Jersey to apply ‘light touch’ to bitcoin regulation

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The largest of the Channel Islands is planning to introduce ‘light touch’ regulation for cryptocurrencies, according to the assistant chief minister.

Speaking at FinTechJersey, the island’s first major FinTech conference, the assistant chief minister, senator Philip Ozouf, said that the government has been working on legislation for the past 18 months, with emphasis placed on money-laundering protection and finance crime.

As virtual currency companies increase in size, they will face tighter regulations. John Harris of the Jersey Financial Services Commission said companies would not have to pay a fee or face tougher regulation until they had an annual turnover of £150,000.

“Virtual currency systems can be significant building blocks of a modern digital economy and the introduction of an appropriate and proportionate regulatory regime in this area is intended to encourage confidence and innovation in the sector. And the exciting thing about combining new technology and a free market is that the evolution of this area is uncertain and no-one can predict exactly how these new forms of financial technology will develop. 

“What governments can do, however, is create the best environment in which this financial innovation can flourish. The release of this policy today, is a stepping stone along that path for Jersey,” said Ozouf at the conference.

The plans to regulate cryptocurrencies more closely, means Jersey joins the Isle of Man as the only two territories to have any legislation dealing with the matter. Guernsey hasn’t made any announcements, and as of yet, despite the announcement of plans to regulate virtual currencies in the 2015 Budget, no specific details have been announced yet in the UK.

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