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Crypto, Ico Rules Completed Within ‘The Next 30 Days’

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter 

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

A regulatory framework to facilitate initial coin offerings (ICO) and crypto currency exchanges in The Bahamas could be completed within 30 days, Government’s technology “hub” chairman said yesterday.

Dr Donovan Moxey, pictured, addressing a Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) breakfast, said: “We are working on a regulatory framework around initial coin offerings (ICOs) and exchanges. I’m a part of the group putting together the regulatory framework, and we hope to have that done in the next 30 days.”

He added that the Government is embarking on a series of trade missions to promote The Bahamas’ fledgling technology sector. This, he said, came on the back of developing the BH-1B work permit to target companies the government is seeking to attract for its technology hub - especially those that come in under the Commercial Enterprises Act.

“We indicated that we needed to put in a new type of work visa and permit to facilitate attracting companies here. The Government has implemented that. We also indicated that blockchain technology was the lowest hanging fruit, and we needed to put the Bahamas on the map,” said Dr Moxey.

The Bahamas’ first blockchain and cryptocurrency conference was held on Grand Bahama in June, and he added: “The Government is putting in the necessary rules, regulations and  framework to make sure we are ready for companies that do come here.

“In the last 12 months, the Government has proactively done a lot of things and implemented a lot of things recommended by the technology hub committee. The last thing we want to do is go out there and promote the Bahamas and not be ready.

“Technology folks by their very nature are impatient. They come and expect a certain level of treatment and timeline for implementation. If you do not deliver that they will walk away; you will have a bad name and they never come back,” Dr Moxey continued.

“What we want to do is attract those blockchain entrepreneurs to The Bahamas so that the next Google or the next Facebook of the world will be a company that got started in The Bahamas, and hopefully Bahamians will be a part of that. The world is what we are targeting, and we just want those companies to be based here.”

Comments

banker 1 year ago

Too late. Our lunch is ate and already pooped out. Cayman Islands has no crypto regulations and close to 60 blockchain companies. https://www.caymanenterprisecity.com/...">https://www.caymanenterprisecity.com/... Here is a blurb from the website:

There’s arguably no faster way to do this than in Grand Cayman – where you can incorporate within 48 hours with the right paperwork and (unlike in places such as Bermuda) there’s no need for approval from the Minister of Finance. At Cayman Enterprise City we make this process even more easy by providing you with fast 5-year renewable work permits (where required for staff) and physical spaces, as well as a pre-established network of blockchain contacts on-island that you can use for your professional and personal growth.

Moxey doesn't understand blockchain, nor does anyone at the BFSB. These regulations will kill any sort of blockchain development in the Bahamas and drive more business to Caymans. I had hope that blockchain might revive financial services, but unfortunately we are too stupid to capitalise on a golden opportunity that could have dropped into our lap.

Instead, like a stupid preacher, we must make all sorts of rules and makes sure that the government gets some sort of say and cut. Bahamas will continue to be the backwards cousin in the Caribbean because of our mindset.

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tetelestai 1 year ago

Banker, I am not so certain that I fully agree with you. A few points: a) There is no "get in" time on crypto/decentralized ledger, et. al. In fact, if you are familiar with the work of Antonoupolous (sp?) he posits that cryptos will be as pervasive as bloggers on the internet.. IF he is correct, my point here is that there is not necessarily an advantage to being the first jurisdiction to embrace DLT. So not so sure that on that basis alone that our "lunch is ate" as you put it. 2) I also slightly disagree that the regulations will hurt the Bahamas. Let's assume that said regulations are proportionate and reasoned (its the Bahamas, so I know that is a huge assumption), I actually think that in the wild west right now that is DLT, players in the market will be drawn to jurisdictions that offer sound and sensible regulations. 3) I disagree that Moxey doesn't understand blockchain. He is as versed as a layman can be (and before I get accused, no I am not Moxey nor do I know him personally), the trick is whether the government will allow him, and others of his ilk, to be involved in the regulatory process; 4) BFSB has absolutely no reason to be involved in DLT. People confuse the nature of the BFSB's existence. They are a promotional board...that's it. They should not be thought leaders in DLT or anything financial services related for that matter. And 5) the horse is not out of the barn yet, yes as you astutely pointed out, we are behind Cayman, but other jurisdictions are equally behind and even further behind than we are...all is not lost.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year ago

"Moxey doesn't understand blockchain, nor does anyone at the BFSB."

