. The Financial Supervision Commission, Department of Home Affairs and local industry will work together to implement sufficient safeguards in the absence of regulation.

Business willing to take advantage of the offer will need to register with the Financial Supervision Commission and submit to appropriate reviews to ensure they are compliant with the anti-money laundering requirements, well-managed and run by appropriately skilled and knowledgeable people.

“We anticipate that this market will develop and change rapidly and, as a result, we will keep market changes under review and with a view to consider future regulatory regimes as required,” said Greenhill.

‘With this announcement the Isle of Man reinforces its status as a jurisdiction that welcomes well-controlled and compliant businesses while sending a clear message to those who would seek to operate outside the law that we are open for good business only”, added Minister for Economic Development John Shimmin.

In December 2013, Alderney asked for permission to mint physical Bitcoins in gold, as it was aiming to become a global hub for businesses using the electronic currency. Earlier this week, the BBC reported that these plans have been put on hold.

However, Robert McDowall, the chairman of the Alderney Finance Committee suggested that the gold coins tied to the value of a single bitcoin could be made elsewhere, for example on the Isle of Man.

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