'Reclaiming Lost Ground': Gov'Ts Digital Asset Plan

Published date22 April 2022
Subject MatterFinance and Banking, Technology, Financial Services, Fin Tech
Law FirmBahamas Financial Services Board
AuthorBahamas Financial Services Board

The Bahamas has "an incredible opportunity to reclaim lost ground and be part of finance's new frontier", digital asset specialists argued yesterday, as they hailed the Government's release of its "vision" for the $3trn industry.

Andrew Rolle, the Bahamas Investments and Securities Business Association president, told Tribune Business that the policy position unveiled by the Prime Minister in Parliament "is another step in The Bahamas positioning itself as a world digital assets leader".

The 'white paper', entitled The Future of Digital Assets in The Bahamas, seeks to balance signalling to crypto, blockchain and non-fungible token (NFT) providers that this nation is 'open for business' with the necessary risk-based regulatory approach to protect the country's reputation and the interests of investors/consumers.

Indicating The Bahamas' eagerness to attract blue-chip operators of the same calibre as FTX Digital Markets, one of the world's largest crypto currency exchanges, who wish to operate in a compliant environment, the paper lists multiple broad-brush goals and policy objectives that the Government wishes to achieve in building a sustainable digital assets sector.

Pledging to work with the Central Bank and private sector to enable Bahamians to invest in digital assets using Bahamian dollars, and thus overcome a key complaint of many locals, the 'white paper' also promised to this year establish a Digital Policy Committee and Digital Advisory Panel to advise the Government on how best it can facilitate the sector's growth via legislative and policy initiatives.

The Committee will be headed by the Prime Minister, be charged with overseeing the attainment of the Government's digital policy objectives, while the Panel will feature industry and regulatory executives functioning in a capacity that will see them advise the former.

And, perhaps critically, the 'white paper' also focused on enabling Bahamian entrepreneurs and workers to exploit digital assets opportunities by providing them with the necessary skills upgrades. It calls for a partnership between the University of The Bahamas (UoB), Securities Commission and private sector to develop crypto asset-related courses, certifications and degrees.

To help finance this, the Government says it is mulling whether to impose a "development and training" levy - sum and mechanism not specified - on "the largest digital asset businesses" to ensure The Bahamas can provide the qualified, well-trained workforce that...

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