You think so? I was wondering if he did or he was just the smartest one in the room. I listened to one show with him and the other members of the "tech committee" and everyone was deferring to him on everything. Thats not a good thing, especially after he's already pointed out that he sees no problem with his company benefitting directly from an initiative he's heading.

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banker 1 year ago

Moxey is the smartest man in the room. He has a PhD in Engineering Materials -- specifically opto-electronics. He is a hardware engineer. He may have the theoretical background as a graduate Electrical Engineer to run the power company, but to my knowledge, he has never practised in the field. No practical experience. His specialty is mobile app development. He has never worked in Fintech, nor does he understand the dynamics of it.

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Future 1 year ago

Make sure you get in on the crypto currency very early because it is a type of pyramid scheme and those at the bottom are the ones who lose out because the ones at the top will have their money. When a person forms a crypto currency he acts as a central bank and everybody gives him their money. The ones who buy in early can cash in and make some money but they have to do it before the 'central bank' crashes the currency and pockets the money. Someone is about to be a billionaire

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ohdrap4 1 year ago

pineapple express was ahead of its time.

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BahamaLlama 1 year ago

“Technology folks by their very nature are impatient. They come and expect a certain level of treatment and timeline for implementation. If you do not deliver that they will walk away; you will have a bad name and they never come back,”

For once, Moxey is correct. That's my personal perspective, and the perspective of every single foreign tech person who has visited. We're not "impatient": we live in 2018, not 1925. We build massive software systems at 24hr hackathons, on 3 litres of coffee and no sleep. Caribbean speeds of a) slow, and b) slower, do not compute, because the idiotic protectionism prevents competition. Complaining after 6 months that some idiot can't work out a spreadsheet isn't "impatience", it's surreality when it's 30+ years into the Information Age.

Newspapers don't publish on the weekend in the Bahamas. Family islanders believe in voodoo, churchgoers think God will make them rich, and people don't "trust" credit cards. Let that sink in.

Tech also introduces accountability. Every system needs a login corresponding to an account, which is auditable. Unless you're proficient in tech, it's hard to cheat. The elephant in the room is how tech is resisted because older folks don't understand it, but more importantly, they don't understand how to CHEAT it.

Blockchain systems are designed to EVADE regulation - they are decentralised, meaning it is virtually impossible to regulate them centrally. If you cannot understand something as simple as central vs not central, there is a problem.

  • Very few, if any, have applied under the CEA.
  • Very few, if any, even know about the new visa.

ICOs are a tool of fraud, and have been comprehensively rejected by the tech industry.

The "Tech Hub" has been an absolute, abject failure on an epic level. It's not time for "regulating" tech you can't regulate, it's time people like Kwasi were held to account for that failure, instead of more wishful/magical thinking. The tech industry has responded by not responding - the answer is a resounding NO.

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banker 1 year ago

The trouble is that everyone in the process doesn't know what they don't know. That is where the failure comes from. They don't know that there is blockchain that is not cryptocurrency. There is blockchain without Bitcoin. That is the blockchain that will dominate our lives.

Because the players don't know a damn thing, nothing gets done. Do you remember the newspaper article where Keith Davies of BISX told Neil Hartnell that he was all over crypto and listing ICOs on BISX? Made it sound like it was just days away. Either he was bullsh*tting or talkin' biggety without knowing anything about it.

The CEA is a joke, especially when you compare to Cayman where you get a 5 year work visa in 5 days for you AND your employees. And on top of that, you get a year free of not paying duty on stuff that you import. And they introduce you to the other major blockchain players. Cayman had a $3 billion ICO. They have a DIstributed Digital Exchange with 200 cryptocurrencies on it. They have an AML/KYC blockchain solution operating there. Cayman Finance travels around the world, selling their financial services. The biggest law firm on the island has its own developers and 8 CISOs (Certified Information Security Officers) on staff to protect their data.

Where the Bahamas failed in trying to make the tech hub, was to give the job to Moxey who doesn't understand emergent technology and current trends in technology startups. They should have given the committee chairman job to the creators who know/use/exploit the technology, and not a committee of non-experts who don't know more than what google tells them.

This regulation, cobbled together by committee, will be the final nail in the coffin of the dream to create a tech hub on Grand Bahama.

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BahamaLlama 1 year ago

They asked me to be on that committee. Wouldn't say i ignored them, but i looked at the PS rather bemused, and said "you don't get this, do you? technology is private sector industry."

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tetelestai 1 year ago

Bahama, but we need people like you on the committee so that when regulation occurs, and it will, no matter how much we fight about it, at least you can guide the committee accordingly so as to prevent overregulation.

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tetelestai 1 year ago

Banker, a post script to my note. Your point regarding the architects of the regulation is 1005 spot on. What I am surprised it is that the Securities Commission of The Bahamas is not involved in the regulatory process. One, believe it or not, they do have some FinTech knowledge there (maybe "experts" is a strong word). Also, DLT will eventually fall under the purview of the SCB anyway (no other agency has the resources or regulatory capacity to deal with it) so you would think bringing them in from the ground up would be ideal.

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banker 1 year ago

My understanding (which could be wrong -- I am working on sip-sip) is that most of the regulations are coming/came from a strawman posited by a small group under the aegis of the BFSB. The group drivers were a handful of lawyers from the various law firms, who collated the most stringent regulations from various global sources and put them together in a melange of sorts. If my information is correct, the restrictions/regulations would put a throttle on the process, with overt scrutiny, oversight and reporting procedures including limiting of business scope until full permission is given to operate unrestricted after a suitable time frame.

The reason that I know this, is that a colleague of mine from the bank that I used to be at in Nassau met one of the lawyers who participated in the group discussions and gave my colleague a thumb nail sketch of what was coming down the pipes.

Ironically, other than a few foreign wannabes with no real blockchain experience (just speaking gigs), most of the group with the exception of a local bank that has roots in Nassau but headquarters in Cayman has ever even touched crypto.

They are going around patting each other on the back, not knowing the blow that they have delivered to business end of blockchain/cryptocurrency technology business in The Bahamas.

And speaking of DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology), there is no reason why any of it should be regulated. The director of eGovernment for the Cayman Islands Government was quoted in the online Cayman Compass last week, that they didn't see a need for DLT regulation. As a matter of fact, they were embracing it for eGovernment solutions in authenticated identity management. They have a digital lab in conjunction with Cayman Finance where they are prototyping various solutions.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year ago

Here's what I don't get about this blockchain thing. And I don't know enough about it myself because I have some other priorities. But what worries me is that it's being used as this sexy new technology, just say blockchain and you'll get an investor.

What I do know about software design, you always cut the suit to fit the cloth. I hope I got that analogy right, my Grammy would be ashamed if I didn't. Anyway, from my knowledge of software design there is never "one" way to do anything. There's always a set of trade offs and then decisions made by the architect based on which approach is most efficient and cost effective.

What I don't like about this blockchain discussion is, it's being proposed as the solution for everything. In some ways I feel persons with personal business interests are pushing it to KP and Kwasi who don't know their head from their tail. And in many cases it will be using a sledgehammer to drive in a single nail when a hairbrush would work just as well. Meaning, unnecessary, overinflated contracts just because "blockchain" is in the job description

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ThisIsOurs 1 year ago

I don't agree with zero legislation. History has shown us example after example of market crash after market crash precipitated by money making "schemes" that were unregulated and profited those in the industry millions for years. Only then to be followed by a gigantic crash. For me I think the question is what is the correct balance between legislation and growth

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